Oral Health Concerns for Middle Aged Folks

As we age, our birthdays tend to bring new oral health issues along with them. It’s a fact of life that our teeth and gums are impacted by our age. Here are some common problems to watch for, and suggestions for treatment.

Gum disease:
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital to avoid gum disease. The first stage is called gingivitis and it’s reversible. If untreated, it can lead to a very serious advanced stage called periodontitis. You may not experience signs of gum disease, so practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist are the best ways to keep it at bay.

Tooth sensitivity:
If cold or hot foods cause you discomfort, you have a common problem called tooth sensitivity. It can result from decay, worn fillings, gum disease, broken teeth, or exposed roots. Your dentist may recommend toothpastes designed to reduce sensitivity, or other treatments based on the cause of your problem. Good oral hygiene can help with sensitivity also.

Missing teeth:
If you are missing any teeth, it not only looks unappealing but it can also affect your ability to eat and speak. Your other teeth may move, and bone loss can occur. Discuss treatment options with your dentist because you might be able to restore your smile. Bridges, implants, and dentures are a few of the dental advances that might help.

Dry mouth:
Medicines and some health conditions often cause your mouth to be overly dry. Having a dry mouth is uncomfortable, but it also can seriously impact your teeth and gums. Without saliva to naturally clean your mouth, the risks of tooth decay and other problems increase. Ask your dentist to look for signs of decay, and to help you identify the cause for your dry mouth. Be sure to tell your dentist about your medical history and medications.

Oral cancer:
Oral cancer can include your gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, jaw, throat, or soft palate. It sometimes begins with just a tiny spot or swollen area, so regular dental checkups can help catch this disease early. A variety of treatment options are available, but early detection makes a difference.


If you live in the McDonough area contact us today

Explaining Root Canal Treatment

A toothache can make everything seem terrible. Your mouth hurts, your head aches, you can’t eat what you want, you can’t sleep comfortably – in general, you feel awful! Your tooth pain may be a result of decay that has caused an infection in your tooth pulp, calling for root canal therapy.

What does that mean exactly? When the inside of your tooth or the pulp becomes infected, it causes the tooth to deteriorate and cause pain and sensitivity. Action is needed to eliminate the infection and protect the tooth from worse damage. Root canal treatment is the best solution because the damaged pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and restored.

To accomplish a root canal procedure, your dentist will drill a small hole in your tooth to access the pulp and expertly remove it. Once the area is cleaned and disinfected, your tooth will be filled with a special material and sealed for protection. Finally, a dental crown is usually placed on top to complete the root canal procedure. You are left with a fully repaired and protected tooth.

What benefits does root canal treatment provide?

  • Pain is eliminated with the repair of your tooth and removal of infection.
  • Your ability to chew and bite foods will return to normal.
  • You will no longer experience tooth sensitivity to hot or cold items.
  • The damaged tooth will be restored so that it looks natural in your smile.
  • Your other teeth won’t have excessive wear to make up for the damaged tooth.

With the advances in dentistry making root canal therapy faster and less painful, your procedure may be completed in as little as one trip to the dentist. Once the process is complete, you can expect your fully restored tooth to last as long as the rest of your teeth.


We treat patients from McDonough and the surrounding area

Family Dentists Compared to General Dentists

Family Dentists Compared to General Dentists

Finding the right dentist is an important decision because it’s a healthcare relationship that can last a lifetime. The need for dental care starts around age one and continues through senior adulthood. For routine dental care, you might choose to see a family dentist or a general dentist. Although there are some similarities, the two types of dentists have some unique aspects.

Services:
Both types of dentists offer routine services that are common to oral health care. This includes examinations, cleanings, x-rays, and fluoride treatments. Instructing patients about dental hygiene such as proper brushing and flossing is part of most family and general dentistry practices as well. Poor oral care can cause decay, infections, gum disease, or other problems. Both types of dentists also offer treatment for when problems arise, such as dental fillings.

Patients:
General dentists often cater to patients in a certain age range, but family dentists provide treatment for patients of all ages. Infants, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors are all able to seek oral health care from a family dentist. Each age group has unique needs and issues, but family dentists are skilled in caring for everyone.

Specializations:
Since they see all ages of patients, family dentists are skilled in a wide variety of procedures. They are able to diagnose and treat many oral health conditions, including gum disease and oral cancer. Typical procedures they offer include tooth extractions, root canals, fillings, crowns, bridges, and sealants. Some are able to perform specialty services like implants and veneers. Many patients enjoy being able to obtain treatment from their family dentist without having to see a specialist.

