What Are Sealants? When and How Do They Protect My Teeth?

Dental sealants are just one tool that dentists use to protect teeth against decay and damage. While they are not for everyone, dental sealants can play an important part in maintaining the health of your teeth and getting the most out of daily dental hygiene activities like brushing and flossing.

Sealants are a thin, protective coating that is typically applied to the back molars. It’s an easy process, with the sealant painted directly onto the tooth enamel and then allowed to dry. Sometimes the drying process uses a curing light. Once they’re in place, sealants blend in with the surrounding tooth and will likely not be visible to anyone else.

The general idea of a dental sealant is that it seals off all the grooves and impressions in the targeted teeth that are generally very difficult to reach by traditional flossing and brushing. Sealants eliminate the possibility of food and other particles becoming trapped in those difficult-to-reach places and going on to form cavities or cause decay.

While they are not a permanent fixture, sealants can last a considerable amount of time. They will remain in place for up to ten years if properly maintained. Their effectiveness does wane with time, and they offer the most protection in the first two to four years after placement.

Who Can Get Sealants?

Traditionally, sealants are placed on healthy teeth that have no cavities or decay. This means they’re most often used on children, although adults who have healthy teeth with no presence of tooth decay or cavities would also be eligible for sealants.

Sealants can be particularly helpful for kids. Nearly 30% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 will develop a cavity. Sealants can help prevent that from occurring.

Even though sealants have most often been used for children and many adults would have been rendered ineligible due to existing decay, dental technology has made incredible advancements in recent years. Using the Waterlase™ technique, more adults may now be eligible for sealants. The precision offered with Waterlase™ allows your dentist to remove debris and properly sanitize the tooth, making sealants possible!

If you are ineligible for dental sealants, remember that they are only one option of many when it comes to protecting your teeth.

Discuss With Your Dentist

The best way to determine whether sealants are right for you is to speak with your dentist. Sealants can be an incredibly useful aid in dental hygiene when used alongside proper brushing and flossing practices. Even if you are not personally a candidate for sealants, speak with your child’s dentist about the possibility of using sealants on their teeth.

When it comes to your teeth, the importance of preventative care can’t be overstated. Any added protection against cavities and tooth decay will work to the benefit of your teeth and overall dental health.

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Dental Strategies to Treat Sleep Apnea

Do you or someone you love have sleep apnea? If you do, then you know just how difficult it can be for them to get a good night’s sleep. Of course, it is also often hard for others in the house to sleep well because of the snoring. Those who are often tired and aren’t certain why might find that sleep apnea is the culprit. Fortunately, there are various ways to help treat this type of condition today. Some of those ways to potentially help with sleep apnea are dental strategies, which we will discuss below.

Use of Oral Appliances

One of the first options to consider with your dentist will be oral appliances. Using certain types of appliances can often help with sleep apnea problems. Some of the most common types of appliances used for this purpose include mandibular advancement devices and mouthpieces that retain the tongue.

The MADs are custom-made for each person. They look very similar to a mouthguard that would normally be used for sports. The mouthpieces work simply, but they are quite effective. They will help to ensure the lower jaw and tongue are in a position that allows the airway to remain open. This is helpful since a lot of the problems with sleep apnea are due to the position of the tongue and lower jaw.

The tongue-retaining mouthpiece is another appliance that could work. It helps to ensure the tongue is kept in the correct position and that it doesn’t fall into the airway when sleeping. It should also help to prevent you from grinding your teeth.

Orthodontics Treatment

Many people who have sleep apnea suffer from the problem because they have smaller lower jaws. The smaller jaw could allow the tongue to slip into the airway. This will cause an obstruction and cause the person to snore. Typically, dentists are going to want to take care of this type of problem as early as possible. If it is not fixed at an early age, patients tend to see their mild symptoms get worse over time. This can cause them to develop sleep apnea when they get older.

Frenectomy

When someone has a “tongue tie”, it means that their tongue has a restricted range of motion. The symptoms can vary, but in some cases, they are severe. A lot of people don’t realize they have a tongue tie until it starts to affect other aspects of their life, including sleeping. Having a frenectomy conducted by a dental professional can help to reverse this problem. It is a relatively simple procedure.

Myofunctional Therapy

Those who have trouble swallowing, speaking, and breathing will often have sleep apnea. These are exercises that help to retrain the muscles in the tongue and face, so they can make breathing through the nose easier while sleeping. This therapy has the potential to be a huge benefit to those who suffer from sleep apnea, but it will take some time to work. You also need to be sure you are performing the exercises correctly.

