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All Posts in Category: Professional Care

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How To Choose The Right Dentist For You
Tips from Our Dentist Office in San Marcos TX

In today’s world, finding information on anyone or anything is fairly easy using the internet. Information is readily available with a simple click of a mouse. Narrowing down search criteria is just as easy when looking for a local dentist that will cater to your specific needs. Whether you have sensitive teeth, dental fears, or just need laughing gas, you can find a dentist that will meet those needs.

Word of Mouth

Having a friend or family member tell you that they have been to a great dentist is one of the best ways to find out about great dental care. However, not all people get along the same and what works for one may not work for the other. Keeping that in mind, give your prospective dentist a call and see what they have to offer for your dental health.

Using The Internet

Typing in a search bar what you need is most likely going to have the best results for your area. You can type in specifics like “dentists who do teeth whitening,” or “dentists that specialize in implants.” These titles will bring up that specialty. Some search engines like you to be less specific and others like the exact title of what you need. There are several generic services that you can search for as well, such as “teeth cleaning” or “dental crowns” and then go through those results.

Finding a Dentist Through an Online Service

In Central Texas, you can search for a dental services locator. Once you decide which one to use you can then get to the specifics of what your dental needs are. A list will come up that shows all the providers in your area for you to choose from. These sites require more information from you regarding where you are located, what dental issues you have, and what payment method you plan to use.

Searching for a Dentist in Your Insurance Network

Today, most insurance companies are selective and have a dental network program that dentists sign up for and are then listed in the directory of that network. You can also locate these providers online, however it is easier to search through the insurance company website. They have a list of providers readily available for you to scan through and see who is accepting your insurance at the time. These lists may not provide the specifics you are looking for. You can get the name of the office and then look them up online or call to schedule a consultation.

Contact Our San Marcos Family Dental Practice

In the end, selecting a dental office that is comfortable for you and where the staff meet your needs is very important to your overall dental health. It’s not just the dental care they offer; it’s how the office works as a whole to meet your dental needs.

Still trying to find the perfect dentist to improve your oral health? Contact Carothers Family Dental in San Marcos, TX to get more information about dental services or to make an appointment.

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Root Canal Treatment: Everything You Need To Know
From your San Marcos Dentistry Clinic

Root canal treatment has developed a widely negative reputation causing it to be one of the more intimidating procedures commonly performed. While hearing the phrase “root canal” is enough to make many people shudder, in reality, patients often compare it to be as mild as getting a filling. Knowing the facts about a root canal procedure and knowing the signs of when you might need one should help ease any tension you might feel toward it!

What is a Root Canal?

While many people refer to a “root canal” as a procedure, this is not the case. The root canal is a part of your tooth that is made up of nerves and vessels that run from the very bottom of the tooth’s root (deep inside your gums) to the pulp of your tooth. The pulp is the area underneath the protective enamel covering of your tooth that houses all of the soft tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. Root canal treatment is the process that is needed when an infection starts to develop within that pulp chamber, in the canal, or when an abscess forms underneath the root of the tooth. The root canal procedure is thought to be an uncomfortable one, but in reality, root canal treatment will actually relieve the patient of ongoing discomfort.

How do I Know if I Need a Root Canal Procedure?

There are a lot of different things that can cause infection on the pulp chamber or root canal of the tooth, and it can be difficult to know the original source of the problem. More importantly, knowing the signs of the problem can help you avoid increased discomfort and ongoing complications by getting yourself to the dentist when you start to notice them. A few symptoms and signs that you have an infection and might need root canal treatment include:

  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Swelling in your gums
  • Gum tenderness
  • Ongoing toothache when chewing
  • Discoloration of your tooth or gums
  • Pimples on your gums
  • A chipped tooth

What Happens During the Procedure?

During root canal treatment, the patient will typically be under local anesthesia. Then, in order to remove the infected tissue, an access hole is opened into the pulp chamber down to the root of the tooth (through the canal of the root). Next, the dentist will use a file to scrub the access hole free of any remaining tissues, removing any infection or diseased pulp, flushing away any debris with sterile liquids. After everything is removed, the dentist will then fill the canal completely and then seal the access hole like a typical filling. Then a crown may be needed to protect the remaining tooth structure and return function of the tooth.

