Many of us have New Year’s resolutions we struggle to keep. Sometimes, taking on a new habit to rid ourselves of an old one seems like a good alternative. In the case of sugarless gum chewing, this is true! Feel free to curb your cravings for those bad habits with a minty fresh stick of sugarless chewing gum. Clinical studies supported by the American Dental Association have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can help fend off tooth decay. Because choosing the correct chewing gum is crucial for reaping these benefits, Plano Texas dentist Dr. Sowell would like to offer some insight on this hot topic.
Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva, which has a number of positive effects on your oral health. Saliva washes away residual food debris, neutralizes the acidity of certain foods and beverages, and coats the mouth with disease-fighting substances. Saliva also carries calcium and phosphate, which are vitally important for strengthening tooth enamel.
Look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval when selecting your new favorite sugarless gum. Without the ADA seal, you cannot be sure that the gum is truly sugarless and it could end up causing cavities rather than preventing them. Truly sugarless gum contains non-cavity causing sweeteners such as xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol rather than true sugar.
Chewing sugarless gum is not a substitute for good oral hygiene practices; it is purely a supplementary method for preventing tooth decay. The ADA still recommends flossing regularly and brushing twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
If you have any questions regarding sugarless gum or need help finding an ADA-approved toothpaste, please feel free to discuss it with Dr. Sowell during your next visit!
Posted in: benefits of sugarless gum, preventative dental care TX
Do you experience anxiety or fear at the thought of visiting a dentist? If so, you are not alone. Anxiety is one of the biggest reasons why patients delay dental treatment or do not visit their dentist on a regular basis. Plano, TX dentist Dr. Mark Sowell is committed to helping his patients feel more at ease throughout their dental visit and would like to offer some strategies for combatting anxiety at the dentist.
- Share your anxiety with your dentist. Dr. Sowell is dedicated to his patients and will take the necessary steps to make sure that you feel as comfortable as possible. Sometimes, simply sharing your thoughts can make you more relaxed.
- Schedule your appointment during the least stressful part of your day/week. This time varies among different people, but if you do not feel rushed or under pressure, your visit will be much more pleasant.
- If the sound of the hand piece or dental instruments is the source of your anxiety, consider bringing headphones to your visit and listening to your favorite music or an audio book. Your fears may subside once you create a more calming and relaxing treatment environment.
Dr. Sowell also offers sedation dentistry for patients who desire it and will discuss your medical history and concerns before recommending the best option. He is one of few Dallas area dentists offering IV sedation as well as oral sedation.
Aside from the strategies mentioned above, it is important that you make regular visits to the dentist. Maintaining good oral hygiene defends against dental diseases and lowers the potential need for invasive dental treatment later. Regular dental visits are necessary to help spot oral health problems in the early stages, when treatment is more likely to be simpler and more affordable. Continuity of care is important in medicine and dentistry alike, and for this reason, Dr. Sowell strives to build lasting relationships with his patients and encourage their satisfaction with treatment and likelihood for return.
Posted in: dental anxiety
From the desk of Dr. Mark Sowell, DDS:
The oral hygiene products you use between preventive dental care visits can have a dramatic effect on your long term oral health. Unfortunately major manufacturers put out a lot of misinformation about mouthwashes and toothpastes to market their products.
So that my patients can make informed decisions about their oral health I’d like to review the desired characteristics of a tooth paste to start. The first thing is most of the plaque or bacteria is removed by the mechanical action of brushing, not the effects of the toothpaste. Thus the design of the toothbrush has a much larger role. This is why electric toothbrushes are important and desirable to make efferent plaque removal easier.
It is important for toothpaste to have a low abrasive index with any brush especially with electric tooth brush. If you have an abrasive paste and then use a power brush is the combination that is used to strip floors so why would you want to do that to your teeth. Yes it will remove stain better on your teeth, but at the expense of your protective enamel!
I have never seen a patient who drinks coffee, red wine or smokes keep their teeth stain free but I have seen many damage their teeth over time using abrasive toothpastes.
This issue is so important the American Dental Association (ADA) tests and publishes the relative abrasiveness of all toothpastes and anything over 100 is undesirable for the long term health of your teeth and under 50 is most desirable. Now when you consider porcelain, the effects will dull the polished surface of the porcelain.
Thus it is very common and a shame when patients use abrasive toothpastes on beautiful porcelain veneers and crowns and dull the surface of the porcelain over time. The purpose of this article is to try to change behavior so their smiles will look good 10 years after placement!
