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Last Call for Drinking at the Dentist’s Office?

For many people, going to the dentist’s office can be a nerve-wracking experience. In fact, dental anxiety has led to entirely new frontiers in dentistry, known as sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry allows the patient to be awake but sedated during their dental procedures, but it comes at a cost- a cost many insurance plans won’t cover, and some patients cannot afford. In Texas, some dental practices have come up with another way to try and curb dental anxiety: by serving patients (and their guests) alcohol during their visit. But the gesture, which may seem like a brilliant idea to some, and a recipe for disaster to others, is coming under fire in the Texas Senate in the form of Senate Bill 404 (SB404) which seeks to abolish this trend in the Lone Star State.  Dr. Stephen Hill, an Allen, Texas dentist, shares his thoughts about SB 404, and what is at stake if it passes or doesn’t pass.

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Fusion vs. Gemination in Teeth

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never heard of the rare conditions known as tooth fusion or germination, and understandably so. It is estimated that only about 2.5 percent of Caucasian and 5 percent of Asian children experience either of these dental issues, and most people never hear about either condition unless it affects them or their child. So, what are germination and fusion and should you be concerned if your child is affected? Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas sheds some light on these little know dental phenomena.

Though most are born toothless, the average child eventually grows twenty baby teeth before losing them to make room for their permanent adult teeth.  Sometimes, however, that number is off thanks to rare conditions known as fusion and germination.

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Unhealthy Gums May Increase Stroke Risk

Each year, over six hundred thousand Americans suffer from the brain attack known as stroke. Of those 600,000 a staggering 130,000 will not survive. The third most common cause of death in the US, strokes are often difficult to predict. Like heart attacks, strokes come on suddenly, leaving the victim little time to get help. Unfortunately, for an event like a stroke where time is of the essence, even the slightest delay can mean the difference between life and death. Now, a recent study has found a link between strokes and gum health. Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas weighs in on what this could mean for oral health as well as for stroke prevention.

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All About Canker Sores

It’s estimated that about half of all people get occasional canker sores in their mouth. But, while most canker sores are pretty small (usually under one-half inch in diameter) they can often pack a big punch when it comes to painfulness. So, what are canker sores, exactly- and what, if anything, can you do to prevent them?

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The Root of the Problem: The Not-So-Scary Reality of Root Canals

Few phrases strike such immediate fear in the hearts of those who hear it as the phrase "root canal." But while many people may not know exactly what a root canal is, they know enough to know they don’t want one. In honor of Root Canal Awareness Week (which runs March 30- April 5) we asked Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas to tell us exactly what a root canal is- and let us know if it’s really as scary as it sounds!

So, what is a root canal? A root canal is a procedure done to repair a damaged or infected tooth.  It is sometimes performed by a dentist, but it is most frequently performed by a dental specialist called an endodontist, whose sole focus is on preserving natural teeth by replacing the soft tissue or ‘pulp’ of the inner tooth. The name endodontist comes from the Greek words "endo," which means inside, and "odont" which means tooth.

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Dental Therapists Could Bridge Gaps in Dentist Access

If you’ve ever been to a doctor on a busy day, or needed to see a physician but didn’t want to be on a months-long wait list, you may have been treated in the interim by a nurse practitioner (NP). A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse (RN) who has completed more advanced training than a standard RN has.  Similar to the NP license, the dentistry community in many states is considering adding a third level of dental practitioner, called a Dental Therapist- to their licensing structure. But though this seems like a great way to solve a dentistry shortage in many communities, the proposal is facing strong opposition from some dentists. We spoke to Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas about how dental therapists may or may not benefit the dental field.

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Enamel Defects May Uncover Unknown Celiac Disease

Celiac disease has been a much-discussed topic in recent years, despite its relatively low occurrence in the general population.  Though only about one percent of Americans suffer from this serious, genetic autoimmune disorder, the name celiac disease has become synonymous with the "gluten free," diet movement, which has spurned an entire market of gluten-free products. But while many people who choose a gluten-free lifestyle claim to be ‘gluten-sensitive’ or even believe they have celiac disease, many more who have the disorder may not even realize they have it – until now. Researchers have recently found a link between certain tooth enamel defects and celiac disease- and it may make diagnosing celiac disease a lot easier. We asked Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, Texas for some insight.

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At-Home LED Whitening Not the Brightest Idea

LED home teeth whitening kits are getting a lot of buzz from celebrities on social media sites and showing up as sponsored ads on Instagram and Facebook. Worse yet, when you google these devices, most of what you see are paid (read: biased) reviews from popular bloggers that don’t mention anything about the safety or drawbacks of these products. If you’re considering investing in a whitening kit, here are some things to consider.

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Your Teeth and Cold Weather

Winter is here, and so are colder temperatures. But while most people bundle up in warm gear before heading out into the chill, many people do not realize that their teeth need protection from colder temperatures, too. We spoke to Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, TX about protecting your teeth during the winter months.

