As the school year starts winding down, families all across South Texas are starting to prepare for summer vacation. From hotel rooms to rental cars, extra clothes to finding the right pet-sitter, there’s plenty of planning that goes into creating the perfect vacation.
And while you try to prepare for every possible scenario when traveling, there’s one event that you might not have even considered.
A toothache or issue with braces can happen unexpectedly, stopping your family’s summer trip in its tracks and putting a damper on the rest of the summer. That’s why it’s important to know how to appropriately respond in the event of a dental emergency so you can take care of the problem and still enjoy your time away.
At Heroes Dental, our team of Rio Grande Valley dentists can answer all of your questions about dealing with a dental emergency while traveling, and also perform a thorough inspection on your family’s teeth before leaving on vacation. From a cracked tooth to a toothache, our family dentists will make sure you get the best and most painless treatment possible, so you can get back to enjoying your summer.
Below you will find a few of our favorite tips for dealing with a dental issue when traveling out of town.
How to Protect Your Teeth While Traveling
Being proactive is one of the best ways to ensure you don’t suffer a dental emergency while traveling.
First, it’s important to be aware of how your teeth are feeling before leaving on the trip. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, it might be a good idea to see your family dentist for a checkup. You should also let your dentist know you are traveling so that they can give you advice or provide you medications if you are dealing with a dental health issue.
If traveling abroad, make sure you check your dental insurance policy and see if it covers any overseas dental work. If yours doesn’t, you may be able to purchase additional insurance for the length of your travel.
Diet is also one of the most important factors in maintaining healthy teeth and gums while traveling. Everyone splurges a little while on vacation but eating an excessive amount of sugars can lead to cavities and other dental issues. Eating too many hard foods or candy can also increase your risk of cracking or chipping a tooth.
If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, try to avoid hot or cold foods and beverages during your stay as well.
You should also always make sure you travel with appropriate pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen if you are prone to a toothache.
Common Oral Emergencies While Traveling
Even the most prepared individuals can experience some form of dental emergency when they least expect it. Some of the most common emergencies and how to respond include:
Toothache – If a toothache is persistent, rinse with mouthwash and floss to ensure nothing is stuck between your teeth. You can also take over-the-counter painkillers to help manage the pain until you get home and visit your dentist.
Chipped or cracked tooth – Apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek to help with swelling and find a local dentist. If the tooth is knocked out, hold it by the crown, rinse the roots clean, place it in a glass of milk, and get to a dentist as soon as possible.
Broken braces wires or damaged orthodontic gear – Avoid eating foods you know could cause damage to braces. If a wire does break, call your orthodontist and then see a local orthodontist.
Don’t forget to visit Heroes Dental this summer and before you leave on vacation.
The dentists at Heroes Dental are here to help you through any emergency – large or small. Whether you need a checkup before leaving town or an emergency dental procedure when you return, our team will provide you with the best care and results possible.
Contact any of our South Texas offices today to schedule an appointment.
May is National Family Wellness Month, and now is the perfect time to remember the importance of good oral health habits. Your Mcallen dentists here at Heroes Dental want to remind you that your oral health is a window to your overall health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, oral bacteria and inflammation associated with periodontitis have potential links to a variety of diseases and unhealthy conditions including:
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Issues with pregnancy and birth.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Head and neck cancers.
Healthy oral care habits, lifestyle choices, and routine family visits to the dentist are crucial to your overall well-being and can positively impact your children for the better, encouraging them to live a better, healthier life together with you. And it doesn’t have to be a tough process. There are plenty of small – yet meaningful – actions that you can take on a daily basis to make your smiles gorgeous and your hearts healthy.
Oral Care Tips to Celebrate Family Wellness Month
Tooth decay and cavities are easy to prevent with a few basic tips that are easy to commit to:
- Start early with baby.
Healthy habits start in infancy and parents can make sure their children develop these good oral care routines by taking baby to the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears. Baby teeth play an important role in the development of a child, and taking care of them is just as important as taking care of permanent teeth.
It is recommended that the first trip to the dentist should take place within six months after the first tooth appears but no later than the first birthday.
