Dental Education


Oral Hygiene

How to Brush – If you have any pain while brushing your teeth, or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to call our dentist office. Drs. Cook and Lere recommend using a soft bristle tooth brush. 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. Our office also recommends the Oral-B Triumph electric toothbrush.

When you are finished 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 finished, 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 in to place. Bring the floss to the gumline 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 forefinger of both hands. Do not forget the back side of the last tooth on both sides, upper and lower.

When you finish flossing your teeth, 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.

Periodontal Disease

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected by gum disease at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is daily tooth brushing and flossing, using the proper techniques.

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

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, which gradually destroys the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.

Periodontal disease can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is caused primarily by the bacteria found in dental plaque. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus or tartar.

Because the disease is moderated by bacteria and their toxins, a special bacterial DNA test may be performed to target and reduce the specific bacterial strains that are causing the infection.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets or spaces to form. As periodontal disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that
holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people can still develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

Periodontal (Gum) Therapy

Periodontal disease is very common among adults and many have some form that destroys the tissues that support the teeth. Periodontal disease ranges from simple gum inflammation to serious forms of the disease that result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. At Austin City Dental, our periodontal therapy is performed by periodentists who are skilled in preventing, diagnosing, and treating periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants.

Non-surgical periodontal therapy removes plaque and calculus by controlling the growth of bacteria and by treating conditions that encourage gum disease. This type of dental procedure may be all that’s needed, especially when periodontal disease is caught early. You may also need to have certain procedures taken care of before periodontal therapy can begin, such as replacing worn fillings that can accumulate plaque.

One of the most effective ways to treat gum disease is periodontal scaling and root planning. Periodental scaling is a type of cleaning that removes plaque and calculus from the teeth at and slightly below the gum line. “Root planning” smoothes the root surface, so the supportive tissue can better re-attach to the tooth surface. For this procedure, a local anesthetic may be utilized. Also, because bacteria cause periodontal disease, our periodentist may prescribe, which may be in pill form or a powder that is applied directly to the infected area. We may also prescribe an antibacterial mouth rinse to help control bacterial levels and improve healing. If conventional therapy is not successful, you may be a candidate for a more advanced dental procedure and possibly referral to a periodontal specialist.

Sleep Apnea and Sleep Dentistry

Sedation Dentistry, or Sleep Dentistry, is a common technique used to quell patient fears. The technique is easy and requires no needles. Best of all, the medications create such a comfortable experience that most patients do not remember the visit; and some even sleep through the treatment! While sedation dentistry has occasionally been called “sleep dentistry”, it is not something that is promised. While some fall asleep, many don’t. In reality, oral sedation dentistry maintains a level of consciousness in the patient for safety and cooperation, but relaxes them and makes it unlikely that they will remember much about their treatment.

We also offer other levels of sedation such as nitrous oxide. More commonly referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mild form of sedation dentistry that offers a state of relaxation to the patient. A stronger form of conscious sedation dentistry is IV sedation dentistry. In this method the patient receives the sedatives through an IV, and the effects are stronger than that of oral conscious sedation. The chance for sleep increases (but still is not guaranteed), while the dental anxiety levels rapidly decrease.