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Common Dental Misconceptions Explained

Jul 16, 2014

dental urban legendNothing bugs us more than when people make up stories to try and scare others. We’ve all heard of urban legends, and some of us may have even fallen victim to believing them. What concerns all of us at my Douglasville dental office are the legends that cause misconceptions about dentistry and the fact that, if believed, could cause people to avoid dental care.

One of the most common dental urban legends out there is one that says root canals are super painful when, in fact, they’re really not a big deal. Those who have had a root canal often say that there was little or no pain involved in the procedure. Where the misconception of pain comes into play is before the procedure even happens. Root canals are needed when there is an infection or deep decay and, as a result, a lot of pain. What your Douglasville dentist wants you to know is that a root canal is a way to relieve the pain, not cause it.

Another tale that’s well-know is that baby teeth aren’t important. Many people think that if a baby tooth falls out prematurely, or gets a cavity, that it’s not a big deal. In fact, baby teeth are important, as they hold the place for your permanent teeth. If they fall out too soon, or if they become infected or decayed, the natural eruption and placement of your permanent teeth could be altered, leading to greater dental problems down the road.

Lastly – and this one is really important – is the belief that if gums bleed, it’s not a big deal. At my dental office in Douglasville, we try to educate our patients on the fact that bleeding gums are a sign that something is not right. Healthy gums don’t bleed unless you’re brushing or flossing too roughly. Bleeding gums often mean that you have developed gum disease or even gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis could lead to periodontitis and eventually loss of teeth.

Don’t let common dental urban legends keep you from a strong and healthy smile. If you hear of a dental story that you think may not be true, just call my Douglasville dental office. We’ll be sure to set the story straight, relieve any fear you may have, and get your smile strong and healthy.

Serving patients in Douglasville, Lithia Springs and Villa Ricca.

How to Handle a Dental Problem While on Vacation

Jul 10, 2014

dental emergency while on vacationYou’ve finally made it to your destination. You’re ready to relax, and your vacation has officially started. All of a sudden, it happens. An unexpected dental problem pops up from nowhere and threatens to ruin your hard-earned time off. But don’t worry, tips from my dental office in Douglasville can help get you back to smiling – and back to that hammock.

A dental emergency can mean anything from a chipped tooth to a lost filling, a knocked out tooth to a toothache. But just because a problem in your mouth occurs when you’re not at home doesn’t mean that you can’t fully enjoy your vacation. There are several ways you can resolve or ease a variety of dental problems even when you’re away from your Douglasville dentist.

Dental Problem: Broken/Chipped Tooth

How to Help It: Rinse your mouth and any tooth pieces with warm water. If you’re bleeding, use a piece of gauze and apply pressure to the area until the bleeding stops. A cold compress can help reduce pain a swelling. Simply hold it to the outside of the mouth.

Dental Problem: Lost Filling

How to Help It: Using either a piece of sugarless gum (one with sugar will cause pain!) or a dental cement that you can find at a drugstore, fill the cavity until you can get to a dentist.

Dental Problem: Knocked Out Tooth

How to Help It: If you can find the tooth, do not touch the roots! Hold it by the part that’s usually exposed in your mouth to keep damage minimal. Rinse the tooth with warm water and try to put the tooth back in place. If you can’t get it back in, put the tooth in some milk (it’s best for preserving the tooth) and find a local dentist. It’s important to get the tooth back into the socket within an hour in order to save it.

While these tips can help you get back to your vacation, perhaps the best way to avoid a dental problem while out of town is to get a checkup before you leave. At my Douglasville dental office, we will make sure your mouth is in its best shape and that there aren’t any potential dangers just waiting pop up as soon as you lay down your beach towel. You can also help protect your teeth by avoiding dangerous snacks like popcorn, sticky candy, and chewing ice.

If you’re planning a vacation, schedule a pre-trip appointment at my dental office in Douglasville.

Serving patients in Douglasville, Lithia Springs and Villa Ricca.

Beat Your Toothache Pain

Jun 25, 2014

tips for soothing a toothacheAlmost all of us have experienced a toothache. The pain and inconvenience often associated with a toothache is enough to really put a kink in your plans and your life. And while we’re always happy to help relieve toothache pain at my Douglasville dental office, a toothache can also strike on a weekend or at night when we aren’t open. If this happens, here are some tips you can try to help ease the pain of a toothache.

Before we launch into what is alright to use for a toothache, all of us at my Douglasville dental office feel strongly that we need to urge you to not try one common remedy. People often place Aspirin directly to the painful area. Don’t do this! Since Aspirin is an acid, it can burn your gums and cause greater harm to your mouth. If you’d like to use a pain reliever like Aspirin, just swallow it.

