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It's been a good month to be from San Antonio. I've had to travel the last few weekends and when people see I'm from San Antonio, they want to talk about basketball. We saw a undervalued team dismantle a highly praised group of individuals soundly. The idea of team basketball became savored by all the talking heads at ESPN and other national media outlets.

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Analysts would often bring up all the same points. No one player on the Spurs trumps the good of the team. Everyone on the team roots for the success of the others. The entire roster puts the success of the team above their own wants and desires. Basically, everything that embodies team work, the Spurs put on display during their championship run. It made me evaluate our team here. I can honestly say that I currently have the best team I have ever had since opening this practice.

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For many patients, the idea of having any treatment done at the dental office strikes fear and terror into their hearts. This fear could be rooted in a past traumatic experience or may have no explanation at all. What we find more often than not is that this fear makes patients avoid seeking dental treatment even when they know they need it. This delay always leads to the problems worsening, sometimes past the point of saving. We have several options to help our patients overcome their fears and get their treatment done before it gets worse.

For our mildly anxious patients, we can use nitrous oxide gas to reduce anxiety. Nitrous oxide is also called laughing gas and has been used for dental anxiety for decades. It is safe and effec...

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If you suffer from sleep apnea, you probably know all about the CPAP. CPAP stands for Constant Positive Airway Pressure and is the term used for a rather inelegant machine that blows air down your throat to keep your airway from collapsing while you sleep. Sound miserable? It is. CPAPs, while being the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, can be extremely uncomfortable. Most CPAP users stop wearing it within 3 months. What we end up with is a bunch of CPAPs sitting in the floor of the closet while their owners suffer with sleep apnea untreated.

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There has to be a better answer, right? YES!!!! There is! We can fabricate a dental device called a Mandibular Advancement Appliance that can treat sleep apnea. It works without a mask or air blowing down your throat or anything like that. By advancing the lower jaw, the tongue is moved out of the back of the throat, decreasing the incidence of apnea events and snoring. I wear one myself and it works great!

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Dental insurance is one of those things that is constantly on your mind when you are a dental professional. Unfortunately, our society has become more and more insurance dependent, so most American's absolutely rely on their dental insurance to receive dental care. I wanted to touch on a few points to keep in mind when thinking about dental insurance.

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Recently, San Antonio Groupon was treated to a great offer from DaVinci Teeth Whitening. For the low, low price of $79, you could get a 40 minute session of whitening at one of their spas. Of course, this procedure was to be performed by someone who is not a dental professional, but that is really neither here nor there. What DaVinci really tries to sell is that their whitening gel is "organic" and "natural".

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I really love claims like this. The term "organic" has taken on a life of its own as many people hope to move towards a more natural lifestyle. Just adding the word organic to a product is a license to charge more. Well lets get down to the heart of what organic really means. Organic, in its true form, refers to any substance that contains carbon. Carbon is an element that is absolutely essential for life. Amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates…all the building blocks of life are made up of complex carbon molecules. These are truly organic compounds. When you are buying organic produce at the grocery store, what you are buying is produce that conforms to a certain philosophy of production, like abstaining from using synthetic pesticides. So even using the term organic in reference to this type of product is a complete misnomer in the first place.

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"What toothpaste should I use?" is probably the most commonly asked question I get. I hear it all the time. Patients ask when they are getting their teeth cleaned by Colleen and Avni. People I went to high school with message me on Facebook and ask me. The cashier at HEB asks me when she see's the name on my credit card. I can understand why, considering what the dental care aisle at the grocery store looks like!

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As you can see, there are so many options. These companies make all sorts of crazy claims about their products. It's so easy to get lost in the sea of teal and aqua.

For me, my choice is simple. I use Colgate Total and I think you should too.

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I use Colgate Total for a couple of different reasons.

1. Triclosan. Triclosan is an anti-bacterial agent present in only one toothpaste…Colgate Total. You will also find it in some anti-bacterial soaps and hygiene products. Triclosan is what sets Colgate Total apart from every other toothpaste on the market. It's approved by the FDA as a completely separate product…the only toothpaste to have gone through the vigorous amount of research that it takes for FDA approval. Every other toothpaste on the market is approved via the monograph system, which is much less rigorous. In addition to Triclosan, Colgate Total has a co-polymer that helps the Triclosan fight bacteria for up to 12 hours. Without the co-polymer, the anti-bacterial activity is gone at the first sip of water. With the co-polymer, you get all day bacterial fighting action. Pretty cool.

2. Sodium fluoride. I know in my brain that fluoride is safe and effective. I use these words carefully. Anti-fluoride activists will often say "I don't believe in fluoride." It's not Santa Claus. There is nothing to believe in or not believe in. There is only science. Science….lots of it…..the good kind with double blind peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials…show that fluoride is safe and effective for preventing tooth decay. I can not recommend a tooth paste that doesn't have fluoride in it. Most toothpastes have fluoride in them, which is good. Some don't. Stay away. It's just not worth it. Using a fluoride toothpaste will save you money on dental work. Colgate Total has sodium fluoride in it. I think there's an important distinction. Total's #1 competitor, Crest Pro Health, uses stannous fluoride. Stannous fluoride is a different kind of fluoride. While still effective at preventing decay, it can stain teeth. Badly. Usually we can polish the stain off, but its a chore. And it usually builds fast…faster than every 6 months. So chances are if you use Crest Pro Health, you will not like the way your teeth look and it will be weeks before your next cleaning. Here is typical Crest Pro Health staining.

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In addition to staining, I often see something called desquamative gingivitis with Crest Pro Health users. Another side effect of stannous fluoride. Desquamative gingivitis is where the very top thin layer of epithelium peels away in large sheets. It really isn't a problem per se, but it is alarming and can make your mouth more sensitive to spices.
The highest endorsement that I can give to an oral health care product is to tell you that I use it myself. I use Colgate Total. It is my toothpaste of choice for most patients. If you are a patient in my practice, in your goodie bag, you will most likely get a tube of Colgate Total. I think that says it all.

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It's probably an inevitability. At some point during your life, you are going to have a dental emergency of some kind. Could be many different things, but it doesn't change the fact that it can disrupt your life. We are here to help you through those emergencies. We see dental emergencies on a daily basis and we will always work extremely hard to make sure we can fit you in the day you call.

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