Benefits:
In addition to the benefit of getting a variety of treatments in one location, family dentists are also able to provide ongoing treatment for all household members. Children and parents go to the same location and can even request back-to-back appointments. Everyone learns the same dental care techniques that they can practice at home together. Family dentists encourage every member of the family to take pride in their oral health.

If you live in the McDonough area contact us today

root canal treatment

Causes of Post-Root Canal Therapy Pain

The goal of root canal therapy is to relieve pain, not cause it. The pain you experience before a root canal is the result of damage to the tissues in the tooth. Root canal therapy removes that damaged tissue, therefore relieving the discomfort you feel. If you are still experiencing tooth pain after undergoing a root canal procedure, it could be an indication of a problem with the treatment.

While mild discomfort is to be expected during the root canal healing process, if the pain continues or becomes more severe, it is likely an indication of a problem. There are several reasons for tooth pain after root canal treatment:

  • The tooth has an extra canal that was not cleaned and filled, meaning there is an extra physical root.
  • The tooth has a small, tight accessory canal that is difficult to locate on x-rays or hard to access with the necessary tools.
  • The tooth is fractured due to the damage and weakened state caused by the original decay and the access cavity that is created to begin the root canal treatment.
  • The root canal has become reinfected.
  • The small files used by your dentist to clean out the pulp of the tooth sometimes break, resulting in a failed root canal treatment.

In the days immediately following root canal therapy, it is normal to experience some tenderness of the tooth or surrounding gum. This discomfort should be easily managed with over-the-counter painkillers and should subside in a few days. If the pain does not ease in a few days or becomes more severe, contact your dental professional immediately to access your symptoms and determine if you are having root canal complications.

We treat patients from McDonough and the surrounding area

Teeth Whitening: Get the Facts

More and more people today are heading to their dentist’s office to brighten their smiles through teeth whitening treatments. Although you can try to maintain white teeth by limiting foods and drinks that stain or stopping habits like smoking, the truth is that teeth are prone to discoloring over time. If you’re considering undergoing teeth whitening, get the facts before you go.

Is teeth whitening safe?:
Most people are able to have their teeth whitened successfully without any issues. However, not everyone has good enough oral health to safely undergo treatment. Healthy teeth and gums are necessary so that the procedure is comfortable and effective. Patients with extensive fillings or crowns may not be the best candidates. Teeth that have extremely dark stains or discolorations from certain things like medications may not attain desired results.

How do I know if I’m a good candidate?:
A complete oral examination by your licensed dentist is the best way to determine if teeth whitening is right for you. During the assessment, your dentist will look for decay, receding gum lines, fillings, enamel condition, tooth sensitivity and more to decide if treatment is advised. Sometimes dental work can be done to restore oral health and then whitening becomes an option.

What is the process?:
Most professional teeth whitening treatments performed in a dental office are done with a high concentration peroxide bleaching agent and enhanced with special lighting to activate the gel. The dentist usually coats your gums with a product to limit sensitivity, and then the bleaching gel is carefully placed onto your teeth. Light is directed to the area, typically in three 15-minutes sessions. The dentist monitors the entire process for your safety and comfort.

What results can I expect?:
It is important to discuss your specific case with your dentist prior to treatment so that you have realistic whitening goals in mind. The degree of whitening often depends on the level and cause of your tooth discoloration. Some patients achieve a couple of shades brighter, while others whiten up to ten shades.

Schedule your appointment at our McDonough dental office

wisdom teeth dentist

When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, and usually emerge in the late teens or early twenties. Standard dental practice is to remove wisdom teeth prior to them being fully formed when the roots have not yet had a chance to develop and fully root into the jaw. Younger patients usually have an easier recovery from surgery and many dentists believe early removal prevents future dental problems associated with wisdom teeth.

If your wisdom teeth were not removed as they emerged, there are some signs and symptoms that would indicate the need for extraction including:

  • Wisdom teeth that are impacted, which means they have become trapped in the jawbone or gums.
  • Wisdom teeth that are emerging at an awkward angle, causing pressure on adjacent teeth.
  • Wisdom teeth that do not fit in your mouth, causing crowding of the surrounding teeth as well.
  • Wisdom teeth that are suffering from decay or disease caused by the inability to keep them cleaned properly.
  • Wisdom teeth that have developed fluid-filled cysts near the gumline.
  • Wisdom teeth that are causing pain due to any of the above reasons.

The decision about whether or not to remove your wisdom teeth should be made in consultation with your dental professional. Your dentist or oral surgeon can assess the position and health of your wisdom teeth and make a recommendation for treatment.