Sleep apnea is no fun. It can cause serious problems with a person’s health over time, and it is not something that should be ignored.

Anyone who suffers from sleep apnea should look for a solution that will help them (and those around them) get to sleep at night. Take some time to speak with your dentist about the options available, so you can find a solution that helps. Get in touch with Foutz Family Dentistry today to talk about your sleep apnea case and to find the right strategies to use.

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How Can Retainer/Mouthguard Therapy Help Me Even If I’m Not Straightening My Teeth?

Retainers and mouthguard therapy are often used to help straighten teeth, but they have several other potential benefits, which we will look at below. Even if you don’t need to straighten your teeth, you might still want to consider this option to help in other areas of your life.

Help with Teeth Grinding

Are you someone who clenches and grinds their teeth at night? This is called bruxism, and it is unfortunately common. Over time, it can lead to some serious issues with your teeth. For example, you might find that your teeth start to hurt or that they crack and break. You might begin waking up with headaches, a sore jaw, or general pain in your face. Many people also find that they don’t get good sleep, which can lead to fatigue throughout the day.

Bruxism is a problem for a large number of people. Fortunately, there are some solutions that could work, and retainer or mouthguard therapy is one of the best. You can find a range of mouthguards on the market today that could help.

Most people grind their teeth at night occasionally. As long as it is not a chronic problem, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue, and it can be treated. However, there are also those who have chronic bruxism, which could eventually lead to loss of tooth enamel, broken teeth, and lost teeth.

What are the causes of bruxism? Unfortunately, the cause is not entirely known or understood, but there are some theories. Many believe that it could be due to stress and anxiety. There could be other factors that are causing problems, too, including caffeine, smoking, and having an abnormal bite, for example. Regardless of the cause, it may be worth considering mouthguard therapy as a solution. You might be able to ensure your teeth stay a little bit safer.

Help with Sleep Apnea

However, mouthguard therapy can help with more than just teeth grinding. One of the other ways mouthguard therapy is commonly used is to help with sleep apnea. With the right type of appliance, it is possible to ensure the tongue doesn’t fall back into the throat and create an obstruction. Some of the appliances can also help to move the position of the lower jaw slightly. Again, this should help to prevent sleep apnea.

Many of the same issues associated with teeth grinding cause sleep apnea. It can also be caused by being overweight. Regardless, you don’t want to deal with the fallout of sleep apnea, as it can cause some serious health problems. Some of those health problems include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and early death.

As you can see, there are quite a few dangers when it comes to sleep apnea. If you or a loved one has this condition, you will want to get it checked out and dealt with sooner rather than later. Sometimes, something as simple as using a high-quality mouthguard could help.

Get in Touch with a Dentist?

Are you concerned about the state of your teeth because of grinding your teeth? Are you worried about snoring? As you have seen, mouthguard therapy has the potential to help. Make sure you are working with a great dentist, such as the professionals at Foutz Family Dentistry. They can help you get a better understanding of what this type of retainer or mouthguard therapy could do for you, and they may have some other suggestions to help get your oral health in tip-top shape.

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How Do I Know What Kind of Floss I Should Use?

Those who want to have excellent dental health need to make sure regular flossing is part of their routine, along with brushing and visiting the dentist for checkups. While it might initially seem that all floss is the same, that’s not the case at all. There are many different options when it comes to dental floss, and you will want to be sure you are choosing the right one.

Benefits of Flossing

Flossing serves as preventative dental care, and it helps to reduce not just food in the teeth but also bacteria. It can get to places in your mouth that regular brushing just can’t reach. When you floss, you will also be able to prevent tartar build-up on the teeth. Plaque tends to accumulate quickly, and when it isn’t removed, it could harden and become tartar. When you floss each day, it helps remove the plaque from your teeth.

One of the other reasons you will want to floss regularly is because it can help to prevent bad breath. The food and bacteria can start to create a terrible odor, and flossing helps to remove this. Of course, flossing along with brushing will help you have better overall dental health, and it could prevent gum disease.

Types of Floss

You need to be sure you are using the right type of floss for your mouth and needs, of course. When you have the right floss, it can make a difference in how well it works. Let’s get a closer look at some of the options.

Waxed Floss

This is one of the most common options and the style that most people typically think about when it comes to flossing. This will work nicely for those who have teeth that are sitting tightly near one another. It is typically made from nylon, and it has a thin wax layer coating that helps it slide between your teeth easily.

