6700 West Gate Blvd, Suite 101 Austin, TX 78745

Brushing your gums

Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s the difference?

Dental CleaningYou’ve seen the commercials, you’ve heard your dental professionals talk about it, but did you know there is a difference between dental tartar and dental plaque? Yes, there is a difference, and a pretty big difference.

First of all, most plaque/tartar levels vary from patient to patient. Why? There are several explanations for these variances such as diet, beverages, home care, proper dental frequency diagnosis and commitment to professional dental cleanings. Most people are good about some of these items and some are not, regardless at the end of the day, it’s all about maintenance! But really, what is the difference plaque and tartar? Let’s start off with an explanation of both.

What is plaque?

Tartar is the white, sticky, filmy bacteria that forms on your teeth almost immediately after eating food. Food and beverage products with high concentrations of simple carbohydrates, such as white sugars, white flours, high fructose corn syrups etc.. breakdown into sugars which create a bacteria thus turning into an acid that destroys the teeth’s enamel which the body is incapable of repairing. By brushing and flossing this sticky filmy bacterium off the teeth, gums and in between the teeth, potential decay is decreased significantly.

What is tartar/calculus?

Tartar, a.k.a. calculus is the accumulation of the white sticky filmy tartar that hardens on your teeth because of poor home care and lack of removal. Tartar can form in areas that are inaccessible with your toothbrush; by avoiding this, flossing is encouraged. When calculus forms on the hard tissues or teeth, it begins to recess the supporting gum tissues around the tooth which then give way to the disintegration of the bone as well. Why does this matter? It matters because as bone disintegrates so does the integrity of the tooth; teeth can become mobile and more susceptible to periodontal involvement. Periodontal involvement of the teeth can create a slurry of long term issues for your teeth and overall oral health.

What can I do to avoid this?

By daily brushing and flossing, and removing plaque before it hardens into tartar is Step 1. Also, coming in to have your teeth cleaned 2 x’s a year or for your designated frequency is Step 2. We pre-appoint our patients for their dental cleanings because it creates continuity, helps our patients stay on task with their frequency and committed to their oral health. By keeping up with your regular cleanings, your cleanings will be smoother and more effective. We also educate our patients on how to create healthy eating habits when ti comes to eating. By avoiding simple carbohydrates, food and beverages with a lot of sugar, you can create less acidic create, hence creating less plaque and healthier mouth!

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Why Choose Westgate Family Dental?

Westgate Family Dental CrewAt Westgate Family Dental, your oral health is our highest priority. We don’t use fancy words or technical jargon when discussing your treatment with you. We talk to you like you are family and explain your treatment plan in easy to understand language, and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have before treatment.

Dr. Yarbrough has been practicing dentistry for over 30 years and most of his staff has been with him the entire time. What sets Westgate Family Dental apart from most dental practices is the fact you will see the same faces in our office each time you visit. Our belief in consistency and honesty is what drives our philosophy, treatment, and dental practice. We want to be sure you have the very best options for your specific dental needs.

Not every patient is the same and fits into a neat grid. This is why we treat each patient with personalized care. Our long history with our patients speaks for itself, and if you are a new patient you can look forward to a lifelong relationship with us.

Liz

Liz

Liz, our insurance coordinator, goes above and beyond to make sure you get the most out of your dental insurance benefits. She goes to bat for our patients and works very hard to get every penny out of your insurance and will fight for your reimbursement if necessary.

christy

Christy

Leslie

Leslie

You can expect the same care and level of service from Christy and Leslie, our scheduling coordinators. They will work with you to find an appointment time that is convenient for your schedule, not ours. They will also be happy to answer any questions you may have about scheduling and send you a reminder text if you need it about your upcoming appointment. They will also set follow up appointments for you every three, four, or six months so that you can enjoy good dental health through regular appointments.