The oral environment gets more acidic as we start taking prescription medications, which increases the surface wear of our teeth, roots and porcelain, so we certainly do not need abrasive tooth pastes working against us. But a toothpaste can provide important ingredients to help reverse the deterioration of the oral environment . Xylitol is an effective antibacterial component, as well as neutral sodium fluoride. Hydroxiapitite helps remineraize teeth to make them more resistant to acids from bacteria and our diet. Antioxidants help the gingival tissues heal and regenerate from the effects of oral bacteria. Carbamide Peroxide can be added to help with the whitening of teeth.Potassium nitrate helps decrease root sensitivity.The following list you can see how abrasive your tooth paste is.
As a general rule, gels are much less abrasive than pastes. Please note that Consumer Reports reviewed tooth pastes and unfortunately they did not consider the RDA, only stain removal, so high abrasive tooth pastes got the best ratings!
0-50 RDA (Relative dentin abrasiveness)
- straight baking soda
- PERIO SCIENCE tooth paste
- Arm & hammer tooth powder
- Elmex Sensitive Plus
- Rembrandt Original
- Arm and Hammer Peroxicare Regular
- Arm and Hammer Dental Care sensitive
- Colgate regular
- Colgate total
- Harm and Hammer Advanced white sensitive
- Colgate 2 in1 fresh mint
- Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength
- Aquafresh Sensitive
- Rembrandt Plus
- Crest Regular (99)
above 100 RDA
- Natural White
- Arm and Hammer Sensation
- Sensodyne Extra whitening
- Colgate Platinum
- Crest sensitivity Protection
- Colgate Herbal
- Amway Glister
- Aquafresh Whitening
- Arm & Hammer Advance white gel
- Arm and hammer sensation Tartar Control
- Colgate Whitening
- Colgate extra whiting
- Ultra brute Advanced Whiting formula
- Colgate Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening Formula
- Colgate Tartar Control
- Colgate 2 in 1 Tartar Control
The tooth paste that I recommend in our office is the Perio Science tooth paste because it has a low abrasive index thus will not damage your roots or porcelain even with the electric tooth brush we recommend which is the Sonic Care electric tooth brush. Additionally is contains several of the components listed above to help create a health oral environment as well as antioxidants. The cost is little different from that the major brands as you do not use as much- size of a pea for each brushing.
I hope this has been helpful as I want your teeth and porcelain to last as long as possible!
Posted in: oral hygiene
Sedation options available for today’s dental patients enable those who suffer with dental anxiety to both restore their oral health and achieve the smile they have always wanted!
Avoiding the dentist often results in the development of complex dental problems that can have a detrimental affect on daily quality of life. Damaged teeth, gum disease, and lost teeth can impact diet, speech and overall health!
Dallas dentist Dr. Mark Sowell emphasizes the benefits of routine dental care in preventing problems such as these and helping patients maintain a healthy, functioning smile from year to year. Dr. Sowell understands the struggles his patients with dental anxiety face when visiting his dentist office and offers several sedation dentistry options to ensure their comfort during treatments, including the option of IV sedation performed by a local dental anesthesiologist in our comfortable Dallas dentist office.
Dr. Sowell also offers nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, as an alternative for patients needing or desiring sedation. An inhalation sedation, nitrous has several benefits for patients choosing to be sedated:
- The depth of sedation can be altered at any time to increase or decrease sedation.
- There is no after effect such as a “hangover”
- Considered safe with no side effects on your heart or lungs
- It is very effective in minimizing gagging
- It works rapidly, reaching the brain within 20 seconds and relaxing patients within 2-3 minutes.
As with IV sedation, Dr. Sowell will discuss your medical history to ensure that your a candidate for nitrous oxide to prevent any possible complications.
Sedation dentistry is an important facet of modern dentistry, enabling patients with severe dental anxiety to maintain their oral health as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. If you have been avoiding the dentist, come in for a visit with Dr. Sowell and discuss your options for sedation to ensure your comfort during a dental procedure.
Posted in: sedation dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry can both transform your smile and restore dental health.
Addressing dental concerns such as crooked teeth, misaligned teeth and damaged teeth not only enhances the appearance of your smile, but also improves the integrity of the natural teeth and restores balance to the bite. Although many of these concerns may seem to detract from the beauty of your smile, they also impact your overall oral health and can increase the risk of common dental problems: teeth that are out of position or damaged are more prone to decay or even loss.