If extraction is recommended, they may choose to extract one tooth or all four molars at once. Recovery from the outpatient procedure takes just a few days, and you will quickly be back to normal. Contact our dental office if you are experiencing any of these symptoms listed to determine if you should consider wisdom tooth removal to ensure your future good oral health.

 

 

dentures

Problems with your Dentures

If you have chosen dentures to restore the function and appearance of your mouth, you certainly want them to do their job. Typically, if fitted correctly and you follow the instructions for use and care, dentures are a good solution. However, it’s possible for problems to arise so it’s important to recognize issues and how to handle them.

One key thing about dentures is that they must fit properly. If not, problems like gum irritation, difficulty eating and speaking, mouth infections, and denture movement may occur. Also, if you don’t keep your mouth clean and healthy, problems will likely appear.

If you experience any issues with your mouth after getting dentures, see your dentist right away. It’s possible that over time, your bones and gums can change and alter the fit of your dentures. When this happens, your dentist must determine if modification, adjustment, or replacement is needed. Never try to adjust your dentures yourself.

Here are some things you can do at home to keep your dentures in good condition:

  • Handle them carefully. When holding your dentures, place a towel on the counter or stand over a water-filled sink. This will protect them if you drop them.
  • Keep dentures out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not sleep with your dentures in your mouth.
  • Clean them daily according to your dentist’s instructions. This includes soaking them overnight in a denture cleanser, cleaning them well each morning before wearing them, and cleaning your mouth carefully before inserting the dentures. Use a soft brush or one designed for dentures, plain soap or cleanser recommended by your dentist, and warm water. Never use bleach or household cleansers.
  • Store your dentures in warm water or denture cleaning solution. Do not use hot water, which can cause them to lose their shape.
  • Do not use toothpicks because they can damage dentures.

Wearing dentures may be tricky at first, and it may take some time to grow accustomed to them. However, if you care for them well and see your dentist for routine checkups, you can avoid most of the problems that denture-wearers sometimes encounter.

If you need a dentist in McDonough contact us today

bad dental habits

Harmful Habits That Could Hurt Your Teeth

Many people think all that’s required to maintain good dental health is to floss and brush regularly. Unfortunately certain oral habits can negatively affect teeth, causing substantial damage. Trying to quit or at least curb these habits will help keep your teeth healthy and strong. Habits to avoid include:

Chewing Ice Cubes
Most of us have crunched on an ice cube on a hot summer’s day and thought nothing of it. Teeth are covered in a hard substance called enamel, but continually biting on items such as ice cubes or chewing on pencils and pens can eventually cause tiny fractures in teeth. Over time these fractures will become larger and you might require costly restorative work.

Nail Biting
Nail biting damages your nails and your teeth. You risk chipping or fracturing teeth, especially if they have been bonded or veneered. In addition, every time you put your fingers in your mouth you are transferring bacteria, increasing the risk of illness and infection.

Over Brushing Teeth
Some people think the harder they scrub their teeth the cleaner they will become. In fact you don’t need to brush your teeth particularly hard, and it’s best to choose a soft bristled toothbrush. Ask your family dentist in McDonough if you’re not quite sure which brush is best.

Clenching and Grinding Teeth
Clenching and grinding is also known as bruxism and can cause teeth to become worn down, chipped and damaged, or may even lead to them becoming loose. The damage caused by bruxism can extend to your face, head and neck, and sufferers will often have headaches. Your general dentist in McDonough can provide you with a custom-made night guard to prevent your teeth from biting together while you sleep.

Overusing Whitening Products
Most of us want to have a healthy white smile, and tooth whitening is one way to achieve this. Unfortunately some people take this too far and will overuse whitening products, causing tooth sensitivity and damaging tooth enamel. It’s best to book a professional tooth whitening treatment for the brightest and safest results.

Our dental office is located in McDonough

dentures

Options for Complete Dentures

Denture technology has come a long way since the days of George Washington and his wooden teeth. Unfortunately, people still lose teeth for a variety of reasons including periodontal disease, trauma, and decay. Missing teeth make talking and eating difficult, and can ultimately cause sagging facial muscles. However, with today’s advances in technology it is more possible than ever to replace those lost teeth with natural and comfortable dentures.

Complete dentures cover both upper and lower jaws. The options for complete dentures range from immediate dentures to highly customized implant dentures. Immediate dentures are pre-made and available at your dentist’s office. They are not custom fitted and are set into gum sockets immediately upon removal of your teeth. While these offer the convenience of walking immediately out of the dental office with your new teeth in place, once gum tissue heals and swelling reduces they may shift and become loose. This issue requires follow-up visits for your dentist to make adjustments. People with immediate dentures may also have difficulty speaking, or experience a “clicking sound” when talking.

