How Often Should I Schedule a Dental Cleaning?

September 20th, 2021 by

Our Garland dentist believes that brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once per day are great ways to maintain healthy teeth and gums between checkups.  However, being diligent in daily oral hygiene doesn’t mean that you don’t need to visit the dentist regularly.

No matter how good of a job you do cleaning your teeth at home, there will almost always be some residue left behind in hard-to-reach spaces. Visiting the dentist routinely is imperative to ensure that you’re doing all you can to maintain the best oral health possible.

How Often Should You Be Going To The Dentist For A Cleaning?

The frequency of your dental visits depends on your oral health.  The typical healthy patient will come in for a preventative dental cleaning (aka prophylaxis, or prophy,) every six months. During this visit, our hygienist will remove the tartar buildup along the gumlines, measure your gums, and polish your teeth.

What are Probing Depths?

During your hygiene visits, we periodically evaluate your gum tissue by measuring your probing depths.

Healthy gum tissue is snug around the base of each tooth. Our dental hygienist will use a special measuring tool that when inserted between healthy gum and tooth, only slips down about 1-3 mm.

When we slack on flossing, the gums become swollen and pull away from the teeth, creating a deep pocket because of bone and gum detachment. In this case, the probe slips a bit deeper down into the pocket. 

Deep pockets are a breeding ground for bacteria, as they collect excess tartar along the root of your tooth. This condition is called periodontitis, or gum disease.  Periodontal disease requires a deeper cleaning called scaling and root planing (SRP) where we use different instruments and need a bit more time to complete than a regular prophy. Usually, we’ll numb your mouth for a deep cleaning, to ensure that you’re comfortable as we remove the buildup beneath your gum line.

An SRP is usually easier if you split it into two visits, cleaning half of the mouth at a time. Once your initial SRP is completed and your gum disease is under control, we recommend that you return for a maintenance cleaning every 3-4 months.

Dental Check-Ups and X-Rays

Other important elements of your dental cleaning appointments are your x-rays and exam. Our dentist will examine your teeth and mouth to identify any abnormalities, such as cavities, TMJ issues, or oral cancer. 

X-rays are important to take on a regular basis because they show things that we can’t see when we look inside your mouth. For example, decay between your teeth, abscesses or infections, impacted teeth, and bone loss.

Has it Been 6 Months Since Your Last Dental Cleaning?

Dooley Dentistry is passionate about holistic, patient-focused dental health care. Dr. Dooley is happy to answer any of your questions. Contact our Garland office today to reserve your next checkup and dental cleaning. We look forward to meeting you!

Root Canal Myths

August 4th, 2021 by

Root canal treatment—also referred to as “endodontic therapy”—is probably one of the less “popular” types of restorative dental services among patients. Fortunately, technology and treatment methods have come a long way over the last several years. Yet, there are several misconceptions about getting root canals. Here are just a few you’ll want to know the truth about:


It’s Painful to Get a Root Canal

Just like a crown or filling, it shouldn’t hurt to get a root canal. Modern numbing medication (local anesthetic) is very effective, so the only thing you should feel is a bit of pressure. Endodontic treatment is meant to treat and eliminate tooth pain, not cause additional discomfort. Getting a root canal can be practically pain-free if you manage the infection quickly enough. But if it’s delayed for too long, you can put yourself in a lot of unnecessary discomfort. 


I Don’t Need a Root Canal Because My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt

Never base the need for dental care on the level of discomfort you’re experiencing. Dying or abscessed teeth can pose life-threatening infections at times, yet never cause discomfort. These areas of infection can seep into the face (and in rare circumstances, your brain) requiring emergency medical care. Instead of basing treatment urgency on how you feel, it’s best to evaluate the tooth with an X-ray to see just how deep the infection goes. When you treat it early enough, you can prevent the infection from spreading to adjacent teeth.


It’s Better to Just Pull the Tooth

Removing a tooth creates an extra space in your bite, which can lead to an entire host of additional concerns. When a tooth goes missing, it needs to be replaced fairly quickly. Otherwise, other teeth in your bite will start to shift, drift out of place, or even “super-erupt” as they look for a biting partner. The best option for replacing a tooth is usually a dental implant or bridge. Partial dentures are another option. 

However, the better, less-invasive, more affordable, and preferred standard is to preserve the natural tooth you already have. In this case, get a root canal to avoid an extraction altogether. 


I’ll Have to Sleep Through the Appointment

It may come as a surprise, but getting a root canal doesn’t have to feel much different than any other basic dental treatment. While some people may want a mild analgesic like nitrous oxide sedation (laughing gas) you really don’t need to necessarily “sleep” through the appointment. Depending on the number of roots your particular tooth has, some visits can last a little longer than others. Dr. Dooley will work with you to discuss your comfort level and identify the best plan of action to ensure a pleasant experience. 


