Extracting wisdom teeth is an incredibly common procedure. In fact, over 90% of Americans have their wisdom teeth removed. While there are some occasions when wisdom teeth surgery isn’t necessary, more often than not, it’s recommended to prevent additional problems and pain in the future. Let’s take a look at why so many Americans have their wisdom teeth removed and why our dental office in Douglasville may recommend it for you.
There’s Not Enough Room
Perhaps the most common reason your dentist in Douglasville may recommend having your wisdom teeth taken out is that there simply isn’t enough room for these four teeth to fit. If there’s not enough room in your mouth and the teeth are allowed to erupt anyway, other teeth may shift, and this can cause additional problems. For example, you may need orthodontics to correct any overcrowding or crookedness that may occur. Your bite can also be affected by overcrowding, which can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and neck pain.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Another problem with not having enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt properly is that they can get stuck developing in the bone. This is referred to as having impacted wisdom teeth. Once the teeth are impacted, treatment tends to become more complicated, so it’s best to catch any potential problems with wisdom teeth and remove them early. If your wisdom teeth become impacted, your Douglasville dentist will talk to you about the most appropriate treatment to help.
Wisdom Teeth Are Hard to Take Care of
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are situated all the way in the back of the mouth. Because of this positioning, it can be difficult to reach them with a toothbrush and floss. When not cleaned thoroughly, bacteria can linger around and increase the risk of cavities and even gum disease.
Seeing the dentist at least every six months is important for everyone, but especially for those who are in the prime years of wisdom teeth development, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. At your visits, your dental team can keep an eye on your wisdom teeth development through regular x-rays and make the appropriate treatment recommendation for you when it’s the right time.
If your regular checkups at our dental office in Douglasville show that your wisdom teeth are putting you at risk for impaction or greater problems later on, we will probably recommend having them removed to keep your mouth in its best, healthiest shape.
Often we think of a healthy mouth as straight, white teeth. But the truth is, a healthy mouth goes beyond our smiles. Our gums are easily overlooked when it comes to talking about our oral health. However, our gums are crucial to not only our mouths but to our overall health. At our dental office in Douglasville, we strive to educate our patients about the importance of healthy gums, so in this blog, we’re going to talk about just how serious of a role our gums play in our bodies.
When we don’t take care of our gums, we can develop a serious condition called gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque. Plaque is loaded with dangerous bacteria that if not removed, can lead to infection of the gums. This infection is gum disease. There are three stages of gum disease — gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.
Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease and can be treated.
Periodontitis – If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis when the disease starts to affect the bones holding our teeth in place.
Advanced Periodontitis – As periodontitis gets worse, it can turn into advanced periodontitis. If this happens, the bones supporting our teeth are beginning to break down, and we may experience tooth loss.
Gum Disease & Your Body
The bacteria that cause gum disease can also lead to other serious problems in the body. In fact, many research studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and several health conditions, such as:
Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
In the early stages, gum disease may not necessarily show any signs. This is why appointments with your dentist in Douglasville every six months are so important. Your dental team is trained to look for early warning signs of gum disease so they can recommend treatment quickly. Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.
If it’s been more than six months since your last visit or you notice any signs of gum disease, call our dental office in Douglasville to schedule a visit.
To all of the expectant mothers out there, both current and potential patients, everyone at our Douglasville dental office wants to say, “Congratulations!” Whether you’re a new parent experiencing every special moment for the very first time, or a seasoned parental pro who knows exactly how this all goes, it’s essential not to put off your upcoming cleanings or treatments.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you need to proceed with dental care when you’re expecting.
1) Your oral health and overall health are related.
Not one but three of some of the country’s most respected dental/medical organizations (the American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics) encourage every mother to see the dentist, especially during the earlier phases and stages of your pregnancy. What’s going on in your mouth (i.e., gum disease or infections, cavities, decay, etc.) can have a direct result on the rest of your body. It’s important to address issues early for improved health for you and your baby.
2) Hormonal changes can lead to changes in your gum health.
Some women notice no changes in their teeth or gums throughout their pregnancy, but some mothers develop inflammation in their gums causing tenderness, swelling, and bleeding. This condition is commonly referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis.” Your Douglasville dentist will tell you it’s important to monitor your gum health and make sure your gingivitis symptoms are taken care of with more frequent cleanings.
3) Changes in diet and sickness can lead to increased tooth decay risk.
There’s no secret that when you become pregnant food can either be your best friend or your enemy, depending on much you’re forced to face morning sickness issues. Increasing the amount of carbohydrates or sugar you regularly consume or excess acid in your mouth from morning sickness can both lead to decay and tooth enamel erosion.
4) Dental treatment and cleanings in all three pregnancy trimesters is safe.
