700 South Mustang Road, Yukon, OK 73099 Yukon (405) 494-7227 | El Reno (405) 262-6677
COVID-19 Update to Our Patients

COVID-19 Update to Our Patients

COVID-19 is in the news everywhere, and we are closely monitoring the situation. We’re reaching out to assure you that you are safe at Route 66 Smiles.

We already, as a daily practice, assure universal precautions as outlined by CDC and OSHA standards of infection control. Safety is always our number one focus. Our high standard of care ensures that your trust and safety are never compromised.

We are taking extended measures to further protect all our patients and team with the following additional protocols:

  • In compliance with the recommendations for public health, anyone with a cough or fever will not be allowed in the building and should stay home. We will be happy to reschedule your appointment for a later date.
  • Before your appointment, you have the option to stay in your car instead of the waiting room until we’re ready to seat you in your personal operatory. Simply call us when you arrive, and we will let you know when we’re ready for you.
  • Upon entering Route 66 Smiles, you will be asked to sanitize your hands.
  • At the beginning of every appointment, you will be asked to pre-rinse with OraCare. OraCare Mouth Rinse has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
  • Additionally, we are requesting you sanitize your hands before re-entering the business areas.

You can be assured safety measures at Route 66 Smiles will continue to evolve as more information develops.

Stay well, hydrate, eat nutritiously, and get plenty of sleep.

We look forward to serving you,

The team at Route 66 Smiles



Ah, nighttime… the end of the day, the ceasing of work, and hopefully a good night’s sleep. But did you know things are still happening in your mouth all night long, even if you’re blissfully unaware of it? Dr. Bryan Kariya DDS and Dr. Ray Tate DDS, Yukon dentists, shed some light on the world of your mouth and everything going on inside of it while you catch some zzz’s.


You produce much less saliva overnight than you do during the day—your body’s way of minimizing the risk of choking. This leads to the common occurrence of dry mouth. Dry mouth can be a bit uncomfortable and lead to more cavities and bad breath. It’s perfectly fine and normal to have less saliva at night but to take care of your oral health, it’s important that you brush and floss before going to bed. Saliva usually rinses away the food debris that can stick around and cause plaque and bad breath, so it’s a good idea to head to bed with a blank canvas. Keeping a glass of water by your bed can relieve the pain in your mouth and throat from dry mouth.


If you wake up with a headache or jaw pain, or your teeth are noticeably ground down and fractured, you might have bruxism. Also known as grinding teeth, bruxism is an extremely common way that everyday stress gets expressed through the body. People grind their teeth for all sorts of reasons, such as:

  • Abnormal bite or crooked teeth
  • Sleep disorders
  • Missing teeth
  • Alcohol and tobacco use

You can prevent the side effects of bruxism by wearing a nightguard while you sleep.


Sleep apnea occurs when your breath is irregular or temporarily stops while you sleep. Sleep apnea can cause snoring but not all cases are correlated. Some cases of sleep apnea are a problem with your brain and its ability to regulate the vital function of breathing.

Otherwise, sleep apnea can be caused by physical blockages of the airway such as:

  • Large tonsils
  • Collapsed soft tissues in your throat
  • Allergies clogging your sinuses

Being an older, overweight male increases your chances of developing sleep apnea. Whatever the cause of your sleep apnea, talk to your dentist or doctor. Sleep apnea can cause a host of other health issues such as fatigue, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, and depression.

Solutions for sleep apnea include:

  • Changing your sleep position
  • A Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) device
  • Oral appliances that keep the airway open
  • Surgery to fix oral tissues and aid air flow


Sadly, not everyone wants to have that Hollywood-worthy morning kiss with their partner when they first wake up. Bad breath (or halitosis) tends to be worse in the morning and it can be really unpleasant. Normal oral bacteria become more active overnight, eating and digesting proteins found in your mouth. Bacteria produce a sulfur gas while they digest that can smell like rotten eggs. Normally, saliva washes bacteria away and neutralizes the smell, but you make less saliva overnight, so the smell can really build up. This is why it’s essential that you brush, floss, and only drink water right before falling asleep.


