My Blog

Posts for: April, 2012

By Dr. David A. Slaughter
April 16, 2012
Category: Mouth Care
Tags: Mouthguard  

If your child is active in sports, then you know that losing isn't the worst thing that can happen to a young athlete- sustaining a serious injury is.  That’s why anyone who participates in recreational activities carries a significant risk of injury and should always wear appropriate protective gear—and that includes wearing a mouthguard. 

Every year, thousands of kids sustain some type of oral injury, such as a knocked out tooth or damaged jaw while participating in recreational sports or competitions.  According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain an injury to the teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard! That means that the majority of dental injuries caused by sports can easily be prevented with proper protection.

Mouthguards are made of soft plastic and fit over the teeth. They are designed to prevent damage where sports injuries are most prevalent and can cushion a blow to the face, minimizing impact that otherwise could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the soft tissues in the mouth.  For kids with braces, a mouthguard helps shield the cheeks, gums and lips from getting cut by wires and brackets.

But smiles aren’t the only things a protective mouthpiece can save. Mouthguards also play a pivotal role in reducing the rate and severity of concussions, as a large percentage are caused by impact to the jaws rather than a blow to the skull.

Choosing the Right Mouthguard

To receive optimal protection, your child’s mouthguard should be customized for their specific sport. It should be durable, comfortable and fit securely on the athlete’s teeth during practice and competition.

There are three different types of mouthguards to choose from:

1.       Preformed, store bought mouthguards are ready-to-wear

2.       “Boil-and-bite, ”store bought mouthguards are molded to the teeth

3.       Custom-made and fitted mouthguards are designed by your Austin dentist to perfectly fit an individual’s smile.

At David A. Slaughter, DDS, we can custom-fit mouthguards for patients of every age to prevent injuries to the teeth, lips, tongue, face or jaw. Our custom-fit mouthguards are durable and specifically designed for each patient's unique smile. A custom-made mouthguard is designed to cover all the teeth and is the best type of mouthpiece available. And since comfort is key, we make sure the mouthguard stays in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy to talk and breathe while offering the best fit, protection and comfort for their smile. 

Remember, mouthguards aren’t only for kids and professional athletes—they’re for everyone, young or old and every skill level alike. It’s a small investment, but it offers peace of mind and can save your smile. Make an appointment for you or your young athlete today.

By Dr. David A. Slaughter
April 02, 2012
Category: Mouth Care
Tags: Tooth Sensitivity  

Sensitive ToothAt one time or another, you’ve probably experienced a sharp, sudden tooth pain.  This is known as tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, and is one of the most common complaints among dental patients.  Are your sensitive teeth simply an annoyance, or could it be a sign of something more serious?

Before we examine the causes of tooth sensitivity, let’s first understand the structure of a tooth.  The outermost layer of a tooth is called the enamel, a protective covering that envelopes the inner tooth surface known as the dentin. Beneath the dentin and in the center of the tooth are living tissues; this is known as the pulp.  The pulp contains sensitive nerves, which are connected to the dentin.  When dentin is exposed, the nerves are easily stimulated which results in discomfort and pain. 

People with sensitive teeth generally experience discomfort when a hot, cold, sweet or sour food or beverage comes into contact with the exposed dentin and irritates the nerves. The sensation can range from slight irritation to excruciating pain.

One or combinations of the following are common causes of tooth sensitivity.

  • Overly abrasive toothpaste
  • Receding gums
  • Brushing too vigorously or using a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • Cracked teeth
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Tooth decay
  • Enamel wear caused by acidic foods or drinks, such as soda
  • Eating disorders
  • Root nerve damage
  • Teeth whitening products
  • Dental procedures such as cleanings, crowns or root canals

Not all occasional tooth sensitivity warrants a trip to the dentist, but when tooth sensitivity persists, talk to David A. Slaughter, DDS. A more serious issue, such as gum disease, that requires professional treatment may be causing your discomfort.  Your Austin dentist will assess the severity of your tooth sensitivity, determine the cause of your pain and recommend the best course of treatment to relieve your discomfort.