Depending on the nature of your procedure, it’s rare that we have to postpone treatment due to pregnancy concerns. The second trimester is usually the safest, most easiest time to get your dental work done. It’s also safe in the last trimester, but some patients find uncomfortable or difficult to sit back during treatment. It’s certainly your choice on how to proceed with treatment during pregnancy. If your procedure is vital to your medical health (and your baby), you should get the work done. If it’s something you’ve elected to do on your own and can wait, you’re encouraged to do so until you’re 100% ready.
Seeing your dentist is crucial during your pregnancy, and so is maintaining your regular brushing and flossing routine at home. We understand that there are so many things you have to do, so many new emotions to handle, and so many days where you’re just too tired to even think. No matter where you’re at in your pregnancy, you can always call our Douglasville dental office. We’re happy to answer your questions, schedule you for a visit, and alleviate your anxiety.
An abscessed tooth isn’t a very fun topic to talk about, but it is necessary. Many people will experience an abscess in their life as well as the pain that often comes with it. At our dental office in Douglasville, we’re here to share some important information about tooth abscess, so you’re able to recognize the signs and get treatment quickly.
What is an Abscess?
A tooth abscess is a painful collection of pus that’s brought on by a deep tooth infection that has spread into the tooth’s root and even the bone. If treatment is not sought early, the infection can lead to serious problems and perhaps require a tooth extraction.
Signs & Symptoms
Tooth pain is a common sign of an abscess. Other signs and symptoms of an abscess include:
- Face or jaw swelling
- Sensitivity with increased pressure
- A bad taste in your mouth that may taste salty
- Pain in the jaw, neck, or ear
It’s worth noting that, occasionally, an abscess won’t show any symptoms at all. When this happens, your dentist in Douglasville is usually the one to diagnose an abscess at one of your dental checkups through the use of a dental x-ray.
Causes of an Abscessed Tooth
Often untreated decay is the main cause of an abscess. But there are other things can lead to a painful abscess, including an injury to the mouth, certain dental treatments (such as a root canal), crown, or filling, or from clenching or grinding.
There are several things that can increase your risk of getting an abscess including:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Eating too much sugar
- Dry mouth
- Not seeing your dentist in Douglasville every six months
All of these factors increase your risk of decay, and in turn an abscessed tooth.
Since many abscesses are caused by untreated decay, the best thing you can do to prevent an abscess is to follow a good oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing every day. It’s also recommended that you visit our dental office in Douglasville at least twice a year for preventative care, professional dental cleanings, and x-rays.
If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment or you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.
Every April, the dental community recognizes Oral Cancer Awareness Month to educate our patients and neighbors on this scary, and sometimes deadly, disease. In fact, oral cancer kills one person every hour, every day. More than 50,000 people are diagnosed every year. At our dental office in Douglasville, we want to do our part and help our community recognize the risks and signs of early cancer.
Who is at Risk of Getting Oral Cancer?
Anyone can get oral cancer. But there are several things that can put someone at greater risk. While we can’t change some of these risk factors, there are definitely some we can control. Some factors that increase the risk of oral cancer include:
Tobacco Use: 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are in tobacco users including those who smoke cigarettes, cigars, or use smokeless tobacco.
Drinking Alcohol: Nearly 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers.
Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
Age: Those over the age of 50 are at increased risk of oral cancer.
The Sun: Unprotected sun exposure tends to put people at greater risk of oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
Even though oral cancer can be treated successfully, treatment and survival increase greatly when oral cancer is caught early. This is why it’s incredibly important to know the signs of oral cancer. Some common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- A sore that doesn’t go away
- Irregular areas such as lumps, rough spots, or erosion
- Red or white patches
- Pain or numbness
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing
If you notice any of these symptoms, call your dentist in Douglasville and schedule a checkup.
Regular dental appointments don’t just help protect your teeth from cavities. They’re also crucial to monitor your overall oral health. During your dental cleanings and exams, your dental team will be on the lookout for any concerning areas or warning signs that there may be a problem so that treatment can begin sooner rather than later. Early diagnosis of oral cancer may save your life.
Don’t put off your dental appointments. Call our Douglasville dental office to schedule an appointment today.
Think back to the last time you woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on your daily demands. It’s so nice to have the energy and mindful clarity to help you be productive and make the most of your day. Has it been a while since you felt like this? Does your bed partner complain because your snoring keeps them up at night?
Your Douglasville dentist will tell you that if snoring is disrupting your life (and your family’s sleep), it might be time to consider learning more about something called sleep apnea. It could be the annoying (and dangerous) condition that’s keeping you and the ones you love from enjoying a peaceful, rejuvenating night’s sleep. Let’s take learn more about sleep apnea, its symptoms, and side effects.
What is Sleep Apnea?