Wendy

Wendy, RDA

shari

Shari, RDA

raquel

Raquel, RDA

Dr. Yarbrough’s assistants have been with him collectively for over 30 years and they can help guide you on the treatment path carefully selected by the doctor. They put your needs first and foremost and will do everything they can to make your visit to our practice comforting. We provide headphones and blankets, and are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. The doctor’s assistants have a complete knowledge of dentistry and will explain your treatments and options to you in easy to understand language, not with technical terms or jargon. Our assistants strive to make your visit comforting, reassuring, and take the stress out of visiting the dentist.

Our hygienists are in a class of their own. They are here to assist you and guide you by educating you on your oral health. Our hygienists are knowledgeable, proficient and incredible dental health providers. They work very hard to make sure your oral health and preventive plan is tailored to you specific needs. Some of our patients require more frequent cleanings such as every three or four months. Most of our patients need a six month cleaning and some need deeper cleanings.

By monitoring, educating, and keeping tabs on your oral health, including hard and soft tissues and periodontal pocket measurements, we can show you your progress or regression. By having a solid preventive oral health plan in place we can help you achieve good oral health without regression. Our hygienist will teach you proper techniques for brushing, flossing, and educate you on the best oral health products. Our provider, Perio Sciences, suggest the best electric toothbrushes and oral health equipment available to help you maintain your oral health.

Dr. Yarbrough

Dr. Yarbrough

Because of his GPR training Dr. Yarbrough has the ability to offer a wide array of different procedures. We believe in keeping our patients in house as much as possible instead of shuffling you off to specialist for every special procedure. However there are times where we need to call on our specialists to assist us in certain aspects of our procedures, but these times are few and far between and when these times do arise, we only work the very best specialists in Austin, ones we would trust with our own dentistry.

Dr. Yarbrough is able to offer many different dental procedures in-house. These include the following:

  • Implant placement
  • Root canal therapy
  • Advanced root canal therapy,
  • Bone grafts
  • Sinus lifts
  • Surgical removal of (most) wisdom teeth
  • Periodontal surgical procedures
  • IV Sedation
  • Oral Sedation and much more

By offering more services to our patients we can maintain a level of convenience that some practices cannot. We want to make your dental procedures as comfortable and convenient as possible. We also offer digital x-rays which offer 85 to 90% less radiation than traditional x-rays. With digital x-rays we can see your x-ray immediately and can diagnose faster. We also offer CEREC same day dental crowns as well. We have an in house CAD Camera that allows us to take virtual digital impression of your tooth and use the impression to fabricate your crown right in our office.

At Westgate Family Dental we treat our patients like family and our number one priority is your comfort level and trust of our services. We want our patients to come into our practice with confidence not fear, and we will do whatever it takes make you happy and comfortable.

Sealants? Why not?

smiling patientIf someone told you if you painted sealer on your home deck you could increase the deck life by 80%, would you do it? That’s basically the same mentality with dental sealants. Dental Sealants have been around for many years and quite honestly provide a service that is paramount to the longevity and avoidance of cavities.

What is a dental sealant?

First maybe we should explain the anatomy of the tooth. As you may have noticed when looking at your teeth in a mirror, you can see grooves throughout your tooth. These fissures or grooves allow for us to break down food more efficiently. Because these grooves and fissures are so profound, it is easy to get microscopic portions of food trapped in these grooves, and if not brushed out on a daily basis, the acid produced from carbohydrates sits in these grooves and eventually eats away at the enamel thus causing decay.

So, why a sealant?

sealantsHere’s why and what a sealant is and does: A sealant is a liquid clear plastic filling material similar to a composite (tooth colored filling). When cured with a high intensity UV light, the material hardens in the grooves. There are a couple basic steps that are involved when placing a sealant. The tooth must be cleaned with a pumice material, then washed off, and then an acid etch is placed for 20 seconds to assist with drying and cleaning the tooth even further and prepares for the bonding stage of the procedure. Bonding material is lightly placed on the tooth and then light cured. After curing, the sealant material is placed in the grooves and also light cured until hard. This thin layer of composite will help your teeth from getting decay. However, this doesn’t mean you will not brush your teeth anymore, because brushing is still preventive measure that needs be taken so sugars do not sit on the areas of your teeth the sealants do not cover. Keep in mind as well, sealants do not last forever! We’ve seen some sealants last up to 5 years but the real number is between 1-5 years given there is no preparation to the tooth to mechanically retain a sealant, other than the bonding process.

