ORAL HYGIENE

WHY IS ORAL HYGIENE SO IMPORTANT?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques performed twice a day.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

  • HOW TO BRUSH

If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call the office at Houston Office Phone Number 713-360-7638.

Dr. Freeman recommends using a soft to a medium electric toothbrush. Position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion several times using small, gentle strokes brushing the outside surfaces of your teeth. Use light pressure while putting the bristles between the teeth, but not so much pressure that you feel any discomfort.

When you are done cleaning the outside surfaces of all your teeth, follow the same directions while cleaning the inside of the back teeth.

To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle back-and-forth strokes over each tooth. Don’t forget to gently brush the surrounding gum tissue.

Next, you will clean the biting surfaces of your teeth by using short, gentle strokes. Change the position of the brush as often as necessary to reach and clean all surfaces. Try to watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you clean each surface. After you are done, rinse vigorously to remove any plaque you might have loosened while brushing.

  • HOW TO FLOSS

Periodontal disease usually appears between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach.
Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces. However, it is important to develop the proper technique. The following instructions will help you but remember it takes time and practice.

Start with a piece of floss (waxed is easier) about 18” long. Lightly wrap most of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Wrap the rest of the floss around the middle finger of the other hand.

To clean the upper teeth, hold the floss tightly between the thumb and forefinger of each hand. Gently insert the floss tightly between the teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or try to snap it into place. Bring the floss to the gum line then curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel light resistance. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Remember there are two tooth surfaces that need to be cleaned in each space. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth. As the floss becomes soiled, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.

To clean between the bottom teeth, guide the floss using the forefingers of both hands. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.

When you are done, rinse vigorously with water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not be alarmed if during the first week of flossing your gums bleed or are a little sore. If your gums hurt while flossing you could be doing it too hard or pinching the gum. As you floss daily and remove the plaque your gums will heal and the bleeding should stop.

  • CARING FOR SENSITIVE TEETH

Sometimes after dental treatment, teeth are sensitive to hot and cold.
A warm salt water rinse can help alleviate the discomfort. This should not last long, but only if the mouth is kept clean. If the mouth is not kept clean the sensitivity will remain and could become more severe. If your teeth are especially sensitive consult with your doctor. They may recommend a medicated toothpaste or mouth rinse made especially for sensitive teeth.
  • CHOOSING ORAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS

There are so many dental care products on the market it can become confusing and choosing between all the products can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for choosing products that will work for most patients.

Automatic and “high-tech” electronic toothbrushes are safe and effective for the majority of the patients. Oral irrigators (water spraying devices) will rinse your mouth thoroughly, but will not remove plaque. You need to brush and floss in conjunction with the irrigator. We see excellent results with electric toothbrushes called Sonicare and Oral-B.

Some toothbrushes have a rubber tip on the handle, this is used to massage the gums after brushing. There are also tiny brushes (interproximal toothbrushes) that clean between your teeth. If these are used improperly you could injure the gums, so discuss proper use with the hygienist.

Fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, can reduce tooth decay as much as 40%. Remember, these rinses are not recommended for children under six years of age. Tartar control toothpaste will reduce tartar above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so these products have not been proven to reduce the early stage of gum disease.

Anti-plaque rinses, approved by the American Dental Association, contain agents that may help bring the early gum disease under control. Use these in conjunction with brushing and flossing.

  • PROFESSIONAL CLEANING

Daily brushing and flossing will keep dental calculus to a minimum, but a professional cleaning will remove calculus in places your toothbrush and floss have missed. Your visit to our office is an important part of your program to prevent gum disease. Keep your teeth for your lifetime.