Did you know that regular visits to the dentist will improve your overall health and wellbeing, and can even improve your quality of sleep? If you’re looking for a medical professional to help you feel better across the board—with a beautiful smile to boot—come see us at Westmoore Dental Studio in Oklahoma City! Make an appointment to address any concerns and start taking care of your oral health today.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.






This article first appeared on ngreendental.com.

Overcoming Dental Fears

Overcoming Dental Fears

Overcoming Fear of the Dentist

It is estimated that nearly seventy five percent of adults in the United States experience some amount of fear with regards to visiting a dentist. Of that percentage, about five to ten percent of those people have a strong enough fear to be considered sufferers of a dental phobia. Those individuals experience fear so strongly that they avoid dental visits, which can be highly detrimental to their health. It is important for sufferers to understand what dental phobia is and to know that there are ways to overcome it.

Causes of Dentophobia

There are many terms used to classify the idea of a dental phobia. It can be known as dental fear, dental anxiety, dentist phobia, odontophobia, or dentophobia. They all mean the same thing: an intense fear of visiting the dentist for dental care. In most cases, people who experience dentophobia do so because of prior traumatic experiences at the dentist. Those experiences can include complications from procedures and painful procedures. The fear can also arise from a bad interaction with a dentist and the way in which the dentist’s attitude was perceived. If an individual received care from a dentist that was uncaring or cold in manner, the experience could result in an increased fear.

Negative personal experiences aren’t the only ways in which a dentophobia could arise. In some cases, the fear can be brought about by indirect experiences. One way in which someone could obtain a fear of the dentist is through hearing about someone else’s bad traumatic experience. People are also greatly impacted by what they see and hear in the mass media. Witnessing a negative portrayal of dentistry can also have a negative effect on dentophobia.

Dentophobia can also occur if the person has traumatic experiences with doctors in general. Some people can have their fear triggered just by seeing a doctor of any kind, smelling smells associated with hospitals, or have a fear of people perceived to be in a position of power.

Treatment of Dentophobia

There are several ways to treat dentophobia and they can range from behavioral techniques to medication. There are a few dental fear clinics where psychologists and dentists work together to provide sufferers with tools and skills to help them learn to manage and combat dentophobia. In the absence of a clinic, some dentists try and help patients to overcome the fear through gentle dentistry and explaining the procedures in a calming way to reduce a fear of the unknown. Positive reinforcement is another behavioral technique that may be used to overcome dentophobia. Praising the patient after a successful appointment can help to boost confidence and diminish fear.

Relaxation techniques can also be used to diminish fear. Deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can help a patient to relax while in the dentist’s chair. Systematic desensitization is a technique employed by psychologists to reduce anxiety and phobias. Through this method, the patient is gradually exposed to the object of their fear until he or she is able to combat the fear without assistance.

At Route 66 Smiles in Yukon, OK, we  offer sedation dentistry.  The use of medication can vary from mild sedatives to general anesthesia or laughing gas to sooth a nervous patient. Through the use of these methods, a patient is able to receive dental care regardless of the dentophobia. It also allows for the patient to be responsive, alert, and able to communicate with the dentist.

There are also ways in which a patient can engage in self-help to combat dentophobia. Dr. Bryan Kariya and Dr. Ray Tate and their dental team go to great lengths to ensure that each patient is comfortable. We’ve found that if the patient feels a sense of trust, he/she will find it a bit easier. Patient’s can request to meet with the dentist prior to having work done. Bringing a comforting object to the dental appointment is another mechanism to assist with fear. Stress-balls are great for this because they can be squeezed in times of heightened fear or anxiety. Listening to comforting music in the waiting room or carrying a favorite book can also help ease the patient. Having a support system also helps lesson fear, and bringing a trusted friend or family member to the appointment is another way to reduce anxiety. Prior to the appointment, a person suffering from dentophobia should try relaxation techniques like praying or thinking positively about the outcome of the appointment.