If you think snoring while sleeping isn’t that common, think again! The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates nearly 90 million Americans are snoring away while trying to achieve a healthy night’s sleep. Sometimes snoring is just that, and people who have this condition are called “simple snorer’s” or primary snorers. This generally true for about half of the 90 million people sawing logs at night.
But for the other half, there’s a good chance they’re struggling with a more serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea without even knowing it. Sleep apnea is dangerous because you can wake up as many as 100 times during the night, stop breathing, snore loudly, and struggle to regain a normal breathing pattern – and you don’t even know it!
Are There Different Kinds of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is usually classified in two distinctively different ways:
1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – This is, by far, the most common form of sleep apnea being diagnosed across the country today. If you or someone in your household is diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s usually caused by a blocked airflow during sleep due to your soft tissue collapsing in the back of your throat. At our dental office in Douglasville, we’ll always tell you to seek help if you or someone in your family continues to have issues with snoring.
2) Central Sleep Apnea – This type of sleep apnea is more difficult to diagnose because it involves a specific problem with how your brain signals your breathing muscles to respond. Unlike OSA, your airway isn’t blocked. In this case your brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe. Brain tumors, brain infections, and strokes are often to blame.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Even though snoring can be a big indicator of sleep apnea, it also wreaks havoc on your oral health due to dry mouth because everyone needs saliva in their mouth to help:
- Rinse and cleanse your teeth to help reduce plaque build-up
- Wash away food particles leftover from brushing and flossing
- Remove dead cells that can lead to sore, infections, and bad breath
- Neutralize acids that cause plaque and erode your tooth enamel
Our Douglasville dental office will always go out of our way to keep you and your smile healthy. If you think snoring is affecting your teeth, don’t hesitate to talk to us. We’re always happy to help and answer any questions you may have.
February marks the beginning of a month-long dedication to heart health. It’s officially known as American Heart Month, and its purpose is to raise awareness of the risks associated with heart disease. Many people know that things like smoking and a poor diet can cause troubles with the heart, but at our dental office in Douglasville, we also know that your oral health can affect your heart health.
The Mouth is the Window to Whole-Body Health
You may have heard the expression that the eyes are the window to the soul, and while that may be true, another part of your body can tell you a lot about your overall wellbeing. The truth is, your mouth can give your dentist in Douglasville insight to other problems that may be going on in the rest of your body. More specifically, researchers have found a connection between gum disease and an increased risk for heart disease.
More About Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious dental problem that requires early treatment to resolve. Without proper intervention, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other health concerns throughout the body. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) has concluded that people who have gum disease are at increased risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. This happens because the bacteria that cause gum disease have a pretty easy path into the bloodstream and can raise the levels of something called C-reactive protein (CRP). High levels of CRP can cause some scary problems such as:
- Blood clots
- Inflamed arteries
- Heart attack
Signs of Gum Disease
Some of the most common signs of gum disease are easy to explain away and some may think they’re actually normal. However, any of the following signs could mean that you may have gum disease.
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Consistently bad breath
- Chronic bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth
If you notice any of the signs of gum disease, it’s important to see your Douglasville dentist as soon as possible.
The team at our Douglasville dental office wants to encourage all of our patients and neighbors to practice a good oral hygiene routine at home as well as get professional teeth cleanings and dental checkups at least twice a year. These appointments can help catch and treat gum disease before it has a chance to cause bigger, more serious complications.
Don’t leave your heart at risk, call to schedule an appointment today.
We are well into winter, and that typically means we spend less time soaking up the sun, and in turn, our bodies get less vitamin D. While there’s a well-known link between overall health and even happiness and vitamin D, it may surprise you learn that there’s also a strong correlation between a lack of vitamin D and oral health problems. Our dental office in Douglasville wants to help our patients not only understand why vitamin D is so important for oral health but also learn other ways (besides sunshine) to get it.
Why is Vitamin D Important?
Getting a healthy dose of vitamin D daily not only helps boost our immune systems, but it can also help keep us healthier. Vitamin D keeps blood pressure low, aids the pancreas in producing insulin, and lowers the risk for infections including, but not limited to, gum disease. However, when we aren’t getting enough vitamin D, our bodies and teeth are at risk.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to osteoporosis, increased risk for type 1 diabetes, and even breast, colon, or prostate cancer. But the dangers don’t end there. Numerous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk of dental decay. This is because vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate — both of which are crucial for building and keeping strong tooth enamel. Without an adequate intake of vitamin D, our teeth are at risk for weakening and developing cavities.