- Cut back on sweets and sugars…
We’re pretty sure you’re probably tired of hearing this one, but its the truth. It is important – not only for your overall health but your oral health as well – to limit the number of snacks that you eat. The sugars in sweets, soft drinks, and juices cause acid and harmful bacteria to attack your teeth.
While it’s not always easy to give up on those tasty treats, ditching them is important to prevent tooth decay, and you don’t want your little ones dealing with the consequences of having too much candy.
- …And start eating healthier.
On the other hand, while you’ll want to limit you sugary foods and drinks, you’ll want to eat a balanced diet of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, cheese, yogurt, and whole grains. You’ll also want to make sure everyone in your family is drinking plenty of water.
Meal times are also the perfect opportunity to create an environment of family wellness. Making meals together, and of course, eating together, can help improve the emotional well-being of everyone in your family, and if you do decide to have an after-dinner snack, eating one after the meal causes less harm as more saliva is being released, which helps to neutralize acids in the mouth.
- Don’t forget the basics: brushing and flossing.
These two actions are absolutely essential to maintaining a beautiful and healthy smile. If you’re a parent, you can be the perfect example by brushing your teeth with your little ones. You can even make it a fun activity by using music, Tooth Tunes, dancing, or using a timer to add some action to brushing. It is recommended that individuals brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time.
But brushing isn’t the only action you’ll want to take. Flossing is just as important to getting in all the nooks and crannies around your teeth and under your gums. You’ll want to floss daily to help prevent tooth decay and disease. Help your little heroes with this step if they aren’t able to do it alone.
- Visit your family dentist at Heroes Dental.
Last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to schedule routine dental visits with your family dentist here at Heroes Dental. Make it a family outing and bring your children so they can see that you are dedicated to your oral health as well.
Visiting your dentist regularly will help to prevent any major problems from occurring, and help to catch any issues early on.
A Few Activities to Enjoy with the Family
Oral health care is just one part of Family Wellness Month. If you really want to begin transforming your family’s physical and emotional health, there are plenty of fun and engaging activities that you can do including:
- Having a picnic at a new park all throughout the month. This is the perfect excuse to explore new areas in your city and enjoy the breezy spring weather. Young children are sure to love this one.
- Take a hike at one of the local outdoor centers. The World Birding Center and Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park are great destinations near McAllen.
- Get fit as a family! Playing sports together or going out for bike rides are wonderful ways to be active.
- Weather can get a bit hot here in the Rio Grande Valley; so when you’re looking for something fun to do with the family that doesn’t require you being outdoors, consider a family game night. Board games and card games are loads of fun.
Eating healthy and leading active lives benefits everyone in your family. Build healthy habits with your children to give them a lifetime of good health.
Celebrate Family Wellness Month with a visit to our family dentists at Heroes Dental, here in the Rio Grande Valley.
A beautiful smile can mean so much to your health. At Heroes Dental we are dedicated to making your smile a memorable one.
Request an appointment today at any of our conveniently located Heroes Dental offices today in Laredo, Mission, San Juan, and now in Pharr and Edinburg.
We are a team truly devoted to spreading happiness, one gorgeous, pearly white smile at a time.
An erupting wisdom tooth can be a scary scenario at any age. Rest easy, however, as this situation is all too common and is definitely something that an experienced dentist can handle. While wisdom teeth aren’t the worst dental emergencies that can occur, they can still cause an infection or create other problems if not properly treated.
If you’ve been feeling any discomfort caused by a wisdom tooth (or teeth) breaching your gums or are feeling pain or jaw stiffness near an impacted tooth, contact your family dentist at Heroes Dental to schedule a wisdom tooth removal session. Our dental care team will make sure you receive the most painless treatment possible, and get you back on your feet as quickly as possible, so you can get back to enjoying life.
Below you’ll find some basic information regarding wisdom teeth and the removal process.
1. What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that tend to erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Since they start growing at such a late stage into your teenage years, they may cause your other teeth to shift out of place due to the lack of space in your mouth.
2. How can I tell if I even have wisdom teeth?
A consultation with one of our dentists here at Heroes Dental would be your best bet at finding—if present—their current position through the use of X-rays. With x-rays, our dentists will have the ability to track their positioning and alignment periodically.
