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Texas Dental Association Patient Publication: Educate While You Wait

Fall / Winter 2013

SPORTS GUARDS Periodicals Supplement to the Texas Dental Journal, October 2013.

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What's inside. . .


Meet the Dental Team Smart Mouth™, a bi-annual publication of the Texas Dental Association (TDA), is produced for the purpose of providing oral health information to the public. Member dentists can access electronic versions of Smart Mouth™ on The information included in each edition of Smart Mouth™ is provided by the TDA Council on Dental Economics, the Council on Membership, and the Council on Dental Education, Trade & Ancillaries. The material contained herein is for educational purposes and is not intended for diagnostic or treatment decisions. Please contact your dentist for oral health concerns and questions. Visit for more oral health information and resources. For comments and suggestions about Smart Mouth™, please contact the Texas Dental Association, attn Managing Editor Nicole Scott, 1946 S IH 35 Ste 400, Austin, TX 78704; Phone 512-443-3675; Email


Different Dentitions

What A Tangle! 5 ©2012

, Americ

an Dental


tion. All Rights



A Look Inside the Lunchbox 6-7

©2013 Texas Dental Association Stephen R. Matteson, DDS Editor Lee Ann Johnson Director of Member Services & Administration Staff Liaison to Council on Membership

Tooth Knock Out What To Do In a TKO


Nicole Scott Managing Editor Staff Liaison to Communications Committee Lauren Oakley Publications Coordinator Staff Liaison to TDA Student Organization

Sports Guards Are a Home Run 8-9 Dr Joshua A. Austin

Straight Talk on Straight Teeth 2

Smart Mouth

Dr David L. Ward


Meet the Dental Team A healthy mouth is a smart mouth, and it takes a team of health care professionals to care for your teeth – all 20 to 32 of them! While the dentist is the team quarterback, calling all the plays and overseeing the success of the operation, he or she needs a strong lineup to score the ultimate goal: a smart, healthy mouth.

FRONT OFFICE TEAM I am the RECEPTIONIST and likely the first person you will meet when you come into the office. Between fielding calls and making appointments, I coordinate patient visits and make you comfortable from the beginning.

As the OFFICE MANAGER, I oversee patient flow to ensure it’s a seamless operation from start to finish each day. When you check out, I make sure your financial transactions are quick and easy, and I am involved in the day-today decisions and office management.

PATIENT CARE TEAM I am the head of the dental team. I am the DENTIST and the owner of the dental practice. As the dentist, I am in charge of patient care and treatment and will instruct the dental team. At a minimum, I will have attended a 4-year university, a 4-year dental school, and passed numerous tests. Your dentist may be a Doctor of Dental Surgery or a Doctor of Dental Medicine. Following a doctorate degree, a dentist may begin additional study in order to specialize. These specialty programs can be an additional 2 to 6 years of study. Regardless of whether your dentist is a general dentist or a specialist, you can be sure that he or she has had years of education and training. I’m the DENTAL HYGIENIST. As a dental hygienist I can take x-rays and do any of the work of a dental assistant. My primary duty is to perform dental prophylaxis, cleaning and polishing of teeth during recall visits. I may also talk to you about how to care for your teeth properly. This may include information about brushing and flossing! Also, since I’m a dental hygienist in Texas, I have completed at least 2 years of dental hygiene training and passed several training requirements. I am a great source of information for oral hygiene, so please feel free to ask how you can improve your oral health!

I am the DENTAL ASSISTANT! Dental assistants have many important jobs in a dental office. We may work at the front desk, maintain patient files, assist the dentist, and take x-rays. In fact, the work of an assistant varies greatly. In many cases, the dentist will teach the assistant how to complete his or her tasks, and assistants in Texas do not need to attend school for training, although some may.

The Difference in Teeth In Different Species



Unlike our teeth, snails have teeth growing on their tongues! Their tongues, known as radulas, have rows of tiny teeth. While nearly all snails have radulas, they vary on the number of teeth. Some snails only have a few, but others have thousands. Snails don’t use their teeth the way we do either. They can’t chew. Instead, they stick out their radulas to grind away at their food with the teeth. This process wears out their teeth, so they have to grow new ones. Source:



Walruses use their iconic long tusks for a variety of reasons. The tusks are in fact large canine teeth that grow throughout their lives and can extent to about 3 feet. They use them to haul their enormous bodies out of frigid waters, thus their “tooth-walking” label, and to break breathing holes into ice from below. Male walruses, or bulls, also use their tusks aggressively to maintain territory. Source:


The outside of shark teeth are made up of fluoride, the active ingredient of most toothpaste and dental care mouthwashes. Although human teeth are covered in a different mineral, both shark and human teeth are equally hard. Sharks never get cavities, and are able to replace their teeth multiple times throughout their lives. It helps to explain why sharks are so effective at either tearing or cutting prey. Their teeth are perfectly designed for such tasks, never suffering from cavities. Source:




The teeth of a lobster are in its stomach. The stomach is located a very short distance from the mouth, and the food is actually chewed in the stomach between 3 grinding surfaces that look like molar surfaces, called the “gastric mill.” Source:

Frogs have maxillary teeth along their upper jaw, which are used to hold food before it is swallowed. These teeth are very weak, and cannot be used to chew or catch and harm agile prey. Instead, the frog uses its sticky, cleft tongue to catch flies and other small moving prey. The tongue normally lies coiled in the mouth, free at the back and attached to the mandible at the front. It can be shot out and retracted at great speed. Some frogs have no tongue and just stuff food into their mouths with their hands. Source:

Š2012, American Dental Association. All Rights Reserved.