Nationally recognized Dallas cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Sowell can work with you to achieve your cosmetic goals while also addressing overall dental health. He understands the importance of fixing underlying dental problems in conjunction with any dentistry to ensure lasting, comfortable results.
Choosing the right cosmetic dentist is important!
Dr. Sowell is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), a testament to his dedication to the science and artistry of cosmetic dentistry in order to provide the best possible results utilizing the latest treatments and procedures. During a complimentary “Smile Design” consultation, Dr. Sowell will examine your smile and discuss your personal goals. This is the perfect opportunity to ask any questions you may have, learn about the wide range of cosmetic treatments available, and work with Dr. Sowell to create a personalized treatment plan. In many cases, treatments can be completed in phases to accommodate your time, goals and budget.
Financing and Payment
Dr. Sowell understands the economic pressures of today’s dental patients and offers a variety of payment options to cover treatment cost for cosmetic procedures that are not covered by traditional dental insurance:
- Incentives for paying up front in full
- Third party financing with Springstone, Chase and Dental Fee Plan. We also offer up to 12 months interest-free plans as well as terms up to 60 months at a reduced interest rate (Dr. Sowell pays the interest to make quality dentistry affordable).
- The “cruise plan:” prepay one or two times per month until you build up a balance to start your treatment.
Dr. Sowell and his staff can help you with costs and financing prior to treatment to ensure that you receive the best possible dentistry within your budget.
Posted in: cosmetic dentist dallas, cosmetic dentistry
When planning a vacation, a visit with the dentist is certainly not on the list! But why not?
Consider making a trip to the Dallas area for some relaxation, fun sightseeing- and a smile makeover with Plano dentist Dr. Mark Sowell. A nationally recognized cosmetic and general dentist, Dr. Sowell not only offers Five Star Concierge service, but the wide range of dental procedures necessary to address most dental problems or cosmetic concerns.
Dr. Sowell has incorporated some of the latest in dental technology, treatments and diagnostic tools into his Plano dentist office, enabling him to offer patients a unique dental experience that also addresses overall health and well being.
Five Star Dental Services:
- Thorough exam, including periodontal screening
- Biophotonic scanning: a non invasive, quick scan can provide feedback on a patient’s immune health and its affect on gum disease
- Smile design: Cosmetic consultation and esthetic exam
- Laser dentistry: gum reshaping and other procedures are more accurate and less painful with dental lasers
- Teeth in a day: dental implant secured dentures can be placed in a single visit
Dr. Sowell has a state of the art dental laboratory in his office, run by master ceramist James Chung. Dr. Sowell can design, fabricate and place high quality porcelain restorations, often in a single visit.
In addition to the high quality of dentistry ofered by Dr. Sowell, patients are made to feel pampered and relaxed with spa-like amenities: satellite TV, personal headsets and a full music library, heated neck pillows and massage chairs will have you wondering if you are in a dentist office! At the end of your visit, freshen up with a warm, scented face towel and a beverage from our refreshment bar.
Out of patients are welcomed and our staff is well equipped to help with travel plans, local destinations and the coordination of transportation to and from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Fly in for a vacation and fly home with a beautiful, healthy smile!
Posted in: dental tourism, dental vacation
Gum Disease is one of the most common diseases in our population. A staggering 80% of adults have gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums, and 47% have periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease that affects the gum tissue as well as the bone.
With age, the percentage of people with periodontitis increases. Therefore, older adults are more likely to have advanced bone loss around their teeth which ultimately leads to tooth loss.
I Brush & Floss Everyday – Why Do I have Gum Disease?
It seems to be contradictory then, that older people – who often take better care of themselves than younger people, have poorer oral hygiene. The reason for poor dental health, despite routine care, has to do with the immune system.
As we age, our immune system deteriorates and becomes less effective. High levels of bad bacteria cause very little damage to young people, typically resulting in simple gingivitis, compared to older adults with less bacteria who are more likely to suffer from periodontitis.
Patients frequently come to our Dallas area dental office frustrated by the fact that despite routine brushing and flossing, they still suffer from gum disease. In many cases, they question the effectiveness of the periodontal treatment or quality of care from the hygienist.
How Immune System Response Affects Oral Bacteria
But, the answer often has very little to do with the amount of brushing and flossing or number of visits made to the dentist. Instead, it has to do with the immune response – that is the decline in the immune system and its ability to fight bad bacteria in the mouth.