Conventional full dentures can be made 8 to 12 weeks after tooth loss or removal. Once the gums have healed, your dentist takes a series of impressions of your mouth to be sent away to a dental lab to create your dentures. This process may require multiple visits to your dentist to ensure a proper fit and correct bite. While this process takes longer and is more involved than immediate dentures, you will achieve a more secure and personalized fit. Both conventional and immediate dentures require the use of denture adhesives to keep them securely in place.

For an even more custom, natural looking and secure denture option, implant dentures are an excellent alternative. With implant dentures, small implants are placed in the jaw where they heal in place surrounded by the bone. The denture then snaps into the implant with attachments under the denture. These attachments keep the denture stable, providing more comfort and confidence. You do not have to worry your dentures will slip or fall out while you are eating, talking, or laughing. Implant dentures do not require the use of any denture adhesives.

Talk to your dental professional to determine the best use of denture technology to ensure many years of a confident and comfortable smile.

We look forward to seeing you in our McDonough dental office

The Great Outcomes of Root Canal Treatment

An aching tooth can make your life miserable. Pain, difficulty eating, inability to sleep, headaches and earaches are some of the problems that often accompany a toothache. If you have any of these symptoms and suspect a damaged tooth, a trip to the dentist is in order to see if root canal treatment might be needed.

What is root canal therapy? Although it has gotten a bad reputation over the years, it is the best way to save your tooth once infection has set in. The cause for the problem can vary, including deep tooth decay, a faulty crown, trauma, or repeated dental procedures. Once the inside of the tooth called the pulp becomes damaged, root canal treatment is the ideal solution. If you don’t seek treatment, severe pain and possible tooth loss may be in your future.

During root canal therapy, the damaged tooth pulp is carefully removed so that the interior of the tooth can be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Then the tooth is filled and sealed using a special material. Finally, the tooth is fully restored with a crown or filling to offer protection from future damage.

What are the positive outcomes of root canal treatment? First, it gives you back the complete function and natural appearance of your real tooth. You avoid getting a hole in your smile or needing a procedure like a dental implant. Root canal treatment restores your normal sensation and biting force, providing for efficient and painless chewing. This treatment also protects other teeth from receiving excessive wear, since your real tooth remains in place and able to take its fair share of tooth wear. Of course, treatment will also relieve the pain and other symptoms associated with your damaged tooth.

Root canal treatment is usually quite simple when performed by a qualified dental professional. Modern techniques allow the process to be as comfortable as just getting a normal filling. The procedure may be completed in only a couple of appointments and the end result will be a long-lasting, healthy tooth.


We treat patients from McDonough and the surrounding area

Taking Care of Your Smile through General Dentistry

Taking Care of Your Smile through General Dentistry

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is taking care of your oral health throughout your life. Practicing a consistent dental hygiene routine and maintaining regular visits to your general dentist are the best ways to increase your chances of a beautiful, healthy smile.

General dentists focus on preventive care and treating minor problems before they have a chance to worsen into serious issues. Even if you regularly brush and floss your teeth, plaque and tartar can be quick to develop. A dentist has the necessary tools and training to remove damaging deposits before they harm your smile. In addition to professional cleanings and examinations, most general dentists fill cavities, perform root canals, whiten teeth, and even offer additional cosmetic dental procedures like dental implants or veneers.

One of the main reasons for routine examinations is to identify various problems. One common issue that you want your general dentist to catch early is gum disease. When it is treated soon after it starts, you are more likely to avoid bone deterioration or tooth loss. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and can be handled by your dentist with simple techniques. If it advances to periodontitis, that’s when bone or tooth loss become a possibility and more invasive procedures like scaling or root planing may be required.

Once you make your dental appointment, which is typically recommended every six months, make sure you keep your scheduled visit. Many patients fall victim to scheduling appointments and then cancelling, not realizing how important seeing your general dentist can be. If you have dental insurance, you can even use your dental benefits for examinations and treatments. This office accepts Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana, MetLife, and Cigna.

Choose a qualified general dentist and establish a long-term relationship now, so that you can enjoy your healthy and appealing smile for years to come.

We look forward to seeing you in our McDonough dental office

Warning Signs Dentures May be in Your Future

You may expect you won’t need dentures because you take good care of your teeth. However, dentures are more prevalent than you may think. The number of adults in the United States needing dentures is expected to increase from 33 million in 1991 to 37 million in 2020. If you are wondering how likely you are to keep your teeth, here are some warning signs that may indicate dentures are in your future.