Where to Get Vitamin D
The sun is a great way to fuel our bodies with vitamin D. But during winter months it becomes difficult to spend time outside enjoying the sun’s rays. To compensate, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D from somewhere else. Some great ways to keep up with your vitamin D intake is by:
- Eating Eggs and Fatty Fish
- Drinking Milk
- Taking Supplements
Don’t Forget the Calcium
Perhaps vitamin D’s most important job is helping us absorb calcium. The truth is, without vitamin D our bodies don’t absorb nearly enough calcium to protect our bones (and our teeth!) from deterioration. Make sure to pair foods high in vitamin D with those containing a lot of calcium such as:
- Dairy products
- Leafy green veggies
Providing your body with the right amount of vitamin D is important not only for your body but also for your oral health. Make sure your diet is packed with enough vitamin D and calcium to protect your smile. As always, our dental office in Douglasville is here to help get and keep your smile healthy for life.
Caring for your smile may seem as simple as brushing and flossing every day and visiting our dental office in Douglasville twice a year. While those things are certainly important for oral health, there are some common misconceptions out there that, if followed, can either damage your smile or make your oral hygiene routine less effective. Let’s take a look at the top five…
Sugar is the Main Cause of Cavities
This misconception isn’t entirely false as eating or drinking things with a lot of sugar can definitely increase your risk for cavities. But it’s not necessarily the sugar itself that causes decay. When we eat sugar, the bacteria in our mouths feed on it and produce an acidic byproduct. It is actually this bacteria and acid combo that contribute the most to cavities.
Brushing Harder is Better
When you have a dirty dish or sink, you scrub… and scrub… and scrub in order to make it squeaky clean. This vigorous cleaning method is good for most household items, but not so great when it comes to your teeth. Brushing your teeth too hard can actually do more harm than good. A rough brushing can damage tooth enamel, irritate gums, and cause several oral health problems such as sensitivity and an increased chance for cavities.
You Should Rinse After Brushing
After brushing our teeth, it’s incredibly common practice to spit, rinse, spit, and perhaps rinse again. But in order to get the best cleaning and keep the protective fluoride doing its thing for as long as possible, it’s best to pass on the rinse. Instead, spit out any excess toothpaste. This will allow the fluoride to continue to protect teeth over time.
You Shouldn’t Brush Bleeding Gums
If gums are bleeding, it may make you think that you shouldn’t brush them so that you don’t further irritate them. However, bleeding gums are usually an early sign of gum disease. The best thing you can do is continue to brush your teeth and gums, but make sure to do so gently. Brushing helps remove bacteria that can make gum disease worse. If you notice bleeding when you brush or floss, you should also schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can.
If You Don’t Have a Problem, You Don’t Need to See Your Dentist
We often hear of patients who don’t go to the dentist unless they have a problem. In fact, when it comes to dental care, the best way to prevent a problem from occurring in the first place is to visit your dentist in Douglasville at least twice a year. This can save you from experiencing the pain of many dental problems, as well as the cost of extensive treatment.
Maintaining a good oral health routine of brushing and flossing daily is only half of what it takes to keep your smile healthy for life. Make sure you’re using proper brushing and flossing techniques, eating a well-balanced diet packed with vegetables and fruits, and seeing your dentist every six months. We’re always welcoming new patients at our Douglasville dental office. Call to schedule an appointment today.
It’s common to feel the uncomfortable sensations associated with acid reflux in the gut and even in the chest. But did you know that acid reflux can also affect oral health? The team at our Douglasville dental office is here to tell you all you need to know about how acid reflux can increase the chance of decay and the need for advanced dental treatment.
Acid Reflux is Not Just a Gut Problem
Despite the fact that acid reflux is associated with digestion and can certainly affect the gut, the truth is that the very stuff that causes an upset stomach or heartburn is the same stuff that can contribute to damage in the mouth. As the body works to digest food, the stomach produces an acid to help break down food particles. Unfortunately, this acid can find it’s way out of the stomach, up the esophagus, and into the mouth. When it reaches the mouth it can wear down tooth enamel and increase the chance for sensitivity, cavities, and if left untreated, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown.
Signs of GERD
Many people can experience acid reflux differently, but some of the most common signs include:
- Bad breath
- Acidic taste in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Tooth sensitivity
Protect Your Teeth Against GERD
The good news is there are many medications available that can help reduce how often you experience symptoms of acid reflux. Besides finding the right medicine, your dentist in Douglasville may recommend some additional precautions to protect your teeth against the acid produced by reflux. Some common suggestions may include:
- Avoiding acidic foods and drinks
- Limiting spicy or sour foods
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Using toothpaste with fluoride
Since sufferers of GERD are at increased risk for dental problems it’s important that they visit their dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. These dental appointments can help identify any problems such as acid erosion or decay early, while treatment is easier.
We’re always accepting new patients at our dental office in Douglasville and welcome anyone who’s overdue for a dental visit to contact us today to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help.