Honestly, everyone can benefit from sealants; they are not limited to children but adults also have sealants placed. If you have teeth that have never had any fillings, even as an adult it could be beneficial to have sealants. Any extra protection helps! Even though Sealants can last up to 5 years there is no guarantee with wear and tear over time how long sealants can effectively last, but even if they lasted just a couple of years, that is two years of effective protection and cavity fighting power!

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Be clean before you get cleaned!

tooth and bacteriaDid you know that your toothbrush is a vessel for bacteria? And if it is not appropriately kept, you may be amassing an assortment of germs and bacteria and transferring these to your oral cavity when you brush your teeth? The ADA recently came out with a study along with the University of Alabama that has shown and proven the importance of proper storage of your toothbrush and the effects of bacteria that grow on your toothbrush.

It has been said for years to make sure you always store your toothbrush 8 feet away from your toilet, because fecal fumes and bacteria can shower your toothbrush and expose you to intestinal bacteria, coliforms, yeasts and Staphylococci (Staph Infection). Yes, that’s right! According to Maria L. Geisinger, DDS, assistant professor of periodontology in the School of Dentistry at the University of Alabama Birmingham, “Appropriate storage and care of your toothbrush are important to achieving personal oral hygiene and optimally effective plaque removal. “

Our mouth has hundreds of varieties of microorganisms which are capable of transporting to your toothbrush when you are brushing your teeth. As we all know, mostly all of us store our toothbrushes in the bathroom, which can be considered the cleanest room in your home but can also expose your toothbrush and your oral cavity to a slurry of gastrointestinal microorganisms that can be transmitted by “fecal-oral” path. According to Dr. Geisinger “The number of microorganisms can vary wildly from undetectable to 1 million colony-forming units.” Proper care of your toothbrush is the essential to your health overall.

So the question remains, what is the correct way and method to store your toothbrush in order to avoid transference of these bacteria and microorganisms?

What should I do if I am sick? Should I continue to use the same toothbrush?

It has been recommended by the ADA to throw away your toothbrush and replace it after sickness. It’s not worth the risk; no one likes to be sick let alone repeatedly sick! Toss it!

When should I replace my toothbrush?

We recommend you replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Not only do your toothbrush bristles breakdown over time and become less effective, they can also accumulate harmful bacteria that can not only affect you but if stored close to another toothbrush can cross contaminate another toothbrush as well.

We recommend the following to not only procure your oral health but to also offset any accumulation of bacteria in your mouth.

  1. Wash your hands (thoroughly and often)
  2. Regular Cleanings. Don’t miss your routine dental cleaning, exam and x-rays. Make sure to pre-appoint for your 6, 4 or 3 month cleaning so you won’t ever miss a cleaning. By committing to having your teeth cleaned regularly you can decrease the bacterial burden that accrues in your mouth in a very short extent of time. By having your teeth cleaned and examined we can not only catch cavities in their early stages, but we can also eradicate the bacteria that accumulate and are non-removable by just your toothbrush.
  3. Antimicrobial Mouth Rinse. Use Antimicrobial mouth rinse before you brush your teeth. This assists you in decreasing the bacterial burden in your mouth that you can obtain from your toothbrush (if not properly stored).
  4. Don’t share your toothbrush. Ever.
  5. Floss regularly. By flossing your teeth you are removing bacteria from between the teeth, where your toothbrush is incapable of reaching. We recommend you floss 2-3 times a day, but even once is better than nothing. Create a habit, start one time a day and make it part of your regular routine just like brushing your teeth!

Procuring your oral health is paramount! We only get one set of adult teeth, so take care and be wise with your decisions. Get your teeth cleaned regularly, brush and floss daily, wash your hands and use commons sense. Don’t share your toothbrush, ever! By all means store your toothbrush in a cool dry place, preferably upside down in a cup to air dry and make sure to clean out the cup daily. The location where you store your toothbrush, can also accumulate harmful bacteria, so take care and be smart but be consistent!

