True-or-False Questions about Aging Teeth

True or falseAging doesn’t mean your body has to deteriorate rapidly. When you’re inching up towards the 100 year mark of your life, however, you may feel less healthy than you once were. Your teeth, just like the rest of your body, are certainly subject to gradual aging over the years. If you drink too much coffee, soda, wine, chew on ice cubes and popcorn kernels, use tobacco, or just partake in normal living, your teeth will show their age eventually. Katy TX dentist, Dr. Colin Lathrop, would like to see how you fare on this true-or-false quiz regarding aging teeth. (more…)

Beware the Dental Damage that Oral Piercings can Cause

Pierced LipOral piercings are not generally recommended by dentists. Creative forms of self-expression are understandable. We all want to control our fashion statements. Besides, of all of the possible bodily adornments, piercings are one of the most temporary options when compared to something like tattoos, for example. Unfortunately, when you pierce your tongue or lip, dental damage and even tooth loss can result. (more…)

Test your Dental IQ

Brainy GuyThe American Dental Association tested a sampling of Americans on their knowledge of oral health a couple of years ago, to somewhat embarrassing results. The series of true or false questions regarding some basic oral hygiene information were posed to almost 1,500 adults representing a wide range of the population in the United States. Unfortunately, the results of this “dental IQ test” suggested that Americans knew much less about their oral health than the ADA had originally hoped for. Are you smarter than the average American when it comes to your dental health knowledge? (more…)

Understanding the Parts of a Tooth

Loose ToothThe importance of your teeth is certainly obvious. Beyond the role of breaking food down into digestible pieces, your teeth provide the structure for your smile. Confident smiles can affect job performance, relationships, and general life quality. The part of a tooth that people can see when you talk or smile is called the crown. However, there’s plenty going on below the gumline, in your dental pulp.

About Tooth Enamel

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Lost a Dental Crown? Now What?

Tongue Question MarkImagine that you’re enjoying a nice dinner out, and suddenly you bite down on a hard object? “Oh wonderful!” you sarcastically think. While you’re cursing the chef of the restaurant in your mind, you suddenly realize that the object actually came from you. In fact, it’s your dental crown. Once it has popped off of the tooth it was meant to restore, will you have to start from scratch? Skilled dentists do their best to provide you with a crown which will last. However, there are no guarantees, so you should always be prepared regarding how to deal with an incident such as a lost dental crown. (more…)

Does your Dentist Embrace 3D Technology?

3D XraysHave you been going to the same dentist for many years? When you love and appreciate the people at the dental practice you frequent, you may overlook certain elements in the office. However, look around. If the dental team hasn’t made the effort to keep up with the times by updating their office technology, you may want to think about a switch. New techniques and procedures are improved upon constantly, so an office that has the same outdated machines from when they first started their practice 20 years ago may not have your best interests in mind. Katy, TX dentist, Dr. Colin Lathrop keeps his office equipped with the latest advances and is even hosting a 3D technology summit at the end of June. (more…)

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!