How to Choose the Right Toothbrush

Choosing the right toothbrush can feel like a frustrating task with all the options available. From bristle types to handle designs, there's a lot to consider. Dr. Sonal Desai at North Richland Hills Dentistry in North Richland Hills, TX, is here to help you make the best choice for your oral health.

Understanding Toothbrush Bristles

First things first, let's talk bristles. Toothbrushes generally come with soft, medium, or hard bristles. But here's the kicker—most dental professionals, including Dr. Desai, recommend soft bristles. Why? They effectively clean your teeth without being too abrasive on your gums and enamel. Medium and hard bristles might seem like they do a better job, but they can actually cause damage if you're not careful.

Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes

Next up, manual or electric? It's a personal preference, really. Manual toothbrushes are perfectly fine if you use the correct technique and brush for the recommended two minutes. Electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, can be more effective for some people. They do a lot of the work for you and often come with timers to ensure you're brushing long enough. Dr. Desai often suggests electric toothbrushes for those who struggle with manual brushing due to arthritis or other dexterity issues, but they can be helpful for anyone!

Handle and Head Size

Don't overlook the importance of the handle and head size. The handle should be comfortable to hold, giving you a good grip. The toothbrush head should be small enough to reach all areas of your mouth, especially the back teeth. A compact head can make a big difference in how thoroughly you can clean.

ADA Seal of Approval

Whatever toothbrush you choose, make sure it has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. This seal means the toothbrush has been tested for safety and effectiveness. It's a quick way to ensure you're getting a quality product.

Replace Regularly

Lastly, remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn-out toothbrush won't clean your teeth properly and can harbor bacteria.

Customized Dental Advice From North Richland Hills Dentistry

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, Dr. Sonal Desai and her team are dedicated to helping you maintain excellent oral health. If you have any questions about choosing the right toothbrush or need personalized recommendations, don't hesitate to reach out. Your oral health is our top priority, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

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How to Maintain a Healthy Smile for a Lifetime: Tips for All Ages

Teeth were meant to last a lifetime. Whether you have a youngster with newly erupted teeth or you’re a senior enjoying your golden years, taking care of your oral health is essential for maintaining that confident grin. Here are five tips to ensure a lifelong healthy smile:

1. Start Early & Stay Consistent

Instilling good oral hygiene habits from childhood is crucial. If you have a child, begin brushing your child's teeth as soon as they emerge, and teach them to do so properly as they grow.

As an adult, maintain consistency in your oral care routine by brushing twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash to prevent plaque buildup and gum disease!

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

What you eat plays a significant role in your oral health. Limit sugary snacks and beverages that can lead to cavities and erosion. Opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy. Foods like crunchy apples and carrots can even help clean teeth
naturally.

3. Regular Dental Check-Ups

Regular dental visits are vital for preventive care. Schedule check-ups every six months to allow Dr. Desai to catch issues early and perform professional cleanings. This proactive approach helps prevent potential problems from escalating.

4. Customized Care for Different Life Stages

As you age, your oral health needs change. Children might require fluoride treatments and sealants, while adults might consider orthodontic treatments like Invisalign, and seniors may need to focus on gum health. At North Richland Hills Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, we offer
care for smiles of all ages, including pediatric dentistry!

5. Protect Your Teeth

Engaging in sports or physical activities? Wear a mouthguard to safeguard your teeth against impacts. If you grind your teeth at night, consider a nightguard to prevent wear and tear. A custom nightguard or mouthguard can prevent the need for uncomfortable symptoms and
costly treatments.

Comprehensive Dental Care in North Richland Hills, Texas

Maintaining a healthy smile for a lifetime involves daily care. However, a healthy smile can boost your self-confidence, support overall health, and enhance your quality of life. By following these tips and scheduling appointments with our team, you can enjoy a healthy smile for
years!

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Emergency Dental Services Offered By Our Dentist in North Richland Hills, TX

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we offer emergency dental services that can treat a wide variety of dental issues and complications. Before you call our office, we recommend looking over the following questions and checking out our emergency page to get a better sense of what constitutes a dental emergency. If any of the following situations match what you are experiencing, please get in touch with our office right away!

Are You in a Great Amount of Pain?

If you are experiencing a mild or moderate amount of tooth or mouth pain that can be controlled by home remedies, we recommend making an appointment with our team for a convenient time at a later date so we can diagnose and treat the problem. In the meantime, you can try holding a cold compress to your cheek, taking pain medication, or chewing on a clove of garlic to help reduce your toothache. However, if the pain ever becomes unbearable, you should call our office to make an appointment with our team right away.