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PROPHYLAXIS (TEETH CLEANING)

A dental prophylaxis is a cleaning treatment performed to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums. Prophylaxis is an important dental treatment for stopping the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Prophylaxis is an effective procedure in keeping the oral cavity in proper health and halting the progression of gum disease. The benefits include:

  • Plaque removal. Tartar (also referred to as calculus) and plaque buildup, both above and below the gum line, can result in serious periodontal problems. Unfortunately, even with a proper home brushing and flossing routine, it can be impossible to remove all debris, bacteria and deposits from gum pockets. The experienced eye of a dentist or hygienist using specialized dental equipment is necessary to catch potentially damaging buildup.
  • A healthier looking smile. Stained and yellowed teeth can dramatically decrease the aesthetics of a smile. Prophylaxis is an effective treatment in ridding the teeth of these stains.
  • Fresher breath. Bad breath (or halitosis) is generally indicative of advancing periodontal disease. A combination of rotting food particles (possibly below the gum line) and potential gangrene stemming from gum infection, results in bad breath. The routine removal of plaque, calculus, and bacteria at our facility can noticeably improve halitosis and reduce infection.

Prophylaxis can be performed at our office. We recommend that prophylaxis be performed twice annually as a preventative measure, but should be completed every 3-4 months for periodontitis sufferers. It should be noted that gum disease cannot be completely reversed, but prophylaxis is one of the tools Dr. Freeman can use to effectively halt its progression.

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DENTAL DICTIONARY

A

ABSCESS
A collection of puss. Usually forms because of infection.

ABUTMENT
A tooth or tooth structure which is responsible for the anchorage of a bridge or a denture.

AMALGAM
A silver filling material.

ANESTHETIC
An agent that causes temporary loss of sensation/feeling.

ANTERIOR
The front position.

APEX
The end of the root.

ASEPSIS
No micro-organism.

ATTRITION
Wear of teeth due to activities such as chewing.

AVULSED
An injury that causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of the mouth.

B

BITEWING
A kind of dental x-ray which is taken with the teeth biting together. The main function of this kind of x-ray is to detect cavities in between teeth and height of bone support.

BLEACHING
Whitening of teeth.

BRIDGE
A prosthesis which is permanently fixed inside the mouth to replace missing teeth.

BRUXISM
Teeth grinding.

C

CANINE
The third tooth from the middle of the jaw. There are four of them. They are the longest teeth in the human mouth.

CANKER SORE
An ulceration with yellow base and red border in mouth. It can be caused by trauma or herpes simplex virus.

CARIES
Tooth decay.

CAVITY
A hole in the tooth usually caused by decay.

CAST
A model of teeth.

CEMENTATION
The process of “gluing” the appliance/prosthesis on the associated area.

CHLORHEXIDINE
An anti-microbial agent. It is available in many forms such as gels and rinses. It is an effective agent in controlling gum diseases.

CLASP
A metal arm extended from a removable partial denture. It helps to hold onto natural tooth structure and thus provide anchorage for the partial denture.

COLD SORE
An ulcer or blister on lip. A form of herpes simplex.

COMPOSITE
Tooth colored filling.

CROSS-BITE
An abnormal bite relationship of upper and lower jaw. The lower teeth/tooth align toward the cheek/ lip side more than the upper teeth/tooth.

CROWN (PORCELAIN/PLASTIC/METAL)
A crown is almost like a “cap” on a tooth. It covers the tooth partially or totally above the gum to restore its function and outlook.

D

DECAY
A soft substance caused by the bacterial demineralization of enamel and dentin. An infection within a tooth. Must be treated.

DENTISTRY
A branch of medicine that involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of any disease concerning teeth, oral cavity, and associated structures.

DENTITION
The position, type, and number of teeth in upper and lower jaw.

DENTURE
(Immediate/complete/partial) (overdenture, temporary)
An artificial object to replace missing teeth and their neighboring structures. There are many different types of dentures to satisfy different treatment requirements and patient preferences.

DENTURIST
The person who specializes in fabricating dentures. A Denturist is not responsible for making any type of diagnosis or carrying out any other treatment (e.g. removing teeth).

DESENSITIZATION
A procedure to reduce the sensitivity of teeth.

DIAGNOSIS
The process of identifying dental disease.

DIASTEMA
The space between two adjacent teeth.

DISTAL
A direction indication in the mouth. It indicates the direction away from the middle of the jaw.

E

EDENTULOUS
No teeth.

ENDODONTICS
A department of dentistry involving diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental pulp (where the nerves and blood vessels are inside the tooth).