What is the Alternative to a Root Canal?

If an infection has gone too far, it is possible that your only option will be to get the tooth extracted (remove the tooth entirely). While this might sound easier, the biggest benefit of getting root canal treatment instead of a tooth extracted is that you get to keep your real tooth. If you get a tooth removed, then you will need to have a fake tooth implanted in order to keep your teeth in place and retain your chewing abilities, but this option should only be a last resort. Getting root canal treatment is the best option if possible and will get rid of discomfort while keeping your natural teeth in place!

Experiencing discomfort when eating or noticing frequent toothaches? Contact Carothers Family Dentist Office in San Marcos TX to get more information.

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What Happens During A Teeth Cleaning:
What to Expect at Your San Marcos Family Dentistry

Regular visits to your dentist are one of the best ways to prevent major dental health issues. However, only making time for an annual visit to your dentist may not be enough. While brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing is a huge part of healthy oral care, you cannot replace the quality of a professional teeth cleaning and examination. If you have ever wondered what the difference is between brushing your teeth at home and having your teeth cleaned by a trained dental hygienist, consider the following.


Unless you have a trained eye with experience in catching early signs of gum disease, you really can’t replace the first step of a teeth cleaning on your own. Using various tools and mirrors, your dentist will be able to examine the state of your teeth and gums and catch any problem areas that you might have. Periodic exams may include x-rays of your mouth and jaw region, which can also help view potential issues that you wouldn’t be able to see yourself. Catching the early signs of gingivitis or other problems could end up saving you a lot of pain and money for treatment down the road.

Removing Calculus

When you brush your teeth at home, the main goal is to clean off any plaque that has gathered on your teeth. The same goes for flossing. However, plaque that gets left behind begins to harden and creates dental calculus. Calculus can’t be removed by brushing at home, so a hygienist will use special tools to remove any evidence of it off of your teeth, even in those hard to reach places like below the gumline! This not only helps your teeth appear whiter, but it also allows brushing at home to more effectively clean your teeth.

Thorough Cleaning

After removing any calculus, your dental hygienist will then use a high powered electric brush to thoroughly clean each individual tooth and remove any leftover calculus residue. The toothpaste that is often used has a slightly gritty consistency, which allows for a gentle scrub and polish of your teeth.

Professional Flossing

While daily flossing is an important step in your at-home oral care and plaque buildup prevention, many Americans don’t do so consistently, making it even more important to have a dental hygienist clean your teeth. Even if you do floss regularly, having it done by a professional takes your oral health to the next level.

Fluoride Treatment

The use of fluoride in toothpaste and community water has reduced cavities and gum disease drastically over the last 60 years. Working like a set of armor, fluoride bonds to your enamel, protecting your teeth from bacteria. Fluoride treatment by a dental hygienist helps give your oral health that extra defense and plays a big part in preventing decay.

Professional Teeth Cleaning in San Marcos

While doing your part to take care of your teeth and gums is important, you can’t replace a quality, professional cleaning. If you haven’t had your teeth cleaned lately, make an appointment! You can sit back, relax, and let a professional dental hygienist do the heavy lifting in making sure your teeth and gums get the best care possible. Call Carothers Family Dental, a San Marcos family dentistry, at 512-396-4288 to learn more today.

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Oral Cancer Screenings
From Our Dental Office in San Marcos, TX

Your oral health is about more than just your teeth. Your dental professional takes care of your teeth, the bones of your jaw, your gums, and other oral tissues. One important issue that dentists look for during your checkups is signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer screening should be completed regularly to ensure that any symptoms are noticed immediately.

What is Oral Cancer?

There are many types of oral cancers that can affect various areas of your mouth. Some develop on the tissue inside your mouth, others may develop on the lips, and some appear on salivary glands. These types of oral cancer can range from benign tumors to various carcinomas. Some types of these oral afflictions can be removed with surgery, while others will need some form of chemical or drug therapy to treat. Regardless of the type of cancer, it’s best if the symptoms are caught as early as possible so that treatment can be provided early on.

How Does My Dentist Perform an Oral Cancer Screening?

Many dentists perform a basic oral cancer screening at dental checkups, so you’ve probably had one before even if you didn’t realize it at the time. To perform an oral cancer screening, a dental professional will thoroughly examine your lips, tongue, gums, the roof of your mouth, and other tissue inside your mouth visually and sometimes by gently probing the areas.