3. Do I really need to remove my wisdom teeth?
This depends. More often than not, wisdom teeth don’t grow in properly, and because of that, it causes oral and dental problems. Other times they may grow out perfectly fine with no gum damage or infection and no teeth displacement.
In other cases, wisdom teeth won’t erupt from your gums. Even if this happens, you aren’t necessarily out of the woods yet. Sometimes, a wisdom tooth can grow impacted— grow into a position where it is trapped — cutting off blood flow to a nearby molar and cause tooth loss and/or serious infection.
Ultimately, an oral examination is ideal to see if your wisdom teeth are indeed present, and if they are properly aligned.
If left untreated, wisdom teeth can be a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause pericoronitis, an infection of gum tissue around the wisdom tooth.
4. When would be the best time to remove them?
Taking preemptive measures is ideal when removing wisdom teeth, and the best time to get them removed is before the root has fully formed. This makes wisdom teeth easier to extract and enables the area to heal faster.
In any case, wisdom teeth should be removed before any type of infection sets in or any inflammation happens. As you get older, the extraction may be a little more difficult because the teeth have finished developing, causing possible complications and a slower healing process.
5. What can I expect when getting my wisdom teeth removed?
To do the procedure, the patient is placed under general anesthesia, then the gum is opened up, and the wisdom tooth is removed by section. If the tooth is really impacted, some jawbone may have to be removed.
As for the recovery process, it only lasts a few days, though patients may experience some tenderness and pain in the mouth. There is likely to be bleeding as well as the small incisions heal. Generally, painkillers are prescribed to reduce pain and swelling.
While you are in recovery, make sure you:
- Gently bite down on the gauze pad that is provided for you after leaving the dentist office.
- Stay upright as much as possible.
- Use ice packs when necessary.
- Eat soft foods for a while after the extraction, and avoid using straws as they slow down the healing process.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking.
Take Advantage of the Services Heroes Dental Provides for Patients Like You.
Don’t wait until you get an infection near your wisdom teeth. Doing so will only make the procedure more difficult to perform and slow down your healing process.
Be proactive. Contact our dentists at a location near you to schedule your appointment today.
Spring Break is a time for rest and relaxation, but unfortunately, plaque never takes a vacation. It is easy to forget your brushing and flossing routine when you are on a road trip with family or friends, but we here at Heroes Dental want to remind you to take those good habits on the road with you.
How? In short, do what our dentists in Edinburg do: practice good oral hygiene every day. That way it becomes a habit you can follow no matter where you are.
1. Leave the Sugary Drinks Behind and Take Some Water Instead
Vacations and indulgence go hand in hand. While it may be easy to grab a juice or soda at the gas station when you hit your first rest stop, opt for a bottle of water instead.
A sugary drink can promote the growth of bacteria that feasts on the leftover sugar on your teeth. It will then secrete acids on your teeth that weaken the integrity of your teeth’s enamel, making cavities all the more likely. Do your teeth a favor and drink plenty of water throughout your vacation.
2. Only Pack the Good Stuff
Sure, chips, cookies, and candy can spice up a boring ride but eating healthy snacks can give you a boost of energy and help to keep your teeth in tip-top shape. Instead of that Snickers, opt-in for fruits and vegetables including:
Not only can these items freshen your breath but they also act like natural little toothbrushes that wipe plaque off of your teeth, gums, and tongue.
3. Chew on Some Sugar-Free Gum
It’s no secret that chewing gum stimulates the flow of saliva in your mouth. That, in turn, washes away plaque and leftover bits of food that can accumulate on your teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum ensures that you are not contributing to the problem of bacterial growth, while helping to clean them as well.
As an added benefit, chewing gum while you are traveling can relieve discomfort and pressure buildup within your ears if you happen to be traveling through the elevated areas or flying.
4. Maintain Your Brushing and Flossing Routine as Best as You Can
We get it. It can be difficult to maintain your brushing and flossing routine when you’re traveling. Maybe you forgot your toothbrush at home. Maybe your friend borrowed your floss and forgot to return it to you. Either way, that shouldn’t stop you from being able to commit to keeping great dental hygiene.
Thankfully, many grocery stores along the way may sell the proper utensils you need to clean your teeth, like a brand new toothbrush or a pack of floss. These items can be stored in your backpack or luggage carrier, safe and sound for when you need them on your next trip.
5. Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco Products
Aside from being detrimental to your overall health, alcohol and tobacco can ruin your teeth.
Alcohol promotes plaque growth. In fact, people who suffer from alcohol use disorder usually have higher plaque levels than those that don’t. More plaque means more toxins that are released that irritate gums, facilitating gum disease. Higher levels of plaque make it three times more likely that you will experience permanent tooth loss.
Plaque levels aside, alcohol can also stain your teeth, especially if you are drinking red wine, a trait that is shared with tobacco.
Smoking tobacco, on the other hand, stains your teeth because of the nicotine and the tar that comes from the cigarettes. Smoking is also the main cause of oral cancers. Couple all of this with the fact that smoking also promotes bacterial plaque growth that causes gum disease and you can see why tobacco use should be completely avoided.
Even worse, smoking essentially starves your bloodstream of oxygen, making it more difficult for damaged gums—that were damaged because of the smoke or chew—to repair.
Don’t forget to stop by Heroes Dental this Spring Break for a routine cleaning!
Spring Break can be the perfect time for a little spring cleaning, and we don’t mean washing the windows or dusting the house.
Contact our dentists at a location near you to schedule your cleaning before you head on out to celebrate spring festivities.
February is American Heart Month, so make sure that your pearly whites are bright, clean, and plaque-free.
Why? Because your oral health affects more than just your mouth.
At Heroes Dental, we work harder than any other dentist in McAllen to bring you that perfect smile. This means your heart can also reap benefits of a healthy mouth and clean teeth. How? Well, let’s consider the facts.
What is Considered a Healthy Mouth?
One of the best indicators of great oral health and hygiene is in the gums. If the gums are swollen and red, that may be an indicator of gum disease like gingivitis.
Gingivitis occurs when plaque build-up—a colorless film of bacteria—releases toxins that seep into your gum line. This toxin irritates the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. Daily brushing and flossing removes plaque buildup and stops the release of these toxins.
Gingivitis can also cause your gums to bleed when you brush. If left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis, and your teeth and jaw can become permanently damaged. Severe cases of periodontitis also bring a high possibility of tooth loss.
The good news is that gingivitis is a reversible condition. If you haven’t developed it, you can nip gingivitis in the bud by:
- Eating a proper diet to ensure nutrition for your jaw and teeth (sodas and foods and drinks that contain a lot of acids and sugars hurt the enamel and structural integrity of your teeth, causing cavities and eventually bone loss).
- Avoiding cigarettes and tobacco products.
- Scheduling regular check-ups with your dentist at Heroes Dental.
Gum disease is often left undiagnosed, and, according to the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, it affects 80 percent of all Americans. Don’t become another statistic. Practice proper oral hygiene.
How Your Oral Health Affects Your Cardiovascular Health.
When you think about it, your cardiovascular health is affected by a lot of things:
- High blood pressure
At the age of 45, males carry an 11 percent lifetime risk of a heart attack compared with a 3 percent risk in women the same age.
Oral health, of course, can be added to that list as well. It may seem hard to believe, but when it comes to your overall state of health, your mouth can tell you a lot.
- It can indicate if you are deficient in vitamins and minerals.
- It can indicate when you have an infection.
- It can even indicate when you are stressed.
- It also can indicate signs of diabetes and osteoporosis.
According to recent research from Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association, gum disease has a direct connection with heart disease and stroke, with the bacteria that makes up plaque the main culprit. This bacteria can enter your bloodstream, and if it reaches a damaged portion of your heart, it can latch on to it, causing inflammation. This condition is known as an endocarditis. Other cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis—or clogged arteries—and stroke have also been linked to that same oral bacteria inflammation.
In short, practicing good oral hygiene can eliminate bad bacteria. Keep your smile sparkling white and your heart will thank you for it.
Heroes Dental Routine Teeth-Cleaning Services Can Help Keep Plaque Away From Your Gums and Your Heart.
Preventing heart disease is a lifelong commitment you make to your entire body, and that includes your mouth too. Strengthen that commitment you made with yourself, and come by or call any one of our Heroes Dental family dentistry locations near you.