What Do Marine Sponges have to Do with Plaque?

MarineSpongeBacteria are the bad guys in the world of dentistry. They are the key component in tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. However, certain germs, when distributed correctly (such as inside your intestines) play a role in good, balanced health. Katy, TX dentist Dr. Colin Lathrop, will explain how studying bacteria on marine sponges in Baltimore, Maryland may help scientists control bad germs when they reach harmful levels in your mouth. (more…)

Momentous Occasions That Call for a Smile Makeover

As any of our patients will tell you, confidence in your smile isn’t just for special occasions. It’s about loving the way you look and feel about yourself every single day. Each patient has a unique vision of their perfect smile, says Katy, TX cosmetic dentist Dr. Colin Lathrop, which means that each smile makeover may include a different combination of treatments. You won’t find a one-size-fits-all approach here.

Examples of services available as part of your smile makeover include:

Congratulations, You’re Engaged

Or at least you know someone who is, anyway. June kicks off wedding season, which means photographers, bridal portraits, and Instagram pics at every turn. Dr. Lathrop treats everyone from the bride to the mother-of-the-bride to the best man. We offer two teeth whitening options as part of our smile makeovers, allowing you to choose the treatment that best fits with your busy schedule. Use our take-home teeth whitening kit to brighten your smile in the comfort of your home, or add in-office treatment to eliminate the most resilient stains.

You Got the Job

The appearance of your smile influences the way others view you, even in a professional environment. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, people perceive that those who have a healthy smile are more successful, confident, and professional. Stained or chipped teeth, on the other hand, are viewed far less favorably. As part of your smile makeover, porcelain veneers can fill gaps between teeth, repair chips and cracks, brighten your smile, and even treat slightly crooked teeth. The results of one study reveal that an employee’s authentic smile has a favorable impact on a customer’s perception of a company and its products and services–helpful for those sales calls and negotiations.

Still haven’t landed the job of your dreams? A dynamic, authentic smile offers several advantages in a job search and interview environment. A study shows that job candidates who appear to have an authentic smile are often deemed more suitable for the job, and that they are also more likely to be short-listed and hired.

You’re in the Spotlight

A 2012 study used a “Smile Index” to measure the degree to which voters responded to political candidates based on each candidate’s smile. Smiles were graded on a continuum as non-smiling, half-smiling, and smiling openly. The results confirmed that the appearance of a candidate’s smile plays an important role in voters’ evaluation of the candidate’s personality, with those who smiled most openly enjoying a clear advantage over those who did not smile or did not appear to smile in earnest. Politicians aren’t the only high-profile types to benefit from a smile makeover. We find that teachers, professors, public speakers, and even medical doctors benefit from an improved smile.

Questions about smile makeovers in Katy, TX? To learn more about cosmetic dentistry, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Colin Lathrop, contact us at 832-437-3849. We welcome patients living in Katy, Fulshear, Orchard, Wallis, Weston Lakes, and the surrounding communities.

Just Snoring, or Something More Sinister?

Chronic snoring in Katy, TXWhen the tonsils, tongue, or oral tissue impedes breathing during sleep, we call this sleep apnea. There’s a reason why sleep apnea has been called the silent killer. According to the National Sleep Foundation, as many as 20 million Americans live with the condition. Of those, we believe that only 10 percent are actually aware of it. Dr. Colin Lathrop, who diagnoses sleep apnea in Katy, TX, explains that patients may avoid seeking treatment because they confuse the condition with chronic snoring.

Health Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Unlike snoring, sleep apnea poses serious health risks. Dr. Lathrop encourages his patients to seek timely treatment for snoring, regardless of whether they suspect that the problem is apnea-related. Symptoms that may indicate apnea instead of snoring include high blood pressure, weight gain, daytime drowsiness, and fatigue. Women who have sleep apnea may experience loss of libido, and male sleep apnea patients are at risk for erectile dysfunction. We attribute this to testosterone levels, which fluctuate based on how much sleep an individual gets. Inadequate sleep lowers testosterone levels, whereas sleeping too much drives levels upward. Because sleep apnea compromises the quality and duration of sleep, it stands to reason that sexual dysfunction may occur as a result.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea and Snoring

A patient who has obstructive sleep apnea will not likely see results from over-the-counter anti-snoring treatments such as nasal strips or sprays. In many cases, lifestyle changes are sufficient to produce improvements. Think weight loss, discontinuing use of sleep aids and alcohol, and even stress management techniques. In addition to these recommendations, Dr. Lathrop will determine whether an oral appliance will improve breathing. The appliance holds the jaw in place during sleep, preventing the airway from becoming obstructed. Even the position in which a patient sleeps can affect the ability to breathe.