Are You Experiencing Uncontrollable Bleeding?

If you have suffered an injury that has caused your gums or the inside of your mouth to begin bleeding, we recommend mixing half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm (not hot) water and using it to rinse out your mouth. Then, if you can locate the source of the bleeding, hold a piece of gauze or clean cloth over the injury gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Resist the urge to check if the bleeding has stopped before the time is up, and if the bleeding persists, please call our office right away.

Has a Tooth or Dental Restoration Come Loose?

Any time an adult tooth is knocked out, it is considered a dental emergency that requires immediate attention. The faster you can put the tooth in a cup of milk and head to our office, the higher the chances that we will be able to reattach the tooth. If a crown or other dental restoration comes off, it’s not as urgent, but it is considered a dental emergency because if the exposed tooth is left unprotected for too long, it could lead to tooth decay or a serious infection.

Does Something Just Not Feel Right?

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you are on the fence about whether you need to make an emergency dental appointment or not, feel free to call our office for advice. Our team can help you decide what to do next, whether you can treat your symptoms at home or whether we think you should come in right away. Call our office at 817-656-2945, and someone in our front office will be in touch with you shortly!

Contact us for all of your oral health needs!

The Pros & Cons of Chewing Gum

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we have mixed opinions on chewing gum. On the one hand, it can be a great quick fix to freshen breath and clean teeth. On the other hand, it can lead to tooth decay and excess wear on your teeth. Today, we want to take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to chewing gum and your oral health.

The Good: Freshen Breath & Fight Cavities

When you chew gum, it stimulates saliva production in your mouth. Saliva can not only wash away leftover food residue on teeth before bacteria have a chance to feed on it and produce acid -- it also contains an enzyme that can fight off the number of bacteria in the mouth. When fewer bacteria are present, your breath smells fresher!

If you’re looking for benefits of chewing gum, reach for a pack of sugar-free gum sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener that can neutralize the pH of your mouth and keep acid from wearing away on teeth and causing cavities.

The Bad: Chewing Gum May Loosen Dental Work

For folks with retainers, oral appliances, or dental work like fillings and crowns, chewing gum can create more problems. It can loosen fillings, crowns, and bridges or limit their longevity. If you have had dental work done, consult with our office if you are unsure whether you can chew gum.

The Ugly: Chewing Gum Can Lead to Tooth Decay

If you chew gum that contains sugar, you may be unknowingly contributing to the growth of cavities in your mouth. Bacteria feed on sugar to produce acid, so chewing gum with sugar may result in more bacteria and acid in your mouth. Without proper care, this can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

While chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to clean teeth and freshen breath, chewing gum that contains sugar can actually damage teeth. If you do decide to chew gum, choose wisely! To ask our team any questions about chewing gum or to schedule your next appointment, contact our office today!

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Is Chocolate Bad for My Teeth?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means that you can expect to eat (or at least be tempted by) lots of chocolate over the course of the next few weeks! But if you’re trying to maintain a strong, healthy smile, will an uptick in chocolate consumption harm your efforts? We’ll share the truth behind chocolate’s effect on your teeth, and ways you can keep your smile sparkling this Valentine’s Day season.

Is Chocolate the Problem?

You’ve probably heard that chocolate and other candy can “rot” your teeth, but this isn’t entirely true. Yes, eating too much candy can harm your teeth and cause cavities in the long run, but it’s because of its high sugar content above all else. When sugar sits on your teeth for too long, it attracts plaque and bacteria that secrete acid when they snack on the sugar. This acid in turn corrodes your teeth, making it easier to develop cavities and decay. If left untreated, you can lose your teeth down the line.

How to Curb the Effects of Sugar

The number one way to avoid sugar damage to your teeth is to avoid eating sugar entirely. It’s understandably hard to do this time of year, so if you must indulge in a little chocolate here and there, you should opt for dark chocolate or even sugar free options (like chocolates sweetened with stevia or coconut sugar).

Another way to protect your teeth is to make sure that you thoroughly brush and floss your teeth after eating sugary foods. That way plaque and bacteria won’t have much time to develop on your teeth and won’t have much to consume if there is no sugar sitting on your teeth to begin with.

Other Foods to Avoid

Aside from sugary chocolate and candy, other foods you should generally avoid in order to protect your teeth are foods that are high in acid like certain fruits (including dried fruit, which is loaded with sugar), coffee and soda, and alcohol.