A Look Inside the

healthy lunchbox ideas and alternatives



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Smart Mouth

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Smart Mouth

What To Do In a TKO

SP\ RTS Recently, we have seen an increase in the amount of Americans staying active through

According to the American Dental Association, sports guards are estimated to prevent approximately 200,000 injuries each year in high school and college football.

exercise and sports. With this uptick in activity, we are also seeing an increase in traumatic injuries to the mouth and teeth during sports and exercise. Sports guards help protect and cushion the teeth and

However, if you are one of the unlucky athletes—or non-athletes—who knock out a tooth, try not to panic and remember these steps:

other oral structures from serious injuries. Sports guards can prevent teeth from being knocked out, cracked, fractured, or moved. Many sports like football require sports

Touch only the tooth crown (biting edge). Do not touch the tooth root.

guards for participation. Other sports do

Only reinsert a permanent tooth, not a baby tooth. Rinse and gently reinsert it, applying careful pressure.


not require sports guards but can have a high incidence of oral trauma making one

Opt for immersing the tooth in whole milk or water, if you are unable to reinsert it. Time is critical!

Head to your dentist or emergency room immediately! Information provided by Joshua Austin, DDS, of San Antonio. Dr Austin is a general dentist and a member of the TDA Board of Directors.

Smart Mouth 8

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Boil & Bite Sports Guard: These can be purchased at many sporting good stores. The plastic is

softened with hot water then the patient bites into them, roughly forming the guard around the teeth. Boil & Bite guards are inexpensive but are larger and more bulky than custom fit guards. This can make Boil & Bite guards uncomfortable, which leads to patients not wearing them during activity. Sports guards don’t do much good if they aren’t in the mouth!

Custom Sports Guards: These are made from a custom mold of the patient’s teeth. A custom guard will fit intimately to the patient’s teeth reducing bulk and allowing easier breathing during activity. Custom guards can be made out of various colors and logos and names can be added for that professional look and feel! Different sports may necessitate different thicknesses of the mouthguard material. Your dentist can easily determine what thickness of material should be used. The fabrication of a custom sports guard is quite simple. With a quick and easy impression, your dentist can fabricate a custom sports guard, usually within a few days. Sometimes a custom sports guard can be made in the dentist’s office, and sometimes it must be sent to a dental lab for fabrication. Your dentist can let you know if he or she can make your sports guard in the office or if it needs to be done at a lab. Dr Austin is a general dentist in San Antonio and a member of the TDA Board of Directors.

Smart Mouth




TALK Do you want beautiful straight teeth for your child or yourself? Have you ever wondered how best to achieve a great smile? First, there are some basic questions that need to be considered. How old is the patient? Is the problem too much or too little space? Is there a significant difference in sizes of the 2 jaws? What does the profile look like? How much gum shows when smiling? Are the teeth intact or are there lots of cavities, discolorations, or fillings? How much time are we willing to take? Let’s take a look at each of several options. Please note that for options involving moving teeth, retainers (either removable or bonded) must be used indefinitely to prevent some relapse.


Braces are usually the best bet for most teenagers and for those adults with moderate to severe space or crowding problems. There are different systems of braces that work differently. While great results are achievable with all systems, braces are often more comfortable and faster than the most commonly used system.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, such as InvisalignÂŽ or Clear Correct, is a great option for older teens or adults who want to move their teeth without braces. Clear aligners are removable for eating and brushing. A new aligner is put into use every 2 to 3 weeks until the treatment is done. InvisalignÂŽ works great for mild to moderate problems, but is less desirable for complex ones.


If you have just a little space between your front 2 teeth or elsewhere, it is very easy and relatively inexpensive to close the space with bonded composite resin. It will not last forever, but it is no big deal to replace it years later.


Smart Mouth

STRAIGHT TEETH By David L. Ward, DDS Veneers

Are you an adult who desires instant gratification? The makeovers you see on TV usually involve 6-10 veneers on at least the upper teeth, and sometimes on the lower, too. Veneers can be made of porcelain or composite resin and often involve some reshaping of the teeth before they are bonded into place. The advantages are speed and the ability to change the color and shape of the teeth. The disadvantages are the cost and the fact that they will usually have to be replaced one or more times during an average lifetime. Costs vary widely. T:7�

Crowns (Caps) and Bridges Many of the TV makeovers involve crowns or bridges. These, like veneers, make an immediate change. Crowns are done when the teeth are badly decayed, worn, or full of fillings. Bridges replace one or several missing teeth and are bonded to the adjacent teeth. With the newer all porcelain systems, the cosmetics with crowns and bridges can be just as beautiful as veneers. That summarizes the basic options. Sometimes the best option involves a combination of cosmetic therapies. If you are unhappy with your smile, talk with a dentist, preferably one who can offer you all of these options. For tooth replacement, dental implants should always be considered, but they do require more time. Dr David Ward is a TDA member and practices dentistry in Big Spring. He formerly served on the TDA Council on Dental Economics.

Kids will spend 8 minutes decorating their little brothers. How about two minutes to brush their teeth? Brushing for two minutes now can save your child from severe tooth pain later. Two minutes, twice a day. They have the time. For fun, 2-minute videos to watch while brushing, go to

Set Your Site on

Oral Health

Your dentist is a member of TDA, the voice of dentistry in Texas. With more than 8,800 members, the TDA understands that the best patient is an informed patient. Visit for more information on oral health care for you and your family. 1 9 4 6 A u s t i P : 5 1 t d a . o

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Smart Mouth Fall 2013