General Dentistry

Dental Breakthroughs On The Horizon

Posted on May 19, 2017 in General Dentistry

dental breakthroughs Arlington

At Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we use the latest validated dental technology to provide our patients with quality general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. In addition, we keep tabs on the latest dental research that is moving the industry forward.

Here are some of the intriguing dental technologies currently being evaluated and tested:

Fill and Heal: Bioactive Glass
A new type of filling created from “bioactive glass” has been shown to increase the life of fillings by restricting secondary decay and replacing lost minerals.

“Bioactive glass, which is a type of crushed glass that is able to interact with the body, has been used in some types of bone healing for decades. This type of glass is only beginning to see use in dentistry, and our research shows it may be very promising for tooth fillings.”1 Jamie Kruzic, professor of advanced structural and biomaterials at the Oregon State University College of Engineering

Stem Cells
Stem cell regenerative medicine is poised to provide a myriad of exciting discoveries in dentistry.

A research team from the University of Nottingham and Harvard University is applying stem cell technology to dentistry with the development of stem-cell based biomaterials that regenerate tooth dentin.2 The objective is to use them in fillings and root canals to save and regenerate tooth structure. The research is in its early stages, but this technology could one day help preserve millions of smiles for men and women worldwide.

3D Printing
3D printing is already being used in some dental offices to create aligners, retainers, drilling guides for implant placement, and extremely accurate models for restorations. As the printers become faster and less costly, you will be seeing them in more Texas  dental offices.

Technology has its place, but experience, expertise, and a warm and attentive chairside manner are just as crucial. The warm and friendly team at Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry invites you to welcome the difference at our comfortable dental office. Call today to make an appointment.

Note: The image to the right is a CAD-CAM (Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing) machine used for the production of dental restorations.

1“Tooth fillings of the future may incorporate bioactive glass,” Oregon State University December 22, 2015, http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2015/dec/tooth-fillings-future-may-incorporate-bioactive-glass, accessed on October 24, 2016
2Liz Cass, “Fillings that heal your teeth – how regenerative medicine could change your visit to the dentist,” University of Nottingham, July 1, 2016, https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2016/july/fillings-that-heal-your-teeth.aspx, accessed on October 24, 2016

 

Contact Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry:

817-200-7323

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

909 W Mitchell St
Arlington, Texas
76013

 

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Dental Sealants – Another Tool For Cavity Prevention

Posted on Mar 17, 2017 in General Dentistry

Dental Sealants In Arlington

Dental patients in the Arlington, Mansfield, and Grand Prairie areas know that regular brushing and flossing are essential for optimal oral health. However, the bristles of your toothbrush can’t reach into every small groove and depression in your teeth, especially the really bumpy back teeth. That’s where sealants can be invaluable.

Dental sealants are a plastic material that is applied by your Grand Prairie dentist. This material is a resin that bonds to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, mainly in the pits and fissures. The plastic acts as a shield against acids and plaque that can damage the enamel.

Many Arlington residents might think that sealants are only for children and teenagers, but they can actually be beneficial for adults as well. If you are wondering if sealants are right for you, speak with your Arlington, Mansfield, or Grand Prairie dentist. This simple dental procedure can improve your oral health by protecting the surfaces that are particularly vulnerable to decay.

Many Texas dental insurance providers include dental sealants as a covered benefit, so check with your provider if you are considering them. If you don’t have dental insurance, ask us about financing options. Because they can prevent cavities, dental sealants can save you money in the long run.

I’m Dr. Stephen Ratcliff, an experienced Arlington dentist. Thank you for visiting my dental blog. At our office we serve the Grand Prairie area by offering:

dental implants
dentures
porcelain veneers
Invisalign clear braces
teeth whitening

If you have any questions about these or other cosmetic dental procedures, call us today at 817-200-7323 to schedule a consultation.  Our warm and friendly staff would be happy to assist you.

 

Contact Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry:

817-200-7323

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

909 W Mitchell St
Arlington, Texas
76013

 

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No Dental Insurance? Prioritize Spending For Dental Care

Posted on Feb 10, 2017 in General Dentistry

dental financing Arlington

Millions of Americans don’t have dental insurance, and many Texas employer plans have limited benefits. Some Arlington people who fail to get adequate dental care say “It’s too pricey.”