You can often find the waxed floss in different flavors, such as mint or cinnamon, which can help to freshen your breath. You can find unwaxed floss, too, but this isn’t as strong and will snap easier.

Dental Tape

Another option to consider is dental tape. It is a good choice for those who have more space between their teeth. The tape is wider than normal floss. You can find this option either waxed or unwaxed. Again, the waxed tends to be stronger. This type of floss is often used for those who have dental appliances and dental work done, including things like crowns and bridges.

Floss Picks

Floss picks are another option that a lot of people like. They are especially useful for those who are on the move a lot. They are handy, and they can help you reach into some areas that might otherwise be difficult. However, you should use these only on occasion according to most experts because the same small piece of floss is used for the entire mouth. They can work in a pinch though, and when you don’t have access to standard waxed or unwaxed floss. Some people might like these floss picks if they have trouble holding and using traditional floss. You might want to choose the picks for when you are at work.

Find Your Floss

Of course, if you still aren’t sure which type of floss might be a good solution for you, consider talking with a dentist. The experts at Foutz Family Dentistry can help you find the best floss. Get into the habit of brushing and flossing regularly and it will improve your dental health.

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When Does My Dentist Need a 3D X-Ray?

Maybe your dentist has scheduled you for a 3D x-ray, now or in the future. You might be wondering what it’s used for or why. 3D x-rays (also known as miniature cat scans) are great diagnostic tools that can help dentists find out much more about your mouth than the typical dental x-ray. Keep reading to find out more!

What are 3D X-Rays?

As with most 3D imaging in medicine, 3D x-rays are used in dentistry because they provide much more detailed insights. Using a collection of photos or snapshots from your mouth, a machine that is capable of 3D imaging can put these images together to create a three-dimensional model of your mouth.

3D imaging gives dentists a much clearer understanding of your mouth, so they can better diagnose or make treatment plans for you based on your unique jaw and teeth. With the 3D composite, your dentist can zoom into one tiny area to get a very detailed look or zoom outward to understand the full picture of your mouth.

The Many Benefits of 3D X-Rays

Due to 3D x-rays providing much better and more holistic insight into someone’s dental health, they can be used to much greater effect with patients. There are multiple ways in which a 3D x-ray can be used in dentistry.

For one, if you have TMJ, a dentist may perform a 3D x-ray to better understand how your jaw and teeth fit together and create a treatment plan that is personalized just for you. If getting dental implants, 3D x-rays can help an oral surgeon understand where exactly the best place is to put the implants in your unique smile.

In the case of a root canal, performing a 3D x-ray can help your dentist better perform your procedure. Sometimes, orthodontists will use 3D x-rays to understand where your teeth currently sit and decide on where you want them to be adjusted.

In a broader sense, 3D x-rays provide a much better experience for the patient. While on a traditional 2D x-ray, the image can be blurry and hard to explain to an untrained eye, three-dimensional x-rays provide clear and crisp images that any patient will understand. These easy-to-understand x-rays open the line of communication between patient and provider, so you can work together to create a treatment plan.

Apart from being easier to understand from a patient’s perspective, 3D x-rays can also offer a much more detailed look into a patients mouth, therefore allowing for more targeted care. during a traditional x-ray, certain bites will be off, or images will come out blurry, and you may need multiple retakes.

Another great feature of the 3D x-ray is that the need for retakes is dramatically reduced. Since these x-rays are able to produce a panoramic view of your mouth with just one image, the need for retakes is uncommon, resulting in less time spent in the chair for the patient. In general, the process of a 3D x-ray is quicker than a traditional 2D x-ray and will be more comfortable for the patient.

In Conclusion

3D x-rays are an amazing advancement in dentistry. They are quick, efficient, detailed, and interesting. Patients will enjoy how easy they are to understand. Dental professionals benefit from the many insights they can gain in just one short 3D imaging of your mouth. 3D x-rays do not hurt or cause discomfort and are typically quicker than traditional dental x-rays. Due to their accuracy, 3D x-rays are much less likely to result in retakes needed. Keep smiling!

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Ezbond A. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
1st Generation:

Great Grandfather

Dr. Ezbond A. Foutz
Harold B. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
2nd Generation:

Grandfather

Dr. Harold B. Foutz
Lawrence C. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
3rd Generation:

Father

Dr. Lawrence C. Foutz
Barton H. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
4th Generation:

Family and Cosmetic Dentist

Dr. Barton H. Foutz