There are different levels of screening for oral cancer. At a regular dental checkup your dentist will likely perform a basic exam such as that described above by visually inspected the areas of your mouth and throat. If anything seems unusual to your dentist, he or she may perform additional examinations. This might include simply rinsing your mouth with a dye that will make it easier to notice unusual cells, or in some cases your dentist may suggest a biopsy.

What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer can be preceded by some symptoms that are noticeable to you but which you may not think to mention to your dentist. These can include jaw pain or difficulty moving your jaw, pain in your tongue or difficulty moving it, white or red patches on the tissue inside your mouth or on your tongue, difficulty or pain swallowing, a lump in your mouth, or other discomfort in or around your mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms or something that doesn’t seem right, it’s important to point them out to your dentist during your checkup or to a doctor.

What Can I Do to Prevent Oral Cancer?

While oral cancer can occur in anyone, there are some steps people can take to reduce their risk of developing it. Many of these are habits already promoted for healthy lifestyles, such as avoiding the use of tobacco products, protecting the skin on your lips from getting too much sun exposure by wearing lip products with sun protection, and limiting your alcohol intake. Additionally, if you’ve ever developed oral cancer and had it removed or treated, you should schedule regular checkups to ensure it doesn’t return.

Oral cancer can affect anyone, and the best way to avoid it is prevention and regular checkups with your local dentist. For information about oral cancer, or to schedule an appointment, contact Carothers Family Dental.

Our dentists in San Marcos TX work around the clock to help fix your dental emergencies as fast as possible.
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The Use of Lasers in Dental Treatments
From our Dentists in San Marcos, Texas

As technology advances, the tools and equipment used in dental procedures do as well. Many patients are familiar with examinations including x-rays and other dental tools. However, one piece of technology now used in dentistry isn’t nearly as well known: dental lasers. The use of lasers in dentistry is increasing for many reasons, including operational accuracy, protection from infection, quicker healing times, and more.

What are Dental Lasers?

“Laser” is actually an acronym meaning “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” There are many different types of lasers available, and those used in dentistry are chosen carefully to ensure they are most effective for the procedures they’ll be used in. Additionally, dentists always chose the safest lasers for dental procedures.

How Safe are Dental Lasers?

Having dental lasers used in an oral procedure may be new for some patients and may cause concern. However, the type of lasers used in dental work are not only safe when handled by a trained dental professional, but can also be safer than traditional dental tools in some ways. To name only one example, the light beam created by a laser can sterilize the affected area and reduce the presence of bacteria, minimizing the risk of infection.

What are the Benefits of Dental Laser Treatments?

Treatments that utilize dental lasers have a variety of benefits. As mentioned above, using lasers in dental procedures can reduce bacteria at the surgical site. In addition to this, dental lasers can often minimize discomfort for patients during and after the procedure as well. Lasers cause minimal tissue damage compared to some other methods. This can lead to faster healing time and even decreased need for anesthesia and sutures.

What are Some Uses of Dental Lasers?

Lasers can be used in many types of dental procedures, from whitening treatments to oral surgeries. They can also be used for in treatments like these:

In Gum Treatments

Dental lasers can be used in a variety of gum treatments, such as reshaping gum tissue during certain procedures. In the case of some oral infections, dental lasers may also be used by your dentist to remove inflamed gum tissue.

On Teeth

Lasers are used less often directly on teeth, but can still be helpful in that area. Dentists can use lasers to remove tiny amounts of enamel from teeth when necessary. Some whitening treatments can also be accelerated when using lasers.

Preparation for Other Oral Procedures

In addition to those mentioned above, there are several oral procedures for which dental lasers can help prepare teeth and tissue. For crown lengthening, lasers can be used to reshape gum tissue and even bone if necessary. They can also be used in preparation for composite bonding by preparing the tooth enamel. Dental lasers can even be used to help repair some worn down fillings.

The Importance of Prevention

While dental laser technology is an exciting advancement in oral treatments, the best way to keep your teeth and mouth healthy is prevention. Take good care of your teeth daily by brushing and flossing regularly. Remember to visit your dentist for regular dental checkups and whenever you experience pain or another dental problem.