In severe cases, continuous positive airway pressure, or a CPAP machine, is needed. If so, Dr. Lathrop will refer the patient to a specialist. While the patient sleeps, a mask covers the mouth and nose, delivering oxygen from a bedside machine. Rarely, surgical intervention is recommended.

Questions about snoring in Katy, TX? To learn more about snoring and sleep apnea, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Colin Lathrop, contact us at 832-437-3849. Our office welcomes patients living in Fulshear, Weston Lakes, Simonton, Richmond, Rosenberg, and the surrounding areas. Follow us on Facebook for the latest news and oral health insights.

 

 

Put Your Medicine Where Your Mouth Is…Then What?

General dentist in Katy, TXHere’s an interesting statistic from the Mayo Clinic. An estimated 70% of Americans take at least one medication regularly, whether over-the-counter or by prescription. Dr. Colin Lathrop, a family dentist in Katy, TX, explains that sometimes even the things we require to keep ourselves healthy can also affect our oral health. Not that we advocate starting or discontinuing medication without first consulting your doctor, but it’s important to understand how they affect the health of your teeth and gums.

Side Effects of Prescription Medication

All medications have the potential to cause side effects, but some are notorious for targeting the mouth. These include:

  • Asthma inhalers can cause thrush, a condition identifiable by white, itchy patches in the mouth. Rinsing your mouth with plain water after each inhalation reduces this risk.
  • Hormone-containing medications, such as Premarin, Estrace, and oral contraceptives, cause xerostomia, or dry mouth. Dry mouth is especially problematic because it makes your mouth more hospitable to bacteria and increasing your risk of developing gum disease.
  • Gingivitis is listed as a possible side effect across several classes of medication, including calcium channel blockers, anti-seizure drugs, and drugs prescribed after organ transplants.

Over-the-Counter Medications Affect Oral Health, Too

As with prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications affect your teeth and gums. The most commonly reported oral health side effects associated with OTC medicine include:

  • Liquid medications, including cough syrup and antihistamines, often contain large amounts of sugar to mask an unpleasant taste. When taken for long periods of time, these medications increase the risk of tooth decay. Rinsing your mouth with water after each dose helps.
  • If you need cough drops, vitamin C drops, or throat lozenges, choose products that contain xylitol, an alternative to sugar. Allowing a lozenge to remain in your mouth bathes your teeth in sugar, much like hard candy. Xylitol improves flavor and offers some protection from cavities.
  • Chewable antacids have a sticky, chalky texture that clings between teeth and hides between your teeth and gums. These, too, contain sugar. When used for long periods of time, the calcium in antacids can actually inhibit absorption of calcium and protein, both of which are vital to the health and density of your teeth and jaw.

Healthy mouth, healthy body. To learn more about oral-systemic health and hygiene, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Colin Lathrop, contact our Katy, TX dentist office at 832-437-3849. We welcome patients living in and around Weston Lakes, Fulshear, Richmond, Brookshire, Simonton, and the surrounding communities. For the latest news and oral health insights from our practice, follow us on Facebook!

Why More Men Are Embracing Cosmetic Dentistry in 2014

Cosmetic dentistry in Katy, TXMost men aren’t born with the perfect smile, despite what Hollywood might like you to believe of its shining stars. George Clooney, Hugh Jackman, and Tom Cruise—all previous winners of People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” moniker—are just a few of many famous faces who have turned to cosmetic dentistry to round out their good looks. In the past few years, we’ve seen a growing number of men who have embraced all that cosmetic dentistry has to offer. Dr. Colin Lathrop, a cosmetic dentist in Katy, TX, explains your options.

How Do Men Benefit from Cosmetic Dentistry?

Several factors affect the appearance of your teeth. Taking certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline or doxycycline, can stain teeth, as can smoking, drinking coffee, and poor oral hygiene. Men are more likely to sustain dental injuries while working, playing sports, and enjoying the outdoors, and their risk of developing acid reflux is greater than that of women. When under stress, man also tend to clench their jaw and grind their teeth, weakening the enamel and making them more prone to chips and fractures.

Smile Enhancement for Men in Katy, TX

Then there are men like Brad Pitt, who visited his dentist to have his front teeth chipped for his role as Tyler Durden in Fight Club. Deliberately damaging your teeth isn’t a service we offer at our Katy, TX dentist office, but we do provide several cosmetic dentistry treatments:

PowerProx Six-month Braces: When Tom Cruise showed up on the red carpet with his tooth-colored braces, requests for the procedure skyrocketed. Unlike traditional metal braces that require up to 18 months to achieve the desired results, PowerProx takes only six months. Patients report that discomfort associated with this method is minimal, not to mention less conspicuous. Whether you’re a CEO or a stay-at-home dad, you’ll find that these nearly invisible braces allow you to smile confidently without compromising your professional, mature appearance.

