Dental Health

Laser Frenectomy

What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is simply the removal of a frenum in the mouth. A frenum is a muscular attachment between two tissues. There are two frena (the plural form of frenum) in the mouth that can sometimes obstruct normal function and are candidates for frenectomies. These frena are called the lingual frenum, which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and the maxillary labial frenum, which connects the inside of your upper lip to your gums just above your upper two front teeth.

Lingual Frenum and Frenectomy

The lingual frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. Sometimes, the lingual frenum can run all the way to the tip of the tongue, causing a person to be “tongue-tied.”

Traditionally, tongue-tie or otherwise abnormal frenum were removed by snipping or surgically removing the tissue with a scalpel. Removal is always recommended, since tongue-tie can lead to:

  • The inability to eat or speak properly
  • Pain or clicking in the jaw
  • Oral health concerns, including gum inflammation and dental decay

Today, we can bypass traditional methods and reduce pain and recovery thanks to new laster frenectomy options. Dr. Ballard always recommends laser frenectomy for children, and adults alike. Dr. Ballard offers free consultations for children that are at least 6 years of age.  At Ballard Family Dentistry, we invest in the best and most cutting-edge dental technologies to help our patients. We only use state of the art laser technology for our tongue-tie laser frenectomy patients.

If you need to book a laser frenectomy consultation, contact our office today at 817-385-7183.

Sports Drinks…Healthy or Harmful?


Sports drinks are consumed by 62% of adolescents every day. But are do the benefits for your child’s body, teeth and gums outweigh the risks? Here are some facts to consider when allowing your child to consume sports drinks:

Sports Drinks Damage Tooth Enamel

A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing “irreversible damage to teeth—specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth. While tooth enamel is literally the hardest substance in the human body, it’s no match for a steady stream of acid.”

Sports Drinks Are Full Of Sugar

After water, the second ingredient in some popular brands of sports drinks is high fructose corn syrup. Full-calorie iced teas, sports drinks, and flavored waters typically contain 3 to 5 teaspoons of sugar per 8-ounce serving. A popular 20-ounce sports drink has about the same amount of sugar as a frosted cupcake which means that bacteria present in your child’s mouth are being given exactly what they need to grow!

Sports Drinks Are High In Calories

Even though they generally contain fewer calories than soda, sports drinks can still be high in calories due to their serving sizes and the large amount that many kids drink. Sports drinks make up 10-15% of the daily caloric intake of most teens.

The bottom line is that Sports Drink = Sugar, Not Extra Energy. Sugar sweetened drinks are not a necessary part of a healthy diet. They should only be consumed sometimes – not every day, and not in large quantities.

Ballard Family Dentistry encourages you to read labels and be aware of everything your child drinks. Keep your child hydrated and make certain that you child is drinking plenty of water. If you have any questions about whether to let your kids drink sodas, fruit juice, or sports drinks, and how your child should care for their teeth should you allow them, talk with Dr. Ballard about the potential long-term ramifications, and what steps you can take to minimize your child’s risk.

If you have any questions, give our office a call today.

Back to School Dental Check Up

back to school dental exam

Are your kids geared up to go back to school? It is imperative that you make sure your children have the energy levels boosted up and have the confidence they need before they head back to school. Your child may have the latest wardrobe, brand new things and what not for the new school year, but have you checked if your kid has a healthy mouth? It is quite important to consider making dental exams a regular part of your children’s back-to-school routine, especially if dental visits are not regularly scheduled.

Tooth decay is considered one of the most persistent childhood sickness and it is also second to the common cold in prevalence. Make sure you remember if tooth decay remains untreated it could perhaps weaken a child’s ability to eat, talk, sleep, and focus on their studies or even concentrate.

It is advised to parents that children should have their first dental visit by age between one-two years. If a pre-schooler is having their first check-up, oral health problems at this stage are less difficult to deal with, when damage is minimal it is easier to restore.

At Ballard Family Dentistry, we encourage dental visits to check, monitor and maintain your child’s dental development and also to educate your child and you about precautionary dental health care. Emphasizing proactive procedures for dental care in the course of your child’s growth and development can certainly help encourage excellent, lifelong dental care routines along with a healthy smile. It may also help the little one’s develop a comfortable relationship with the dentist to prevent the dental anxiety and nervousness that many children have.