Our Dental Office in San Marcos TX

Curious about the use of dental lasers in today’s oral treatments? Contact Carothers Family Dental, a dental office in San Marcos TX , for more information about cosmetic dentistry or to schedule an appointment.

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How Do I Know I Need To Go To The Dentist?

How Do I Know I Need To Go To The Dentist?

While it is recommended to pay a visit to the dentist every 6 months in order to prevent serious dental issues, not everyone can swing a twice a year visit consistently. In fact, a recent study shows that while most Americans value dental health care, almost 50% of adults do not go to the dentist as much as they would like to. Reasons for not regularly going to the dentist might be due to cost, busy schedules, or even it just simply being low on the priority list. However, there are a few physical signs that are early indicators of serious dental problems. Experiencing these symptoms should be followed with a visit to a dentist.

Bad Breath

Everyone experiences having bad breath on occasion (i.e. – morning breath or after eating certain foods), but if you feel like you are constantly needing to mask bad breath with mints, mouth wash, and chewing gum, you might have a more serious problem to deal with. Halitosis, the medical term for bad breath, might be a sign of gum disease which is caused by a buildup of toxins in your mouth. These toxins weaken the gums and could potentially cause serious damage to them and even your jaw bone. Without healthy gums, you cannot have healthy teeth, so if you are experiencing chronic bad breath, visit a dentist for help.

Tooth Sensitivity 

There are many reasons you might be experiencing tooth sensitivity, and many of them are reasons to make time for a dental visit. If you feel a sharp pain in your mouth when eating or drinking something excessively hot, cold, acidic, or sweet, you are suffering from tooth sensitivity. For some, a simple shift in toothpaste can do the trick! There are many brands of toothpaste that are dedicated to people with sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne™ or Colgate Prevident ™. If you do not have cavities or gum problems, then switching to one of these toothpastes might solve the problem!

Out of the many other potential causes, tooth sensitivity is most likely due to either a cavity forming or worn tooth enamel. If you experience high levels of stress, you might even be grinding your teeth which will begin to cause permanent damage to your enamel. If you are developing cavities, you must have a dentist fill them as quickly as possible, or else they can result in dangerous, more painful, and more expensive problems. An unchecked cavity could result in oral abscesses and in extreme cases could cause a patient to be septic. It is a very inexpensive fix that could potentially become fatal if not treated properly.

Dry Mouth

The causes of a dry mouth could be due to dehydration, prescription drug use, non-prescription drug use, or infection, but the result of having a chronically dry mouth is very damaging to your teeth. Saliva is our natural teeth cleanser and actively prevents bacteria and oral infections. Unfortunately, one of the biggest causes of tooth decay for adults is dry mouth. Without saliva, our teeth are left wide open for bad fungi that could cause serious problems. If you are experiencing chronic dry mouth, a dentist or doctor should be able to diagnose the cause and set you up with a treatment plan.

These are just a few of the very early physical signs of potential dental problems. If you are experiencing any of these, or if you would like more information about healthy dental practices, visit Carothers Family Dental, a San Marcos dental office, or call us to make an appointment. Remember, the best prevention for oral diseases and infections is regular professional teeth cleanings and checkups, so make time for a visit today.

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What You Should Know About Emergency Dental Care

No one wants to deal with a dental emergency, but stuff happens. Ignoring a problem or waiting too long can lead to extensive, and expensive dental work. Knowing what to do in a dental emergency can prevent complications and possibly save a tooth.

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Why Treating Sleep Apnea is so Important

Why Treating Sleep Apnea is so Important

Does this sound familiar? You’re fast asleep, and you’re suddenly awakened by the sound of a freight train. But hold on; it’s just your partner snoring. Or maybe you’re on the receiving end of a not so gentle nudge to stop your snoring. The thing is sometimes snoring may be more than just annoying. Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea.

If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, you probably already know it can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep apnea leads to poor quality sleep because it causes frequent pauses in breathing overnight. Although the pauses are brief and usually only last a few seconds, they can occur 20 or more times an hour overnight.

Although someone with sleep apnea may not become fully awake during pauses in breathing, their sleep cycle is still affected. Sleep is fragmented, which results in a variety of consequences. Imagine waking up 20 times or more an hour. It’s no wonder sleep is not restful.