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New Dangers for E-Cigarette Users

Smoking e-cigarettes or ‘vaping’ has been increasing in popularity since 2003 when it was first introduced to smokers as a safer option to paper cigarettes. However, several studies have recently revealed that vaping may not be as safe as initially thought. Now, a new vaping-related danger is making headlines – and this time the danger is coming from an unlikely source. We spoke Dr. Stephen Hill, an Allen, TX-based dentist about these shocking new revelations.

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Is Chewing Gum Good for Your Teeth?

Each year, an estimated 175 million Americans chew gum. That’s more than half the US population! But despite how common the habit is, there is still a lot of misinformation out there about gum and its effects on your teeth and body. We discussed ‘the world’s number one habit’ with Dr. Stephen Hill, a dentist in Allen, TX. What we learned may surprise you!

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Should Pregnant Women Skip Dental Checkups?

It is a long-held misconception that women should avoid dental checkups while pregnant- and while nobody knows exactly how this myth got started, stopping the misinformation is important. Oral health care is just as important, if not more important, during pregnancy than it is during any other time in a woman’s life.

For many women, pregnancy is a time of optimism and joy- but it can also be a time of worry, especially for the health of their unborn child. For this reason, many women are extremely cautious with everything from the foods they eat to the amount of time spent sitting or standing. But one area that you may not realize is of extreme importance during pregnancy is your oral health. In fact, a 2011 study confirmed that gingivitis and periodontitis in pregnant women could be a contributor to low birth weight in their babies.

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What Could Be Causing Your Bad Breath?

If you’re one of the estimated 50% of Americans who experiences halitosis or ‘bad breath’ at any given time, or the 25% of Americans who experiences chronic halitosis, (bad breath all the time), you may be wondering what is causing that bad breath. And what you can do to fix it. We asked Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, TX to break down some of the most common causes of bad breath, and what you can do to fix it.

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Could You Have Tonsil Stones?

When you think of your body producing ‘stones,’ you probably think of more common ailments, like bladder or kidney stones. But did you know that your tonsils can create stones, too? Most people have never heard of tonsilloliths or tonsilliths (aka tonsil stones), but these tiny formations can cause their fair share of problems in your mouth. But, due to their size of tonsil stones, many people never even realize they have them! We spoke to Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, TX about what tonsil stones are, and what you can do to get rid of them.

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More Adults Skipping Dental Care

According to a new report by the journal Health Affairs, adults are skipping dental exams at alarming rates. So what’s behind this surprising new data? Mostly, it’s cost. According to the study, a staggering 88% of seniors don’t have dental insurance. The report revealed that seniors who rely solely upon Medicare for medical insurance have no preventative dental benefits whatsoever because Medicare does not provide dental coverage unless the procedure is performed as an emergency service, rendered while the patient is admitted to a hospital.

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Is Activated Charcoal Toothpaste Worth a Try?

You may have heard about the trendy new ingredient causing a buzz among the all-natural crowd. Charcoal. No, not the Kingsford briquets that you throw on your grill- but activated charcoal. Charcoal is said to be "activated" when it becomes heated or treated to increase its adsorptive (binding of gas, liquid, or dissolved solid molecules to a surface) powers.

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Saving Your Baby Teeth Could Save Your Life

If you thought you missed your opportunity to ‘bank’ you or your child’s umbilical cord stem cells at birth, it might not be too late after all. While you can never get your umbilical cord –or its blood- back, there is a new method of stem cell extraction that removes the mesenchymal stem cells from lost teeth. But there’s another major difference besides just from where the cells are taken. While you only get one opportunity to bank the stem cells found in umbilical cord blood, your opportunities to bank dental stem cells are as plentiful as your teeth. In fact, though dental stem cells are most often extracted from recently shed baby teeth and wisdom teeth, some labs report success at harvesting cells from patients up to 80 years of age. Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, TX shares his impressions of this new scientific frontier.

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Chewing Ice: Harmless Snack or Dangerous Habit?

If you’ve ever finished your drink and absentmindedly began chomping on the ice left behind in the glass, you know how refreshing and satisfying it can be. But while this occasional treat is essentially harmless, crunching on ice cubes on a regular basis could be a red flag for a serious condition – not to mention terrible for your teeth. We asked Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, TX why something as seemingly harmless as chewing on ice cubes is so bad for you.

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Vaping No Safer Than Smoking

Touted as a ‘safer’ alternative to smoking paper cigarettes, a recent study by the University of Rochester Medical Center has revealed that "vaping," with electronic cigarettes is just as bad for the teeth and gums as smoking paper cigarettes. Dr. Stephen Hill of Allen, TX discusses these surprising findings – and what they mean for your mouth.

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Where do Teeth go After they’re Extracted?

Most people probably have no idea what happens to their teeth and fillings once they’re extracted. Maybe it’s something you’ve never given a lot of thought to, but it’s actually pretty fascinating. Dr. Stephen Hill gives the lowdown on what happens to your teeth once they leave your mouth.

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