If you generally do not schedule regular visits with their dentist, a back-to-school dental check-up is crucial for parents to think about. Make sure your children start off the school year with a healthy and care free smile. Give them the much needed confidence they deserve!

If you have any questions or you would like to make an appointment, contact us today.

Dental Water Technology

Have you ever wondered about the water we are using during your dental appointment? Your oral health and protection are important to us. That’s why we purify our dental unit water with DentaPure®.

Dental researchers and microbiologists have confirmed that dental unit waterlines can be contaminated with unacceptable levels of bacteria. By using DentaPure® water treatment cartridges on each of our dental units, you can be sure that the water we are using is safe. This advanced water treatment technology was originally developed for NASA and successfully used for over 20 years to ensure that water consumed in space was free of bacteria, viruses and other harmful organisms.
It truly is Rocket Science!

How Does it Work?

DentaPure is a cartridge that is attached to the waterlines in the dental unit. As water passes through the cartridge it releases a small amount of the germicide, iodine, into the water. The iodine kills all the harmful bacteria that are in the dental unit waterlines, delivering safe water to you during your dental procedure. The elemental iodine in DentaPure contains no allergenic proteins and is a naturally occurring element in our bodies; it is safe for everyone. You may notice a slight medicine taste during your procedure; not everyone can taste it, but if you do, know that it is DentaPure working to treat the water being used during your procedure.

With so much awareness on the environment we thought it important to share with you that DentaPure is completely safe for the environment, there are no caustic chemicals or hazardous waste associated with the use of DentaPure. Made in the USA, the depleted cartridge may be recycled.

If you have any questions, we are just a call away.  817-385-7183


New Years Resolution Tips from Dr. Ballard

As New Years Eve looms, millions of Americans are contemplating what habit(s) to kick or what to change about themselves in 2015. For those who are pledging to lose weight or maintain a better diet in 2015, we have an idea…make oral health a priority as well. We have put together our top 5 tips to help get you there..

Fruits and Veggies

Did you know that poor nutrition can affect the entire immune system, increasing susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including gum (periodontal) disease? Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.

Kick Smoking and Tobacco Products to the Curb

Using tobacco can harm your mouth in a number of ways, increasing your risk for tooth discoloration, cavities, gum recession, gum disease and throat, lung and oral cancer. Smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as non-smokers. It’s not just smoking tobacco that has negative effects on your oral health: use of smokeless tobacco can be just as harmful to your oral health. The good news is that the risk of tooth loss decreases after you quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco.

Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

It is no secret that excessive alcohol intake can have an effect on your overall health, but did you know that it may also affect your oral health? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, those who smoke, eat poorly and consume excessive alcohol also have increased gum recession (periodontal pocketing). Their studies show that smokers who regularly consume alcohol are less likely to brush their teeth on a regular basis and are less concerned about their basic health than nonsmokers. For the wine drinkers out there, moderation is the key…and don’t forget to brush away those tooth staining particles immediately after.

Come See Our Dental Team Twice a Year

By seeing your dentist at least twice a year, you can help prevent any dental health problems before they cause discomfort or require more complex or expensive treatment. Regular visits allow your dentist to monitor your oral health and recommend a dental treatment plan to address areas of concern, while keeping your budget in mind.

For 2015, don’t just resolve to losing weight or kicking soda’s. Resolve to treat your mouth right: improve your diet and food choices, quit smoking and improve your oral hygiene habits – your teeth AND your body will thank you for it!

Need to schedule an appointment? Give us a call now at (817) 385-7183 or request an appointment online by clicking here.

Helpful Tips to Keep Your Smile Healthy During the Holidays

Dentist Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and each year, every thing you read or hear, gives advice on what foods you should and should not eat to avoid packing on the pounds. One realm of health that is equally as important, but often overlooked, is oral health. Thanksgiving is about spending time with friends and family but for many, the real focus is on the food. It’s the one day where people feel like they have a free pass to really indulge.

There are several foods that we have come to expect at Thanksgiving dinner; turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, pecan pie… the list is endless. Unfortunately, many of these Thanksgiving dinner staples are loaded with cavity causing carbohydrates and sugars. Indulging in these kinds of foods can have negative consequences on your waistline and your gum line. The good news is that you can enjoy Thanksgiving and protect your teeth by planning ahead and following this advice:

First, make good choices about what kinds of foods you will be eating.