We want you to feel at home and relaxed every time you are at Route 66 Smiles. If you have any dental fears, please let us know!

If You Have to Drink Soda, Drink Root Beer

If You Have to Drink Soda, Drink Root Beer

If you regularly consume soft drinks, here’s something to keep in mind. If you have to drink soda, drink root beer.

Exposing teeth to soft drinks, even for a short period of time, causes dental erosion, which over time can lead to significant enamel loss. Drinking any type of soft drink poses risk to the health of your teeth, If you’re looking for a soft drink that’s a bit less damaging, seek out root beer products. Root beer is non-carbonated and according to a recent report in General Dentistry, does not contain the acids that harm teeth.

Many people opt for “diet” drinks in an effort to lessen tooth damage caused by sugars in soda, but diet drinks often contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid and still cause dental erosion, though considerably less than their sugared counterparts.

Dental erosion is characterized by the loss of tooth enamel and at times deeper parts of the tooth. Erosion results in a scooped out, smooth depression on the tooth’s surface. In many cases, tooth erosion causes sensitivity to hot and cold substances or painful sensitivity if the enamel is worn to such a degree that the dentin is exposed. Beneath the enamel, dentin protects the pulp—the innermost part of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels.

Route 66 Smiles recommends that patients consume fewer soft drinks by limiting their intake to meals. We also advise patients to drink with a straw, which reduces soda’s contact with teeth. Many patients are shocked to hear that many of the soft drinks they consume contain 9 to 12 teaspoons of sugar, Researchers concluded that non-colas cause a greater amount of erosion than colas. Citric acid is the predominant acid in non-cola drinks and is a major factor in why non-cola drinks are especially erosive. There is a significant difference between sugared and diet colas.

Contact Route 66 Smiles, Yukon cosmetic dentistry to schedule your consultation. Or,  Just call us at (405) 494-7227.

Tongues Are Important to Oral Health

Tongues Are Important to Oral Health

The tongue is pretty fascinating. Not only is this muscle super important to great oral health, but we think it’s also just plain interesting! Here are some little known facts about your tongue:

1. Everyone’s Tongue Print Is Unique Like Fingerprints

Your tongue is uniquely your own, there’s no other one just like it. In fact, your entire set of teeth is also completely unique to you. Even identical twins don’t have the same sets of teeth. This is why dental records can be used, if needed, to identify human remains.

2. The Average Tongue is Three Inches Long

Ever tried to touch your tongue to your nose? If you can do it, maybe your tongue is a bit longer than normal. Most tongues measure three inches in length, from the back of the tongue to the tip. The record for longest tongue? It’s currently 3.97 inches, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

3. Your Tongue Has Thousands of Taste buds

Your tongue is literally covered with thousands of taste buds, ranging anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000. Many people assume that the little bumps on their tongue are taste buds, but those bumps are actually called papillae. Each contains around six taste buds. Generally, taste buds can’t be seen with the naked eye.

4. The Tongue Is Actually Eight Muscles

Another misconception is that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, but this can’t be true. The tongue is made up of eight muscles. Each of these muscles serve different purposes, and they allow the tongue to change shape and position, giving the tongue remarkable flexibility and stamina. The tongue is incredibly strong though, consider just how often you use it.

5. The Tongue Is a Window Into Your Health & Wellness

The appearance of your tongue can give your doctor clues to what’s going on in your body. White patches, for example, may indicate a fungal infection called thrush, or a red, blistered tongue could be a sign of dry mouth. A healthy tongue should generally be a shade of pink.

Pay Attention to Your Tongue!

The health of your tongue is an important component of your oral health. Without proper care, bacteria can accumulate on the surface, leading to bad breath and the spread of bacteria and eventual tooth decay. Invest in a tongue scraper or use your toothbrush to give your tongue a good daily scrub.

Don’t forget to visit Route 66 Smiles for regular checkups and cleanings. We provide dental care to patients in the Yukon area. Contact us today at (405) 494-7227to schedule an appointment!