Hygiene skills are often addressed as well. Cleaning bad bacteria from the between the teeth and below the gums requires excellent dexterity and lots of practice. Even Dr. Sowell admits his own challenges, saying, “After I had been flossing for one year as a student, I went to get my teeth cleaned and the hygienist asked me if I had ever considered flossing. I was devastated as I had flossed everyday for a year.”
Flossing back teeth and around crooked teeth can be very challenging. Straight teeth make the process much more user friendly. But for now lets focus of the host immune response.
Age Changes Our Body’s Chemistry
Saliva decreases with age. In addition, many older adults take prescription medications, which further decrease function of salivary glands, compounding the effects of dry mouth (xeristomia).
Decreased saliva changes the PH of the mouth, creating ideal conditions for bad bacteria to multiply.
Traditionally, dentists focused exclusively on removing the hard deposits of bacteria below the gum which the patient cannot remove and soft bacterial plaque below the gumline that is not easily removed by flossing. This bacteria is often present for 6 or more weeks and can progress to 2mm below the gumline, or further.
Even with paramount hygiene skills, it is not difficult for an individual to reach a “tipping point” where the ratio of bad bacteria to good bacteria falls out of balance. To combat this, dentists will recommend more frequent hygiene visits to avoid progression of gum disease. For some patients bi-annual cleanings may be sufficient, but for many adults, frequent cleanings as often as every 2 or 3 months are required to control gum disease.
Identifying Deficiencies in Immune Response
A part of the equation that dentists could never account for was an individual’s immune response. That is, how well they tolerate bad bacteria in their mouth.
Dr. Sowell can identify the type of bacteria present with a simple, but sophisticated salivary lab test. Infection can be addressed through antibiotics. But more is needed to address the cause of bacteria in the first place.
Now, there is a tool to give insight into the unknown. Using a nobel prize winning device called a biophotonic scanner, Dr. Sowell can measure carateniod and antioxidant levels. The non-contact scan takes less than 10 minutes to complete and generates a score that gives Dr. Sowell insight into an individual’s ability to fight disease and inflammation.
A high score is a positive indication that the body can do its job to control disease with proper home care (hygiene) and routine dental visits. A low score, however, is an indication that the issue will persist without a boost to the immune system.
Improving Immunity For Oral Health
One first steps towards boosting host immune response is through improved diet. Eating 10 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables per day can raise a person’s antioxidant levels. But this isn’t the case for everyone.
Dr. Sowell shares his experience:
“In my case, I ate 10 or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day for a year and found no change. As it turns out, the problem was my absorption level in my gut and intestines. Without the biophotonic scanner, I would have never been able to realize this.
Ultimately, I was able to raise my antioxidant level substantially through nano particle supplements. “
Finally, there’s a way to help identify a component of the treatment solution and help people who struggle with chronic gum disease despite excellent home care and frequent gum treatments.
Dr. Sowell is the first and only dentist in Plano to offer this testing tool. Ask for more details at your next appointment, or call our office at 972.382.6855 to schedule a consultation.
Posted in: adult dental care dallas, gum disease, periodontal therapy dallas
Gum lift to level the gums and increase the display of the worn-down teeth from clenching and grinding. Ten empress porcelain veneers to restore the shape, anatomy and arch form. Lower teeth were bleached.
Posted in: cosmetic dentistry
So my review is perhaps a bit different than most. Dr. Sowell gave me a full set of veneers four years ago.
When I first saw him I was just about over everything dental. Discolored teeth, five root canals, countless crowns and so many cavities I can’t even begin to count. I was looking at several crown replacements and other work that was going to be really expensive…plus the fact that the work was going to address structural issues but not change the fact that I hadn’t smiled in forever. Only half in jest, I was ready for dentures.
Dr. Sowell was incredibly precise in designing my new tooth structure. For those of you who think that veneers are a cosmetic-only procedure – the doctor also totally re-aligned my bite. I had been to other dentists who wanted to put me in braces (as a 40+ year old) to correct these issues.
So why am I writing this? I just came back from a dental check-up (I’ve since moved out of the area) and my dentist said that whoever did my work was “an artist”.
And truly, that’s how I feel. I love my smile. That’s awesome. But more importantly I have no more grinding issues, no cavities, no crown issues and no need for follow-up work. Four years later.