Protein, vegetables, and fruits are going to be healthier and do less damage to your teeth. However, foods higher in carbohydrates and sugars (think casseroles and pies) are not only bad for your waistline but your teeth too.  Avoid a carbohydrate overload by selecting protein, vegetables, and fruits first. This will leave you less room on your plate for those unhealthy options.

What you drink with the meal is just as important as what you eat.

Avoid high-calorie, sugary beverages like soft drinks, juices, and sports drinks. These kinds of drinks bathe your teeth in cavity causing sugar and enamel eating acid. Sipping on water throughout the meal is your best option. Water can help to wash away any leftover food.

Brush, floss, rinse…repeat.

After eating any meal, you want to limit the amount of time these food particles are allowed to remain on your teeth. Brushing your teeth is ideal but difficult to do if you are out and about on Thanksgiving Day as many of us are. Plan ahead and bring a travel sized toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Forget your toothbrush? Another option would be to simply rinse your mouth out with water. Rinsing your mouth after the meal helps dislodge some of the leftover food. You can even use a wet wash cloth to wipe down the surface of your teeth and your tongue. Follow up with some mouthwash for that fresh, clean feeling.

Planning ahead and making responsible food choices this holiday season will ensure good oral health and your teeth will thank you.

Are You Taking Blood Pressure Medication?

Can Blood Pressure Medication Affect Your Gums?

There are possible side effects on gums from prescribed blood pressure medications. If you suffer from high blood pressure, here is a condition you may want to know more about.

Thickening of the Gums

Antihypertensive medications, usually prescribed for treatment of high blood pressure, can cause overgrowth of the gums in people who are susceptible. If this condition is not addressed with your dental professional in the early stages, it will make dental cleanings much more difficult, thus enabling plaque to accumulate. This can lead to gingivitis that can lead to destruction of supporting tooth structure, causing teeth to loosen and, possibly, fall out.

To clarify, blood pressure medications may cause changes in size and shape of gums, but the real culprit is plaque. Preventing plaque to build up around teeth, under the gum line, is your best defense.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

If you are practicing good oral hygiene both at home and through your professional dental care provider, you can minimize the overgrowth of the gums.

Your oral hygiene “at home” practice should include brushing at least twice daily and interdental cleaning with floss or small brushes. Rinsing thoroughly and using fluoride toothpaste can aid in reducing bacteria.

Your professional oral hygiene care with Ballard Family Dentistry, is the most important element in your overall oral healthcare.

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, Dr. Ballard and our team will assess your situation and personalize an oral health care plan to combat the side effects of prescribed high blood pressure medications.

If you are have started taking antihypertensive medication, don’t forget to let our office know so that our dental team can start working on the best plan today, for maintaining the best possible oral health care.

Have any questions?  We are just a phone call away.  817-385-7183

Three Questions You Should be Asking Your Dentist

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, has been linked to America’s biggest killer: heart disease. Periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, has also been linked to diabetes, osteoporosis and pregnancy complications such as premature birth and low birth weight. This is why it’s important to take care of your teeth regularly, visit your dentist on a regular basis, and communicate with your dentist…don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Whether you’re diligently devoted to your oral hygiene or haven’t been to the dentist in years, once you are in the dental office, do not leave without asking these three questions:

Do you have any recommendations for my diet?

Your dentist may also be able to tell what you’re eating by examining your mouth. Usually, your dentist can tell if you’re eating too much sugar or acids, or not enough vitamin C. He or she may discuss eating less sugar and when to eat sugar for minimal damage to your teeth.

What should my care and maintenance schedule be?

Everybody’s health needs are different, and that includes your oral health needs. This means that you may need to come in less or more frequently for exams and cleanings, or that brushing and flossing may not be enough for your home care routine. Your dentist should be able to give you a customized plan for care, which should include home-care methods and an office visit schedule.

Is there anything I should tell my family doctor?

Since oral hygiene is linked to so many other bodily conditions, your dentist may find signs of non-oral diseases in your mouth. Your dentist may also see early evidence of side effects from drugs you’re taking, in which case you’ll want to talk with your regular doctor about switching meds.

Ballard Family Dentistry offers many options to squash any fears or concerns you may have about coming to the Dentist. Many of our patients had not been to a dentist in 10, 20, or more years before taking the leap of faith with our dental team. Give us a try…we will not let you down.