Some at-home remedies you can try include:

  • Onion: Some people believe that a piece of raw onion placed on the affected area can ease the pain of a toothache. However, this remedy will probably cause you to have onion breath.
  • Salt Water: Mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of salt and swish it around in your mouth. The mixture can actually pull the fluid away from the affected area and reduce pressure on the nerve endings. Do not swallow the mixture. Repeat as needed.
  • Cloves: Oil of Cloves is actually a common ingredient in a lot of dental products. It has antimicrobial properties as well as pain-relieving properties that can help reduce a toothache. All you need to do is mix 2-3 drops of clove oil with olive oil or another cooking oil and soak a piece of cotton with the liquid. Then place the cotton on the bothersome area and bite down.

Although these few tricks may help with your pain, it’s important to know that a toothache is your mouth’s way of telling you that something is not right. Please don’t ignore it! It’s never wise to assume that easing the pain is enough. In its early stages, a toothache could be the result of a minor dental problem that’s easily fixed by your Douglasville dentist. If let go, a simple problem can turn into something major and can even begin to affect the rest of your body.

If you’re experiencing a toothache, don’t assume that it’s not a big deal and don’t let it go! Call my Douglasville dental office as soon as you can. We can help you determine what’s causing the pain and get it fixed for a healthy, pain-free smile.

The Truth Behind Teeth Grinding

Jun 18, 2014

why we grind our teethAre you a chronic teeth grinder? Not really sure if you are or not? It’s not surprising: of the roughly 30 million people teeth grinders out there, very few realize that they grind. A common reason could be that teeth grinding or clenching is often done either while sleeping or subconsciously throughout the day. And while it may not seem like a big problem, at my dental office in Douglasville, we consider tooth grinding a huge issue. Here’s why.

Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can cause severe damage to your teeth and your mouth. Broken restorations and fillings, damaged teeth, lost enamel, and tooth sensitivity are only some of the problems associated with severe bruxism. Chronic tooth grinding or clenching can also lead to more serious problems like jaw dysfunction or temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This is what makes visiting your Douglasville dentist so important if you’re experiencing symptoms of being a bruxer.

Symptoms of chronic tooth grinding or clenching include:

  • Contractions of the jaw muscles
  • Pain in the jaw joint
  • A grinding sound at night as described by your bedmate
  • Pain in the face
  • Morning headaches
  • Damaged or broken teeth

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, please call my Douglasville dental office as soon as you can. It’s important that you seek proper dental care if you are suffering from the pain associated with bruxism so we can diagnose your problem and determine how to properly treat you.

At our dental office in Douglasville, we’ll examine your mouth, talk about what you’re experiencing, check your bite, and take x-rays of your jaw and mouth. An in-depth exam will allow us to see exactly what’s going on, determine how severe your bruxism is, and decide on the best way to treat it.

There are several treatment options available for bruxism. Depending on your needs they can include onlays or crowns to reshape the bite surfaces of your teeth, and a mouth guard that fits over your smile and prevents further damage.

Whatever your unique needs may be, my Douglasville dental office can help diagnose your bruxism and determine the best treatment for you. The pain associated with tooth grinding doesn’t need to be chronic. Give us a call today. It’s the first step to a better, pain-free smile.

Diet Soda Can Cause as Much Tooth Damage as Meth

Jun 11, 2014

diet soda is as bad as meth

We all know that sugary drinks like soda aren’t the best for your smile. And in an attempt to avoid the sugar, calories, and caffeine in regular sodas, we often turn to diet soda to quench our thirst. However, at my Douglasville dental office, we want you to understand that even these sugar-free drinks can be just as bad, if not worse, for your teeth.

In fact, a study conducted in 2013 and published in the Academy of General Dentistry journal, General Dentistry, showed that excessive consumption of diet soda can have the same effect on your teeth as using illegal drugs like methamphetamine and crack cocaine.

In the study, the damage in the mouths of three individuals – a current methamphetamine user, a former cocaine addict, and an excessive diet soda drinker – was compared. The results showed that each of the mouths experienced similar damage, including tooth erosion, caused by high acid levels.

Soda, regular or diet, is highly acidic. And so are the ingredients in illegal drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine. The more food, drinks, or anything else with high amounts of acid that we put into our bodies, the more damage will be caused. Without tooth enamel, we’re more susceptible to cavities, sensitivity, discoloration, and damage. For this reason, I not only encourage everyone at my dental office in Douglasvilleto put the soda down and drink more water, but also to keep up with regular dental appointments.
If you’re addicted to soda, already have damage caused by excessive intake of soda, or even have damage caused by past drug use, it’s time you see your dentist in Douglasville. We can monitor your habits and make recommendations on how you can get your smile healthy and looking the way you want it to.