All you want for Christmas is an electric toothbrush, right?

toothbrushElectric toothbrushes have been around in the US since the 1960’s. Over time we’ve seen the electric toothbrush evolve from not just an electric toothbrush but also to a sonic toothbrush. We know you hear us hammer on about the importance of brushing and caring for your teeth, and procuring your oral health as a result. And let’s face it, some tooth brushing is better than no tooth-brushing. What if I told you that brushing your teeth with ANY electric toothbrush is almost 100 times more effective than the traditional approach? Yes, it’s true, traditional/manual tooth-brushing allows for approximately only 300 strokes per minute. This might seem like a lot but in the scheme of things and in this day and age of technology, it’s not.

One of the most frequent questions our patients ask is:What toothbrush should I buy and how much should I spend?

Answer: spend what you can afford and honestly any electric toothbrush is better than the traditional approach. However, always make sure you are using a soft toothbrush head and even the cheap $10 Crest electric toothbrushes give you the option of a soft toothbrush head. It is best to avoid using a hard or firm toothbrush head as the results can be quite destructive to your soft tissues. Hard toothbrushes and improper brushing can wear the supporting tissues around the teeth and can over time expose the roots of the teeth which are irreversible and can turn into an unconformable situation.

What’s the difference between a Sonic toothbrush and an Electric toothbrush?

The difference all comes down to rotations per minute. For instance, an Electric toothbrush outputs between 3,000-7,500 rotations per minute whereas a sonic toothbrush outputs between 30,000-40,000 rotations per minutes! Sonic toothbrushes tend to be a little bit more expensive and some people do not like the sound of a sonic toothbrush even though they are the most effective. However, both types of toothbrushes are definitely more beneficial when it comes to preserving your oral health, gum tissues, teeth and removal of plaque and bacteria in the oral cavity.

Benefits of an electric/sonic toothbrush:

  • Most powered toothbrushes have 2 minute timers built in for optimal brushing
  • Long Term Results
  • More Efficient Brushing
  • Faster Brushing
  • Proficient Stain/Plaque Removal





Brushing 2.0 – Get Informed!

Thought You Knew Everything About Brushing Your Teeth? Think Again!

by Trey M. Latiolais, D.D.S.

Taken from our blog: www.westgatefamilydental.wordpress.com

Recently, we received a question from a patient, they asked:

“Does it promote cavities (or wear enamel) to eat acidic food like tomatoes and then brush your teeth shortly after?”

SHORT ANSWER: YES!!!

tooth-imageEXPLANATION: This is an interesting question that I feel like will benefit the vast majority of readers that come across it. If you ask most people when the best time to brush their teeth was, the answer you would hear over and over would be “after meals and right before bed.” WRONG. Another common answer would be “after breakfast and before bed”. Again I would argue, you guessed it, WRONG. I know this is hard to believe, because it flies in the face of what the majority of people have either been taught or assumed their entire lives. So when is the RIGHT time to brush your teeth? BEFORE MEALS!! I know this seems backwards, but that is because people either have no understanding or don’t fully grasp two main concepts: A) What causes cavities and even more surprising B) why do we brush in the first place? By answering these two questions first, we’ll be able to better wrap our heads around the logic.

WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES?
Cavities are essentially caused by ACID destruction of tooth structure. Two primary factors contribute to this.
1) Acidic foods and beverages can weaken enamel and dentin. Things like soda and sweet tea are a double whammy since they are both acidic and also feed the bacteria to produce more acid.
2) Certain bacteria, specifically Strep mutans, digest sucrose (sugar) and other fermentable carbohydrates producing acid as a byproduct.

WHY DO WE BRUSH?
Common sense tells us that we should brush to get the food off of our teeth, right? Wrong. We brush our teeth specifically to remove plaque and bacteria from our teeth. Food and debris removal is just an added bonus so we don’t get made fun of for having that little piece of green leafy something stuck on our front tooth…you know what I’m talking about.