Foods to Eat Instead

Want something healthy that feels indulgent this Valentine’s Day? Try dipping strawberries (which are full of malic acid that can whiten teeth) in dark chocolate for a guilt-free snack. Other foods to eat year-round are fresh fruit, nuts, cheese and dairy products, dark leafy greens, and crunchy vegetables. All of these foods contain fiber and vitamins and minerals that support strong teeth!

Show love to your teeth this Valentine’s Day by opting for less sugary snacks. If you’re in need for a dental checkup this year, pay us a visit at North Richland Hills Dentistry. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

What Is Phantom Tooth Pain?

Phantom tooth pain—also variously known by the technical names "atypical facial pain," "atypical odontalgia," and "neuropathic orofacial pain," is one of the most mysterious conditions in the field of oral health. Chronic pain in a tooth or teeth is the defining characteristic. However, unlike the typical toothache, there is no evidence of decay, periodontal disease, injury, or other identifiable cause.

Symptoms

Constant throbbing or aching in a tooth, teeth, or extraction site that is persistent and unremitting is how phantom tooth pain is usually described. In addition, hot or cold sensations do not significantly affect the pain, and even local anesthetic often cannot relieve it. The intensity ranges from mild to severe.

What Causes It & Who Is Most Likely to Get It?

It is theorized that phantom tooth pain is caused by changes in parts of the brain that process pain signals, causing a persistent sensation of pain even when an identifiable source of pain does not exist. Why this happens, however, is not known. Genetics, age, and gender seem to play a role, with women and those older than middle-age being the most affected.

How Is It Diagnosed & Treated?

If a review of the patient's history, a thorough clinical examination, and radiographic assessment cannot identify the source of pain, a diagnosis of phantom tooth pain is often made. Various medications have been used in an attempt to treat it, with tricyclic antidepressants being the most common. Generally, treatment is successful in reducing the pain but not eliminating it completely.

If you have any symptoms of phantom tooth pain, be sure to contact us at North Richland Hills Dentistry right away so Dr. Desai can evaluate your specific situation and help you determine the best course of action.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

How to Prepare for a Dental Emergency

Emergencies happen when you least expect them—that’s why they’re emergencies! It’s important, however, to be mindful that bad things do happen. We know how we can ready ourselves when bad weather, a sudden disaster, or a medical emergency strike, but would you know what to do if you found yourself having a dental emergency? Here’s how you can prepare for one.

Recognizing a Dental Emergency

A dental emergency isn’t always obvious. While chipping or knocking out a tooth would definitely constitute a dental emergency, you can also consider excessive bleeding, swelling, or pain as a dental emergency, whether it occurs in relation to a recent dental procedure or not. When in doubt, consider it an emergency!

Preparing for a Dental Emergency

One thing that you should absolutely have on hand before you find yourself in an emergency is to have your dentist’s contact information handy, and to be sure that your dentist can accommodate emergency visits (or can recommend someone who does ahead of time).

In the event of a knocked out tooth, try to put the tooth in a glass of milk before you head over to your dentist. If they can see you within the hour, they may be able to reattach it!

If you are having excessive pain and swelling, grab some ice and place it on your cheeks in ten-minute increments. This will help numb the area and even reduce puffiness.

How to Prevent a Dental Emergency

It’s not always easy to prevent a dental emergency, but there are a few ways that you can avoid having one in the future. First, always practice good oral hygiene habits and brush and floss your teeth twice a day. This will greatly reduce your chances of developing painful tooth decay, which can cause bleeding and swelling. Moreover, having a clean bill of oral health means you probably won’t require any dental procedures in the future, so you won’t have the chance of developing any potential complications like excessive swelling from them. if you play contact sports, it’s important that you always wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from being chipped or knocked out.

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we offer convenient scheduling and see emergencies promptly. Contact us at 817-656-2945 if you experience a dental emergency or contact us below to schedule your next treatment at our practice!
Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

How Can I Reduce Waste While Caring for My Smile?

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we believe in reducing waste whenever possible. Often, our patients are surprised to learn just how damaging to the environment oral healthcare can be. With the health of our planet in mind, we’ve put together the following tips on how to you can care for the planet while also caring for your pearly whites.

Conserve Water

Did you know that letting the tap run while brushing your teeth can waste up to 200 gallons of water each month? There’s no need to let that precious water run while you’re brushing your teeth, so turn the tap off until you’re ready to rinse. If you have kids, make sure they learn to turn off the faucet, too. Your water bill and the planet will thank you!

Use Natural Materials

At your local natural store, you’re bound to find toothbrushes made from bamboo, toothpaste made from mint, and other products designed with the environment and your health in mind. For example, instead of using floss made from nylon that is not biodegradable, choose silk floss that can be composted. You’ll avoid using plastic and chemicals while getting the same quality of oral care.