If you are really living below poverty level, this excuse may be valid – but if you have an average income, you can probably shift your priorities to find money in your budget to invest in a healthy smile.

You have probably heard of the “Latte Factor” which refers to the surprising amount of dollars that add up if you buy an expensive caffeinated beverage every morning. Even if you don’t drink coffee, you probably have a personal habit that costs a few dollars daily but adds up to hundreds of dollars a year. Soda pop, beer, an eight-dollar deli sandwich, a game of golf. How about personal grooming – manis, pedis, facials, and professional hair coloring? What about the money you spend for convenience – pizza delivery, ATM fees, heat-and-eat meals? How much do you spend on premium cable, video game rentals, full-price movies, and season tickets to Grand Prairie sporting events?

If you have foregone dental exams, cleanings and treatments because you think it’s too expensive, I hope this blog post has opened your eyes to purchases that may be far less important than a healthy smile. Remember, if you ignore dental problems, eventually they will require more extensive treatments. Filling a cavity is relatively inexpensive, a root canal costs more, and a dental implant is a major investment. What is a tooth worth? Every single one is priceless. And don’t forget that dental issues impact the well-being of your entire body.

Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Arlington provides competitively priced premium dental care including veneers, crowns, bonding, orthodontia, and teeth whitening. Ask us about dental financing options.

 

Contact Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry:

817-200-7323

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

909 W Mitchell St
Arlington, Texas
76013

 

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Healthy Lifestyles For Healthy Lifesmiles

Posted on Aug 5, 2016 in General Dentistry

Arlington dentist teeth whitening

Dental health and a unforgettable smile depend on much more than simply brushing regularly. In today’s Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry post, we present a quick refresher course on critical lifestyle practices that affect oral health. You are probably familiar with most of these recommendations, but it is helpful to get a reminder once in a while. We encourage all of our patients to maintain a lifestyle that promotes dental health as well as overall physical health. After all, the two are inseparable.

DO:

Eat a nutritious diet.
Eat calcium-rich dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt to neutralize acids that attack enamel.
Brush gently but meticulously at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
Make sure you clean thoroughly between teeth with dental floss or interdental cleaners such as flossing picks.
If you have children, talk to your Grand Prairie dentist about water fluoridation. If your municipal water supply is not fluoridated, you may want to give your children fluoride supplements.
Get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year.
Have a dental examination twice yearly with your Arlington dentist.

DON’T:

Eat a sugar frequently. Sugar triggers the production of dangerous cavity-causing acids that weaken enamel.
Snack throughout the day. This speeds up plaque production and subjects the teeth to constant bombardment with acids.
Chew on ice.
Use your teeth as tools. Ever.
Drink energy drinks.
Get oral piercings.
Ignore tooth pain or sensitivity.

If you have oral pain or haven’t visited a dentist in a while, call Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry  at 817-200-7323 to schedule an appointment with Stephen Ratcliff. Tooth problems get worse over time – especially if there is decay or gum disease.

At Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we serve the Arlington area with exceptional dental care including general and cosmetic dentistry. Ask us about dental implants, dentures, porcelain veneers and Invisalign clear braces.

 

Contact Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry:

817-200-7323

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

909 W Mitchell St
Arlington, TX
76013

 

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Know The Facts About Oral Piercings

Posted on Jul 8, 2016 in General Dentistry

health risks of oral piercings Arlington

Body piercings are a common form of self-expression seen around Grand Prairie. Today’s post is for those who currently have an oral piercing or are considering one.

Since this is a dental blog, I am sure you expect us to raise all sorts of alarms warning of the dangers of piercings. You are right. Unfortunately, these piercings and the jewelry they accommodate can lead to serious troubles with not only your teeth and mouth, but your entire body. These piercings can cause tooth damage, dental caries, periodontal disease, tooth loss, bone recession, compromised immune system function and, in rare cases, death.

In general, any oral piercing is going to open you up to an array of detrimental oral infections and complications. The mouth is full of germs and introducing foreign objects permanently is not natural for your body’s health.