SO…….If we brush AFTER meals, our teeth have plaque/bacteria on them when we eat or drink. This means that our teeth are being attacked not only by the natural acidity of what we’re ingesting, but also from the acid produced by the bacteria. It only takes 5 minutes for these bacteria to start creating acid. In contrast, it takes 30 minutes for your body to regulate the acidity caused by these processes back to a neutral environment. By the time you brush your teeth, it’s too late. In addition, if you brush your teeth following this acid exposure (especially with abrasive toothpaste and/or a hard toothbrush), the tooth structure is going to be more susceptible to mechanical abrasion or erosion. If we brush BEFORE meals, the plaque and bacteria are decreased, limiting the amount of acid that can potentially harm our teeth.

SUMMARY: It’s best to brush first thing in the morning BEFORE breakfast and again after work, but BEFORE dinner. It’s still good to brush before bed, but just make sure it has been at least 30 minutes since you last ate or had your favorite carbonated beverage!

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5 Simple Oral Hygiene Tips

Life has become more and more demanding every day and sometimes our oral healthcare takes a backseat as a result. In addition to having your teeth professionally cleaned/examined every 6 months, there are some home care tips that will help you maintain your oral health in between your 6 month checkups. You have to view your oral healthcare as maintenance and for lack of a better analogy you can compare your mouth to your car. Every 3-5000k miles we have our oil/filter changed to help maintain our engines and longevity of our car. In addition to that regularly scheduled maintenance, and driving reasonably we can prolong the longevity of our vehicle’s life far longer than if we didn’t. This plays true in oral healthcare as well. Over time, if you do not have good home care and you forego your regular cleanings/exam, a plethora of issues can occur such as: periodontal disease, bone loss, tooth loss, cavities and costly dentistry. Here are some home care tips that can help you effectively maintain your oral healthcare.

Brushing

Daily brushing is the most important first step anyone can take in achieving healthier oral hygiene. Brushing not only cleans the teeth but if done correctly, it cleans the gums as well. Trying to brush at least 1x day is good, but 3x’s daily is ideal. Brushing after every meal is even better, as you can remove plaque from your teeth and gums created from the food we eat. Also, using an electric toothbrush, any electric toothbrush is a worthy compliment to any brushing regiment. An electric toothbrush is able to do a more thorough job than the human hand and it implements the elliptical motion that is most effective when brushing. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on an electric toothbrush; you can purchase a $10 Crest toothbrush at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Make sure you use a soft or super soft brush head and when brushing let the electric toothbrush do the work. If you are manually brushing your teeth, brush in an elliptical motion (circular) and massage the gums as well as the teeth!

Flossing

Flossing is the most overlooked home care routine; yet the most imperative to your oral healthcare. Flossing is an assistant to your brushing; floss can get down beneath the gums and clean the roots of the tooth where the brush is incapable of accessing. The biggest technique error of flossing for most people is the idea that just flossing between the teeth is the accurate way to floss. This is partially true; flossing in between the teeth is just part of it; when flossing, it is essential to floss on both sides of the teeth and below the gum line as well. This in turns massages the gums, keeps the blood flowing to the tissues, and also removes plaque and debris from below the gum line in turn keeping your bone/tissue healthy and strong which in turn keeps your teeth healthy and strong. Flossing 1 x’s a day is great, flossing 2x’s a day is ideal. Then there is that common complaint of bleeding gums when flossing. Look at flossing like working out. The first time you work out ever, you find yourself sore and tired the next day. Think of flossing as the same thing, the more you floss the more you increase blood flow to the gums and maintain health gum tissue. After a couple for weeks of flossing, you will find that the bleeding will decrease and eventually stop all together.

Oral Rinse

Rinsing your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash will also help keep your mouth clean and free of bacteria. Mouth Rinse does not take the place of brushing and flossing your teeth, it simply helps with your oral health by killing bad bacteria inside of your mouth, on your gum tissues and teeth. There are several mouthwashes to choose from; however antiseptic mouthwashes are your best bet.