Cancer Diagnosis? See Your Dentist in Douglasville.

Jun 04, 2014

cancer diagnosis? see your dentist before you start chemoCancer is a scary word and a diagnosis none of us want to hear. But if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, seeing your dentist in Douglasville before starting chemotherapy is a crucial step toward a successful treatment.

While chemotherapy helps treat cancer, it also causes several side effects to the rest of your body, including your mouth. In fact, some of the oral health problems associated with chemotherapy can actually cause a delay or stop in treatment. Clearly, when you’re dealing with something as serious as cancer, it’s never ideal to stop treatment. This is why I recommend visiting my dental office in Douglasville at least one month prior to beginning chemotherapy.

How Does Chemotherapy Affect Your Mouth?

Since chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it’s often the treatment of choice. However, it can also cause harm to normal cells in the body and mouth. Side effects in the mouth can be serious and can include pain; difficulty talking, eating, and swallowing; dry mouth; or burning and swelling of the tongue. You’re also more likely to get an infection in your gums or in the moist lining of your mouth. When undergoing cancer treatment, any infection can be extremely dangerous.

How Does Seeing a Dentist Help?

Your dentist in Douglasville is an important part of your cancer treatment and can help keep dangerous side effects away. Often times, the oral side effects from cancer treatment occur in unhealthy mouths, and while not all side effects can be avoided, the healthier your mouth is the more likely the side effects can be avoided and treatment can continue as planned. Ideally, it’s best to schedule an appointment at my Douglasville dental office one month before cancer treatment begins.

When you visit, my team and I will perform an in-depth exam, clean your teeth, and take care of any mouth problems we may find. We’ll also discuss the best way for you to care for your mouth at home to prevent side effects.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer please give my dental office in Douglasville a call as soon as you can. Our mission is to provide compassionate, quality care to allow for the most successful treatment possible.

The Importance of Dental Care During Pregnancy

May 21, 2014

dental care in pregnancyPregnancy is such a joyous time in life. Your family is growing, you’re going to be parents, and you’ve never been more excited. You always make sure to schedule and keep your doctor appointments for the care and health of both yourself and your baby. Are you scheduling and keeping your dental appointments as well?

Keeping up with your oral health at my Douglasville dental office during your pregnancy is not only beneficial for your health, it’s also beneficial for your baby. The American Academy of Periodontology encourages moms to see their dentist as early in pregnancy as possible. And I have to agree.

If you are experiencing vomiting with morning sickness, it is important that you brush your teeth more frequently to prevent stomach acid from damaging your tooth enamel. But that’s not all.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, changes during pregnancy, especially hormonal changes, can exacerbate oral health issues. For example, almost half of all pregnancies are plagued by the dangers of pregnancy gingivitis. Concerns about this oral health issue are greatly lessened when monitored by your Douglasville dentist, and the gingivitis usually subsides shortly after giving birth. However, if visits to my Douglasville dental office are avoided, and treatment is not received when needed, pregnancy gingivitis can progress into a more serious problem and even a potentially scary situation for the baby.

If pregnancy gingivitis is left untreated and progresses into periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease, it could lead to preterm labor and a low birth-weight baby– both serious pregnancy complications. In fact, mothers who have periodontal disease are seven times more likely to have preterm labor.

Regular dental care is important all the time, and even more so during pregnancy. Maintaining visits at my dental office in Douglasville is not only safe for expecting moms, it’s encouraged for the oral health of moms-to-be, the health of the baby, and a safe pregnancy.

5 Surprising Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth

May 07, 2014

5 Surprising Ways You’re Ruining Your Teeth

You know that it’s important to brush at least twice a day. You know I always recommend that you floss at least once a day. And you know the importance of keeping up with your regularly scheduled visits at my dental office in Douglasville. But there are some everyday things that you may be doing that could cause damage to your smile, and you don’t even know it!

Your Toothbrush

Yes, your toothbrush can be causing some undesired results if you don’t brush correctly or use the right type. If you brush hard or use vigorous, horizontal strokes, you can actually wear away your enamel. Using a brush with hard bristles can also cause damage. At my Douglasville dental office we traditionally recommend using soft bristles and brushing in small circles, instead.

Whitening

Teeth whitening is a safe way to get a brighter, whiter smile. The problem arises when the whitening is done too often. Excessive whitening can lead to irritation, sensitivity, and even a smile that’s too white. Yes, it’s possible to have a too white smile! If you’re interested in professional whitening, the best place to start is right here at my dental office in Douglasville.