ERUPTION
The process of the tooth appearing in the mouth.

EXCISION
The action of cutting something off.

EXTRUDED
When a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket.

F

FILLING
A restoration bonded to a tooth to restore its function and appearance.

FLIPPER
A temporary denture to replace missing teeth during the waiting period for long term treatment.

FLOSS
A thread/tape that goes in between teeth for cleaning.

FLUORIDE
A compound of fluorine (an element) which be put in different forms such as water, gels, and rinses to strengthen teeth.

FLUORIDE TREATMENT
Teeth treatment with fluoride agents like gel or rinse. It helps to prevent tooth decay.

FRACTURE
When a cusp of a tooth becomes weakened, a fracture may result. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root and damage to the pulp is commonplace.

FRAMEWORK
A metal skeleton of a removable partial denture to support the false teeth and the plastic attachments.

G

GINGIVITIS
The mildest form of gum disease: inflammation of gum. The earliest sign is bleeding gums.

H

HEMORRHAGE
Bleeding.

HEMOSTASIS
Stop bleeding.

I

IMPACTION
A condition where a tooth is not able to come in normally or is stuck underneath another tooth or bone.

IMPLANT
A device (usually “screw-like”) put in the jaw bone to support a false tooth, a denture or a bridge.

IMPRESSION
A mold taken by some jelly-like material loaded on a tray.

INCISAL
The cutting edge of front teeth.

INCISORS
The four upper and lower front teeth.

INLAY
A restoration (usually gold, composite or ceramics) fabricated in the lab that cements on a tooth like a missing puzzle piece. It helps to restore the normal function and outlook of the tooth.

INTERPROXIMAL
The space between two adjacent teeth.

L

LINGUAL
The side of the tooth towards the tongue.

M

MESIAL
The side of the tooth towards the middle of the jaw.

MOLAR
The last three upper and lower teeth on both sides of the mouth.

MOUTHGUARD
A device to be worn in the mouth. Depending on the design of it, it prevents injury to teeth and/or jaw during teeth grinding or sports events.

N

NIGHTGUARD
A mouthguard which is worn at night time.

O

OCCLUSAL
The biting surface of the back teeth.

OCCLUSION
The way the upper and lower teeth close together.

ONLAY
A restoration covers the entire biting surface of a tooth.

OPEN BITE
The situation where the upper teeth not able to contact the opposing lower teeth.

ORTHODONTICS
A special field in dentistry which involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bite abnormalities or facial irregularities.

OVER BITE
The overlap of upper teeth and lower teeth when they close together.

OVERHANG
The portion of filling material that hangs beyond the border of the cavity.

P

PALATE
The roof of the mouth.

PANORAMIC RADIOGRAPH
An x-ray film used to obtain a wide view of the upper and lower jaw and their associated structures.

PERFORATION
An opening on a tooth or other oral structure.

PERIAPICAL
The surrounding of the bottom of the root of a tooth.

PERIODONTICS
A specialty of dentistry involves diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum (periodontal) disease.

PERMANENT TEETH
Adult teeth. The first permanent tooth usually comes in around 6 years old.

PIN
A piece of “nail-like” metal. It usually is used for better retention of a filling.

POLISH
A process to make the tooth or filling or other denture smooth and glossy.

PONTIC
The false tooth in a bridge or denture to replace the missing tooth.

POST
A big pin which can be made with different materials such as metal or carbon. Its function usually is to support a big buildup on a tooth.

POSTERIOR
Located at the back.

PRE-AUTHORIZATION
An approval from the particular authority (usually insurance company in dentistry) before any action (treatment) is carried out.

PRE-MEDICATION
Medication needing to be taken before treatment.

PREMOLAR
The two teeth located in front of the molar.

PRESCRIPTION
A written statement (from a doctor to a pharmacist) regarding the type, the amount and direction of the use of a medication for a patient. In dentistry, a prescription can also be a written statement for preparation of an appliance from a dentist to a lab technician.

PRIMARY TEETH
Baby teeth.

PROPHYLAXIS/PROPHY
The procedure of teeth polishing. It also means the prevention of diseases.