Recycle

If you’re not ready to take the plunge to natural dental products, consider recycling your plastic products when you’re finished with them. Plastic toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss containers, and packaging can be recycled through programs like Terracycle. While you’re at it, why not repurpose your old toothbrushes to clean hard to reach areas or unusually shaped items around the house?

Dr. Desai and the rest of our team are committed to using highly efficient dental technology to cut down on waste and provide you and your family with the highest quality dental care. To ask our team any questions or to schedule your next visit at our office, contact us today.

Why Am I Afraid of the Dentist?

If you’ve been putting off a visit to Dr. Desai because you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re not alone. Some studies show that around 15% of Americans avoid visiting the dentist because they are afraid or anxious. Today, we want to identify a few common causes of dental phobia and share some knowledge that may help you overcome it so you can get the care you need to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Common Causes of Dental Fear:

1. Pain

Often, our patients mention that they are afraid of getting their teeth examined or undergoing certain procedures because they believe it will hurt. Whether this belief is the result of some previous traumatic experience at the dentist or based on depictions in the media, our team will reassure you that we take every precaution to make sure that your visit is as comfortable, pain-free, and stress-free as possible. Moreover, ask us about our dental sedation options that can help you remain relaxed throughout your visit!

2. Helplessness

We understand that the dentist’s chair may feel like a vulnerable place to be. For that reason, we encourage our patients to familiarize themselves with our team and our office, and to ask questions before, during, and after their appointment. We will take extra time to explain exactly what will occur during any given procedure, and we can help you figure out the best payment options for your unique situation.

How to Manage Dental Anxiety:

There are many things you can do to help ease your fear of the dentist:

1. Choose North Richland Hills Dentistry as your dentist, because we understand your worries concerning feelings of pain and helplessness. We hope that after meeting Dr. Desai, making yourself at home in our welcoming office, checking out our patient amenities, and receiving quality care from our compassionate team, you'll feel less dental anxiety.

2. Try breathing and relaxation techniques.

3. Listen to soothing music.

4. Get a good night's sleep the day before your appointment so can you feel alert and refreshed.

5. Bring a friend to help you feel more comfortable during your dental treatment.

We Want to Help You Get the Dental Care You Need!

Do you have any other strategies you’ve used to help overcome your fear of the dentist? We want to hear from you! To learn more about how our team will help you feel safe, comfortable, and confident during your next dental appointment or to schedule a visit to our office, contact us today.

How Can I Conserve Water While Brushing My Teeth?

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we believe strongly in doing our part to preserve and protect the environment. As part of this mission, we work to educate our patients on simple ways they can conserve water while also maintaining a healthy oral care routine. Today, we want to talk about a few specific steps you can take to conserve water while brushing your teeth.

1. Turn Off the Tap!

This one is so simple it may not even need to be said, but turn off the tap while you're brushing! When you let the water run between wetting your toothbrush and rinsing your mouth after brushing, you waste a significant amount of water. In fact, some scientists estimate that turning off the water while brushing can save your family up to ten gallons of water each day.

2. Use a Cup to Rinse

How do you rinse your mouth after you brush? If you’re using your hands as a makeshift cup to clean your teeth after brushing, you’re wasting unnecessary water. Instead, use a cup with just the right amount to rinse your mouth.

3. Make Some Water Pressure Adjustments

If you are able, consider adding an aerator to your bathroom faucet. The aerator saves you water by infusing the stream with small air bubbles. You can also limit your water pressure with a pressure-reducing valve to ensure that a smaller amount of water flows through your faucet.

Not only will these tips help conserve our planet’s precious water supply, they will also save you some money on your utility bill. Do you have any tips or tricks you and your family use to save water? We want to hear about them! Let us know during your next visit with Dr. Desai.

To schedule your next appointment at our office or to ask our friendly team questions about water conservation and your oral health, contact us today.

Is Chewing Gum Good for My Teeth?

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we work hard to educate our patients on how they can practice good preventive oral care habits that protect their teeth for years to come. This includes proper brushing, flossing, and regular visits to our office, as well as adopting other healthy habits. Small changes to your lifestyle, like improving your diet, can have a large impact on your oral health. One such thing Dr. Desai often recommends to our patients is simple: chew sugar-free gum.

Not Just Candy

Chewing gum has existed in various forms since ancient history, when folks chewed on tree sap. Today’s chewing gum flavor and composition has come a long way. While many might consider chewing gum to be candy – and gum sweetened with sugar is certainly bad for your teeth – sugar-free gum can improve your dental health and help keep your teeth strong and pearly white.