Call today to schedule an appointment at 817-385-7183 or request an appointment now by clicking here.

What Exactly is on Your Toothbrush?

Do you know Staphylococci, coliforms, pseudomonads, yeasts, intestinal bacteria and — yes — even fecal germs may be on your toothbrush?

Appropriate toothbrush storage and care are important to achieving personal oral hygiene and optimally effective plaque removal, says Maria L.toothbrush Geisinger, DDS, assistant professor of periodontology in the School of Dentistry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“The oral cavity is home to hundreds of different types of microorganisms, which can be transferred to a toothbrush during use,” Geisinger said. “Furthermore, most toothbrushes are stored in bathrooms, which exposes them to gastrointestinal microorganisms that may be transferred via a fecal-oral route. The number of microorganisms can vary wildly from undetectable to 1 million colony-forming units (CFUs). Proper handling and care of your toothbrush is important to your overall health.”

What constitutes proper care and handling? Geisinger answers several questions that may help better protect families from toothbrush germs.

Q. Can bacteria from your toilet really reach your toothbrush?

A. “The short answer is ‘yes.’ Enteric bacteria, which mostly occur in the intestines, can transfer to toothbrushes and thus into your mouth. This may occur through inadequate hand-washing or due to microscopic droplets released from the toilet during flushing. The topic of dirty toothbrushes was a recent subject of the popular Discovery Channel show “Mythbusters,” when 24 toothbrushes were tested, and all of them demonstrated enteric microorganisms — even those that had not been inside of a bathroom. In fact, toothbrushes may be contaminated with bacteria right out of the box, as they are not required to be packaged in a sterile manner.”

Q. What is the proper way to clean your toothbrush to help remove germs?

A. “You should thoroughly rinse toothbrushes with potable tap water after brushing to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Additionally, soaking toothbrushes in an antibacterial mouth rinse has been shown to decrease the level of bacteria that grow on toothbrushes.”

Q. How should you to store your toothbrush to avoid germ and bacteria buildup?

A. “The American Dental Association recommends that you not store your toothbrush in a closed container or routinely cover your toothbrush, as a damp environment is more conducive to the growth of microorganisms. Also, storing toothbrushes in an upright position and allowing them to air dry until the next use is recommended, if possible. If more than one brush is stored in an area, keeping the toothbrushes separate can aid in preventing cross-contamination.”

Q. What is the proper toothbrush protocol when you are sick?

A. “Any illness that can be transmitted through body fluids should warrant separation of the toothbrush of the infected individual and, if economically feasible, replacement of the toothbrush after the illness.”

Q. How often should your toothbrush be replaced?

A. “Toothbrushes should be replaced at least every three to four months or when bristles become frayed and worn, whichever comes first.”

There are four other steps Geisinger recommends be followed to help achieve a higher quality of oral health and avoid or limit some of the causes of bacteria toothbrush buildup.

Use antimicrobial mouth rinse prior to brushing.

This can decrease the bacterial load in your mouth considerably and may reduce the number of microorganisms that end up on the toothbrush after brushing.

Engage in routine dental care.

Routine dental care, including regular dental cleanings, can reduce the overall bacterial load in your mouth, and the types of bacteria present, and can therefore reduce bacteria on your toothbrush. It is especially important for those with gum disease, as the oral bacteria present in their mouths can enter the bloodstream as they perform everyday activities, including eating, chewing gum and tooth-brushing.

Wash your hands.

Hand-washing after using the restroom and prior to using your toothbrush can reduce the likelihood of fecal-oral contamination.

Do not share toothbrushes.

This seems like a no-brainer, but a large proportion of spouses admit to sharing toothbrushes. That means bacteria on those toothbrushes are being shared, including the ones that cause dental decay and periodontal disease — the two major dental diseases in adults.


Content Source:

University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Original article was written by Tyler Greer.

Dental Treatment Financing with CareCredit

Unfortunately, many dental services aren’t covered by insurance. CareCredit offers the freedom and flexibility to look and feel better, faster.

Since CareCredit is a revolving line of credit, it can be used time and time again. Your CareCredit can be used for yourself, your family member, and even your pets.

Why Use CareCredit for Your Dental Treatment?