PROSTHESIS
An artificial part to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

PROSTHODONTICS
A specialty of dentistry involving diagnosis, treatment planning, and fabrication of artificial parts to replace missing teeth and their associated structures.

PULP
The innermost part of a tooth. It contains nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth.

PULPECTOMY
The removal of the whole pulp inside a tooth.

PULPOTOMY
The removal of the top part of the pulp inside a tooth.

R

RADIOGRAPH
An x-ray picture.

RECALL
The regular checkup and teeth cleaning appointment.

RECEMENTATION
The process of “gluing” the appliance/prosthesis back on the associated area.

RESTORATION
An item a dentist uses to restore the normal function of a tooth or an area in the mouth. It can be a filling, a crown, a bridge, etc.

RETAINER
A device used for maintaining the position of teeth in the jaw in orthodontic treatment.

RETREATMENT
The process of repeating a root canal treatment.

ROOT
The bottom part of the tooth. It anchors the tooth to its supporting units.

ROOT CANAL
The canal that runs inside the root of the tooth. It contains the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth.

ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Treatment for the root canal inside the tooth.

ROOT PLANING
The action of cleaning the root area of teeth.

RUBBER DAM
A rubber sheet that fits around teeth. It isolates the treatment area from the rest of the oral cavity.

S

SCALING
The action of cleaning teeth below the gumline.

SEALANT
A thin layer of plastic-like material covering the grooves and pits on a tooth to prevent cavity.

SEDATION
The use of medication to calm a patient.

SPACE MAINTAINER
An appliance to maintain the space between teeth.

SPLINT
An appliance or a material to prevent movement of a mobile part.

T

TEMPROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ)
The joint that links the two parts of the jaw.

TORUS
An outgrowth of bone. It usually develops on the roof of the mouth or around the premolar area on the lower jaw.

V

VENEER
A layer of tooth-colored material (can be porcelain, composite, or ceramics) that attaches to the front of the tooth. It is usually used to improve the appearance of the tooth.

W

WISDOM TOOTH
The eighth (also the last) tooth from the middle of the jaw.

X

XEROSTOMIA
Dry mouth.

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PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE

Most dentistry looks like dentistry. Our goal is to provide dentistry that is undetectable.
We replace existing crowns and fillings with restorations that look and feel like your natural teeth.

Where damage to a person’s teeth is extreme, and apparently beyond repair, we can use porcelain ceramic crowns to make the smile appear “as new”. This is an extremely reliable technique for repairing the most severe of dental problems, even permanently replacing missing teeth to offer a complete smile and a functional bite. We are renowned for the quality of our work and the fantastic changes we make for people using this technology. These treatments are used for a long-lasting correction of major dental problems. It is usual for these treatments to last for 20 to 30 years, which is as close to permanent as dental treatment can get.

  • HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FIT A DENTAL CROWN?

A crown procedure is done in a single visit.
Initially, we will remove decay, shape the tooth, and take a digital scan of your teeth.

We will then design your crown and our in-house milling unit will create a customized crown in less than 20 minutes. Finally, the crown is cemented into place and you have a new beautiful and functional tooth. The procedure takes about an hour and a half from start to finish.

  • KEY BENEFITS OF DENTAL CROWNS

  • Replaces missing teeth
  • Offers support to misshapen teeth or badly broken teeth
  • Looks completely natural
  • Fixes “smile” and functional chewing problems
  • WHAT ARE THE CAPABILITIES OF CROWNS?

Crown and bridgework is a very reliable solution for major dental problems caused by accidents, diseases or wear and tear.
Major problems can usually be corrected using these techniques. The material used in these repairs is either high-grade porcelain or porcelain bonded to gold. A higher strength of the porcelain and gold materials is recommended to treat the most serious of dental problems. Where accidental damage has occurred, resulting in lost teeth, or where teeth have broken away through excessive wear, or as the result of old fillings breaking, crowns and/or bridges can be used as a long-term solution.