Reserve an Exam Today

Do you suspect that you need a root canal or want a second opinion about endodontic treatment? Contact Dooley Dentistry in Garland today to reserve an exam with Dr. Dooley. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Hate Flossing? Try This Instead

July 7th, 2021 by

If you’re like most people, flossing isn’t your favorite thing to do. You might even be one of those individuals who proudly proclaim, “Yes, I floss twice a year—when my hygienist does it at the end of my checkups!”


The truth is, no matter how great you are at toothbrushing or how expensive your toothbrush model is, there are some spaces in your mouth that it just can’t reach. Like between teeth and just under the edges of your gums, where periodontal disease (gum infections) starts.


That’s where flossing comes in. But what would you think if Dr. Dooley told you that there was an alternative? Because there is. At Dooley Dentistry, we encourage our patients (who hate flossing) to invest in something called a water flosser.


How Water Flossing Works


Water flossers are handheld devices that spray a thin, steady stream of water out of the tip. Depending on the type of water flosser you’ve purchased, you can adjust the pressure and control the temperature of the water.


A water flosser works by flushing away loose plaque and food debris. Instead of rubbing buildup away with floss, you’re using pressured water. Simply trace the water flosser along your gums, angling it slightly down into your gumlines. Pause between each of your teeth to clean the contact points, as well as below the gums in those spaces.


It can take a little practice to get used to water flossing. Some people need to use a lighter pressure while others find it tickles their mouth. In time, you’ll find that it’s almost hard not to use it each day because of how clean it makes your mouth feel.



Why it’s Worth the Investment


Toothbrushing only cleans the sides and tops of your teeth. When you use a water flosser, you can easily trace all of the gumlines, reach between teeth, and even clean underneath fixed appliances such as dental bridges or implants. It’s also great for our patients who are wearing braces!


Best of all, water flossers reach down into “periodontal” gum pockets around your teeth. These are the areas of detached tissues where plaque likes to hide out. Flossing can generally clean below your gums by 2-3 millimeters, but water flossing can reach far deeper if you have unhealthy pockets. It’s an excellent investment for our patients with gum disease.



Healthier Smiles in Garland


When you switch to a water flosser and use it daily, chances are Dr. Dooley will see a big difference in your gum health during your next checkup. We want our Garland patients to be able to preserve their smiles for life. And it all starts with the health of your gums and supporting tissues!


If you have swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, request an exam and cleaning to get things back on track. Then invest in a water flosser to clean your smile daily and keep things healthy. Contact Dooley Dentistry today to schedule your next checkup.

Gum Disease Linked to Co-Existing Medical Concerns

April 19th, 2021 by

Periodontal disease — or gum disease — is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss in Garland . But it’s not just dangerous to your smile. It also turns out that active oral infection associated with periodontitis can raise your chances of other medical complications. 


Heart Attack and Stroke

They say that your mouth is the gateway to your entire body. If you have gum disease, you’re also at an elevated risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease. The reason for that is because oral bacteria can spread directly into your bloodstream, via infected tissues inside your mouth. 



There’s a cyclic relationship between your blood sugar levels and gum infection. Numerous studies have shown that someone with diabetes who also has untreated gum disease will have an extremely challenging time stabilizing their blood glucose levels. The more aggressive the periodontitis becomes, the more unstable the blood sugar level tends to be. 

But diabetics with good oral hygiene tend to see more stable readings. Experts recommend treating the two conditions jointly, so as to stabilize both of them at the same time (rather than only focusing on one or the other.) Be sure to let Dr. Dooley know what your most recent glucose reading was at the time of your appointment. 


Respiratory Diseases

People with active oral infections are more likely to develop respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia. Why? Because oral bacteria can simply be inhaled into the respiratory tract during normal daily activities. If you’re already immunocompromised or at-risk for lung disease, you could be putting yourself at additional risks with unhealthy gums. 

Over the past year, we’ve also seen that aggressive periodontal disease equates to a higher chance of requiring a hospital ventilator/respirator during COVID-19 infection. 


Reproductive Health Concerns

Men and women alike can be affected by periodontal disease. It turns out that active gum disease can make it more difficult for couples to conceive. Gum treatments can help by reducing time to conceive by at least a few months. 

Women with periodontal disease are at a statistically higher risk of pre-eclampsia, pre-term labor, and stillbirth. Similarly, men with gum disease may struggle with erectile dysfunction until their oral infection is stabilized. 