Teeth Whitening: Studies reveal that people who have healthy, white teeth are perceived as more successful, satisfied, approachable, and self-confident by others. Dr. Lathrop offers two treatment options for patients whose teeth appear gray, yellow, or otherwise stained. Take-home teeth whitening kits deliver professional results in the comfort of your own home, brightening your teeth by as many as eight shades. The effects are gradual, with most patients achieving optimal whitening after using the system for 30 minutes daily for 1-2 weeks. For more resilient stains, Dr. Lathrop often recommends the KoR deep bleaching system, which consists of in-office and home whitening treatments.

Veneers: Porcelain veneers are the multi-taskers of dentistry, having both cosmetic and restorative purposes. On the cosmetic side, veneers are popular for their ability to tackle multiple flaws in the appearance of your teeth, such as gaps, cracks, chips, and stains that resist whitening methods. Veneers, which are capable of improving the shape, shade, and size of your teeth, offer unparalleled stain resistance and a luminous appearance that’s virtually indistinguishable from natural tooth enamel.

Questions about cosmetic dentistry? To learn more about smile makeovers in Katy, TX, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Colin Lathrop, contact our office at (832) 437-3849. We welcome patients living in Katy, Orchard, Weston Lakes, Fulshear, Simonton, and the surrounding areas.

Try to Relax for Better Oral Health

Stressed Out WomanYou’ve probably heard statements connecting stress to heart attacks. Cause and effect in the medical world isn’t always quite that black and white. Stress levels are difficult to pin-point in a quantifiable manner. However, there is little doubt that highly stressed individuals tend to overeat, sleep poorly, drink too much alcohol, and smoke. Succumbing to these habits and behaviors will directly result in hypertension and high cholesterol which are known heart disease risk factors. Katy dentist, Dr. Colin Lathrop wants his patients to lower their stress levels for better dental and overall health. (more…)

Toothache True-or-False

Smiling Young Man GlassesWhen you take stock of your body, how many sensations do you notice? Do you have any feelings which might qualify as aches and pains? When your body is assaulted by discomfort, your regular tasks are often difficult to carry out. Teeth are so small, yet for some reason, toothaches are among the most pervasive pains. The nerves seem to shoot out far beyond the localized area, causing pain which makes it difficult to sleep, eat, and speak. Preparing yourself for prevention or identification of a toothache is often the best way to ensure the quickest resolve to the situation. So try this quiz from Katy dentist, Dr. Colin Lathrop to teach yourself some helpful knowledge. (more…)

Dental Trends Unlikely to Take Off

VampireTeethYou’ve probably seen enough babies with pierced ears to feel used to the look. However, you might feel jarred at the sight of a toddler with a lip or tongue ring. Unfortunately, this is the way most dentists feel when they see anyone with oral piercings. The trend of physical self-expression may evoke liberation in the people who do it, but their teeth and gum tissue is at great risk for damage. Other trends affect dental health as well. Anyone who decides to temporarily bejewel the surfaces of their teeth are begging for scratched, fractured, or chipped tooth enamel. The American Dental Associating (ADA) worries that trapped food and bacteria collecting under this type of tooth jewelry will cause unwanted decay. Katy dentist, Dr. Colin Lathrop will take a look at some other unusual cosmetic dental trends that fortunately aren’t so popular at the moment. (more…)

Replacing Silver Fillings with the Tooth-Colored Variety

AmalgamFillingsDo you have any silver amalgam fillings in your mouth? Many people all over the world still do since the material has been filling cavities for well over a century. The evolution of fillings dictates that most dentists now primarily utilize tooth-colored composite-resin materials for a more desirable cosmetic look. Environmentalists are happier with composite fillings as well because amalgam may have a negative impact on the earth. And how about your health? Katy dentist, Dr. Colin Lathrop will weigh in on mercury in amalgam fillings.

Filling you in On the History (more…)

Are those Natural Teeth or Dental Implants?

Older Blue Eyed LadyYour Katy dentist, Dr. Colin Lathrop is happy to offer patients a variety of tooth replacement options. A recommendation will naturally depend upon your exact situation. Some people still make great candidates for traditional dentures. A fixed dental bridge may also make a viable solution. However, more and more these days, patients are opting for dental implants because of the many advantages they offer. No other modern solution offers quite as natural a way to replace your lost primary teeth.

As Real as Replacement Teeth Get (more…)