Many people have unexplained pain from filled back teeth, which is usually due to hairline cracks in the chewing part of the tooth. Placing crowns on these teeth relieves the pain and allows a return of full dental function for these teeth. In front teeth, older fillings can both weaken the teeth and cause “appearance” problems due to staining or chipping. Porcelain crowns and bridges are suitable in cases where porcelain veneers are not. In teeth with root canal fillings, crowns can prevent breakage.

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ARESTIN

Periodontal disease is a serious infection under your gum line. Periodontal disease is a serious infection under your gum line.

ARESTIN® (minocycline hydrochloride) is an antibiotic that kills the bacteria that causes the infection.

It’s placed directly in the infected areas—or “pockets”—in your gums.
It’s applied right after scaling and root planning, the dental procedure that disrupts stubborn plaque and bacteria below your gum line—where brushing and flossing can’t reach.
ARESTIN® starts working quickly, right at the source of infection and keeps fighting bacteria long after you leave the dental office. 1,2

ARESTIN® fights infection and inflammation for 30 days,2 and provides significantly better results than scaling and root planning alone for up to 90 days.3

1. Oringer RJ, Al-Shammari KF, Aldredge WA, et al. Effect of locally administered minocycline microspheres on markers of bone resorption. J Periodontol 2002;73:835-842.
2. Goodson JM, Gunsollwy JC, Grossi SG, et al. Minocycline HCl microspheres reduce red-complex bacteria in periodontal disease therapy. J Periodontol 2007;78(8):1568-1579.
3. Williams RC, Paquette DW, Offenbacher S, et al. Treatment of periodontitis by local administration of minocycline microspheres: a controlled trial. J Periodontol 2001;72:1535-1544.

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DENTAL SPECIALTIES

  • WHAT IS AN ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON (OMS)?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists that specialize in surgery of the mouth, face, and jaws.
After four years of dental school, surgeons receive four to seven years of hospital-based surgical and medical training, preparing them to do a wide range of procedures including all types of surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth, and neck.
  • WHAT IS A PERIODONTIST?

Periodontists are dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease.
They have had extensive training with two additional years of study after dental school. As specialists, they devote their time, energy and skill to helping patients care for their gums. A periodontist is one of the eight dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association.
  • WHY IS YOUR DENTIST REFERRING YOU TO A PERIODONTIST?

Your dentist has determined that your gums require special attention.
The periodontist and dentist work together as a team to provide you with the highest level of care. They will combine their experience to recommend the best treatment available to you while keeping each other informed on your progress. By referring you to the specialist, your dentist is showing a strong commitment to your dental health.
  • WHAT IS AN ENDODONTIST?

The Endodontist examines, diagnoses and treats diseases and destructive processes, including injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth.

Endodontists examine patients and interpret radiographs and pulp tests to determine pulp vitality and periapical tissue condition. They evaluate their findings and prescribe a method of treatment, usually a root canal, to prevent loss of teeth.

  • WHAT IS A PROSTHODONTIST?

The prosthodontist examines and diagnoses disabilities caused by loss of teeth and supporting structures.
They formulate and execute treatment plans for the construction of corrective prostheses to restore proper function and esthetics of the mouth, face, and jaw.
  • WHAT IS A PEDIATRIC DENTIST?

A pediatric dentist has at least two additional years of training beyond dental school.
The additional training focuses on management and treatment of a child’s developing teeth, child behavior, physical growth and development, and the special needs of children’s dentistry. Although either type of dentist is capable of addressing your child’s oral health care needs, a pediatric dentist, his or her staff, and even the office décor are all geared to care for children and to put them at ease. If your child has special needs, care from a pediatric dentist should be considered.
  • WHAT IS AN ORTHODONTIST?

An orthodontist prevents and treats mouth, teeth, and jaw problems.
Using braces, retainers, and other devices, an orthodontist helps straighten a person’s teeth and correct the way the jaws line up.

Orthodontists treat people for many problems, including having crowded or overlapping teeth or having problems with jaw growth and tooth development. These tooth and jaw problems may be caused by tooth decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking. These problems can also be genetic or inherited.

  • WHY IS YOUR DENTIST REFERRING YOU TO AN ORTHODONTIST?

Your dentist might recommend an Orthodontist because they see a problem with your teeth or jaws.

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