Drink Water

Believe it or not, drinking water can help with your oral health care. It is possible that you might not be able to brush your teeth after every meal; by drinking water throughout the day you can increase your salivary flow and also wash food particles away from your teeth and gums. This doesn’t take the place of brushing or flossing, but it will certainly help from a preventative standpoint. Not only is water better for your oral health but it is better for your overall health!

Xylitol Gum

If you choose to chew gum, chew sugar free gum with Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sweetener and is dynamically helpful for dental health, by reducing cavities by a third in regular use, and has also been shown to decrease the frequency of acute middle ear infections. “Early studies from Finland in the 1970s found compared to chewing sucrose-flavored gum, Xylitol resulted in nearly two fewer cavities or missing teeth.[15] Cavity-causing bacteria prefer six-carbon sugars or disaccharides, while Xylitol is non-fermentable and cannot be used as an energy source, interfering with bacterial growth and reproduction.”

By taking a few extra steps in sustaining a healthier approach to your oral health care, you can reduce cavities, bone loss and long term oral health problems. By adapting just a few of these tips, you can reinvent a healthier, happier you! And by all means, Smile!!!!


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Do not just brush, brush well!

Everyone understands the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day, but I find that many people underestimate the emphasis of brushing their gums as well. Although you cannot get cavities in your gums, they can harbor and accumulate plaque, thus creating bacteria that cause bad breath and gingivitis.

The most vital part of your gums that need to be brushed is around your teeth. The reason for this specifically is because this is where bacteria have direct access to your bloodstream. When brushing your teeth, point the bristles at a 45° angle towards the gum-line and use small circular motions, while focusing on feeling the bristles on the teeth AND the gums. This will sweep the bristles up underneath the gum-line to effectively remove more plaque. Your gums are living tissues that hold your teeth in place, so don’t forget to brush them well!


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All you want for Christmas is an electric toothbrush, right?

toothbrushElectric toothbrushes have been around in the US since the 1960’s. Over time we’ve seen the electric toothbrush evolve from not just an electric toothbrush but also to a sonic toothbrush. We know you hear us hammer on about the importance of brushing and caring for your teeth, and procuring your oral health as a result. And let’s face it, some tooth brushing is better than no tooth-brushing. What if I told you that brushing your teeth with ANY electric toothbrush is almost 100 times more effective than the traditional approach? Yes, it’s true, traditional/manual tooth-brushing allows for approximately only 300 strokes per minute. This might seem like a lot but in the scheme of things and in this day and age of technology, it’s not.

One of the most frequent questions our patients ask is:What toothbrush should I buy and how much should I spend?

Answer: spend what you can afford and honestly any electric toothbrush is better than the traditional approach. However, always make sure you are using a soft toothbrush head and even the cheap $10 Crest electric toothbrushes give you the option of a soft toothbrush head. It is best to avoid using a hard or firm toothbrush head as the results can be quite destructive to your soft tissues. Hard toothbrushes and improper brushing can wear the supporting tissues around the teeth and can over time expose the roots of the teeth which are irreversible and can turn into an unconformable situation.

What’s the difference between a Sonic toothbrush and an Electric toothbrush?

The difference all comes down to rotations per minute. For instance, an Electric toothbrush outputs between 3,000-7,500 rotations per minute whereas a sonic toothbrush outputs between 30,000-40,000 rotations per minutes! Sonic toothbrushes tend to be a little bit more expensive and some people do not like the sound of a sonic toothbrush even though they are the most effective. However, both types of toothbrushes are definitely more beneficial when it comes to preserving your oral health, gum tissues, teeth and removal of plaque and bacteria in the oral cavity.

Benefits of an electric/sonic toothbrush:

  • Most powered toothbrushes have 2 minute timers built in for optimal brushing
  • Long Term Results
  • More Efficient Brushing
  • Faster Brushing
  • Proficient Stain/Plaque Removal

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6700 West Gate Blvd
Suite 101 Austin
TX 78745
appt@dryarbrough.com
(512)447-0808