A tongue piercing can lead to difficulty chewing with unnatural chewing patterns that may lead to swallowing problems. The jewelry produces excess saliva from the salivary glands, which throws off the natural balance of your oral cavity. Permanent nerve degeneration, excessive bleeding, and allergic reactions can also ensue.

Metal jewelry also can easily come in contact with your teeth, leading to cracked, chipped, or damaged teeth. Your teeth are built to last a lifetime. Chips, cracks, and enamel erosion compromise their stability and shorten their life span.

Complications with some piercings arise by the introduction of hepatitis and herpes simplex viruses, and even more complications have occurred with bacteria entering the bloodstream and eventually lodging in the heart valve. In rare cases, such infections are fatal.

Though not technically a piercing, some Texas people drill small holes in their teeth to place rhinestones or other jewelry. Drilling into a tooth is dangerous for many reasons, including damage that can make a root canal required. The jewel also can attract bacteria that can directly go into the drilled cavity of the tooth.

Dr. Ratcliff encourages patients with oral piercings to remove their jewelry before it puts their health at risk. However, if you have an oral piercing and plan to keep it, we counsel you to have scheduled dental cleanings and check-ups at Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Arlington. We will set up a schedule for regular visits so we can discover and correct problems in their early stages before they become more extreme. Do not wait if you suspect you may have a dental or physical trouble. Call 817-200-7323 ASAP.

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Are You At Risk For Bone Recession?

Posted on Mar 4, 2016 in General Dentistry, Gum Disease

dental bone grafting Arlington

Beautiful smiles require healthy teeth, healthy gums, and healthy bone. Occasionally, a patient experiences bone recession in their jaw which can cause tooth loss and other problems. However, it is ordinarily the other way around. The bone loss occurs as a result of a lost tooth because the blood supply and stimulus necessary for maintaining healthy bone is taken away. Bone recession can be caused by a number of factors. Let’s look at the most common causes of jaw bone loss:

Gum Infection
A gum infection can result when gum inflammation goes untreated and progresses to periodontitis. With periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth creating pockets which provide the perfect breeding ground for the dangerous infection. Gum infections can progress undetected, though there are usually warning signs. Swollen, painful gums, loose teeth, and gums that bleed when brushed are symptoms of periodontitis. The infection dissolves bone as the gums pull away from the tooth. Inadequate oral hygiene increase the risk of gum disease but other factors can compromise gum health. These include smoking (no surprise there), hormone levels, diseases that lower immune system effectiveness, medications that cause dry mouth, and genetic predisposition.

Abscessed Tooth
An abscess is a pus-filled pocket of infection that occurs in the nerve and roots of a tooth. As the infection attacks the tooth and bone tissue it creates a space that fills with pus. There are several treatments for a tooth abscess including antibiotics to kill the infection, a root canal, or extraction, if needed.

Extracted Teeth
Bone is living tissue and needs stimulation to stay healthy and retain its size and density. Biting, chewing, talking and all the other normal mouth functions keep the portion of the bone surrounding the tooth root healthy. When a tooth is extracted, the bone that used to anchor the tooth root recedes as if it understands that it is no longer needed. A dental implant provides stimulation similar to the natural tooth and can prohibit bone recession.

If you would like to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, but don’t have enough bone at the implant site, you might be a candidate for bone grafting. Bone grafting may sound like major oral surgery but it is really a routine procedure performed in a dental office.

I am Dr. Stephen Ratcliff of Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Arlington. If you have experienced bone recession due to gum disease, an abscess, an extracted tooth, or any other reason, let’s discuss your options. You may benefit from a dental implant, soft tissue grafts, or bone grafts. Dental implants can significantly improve your quality of life and prohibit further recession. Call 817-200-7323 to make an appointment for an informative exam and consult.

I pride myself in the personal attention and exceptional dental care I provide to each of my patients. I understand that visiting a dentist can cause anxiety for some people. I promise you that you will feel comfortable in my care and leave the appointment with accurate information and an individualized treatment plan.

Dr. Stephen Ratcliff
Stephen Ratcliff Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
909 W Mitchell St
Arlington, Texas 76013
817-200-7323
http://www.myarlingtoncosmeticdentist.com/meet-dr-ratcliff/

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