Relationship Between Your Thyroid and Dental Health

Relationship Between Your Thyroid and Dental Health

Thyroid Issues Affect Dental Health 

It is very important to understand the relationship between your thyroid health and your oral health. According to Dr. Izabella Wentz, a doctor of pharmacy, the same bacteria that contribute to gum disease or periodontitis produce an inflammatory response associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis—the underlying cause of hypothyroidism. Most patients with this autoimmune disease also have periodontitis. Wentz also noted that fluoride treatments may worsen the condition for those suffering from thyroid disorders.

Thyroid disorders of any kind can also lead to the following oral health challenges:

Gum Disease

Damaged or weakened gums are more likely to develop gum disease, which leads to increased bacterial presence in the mouth. Not only does this increase the risk of infection but also the likelihood of swollen or bleeding gums and jaw spasms. Worse still, some research suggests that increased bacterial presence associated with gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The thyroid is an important factor in the natural healing process. In a healthy system, gum tissue regenerates, which protects against periodontal disease and even contribute to the reversal of gingivitis. However, inhibited restorative ability caused by thyroid disease may lead to weakening or degradation of the gums.


Thyroid patients may develop a condition known as dysgeusia, in which their sense of taste is altered. In some cases, the change in flavor can be dramatic. This may result in dietary alterations that cause patients to avoid healthy foods and miss out on beneficial or essential nutrients that compound the issue.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is an important part of health by helping to maintain oral wellness. This natural protectant reduces the risk of cavities through the dissolution of foods, removal of bacteria and food particles, and prevention of plaque buildup. Saliva also delivers minerals and other nutrients critical for maintaining tooth strength and structure.

Thyroid disease can limit saliva production thereby contributing to dry mouth. Without a regular supply of saliva, food particles can more easily cling to teeth, which increases the risk of bacterial growth, tooth decay, and cavities. With reduced saliva also comes reduced mineral delivery, which results in weaker teeth over time.


A common symptom of hypothyroidism is expansion of the tongue. This can make it difficult for patients to chew, swallow, speak, and in some cases even breathing can become a challenge. Those who do experience macroglossia-related breathing difficulties are often unable to get restful sleep. This is because the enlarged tongue may force the individual to snore or breathe with their mouth open. Sleeping with the mouth open can lead to oral dryness and contribute to tooth decay.

Tooth Decay

Those with an overactive thyroid are more likely to experience a hastening of tooth decay. This may be caused by the excess utilization and burning of nutrients caused by increased thyroid activity. The increased rate of tooth decay seen in hyperthyroid patients may cause patients to experience sensitivity in the teeth, pain in the jaw, and accelerated molar degradation.

Improper Tooth Development

Children who have a thyroid issue may experience development issues pertaining to their teeth and jaw. Some outcomes include crowded teeth, premature eruption of permanent teeth, large gaps between teeth, enlarged or inflamed gums, gums extending between teeth, and increased occurrence of cavities. Parents who recognize that their child is experiencing pain or weakness in the jaw or abnormalities of the mouth should have their child’s thyroid assessed by a knowledgeable physician like an endocrinologist.

Support the Thyroid and Protect Your Mouth

Good dental hygiene through regular brushing and flossing is essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. However, protecting the thyroid and resolving any existing thyroid dysfunction is also important. The impressive impact of the thyroid on many areas throughout the body, including the mouth, makes it an essential system regarding individual wellness.

If you are suffering from a decline in dental health while also experiencing the common signs of thyroid disease such as fatigue, fluctuations in weight, hair loss, and/or changes in mood, speak with your doctor about having your thyroid tested. Resolving thyroid disease may not only improve overall wellness, but also alleviate dental distress.

Proper management of thyroid disease is crucial for the successful treatment of periodontal diseases, says Wellness Alternatives. Untreated and longstanding thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, contributes to periodontal disease and can weaken the specialized tissues that support the teeth. If you have thyroid disease and are concerned about your dental health issues, contact Route 66 Smiles in Yukon, OK at (405) 494-7227.