There are three types of sleep apnea including mixed, central and obstructive with the latter being the most common. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) develops when tissue in the rear of the throat collapses or sags and blocks the airway.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea  

Sleep apnea is pretty common. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, about 18 million people have sleep apnea. But sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Many people are not aware of the symptoms or dangers of untreated sleep apnea, so they don’t seek help.

In addition to snoring, symptoms of sleep apnea include morning tiredness and headaches. But not everyone who snores and is tired in the morning has sleep apnea. If you want to get to the bottom of a snoring problem, a sleep study is a good way to start.

A sleep study is a pretty straightforward test. You’ll be monitored overnight while you sleep. During a sleep study, your heart and respiratory rate, along with your oxygen level and eye movements are monitored during different stages of sleep. Your doctor will review your symptoms, along with the results of the sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea.

More than Sleepiness

After a bad night’s sleep, you probably know how you might be dragging the next day. We’ve all been there; cranky, tired and desperate for coffee. But for people with obstructive sleep apnea, poor sleep is a chronic problem and can affect several areas of their life. For example, a lack of good sleep can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, decreased motivation and poor work performance. But that’s not all, sleep problems can lead to mood disturbances, including depression, and can impact relationships. Sleep deprivation can also increase your risk of a motor vehicle accident.

Medical Conditions Associated with Sleep Apnea

It’s clear that sleep apnea if left untreated, can have a lot more serious consequences than just leaving you tired and irritable the next day. But you might be surprised to learn how many serious medical conditions are associated with sleep apnea. In fact, potential consequences of sleep apnea are downright scary.

For instance, sleep apnea is associated with a variety of potentially life-threatening conditions including heart disease, strokes and diabetes. According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 50 percent of people who have obstructive sleep apnea also have high blood pressure. Researchers theorize the pauses in breathing and hormonal changes that can occur overnight may contribute to hypertension.

Certain cardiac conditions are also linked to sleep apnea. So what gives? How can sleep apnea lead to heart disease? Researchers are not exactly sure how sleep apnea increases your chances of developing heart disease and having a heart attack. But remember, if you have sleep apnea, your breathing stops and starts often overnight. During these pauses, the oxygen level in your blood decreases. One theory on how sleep apnea can lead to cardiac problems is the decreased oxygen levels in the blood may damage the vessels that supply blood to the heart.

Another problem is the damage that is done may not just occur overnight while you’re sleeping. Doctors believe that the decreased oxygen levels at night may trigger various physiological changes that continue during the daytime even during normal breathing.

If cardiac conditions and hypertension were not enough, sleep apnea is also linked to diabetes. In fact, according to the International Diabetes Federation, about 40 percent of people with obstructive sleep apnea will develop type 2 diabetes. Although being overweight is a risk factor for both sleep apnea and diabetes, some studies indicate the association between the conditions may be independent of obesity.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Since sleep apnea may lead to serious medical problems, it’s easy to see why treatment is important ASAP. But not all treatment is right for every patient. There are different treatment options that may work for people with sleep apnea, depending on the severity of your symptoms and your preference.

What works for one person may not work for another. That’s why at Sullivan and Carothers, DDS, we take an individualized approach to treatment. For example, some people may benefit from using an oral appliance. A dental device, which is custom made, fits over your teeth and is worn at night. Although it might not sound pretty, the device can be an effective treatment. An oral appliance works by pushing your lower jaw forward and holding your airway open when you sleep. Our dentists will work together with your doctor to make the appliance and monitor its effectiveness.

Another option to consider is using a CPAP machine. CPAP is short for continuous positive airway pressure. If you use CPAP, you’ll wear a mask over your nose, which is attached by a hose to a small, CPAP machine. The machine is about the size of a shoebox or smaller. The machine generates air pressure, which is delivered to your airway through the mask. The pressure keeps your airway open while you sleep.

In most cases, an oral appliance or CPAP will be used to treat sleep apnea. But in cases where neither treatment works, surgery may be an option. There are different types of surgical procedures depending on your situation.

Keep in mind, many people with mild to moderate sleep apnea can be treated without surgery.  But one thing is for sure, treating sleep apnea can decrease your risk of certain conditions and improve your sleep and overall quality of life.

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