  • One easy credit card. And over 175,000 places to use it.
  • Credit decision within minutes
  • Special financing available

What Treatments Can CareCredit be Used for?

You can use CareCredit to pay for any dental treatment including necessary procedures like root canals or cosmetic procedures like whitening, veneers, dental implants and more!

Can CareCredit be Used for Cosmetic Dentistry?

Yes, you can use CareCredit anywhere it is accepted for all different types of elective and cosmetic dentistry.

Can CareCredit be Used After Insurance is Maxed Out or Doesn’t Cover Your Dental Treatment?

Yes, you can use CareCredit to pay for all out-of-pocket costs from elective procedures such as teeth whitening to acute needs such as a root canal.  CareCredit can also be used for deductibles and co-payments.


Helpful Links

Payment Calculator

CareCredit FAQ’s

Using CareCredit Wisely


Smile confidently today with CareCredit dental treatment financing options.  Ready to get started?  Apply now!

Dental Financing

Oral Cancer Facts

Oral cancer is largely viewed as a disease that affects those over the age of 40, but it can affect all ages, even non-tobacco and alcohol users. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, and the floor of the mouth. Our team at Ballard Family Dentistry have put together some facts and figures to show the importance of visiting our dental office for your oral cancer screening.

The American Cancer Society recommends an oral cancer screening exam every three years for people over the age of 20 and annually for those over age 40.  Since early detection can greatly improve the chance of a successful treatment plan, it is imperative to ask your dental hygienist or one of our dentists to conduct an oral exam during your next visit to Saginaw, TX dental office.

  • Symptoms of oral cancer may include a sore in the throat or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal, a red or white patch that persists, a lump or thickening, ear pain, a neck mass, or coughing up blood. Difficulties in chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaws are often late symptoms.
  • The primary risk factors for oral cancer in American men and women are tobacco (including smokeless tobacco) and alcohol use. Risk dramatically rises (30%) for people who both smoke and consume alcohol regularly.
  • Oral cancers are part of a group of cancers commonly referred to as head and neck cancers, and of all head and neck cancers they comprise about 85% of that category.
  • Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer among men.
  • Oral cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, though an increasing number of young people are developing the condition.
  • Death rates have been decreasing over the past three decades; from 2004 to 2008, rates decreased by 1.2% per year in men and by 2.2% per year in women, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • About 75% to 80% of people with oral cavity and pharynx cancer consume alcohol.
  • The risk of developing oral cavity and pharynx cancers increases both with the amount as well as the length of time tobacco and alcohol products are used.
  • For all stages combined, about 84% of people with oral cancer survive one year after diagnosis. The five- and ten-year relative survival rates are 61% and 50%, respectively.
  • It is estimated that approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States annually on treatment of head and neck cancers.

Cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection, our team at Ballard Family Dentistry can effectively detect premalignant abnormalities and cancer at an early stage, when treatment is both less extensive and more successful.

Sugar vs. Your Dental Health

Sugar is the main cause of dental decay when there are bacteria present. More  significant than the amount of sugar you eat is the frequency of consumption.

Probably the worst thing you can do to your teeth is to drink a soda and  have a sip every few minutes over a long period of time; the same is true for  snacking. It is recommended that if you want to have a snack or soda or juice it  is better to have it after food, as dessert, or have it in one sitting. Eating  or drinking something sweet over an extended period of time creates a constant  supply of sugar for bacteria that causes tooth decay!

It is important to be aware of all the sources of sugar that are out there.  It is not just everything that is sweet, but anything that can turn to sugar like pieces of bread. Reducing your sugar intake is good for cavity  prevention, as well as your overall health.

But what about when you have to have sugar?

The best way to avoid cavities  is to prevent the sugar from staying next to your teeth. Brushing after eating  sugar, rinsing your mouth with Fluoride mouth wash, or chewing sugarless gum can  help. However, nothing has the effect of avoiding sugar!

Is there any kind of food that prevents tooth decay?

Unfortunately, no.  Some people believe that chewing foods like apples and carrots may help with plaque removal effect, but they still contain some sugar so any benefit is unclear.

Acidic Foods

Another group of food that causes significant damage to teeth structure is acidic foods. If in frequent contact with teeth, things like lime, lemon, and grapefruit can cause serious irreversible damage (erosion) to your teeth.

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