Effects of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum

When you chew sugar-free gum, you increase your saliva flow. Saliva is an important and often-overlooked tool in your body’s arsenal. It helps neutralize and wash away acids that can build up on teeth as a result of plaque. This acid can wear away at your enamel over time, causing cavities, infection, and even tooth loss. We recommend chewing sugarless gum after meals, as it can help clean teeth and prevent tooth decay.

While we think chewing sugarless gum is a great option for many of our patients, it is no substitute for good preventive care habits. Some of our patients may have conditions that require them to avoid chewing gum, so be sure to ask about it during your next visit. Make sure you are brushing your teeth twice daily for two minutes, flossing each day, and visiting our office regularly for check-ups and exams. To schedule your next appointment or to ask our friendly team any questions, contact us today.

Should I Brush My Pet’s Teeth?

You can probably guess that it’s very important to brush your pet’s teeth. But why? And, more pressingly, how? Here are some helpful tips on brushing your pet’s teeth.

Why Should You Brush Your Pet’s Teeth?

First, let’s start with the why. Just as it’s vital for you to brush your teeth, it’s absolutely necessary to brush your pet’s teeth. Our pet’s teeth are vulnerable to the same issues that our teeth are, and by brushing them, you’re ensuring your pet is in good oral health. When we don’t brush our teeth, tartar and plaque build up and cause dental issues such as gingivitis, cavities, tooth loss, gum disease, and bad breath. Same goes for your pet. These issues can lead to even more serious problems for your pet, including liver, kidney, and heart problems that cause chronic pain. By brushing your pet’s teeth you are taking care of both their oral and overall health.

How Should You Brush Your Pet’s Teeth?

Now for the how. It’s vital that you establish a tooth brushing routine with your pet so they know it needs to happen regularly and isn't just one time. First, find a good time to brush your pet’s teeth, ideally sometime when you know they feel relaxed and comfortable. You will also need toothpaste and a toothbrush made for pets, which you can find at your pet store or online.

To start, kneel or sit in front of them. You never want to hold your pet down or stand over them as this can upset them and even make them anxious or aggressive. Then, take your finger and rub it along their teeth and gums, using light pressure so that you can test how willing they are to have something in their mouth. Next, spread a little bit of their toothpaste on your finger, and have them sniff and taste it so they can get acclimated to it.

Once you have all of your tools and your pet is comfortable with you near and in their mouth, lift your pet’s upper lid and gently brush their teeth and gums with the toothbrush. Work slowly and in small circles until you’ve brushed their entire mouth. Make sure you are getting their canines and the outside of their teeth, which is where plaque builds up.

When the brushing is finally over, reward your pet with a treat, playtime, or even some extra love. It’s important that your pet see tooth brushing time as something good and to look forward to.

While your pet’s oral health is important, don’t forget your own! Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Should I Use Soft or Hard Toothbrushes?

In the toothbrush aisle, there are so many choices these days, from electric toothbrushes to hard and soft-bristled brushes. It’s no wonder you may be confused about which brush is right for you. We’ve broken down the things to consider when you’re choosing a bristle type to make this process a little easier.

What Are the Different Bristle Types?

In toothbrushes, you can choose between extra soft, soft, medium, and firm-bristled (hard) toothbrushes. However, you may notice that the firm-bristled toothbrushes are not as widely available as their soft and medium-bristled counterparts. The type of bristle you should use depends on your specific needs and the oral health issues you have at the time.

Generally, dental professionals agree that soft bristles are the best choice for most situations; hard or medium bristles are a bit too harsh. If you are suffering from sensitive teeth or weakened enamel, you may even do additional damage to this problem. If you’re dealing with either of these issues, we may recommend you even go for an extra-soft bristled brush to protect your teeth.

When Do You Need Hard Bristles?

It may seem counterintuitive, but the harder you brush your teeth, the more damage you can do. If you’re brushing hard and using a hard-bristled brush, you may even do irreversible damage to your precious enamel. How often you brush, the pressure you apply, and the hardness of your brush’s bristles all affect your teeth and gums. In fact, some studies looking into “traumatic tooth brushing” have found that brushing too hard or with a hard-bristled toothbrush could lead to the development of gum recession or even lesions (ouch!) on your gums. The wear and tear on your gums can be worsened with a too-hard bristled brush.

Which Bristle is Right for You?

We can determine your needs in your next appointment. Let us know you’re looking for a toothbrush (or even toothpaste!) recommendation, and we will go over your oral health history and current treatment plan and will advise you on the bristle that’s best for you. Call us today to schedule your appointment!