6700 West Gate Blvd, Suite 101 Austin, TX 78745

Dental X-Rays

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.

The Importance of Dental X-Rays

Have you ever wondered why we take dental x-rays once a year? Sometimes the response from patients is they think that it isn’t pertinent or do not want to get exposed to radiation. At Westgate Family Dental we want to set up our patients with success and manageable oral health that doesn’t turn into expensive dentistry. This all starts with frequency. And with frequency we mean, cleanings every 6 months, exam 2 x’s a year and x-rays 1 x year. This sometimes seems like a lot, but look at as an investment into your oral health. And here’s why…

For starters we use digital sensor x-ray technology which is proven to be the safest and smallest form of radiation. Meaning, there is a 70% decrease in exposure to radiation than tradition x-ray films. On top of that, you receive more exposure to radiation from the being in the sun for 20 minutes than you would in a lifetime of dental x-rays once a year. For example, according to recent statistics, “a full series of 18 dental X-rays has 27 times less radiation than a lower gastrointestinal (GI) series and 20 times less radiation than one year of normal background radiation from the environment. The 4 bitewing X-rays taken during dental checkups have 79 times less radiation than a year of normal background radiation.” Digital x-rays are safer, clearer, and instantaneous; they also give us better diagnostic information than traditional films. We are able to diagnose better as clinicians and see things we were unable to measure and see before.

Frequency and Reason

Why do I even need x-rays and why do I need them so often?

First of all, without x-rays it is impossible to complete a full examination of the mouth. X-rays show us teeth, bone, tissues and cavities which better help us diagnose as they show us hidden dental artifacts and structures such as impacted wisdom teeth, bone loss and decay, all things that sometimes cannot be seen during a visual examination as these can be hidden either under tooth structure or tissue. Using x-rays during our examination allows comprehensive diagnosis and allows us to take care of smaller issues before they grow into larger, progressed lesions (cavities), abscesses, cysts, growths, bone loss or deterioration of tissues. If these things are caught early, they are more likely easier to treat and less inexpensive. Without x-rays, it is like driving blind and likely that decay in between the teeth can be missed in its early stages.

What are the different types of x-rays?

In our office we take different types of x-rays, for different types of reasons…

Bitewing X-Ray
These are called cavity detection x-rays. These are the x-rays we take once a year during one of your two cleaning appointments. These pictures show cavities between the teeth, bone loss and tissue recession. These x-rays are so vital to a complete examination; it is like getting your oil changed without putting oil in your car. You could probably start up your car and drive for a while but over time things will self-destruct. We do not take x-rays to make money; we simply do it because that is standard ADA protocol and it is to better help and serve our patients dental needs long term. By taking these x-rays once a year we are able to diagnose early on and avoid expensive treatment in the future.

Full Series of X-Rays or FMX
We take a full series of x-rays every 3-5 years. This series of x-rays shows us everything; we are able to see teeth, tissues, bone, hidden tooth structures and the roots of your teeth. These x-rays show us the entire crown down to the rip of the root; they also assist us in diagnosing any abnormalities in the root and bone structures in addition to abscesses, these are called periapical x-rays.

Panoramic or Pano
If there are issues with the development of wisdom teeth and possible impaction, we will take a panoramic x-ray. The reason for this x-ray is it is a full x-rays showing us the entire mandible, mandibular nerve structure and where the wisdom teeth are in relation to this nerve. It also shows the magnitude of impactions, and also assists us in implant placement by allowing us to measure the depth of bone. This can also assist in the discovery of tumors in the jaw bone as well.

When it comes to your oral health, x-rays are our best defense to the potential threatening oral diagnosis. X-rays allow us to see what we can’t see with the naked eye and in return create a more accurate treatment plan that represents the patients without guesswork. In the end, we are able to keep your dental costs down, by taking dental x-rays by catching things early on instead of allowing decay, bone loss, tissue recession, and abscesses to go without diagnosing. In the end, we want what is best for our patients, more importantly we want our patients to know and understand why we do what we do. Our patient’s best interest is always our highest priority!


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