Using Teeth as Tools

We’ve all been there; we’ve all done it. That pesky bag of chips that won’t open. The stubborn packing tape that refuses to rip. Instead of reaching for the scissors for safe and easy opening, we pull the troublesome item to our mouths and use our teeth as convenient tools. Using your teeth as tools can lead to broken teeth, damaged restorations, and injuries to the soft tissues in your mouth.

Playing Without a Mouth Guard

If you play a contact sport – professionally, in high school, on an adult league, anytime, anywhere – you need to have a mouth guard. We prefer you use a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist in Douglasville as they are designed and created specifically for you and protect your smile better than “boil-and-bite” guards found at the store, and are more comfortable.

Chewing Ice Cubes

Ice cubes are hard. Hard enough to chip away the enamel on your teeth or even lead to a broken tooth if chewed. Also, using your teeth to crunch those floating chunks of ice in your lemonade could compromise restorations.

Whether you’re guilty of any of these habits or not, keeping your smile healthy and beautiful requires a mix of a healthy at-home routine, knowing what can cause damage to your teeth and avoiding these culprits, and maintaining visits with your Douglasville dentist. If you’re due for your checkup, or if you happen to have a dental emergency caused by these dental dangers, give my dental office a call. We’re here to keep you smiling!

White Dress, White Teeth – Get Your Smile Wedding Ready

Apr 16, 2014

Teeth Whitening in Douglasville for your wedding

Berries can cause it. So can coffee and wine. In fact, even age can contribute to a discolored, dull smile. But no matter what has caused your smile to lose its luster, your Douglasville dentist can help get your smile it’s very best for your special day.

No matter what you think your smile needs, I’d like to recommend a visit to my Douglasville dental office. Whether we use professional teeth whitening, veneers, or tooth bonding, we can work with you to transform your smile from dull to dazzling in time for you to put on that white dress and smile big for all your picture-perfect moments.

Why Choose Professional Services to Whiten Your Smile

 

Often, patients turn to the cheap and easy fix of over-the-counter whitening kits, only to be disappointed with the results. Over-the-counter options use strips or molds that hold the whitening solution. Since they aren’t custom-fitted to your mouth, the solution can irritate the gums and other soft tissues inside your mouth. Additionally, sometimes the solution is too strong for your smile and can cause pain or sensitivity. On the other hand, some solutions aren’t strong enough to give you the results you want.

So if you’re looking to get stunning results without the headache of trial and error (and sometimes pain!) associated with over-the-counter options, schedule an appointment at my Douglasville dental office today. We’ll determine the best solution for you and get your smile wedding ready!

Bringing Oral Cancer Awareness to Douglasville

Apr 03, 2014

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Every April, the dental community observes Oral Cancer Awareness Month and works to increase public awareness about a dangerous and deadly disease. The truth is, according to the American Dental Association, an estimated 42,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. With a number this high, I want to take this opportunity to educate the patients of my Douglasville dental office on the risk factors and symptoms of oral cancer as well as how early detection can help save your life.

When talking about something as serious as oral cancer, I want to make sure my patients understand that, while this disease can be fatal, it’s not because the disease is difficult to treat. Many oral cancer cases are not diagnosed until the cancer is later in development and more widespread, which results in a high percentage of fatalities. That’s why I try to encourage my patients to not only limit their exposure to the risk factors that can contribute to oral cancer, but also to perform at-home checks and, most importantly, keep up with their regular checkups at my Douglasville dental office.

There are several risks factors that can increase someone’s chance of developing oral cancer. It’s probably no surprise that tobacco use is the number one leading cause of oral cancer. However, what may not be so well known is that an individual’s chance of developing oral cancer greatly increases if they’re both a tobacco user and a heavy drinker. Additionally, the sexually transmitted disease known as the human papilloma virus (HPV) can also lead to oral cancer.

In addition to avoiding the risks associated with oral cancer, performing self-exams each month is a great way to catch any potential problems early. When examining your mouth for signs of oral cancer, simply find a mirror and a bright light and look at the inside of your mouth, including the cheeks, roof of the mouth, lips, and gums. What are you looking for exactly? Some of the most common signs include white or red patches of oral tissue, a sore that doesn’t heal on its own, an abnormal lump or thickening of the mouth tissues, and difficulty swallowing.

While checking your own mouth for signs of oral cancer is helpful, it’s still very important to maintain regular checkups with your Douglasville dentist. Sometimes oral cancer may not seem to show any signs in its early stages. However, our team is trained to know what to look for to catch oral cancer early, and early detection gives you the best chance of survival.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or if you’re due for a checkup, call my Douglasville dental office right away. After all, it just might save your life.