Loved his staff, the office environment and overall experience. But here’s the thing: Dr. Sowell takes a technical approach to your situation and crafts a solution that is unique to you. I’m living proof. I have no idea who’s the best cosmetic dentist in the Dallas area, but I’ll tell you this – no one can possibly do more to address underlying structural issues as well as provide an awesome appearance than Dr. Sowell.
Posted in: cosmetic dentistry
Western trained doctors are encouraged to recommend only peer-reviewed, scientific-researched solutions to patient problems. Unfortunately, that level of research is not always available and too often, doctors simply provide treatments for symptoms instead of treating the core problem.
Since 1980, we have know that gum disease had two components:
- Local hard and soft accumulations of bacteria above and below the gums
- And the host-immune response.
Treatment for gum disease has always included the professional removal of the hard and soft bacterial colonies, paired with education on how patients can control soft bacteria at home through regular brushing and flossing.
The host immune response, however, has been completely avoided because there has been no scientifically practical method of evaluating the patients immune response nor a practical (and predictable) solution.
Despite numerous advances in the treatment of gum disease that rate of infection remains high.
- 80% of Americans have gingivitis (primarily affecting the gums)
- 48% of Americans have the more serious periodontitis (which affects the bone)
Far fewer people lose their teeth to gum disease compared to 1980, however they cyclic recurrence in episodes of gum disease remains high in patients age 50 and older.
Why Is It Difficult To Treat Gum Disease?
The natural questions that patients ask is if I am get routine treatment and follow all suggested home care instructions, why do I keep getting recurring episodes of gum disease every few years?
This is a complex question but thanks to advances in technology, we finally address the host immune response component of the disease.
Dr. Sowell is one of the few dentists in the United States to have a Nobel-Prize winning technology called a BioPhotonic Scanner. This non-invasive device is much more accurate than a blood test – used to measure human antioxidant status.
Antioxidants & Gum Disease
Antioxidants are what our body uses to repair damage from free radicals, which are toxins that cause cell and DNA damage through the process of oxidation. Free radicals can be increased by stress, sun exposure, smoking, environmental pollution and other toxins.
Think of a freshly cut apple and how it turns yellow and then brown as it is exposed to air (oxidation). If you put lemon juice on the cut apple, it will not change color (antioxidant). In this way, antioxidants combat free radicals to prevent cell and DNA damage.
The amount of antioxidants in your body is directly proportional to how long and well you will live if genetic defects and physical injury are avoided. The Biophotonic Scanner give us a simple and practical way to measure our antioxidants levels through measuring our carotenoid levels in our skin which is proved directly proportional to our antioxidant level through careful scientific studies.
What Oral Inflammation Tells Us About Overall Health
We have always know the mouth is the window to evaluating the health of the body. Inflammation in the mouth is a good indicator of inflammation elsewhere in the body.
New studies now tell us that the body is made of of interconnecting micro-biomes, an ecological community of bacteria both good and bad that share our body spaces. If there is an imbalance in a micro-biome in one area of the body, there is the potential for an imbalance to occur in another area of the body.
Thanks to this new technology, we can evaluate individual antioxidant levels when diagnosing gum disease. Patients with high antioxidant levels generally will have less inflammation in their mouth and body. The gums will appear pink and healthy when the oral hygiene is good and sugar intake is low. These patients also have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer of all types, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration, respiratory disease and low birth weight babies in women among other things.
Eating Healthy For Healthy Gums
In addition to routine dental care, it is important to adopt a healthy diet for a healthy mouth. Patients who eat 10 to 12 portions of fruits and vegetable (free of pesticides and chemical pollutants) each day then to have high antioxidant scores. With age and consumption of processed foods, the antioxidant scores decrease.
“In my personal experience, I found it was difficult to prepare 10 to 12 portions of organic fruits and vegetables each day,” said Dr. Sowell. “I tried to raise my antioxidant score for one year. Although I ate fruits and vegetables continually, my score did not budge. What did change, however, was my sugar intake, which increased as a result of all the fruit I had been eating. Finally, I was able to increase my antioxidant levels with a specially designed supplement that used nano absorption technology.”
We are pleased that there is finally a valid, scientifically-based treatment to address the core problems in the immune response component of gum disease. The outcomes are exciting as this can not only improve patients gum disease symptoms – but decrease inflammation throughout the body and decrease the risk of other conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Posted in: dallas general dentist, dental health concerns, gum disease