How to Know if You Have Gum Disease

If your gums bleed easily when you brush and floss, you could have gum disease. Symptoms of moderate periodontal disease often include warning signs like:

  • Tartar buildup
  • Bad breath
  • Gum recession
  • Tooth mobility
  • Spaces between teeth
  • Bleeding


Schedule a Periodontal Evaluation

Has it been longer than six months since you’ve seen a dentist? When you contact Dooley Dentistry, be sure to request a periodontal assessment during your next exam. Dr. Dooley will thoroughly evaluate your soft tissues and bone levels to determine if any gum infections are present. We’ll guide you through the appropriate channels to establish a healthy smile that’s beneficial to your teeth and overall body!

Contact our Garland dental office today to request your next appointment.

5 Surprising Causes Of Jaw Pain & How To Get Relief

October 19th, 2020 by

If you are someone who has suffered from jaw pain, there is no need to explain how much of a negative affect it can have on your day-to-day life; From talking to eating to smiling and sleeping.

Jaw pain can significantly impact your well-being which is why looking for answers to solve it is a step in the right direction. You may be wondering what exactly could be the cause? How can I stop the pain and how can I prevent it in the future?


The truth is that there is no straight answer to why you are experiencing jaw pain. There are multiple nerve endings connected to the jaw and pain can be triggered by something as simple as prolonged chewing. You may not even need the triggers for the ache in your jaw to be there; which often leaves people confused as to why it’s happening in the first place.

Experiencing jaw pain from time to time is perfectly normal. If, however, you have been experiencing jaw pain on a regular basis, it is advised to see your dentist in Garland as soon as possible to begin the process of identifying potential underlying cause(s). You may be surprised to learn that multiple factors could be contributing to your jaw pain. Before your appointment with our highly rated dentist in Garland , we will help you get a better understanding of what could be causing your jaw pain and how to that relieve jaw pain in the meantime.


One of the most common causes of jaw pain is temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which is often also referred to as TMJ. This disorder has a negative impact on the joints that connect the jawbone and your skull. A surprising number of people live their day to day lives with TMD and are completely unaware of it.

This is often the case when the disorder is not severe and only results in pain from time to time. If, however, you think you might be experiencing jaw pain due to TMD, you should definitely make an appointment with our dentist in Garland . It is important to see an expert as TMD/TMJ can be a result of teeth grinding, which over time and in severe cases can completely ruin your teeth. Severe untreated cases can even result in the need for a full set of veneers. You should also know that TMJ/TMD can affect not only your jaw, but cause headaches, pain in the neck, and even cause pain up and down one’s shoulders in severe cases.

#2 Teeth Grinding

As mentioned above, teeth grinding is a major cause of jaw pain. Teeth grinding is often something that goes unnoticed because it mostly happens at night while the person is asleep. It can however occur while the person is awake, so if you catch yourself grinding your teeth unintentionally, be sure to try and stop as soon as you notice you are doing it.

So, you may be wondering, why would you grind your teeth? Well, there are various reasons why people grind their teeth. It’s most often a combination of psychological, genetic and physical factors. Stress and anxiety are one of the most common causes for teeth grinding while asleep. It can also occur due to medication side effects, misaligned teeth, and Parkinson’s disease.

If you have jaw pain and you think you might be grinding your teeth it would be a good idea to consult our dentist in Garland as soon as possible for a closer inspection. If Dr. Dooley does find that you are grinding your teeth, they will likely suggest you get a mouth guard to wear while you sleep to avoid damaging your teeth permanently.

#3 Untreated Cavities

Although it is not the most obvious reason for jaw pain, cavities can certainly progress to a point where they result in jaw pain. A cavity can result in jaw pain when the tooth deteriorates to a point where the tooth root becomes infected. This infection can spread to tissues in the jawbone which can cause severe pain if left untreated. To prevent this, you should be staying up to date with your dental check-ups and consult with our dentist in Garland to avoid letting any cavity getting this bad.


#4 Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, can also cause jaw pain. Like an untreated cavity, gum tissue will become infected with gum disease with spreads causing mild to severe jaw pain. It is extremely important to monitor the health of your gums by regularly seeing Dr. Dooley. If you start to experience any symptoms of periodontitis (gum disease) it is dire to treat it as soon as possible.

#5 Wisdom Teeth

Another potential cause of jaw pain is wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth typically come into the mouth from ages 17 to 25 and can cause jaw pain if they shift your teeth alignment or cause unwanted pressure in the jaw. If you are between said ages and can feel what might be a new tooth pushing through the very back part of your gums, your wisdom teeth could be erupting. If you are unsure about this, the best thing would be to see Dr. Dooley for clarification.


Final Thoughts On How To Relieve Jaw Pain

In addition to consulting with a dentist, you can also try some home remedies in the meantime to relieve jaw pain. This will help in the short term, but you will ultimately need to see our dentist in Garland to identify the underlying cause and find long-term relief.

We are here to answer any questions you might have regarding jaw pain and how to relieve jaw pain. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a highly rated, trusted and caring dental team, contact us today.



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