  • You don’t visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups and routine cleaning. Gum disease and tooth decay are the leading causes of tooth loss; therefore, it is critical to be proactive with dental care to prevent problems that could cause the need for extraction.
  • You have gums that are swollen, tender, red, or bleeding which are indications of periodontal disease. Left untreated, gum disease is the primary cause of adult tooth loss.
  • Your teeth have become loose, are shifting, or have developed wider gaps between them that can indicate bone loss from gum disease.
  • You have severe tooth pain that could be a sign that decay has progressed and is attacking the nerve at the center of the tooth. Once tooth decay has advanced, it is more likely your tooth will need to be removed.
  • You are already missing several of your teeth. If you are missing more than two teeth, it is important to replace them with some sort of prosthesis to keep pressure off of your remaining teeth.
  • It is difficult for you to eat hard candy or chewy foods, which may indicate a cracked tooth, cavities, or gum disease.
  • If you suffer from recurring stomach aches or indigestion, it may be a sign of dental problems. When you can’t chew properly, you end up swallowing larger pieces of food which is hard on your digestion.

Tooth loss does not happen overnight. With proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits, you may be able to avoid or delay the need for dentures in your future.

We look forward to seeing you in our McDonough dental office

Answers to Your Questions About Dental Crowns and Bridges

What is a dental bridge?

  • Dental bridges make a bridge between two anchor teeth and are meant to fill a space left by a missing tooth. Teeth can be missing due to trauma, decay or some type of natural loss. Dental crowns cap the anchor teeth, giving the bridge stability and giving the replacement tooth the strength to function as a natural tooth.

What is a dental crown?

  • Dental crowns are a restorative treatment meant to protect a tooth that has gone bad due to cracking, acute decay, or has received root canal therapy. A crown is crafted to fit in your mouth and to function exactly as your natural tooth would. They work by covering the damaged tooth entirely and can change the shape or alignment of the prior natural tooth.

Isn’t a dental crown the same thing as a dental cap?

  • A dental cap and a dental crown are two different terms for the same thing.

What are dental crowns made of?

  • Dental crowns can be made of 100% ceramic (porcelain), porcelain-fused-to-metal, or gold or other metal alloy, including zirconia. Metal alloy dental crowns are typically stronger and more suited for back teeth.

Do dental crowns look natural?

  • Crowns made from porcelain or ceramic can be very natural looking. Many materials have excellent translucency, and mimic your natural teeth very well.

Is a dental bridge an option for me?

  • Are you missing a tooth? Are your adjacent teeth healthy and stable? If so, dental bridge treatment may be right for you.

Are there options available to me other than dental bridges to replace missing teeth?

  • The best alternative option to replace a missing tooth is a dental implant. Dental implants can restore one or more teeth by being placed directly into the jawbone, fusing securely over time.

If you’re considering moving forward to replace your missing tooth or teeth, discuss options with your cosmetic dentist. Get the answers you need to determine if dental crowns or dental bridges can help you reach your smile goals.

If you need a dentist in McDonough contact us today

Causes and Effects of Gingivitis

Any stage of gum disease (or gingivitis) can cause inflammation, pain, and sensitivity. It can make eating and talking difficult. It’s important to know what causes gum disease and what can happen if it develops, so that you can avoid it altogether or at least catch it before it wreaks havoc on your mouth.

What causes gingivitis?

Plaque buildup is the main cause of gum disease, although other factors can lead to it as well. These include:

  • Illnesses, especially those that interfere with your immune system. Patients with HIV, diabetes, and cancer are often at higher risk for gingivitis.
  • Hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, menstruation, puberty, and menopause.
  • Some medications affect oral health by decreasing saliva or causing abnormal growth of gum tissue.
  • Smoking can hamper the healing of your gums.
  • Poor dental hygiene, including neglecting brushing or flossing, or using improper techniques.
  • Family history of gum disease.

What are the symptoms?

Gingivitis can sneak up without symptoms, even in the later stages of the disease. However, there are signs that may point to some level of gingivitis. These include bleeding, red, or swollen gums. Ongoing bad breath and receding gums are other symptoms. Deep pockets may form between the teeth and gums, and teeth may shift or loosen. You might also notice changes in how your teeth fit together when you bite down. Your dentist can recognize symptoms even if you don’t, so make sure you have checkups regularly.

How is gingivitis treated?

Treatment depends on the stage of your gum disease, how you responded to previous treatment, and your general health. Treatments range from therapies to control bacterial growth to surgery to restore gum tissue. Often gingivitis can be controlled with dental visits and good dental hygiene.

What can happen without treatment?

Gingivitis may advance to periodontitis, causing permanent damage to your mouth. Advanced gum disease has been linked to stroke, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes complications.

Schedule your appointment at our McDonough dental office

How Your Diet Affects Your Oral Health

The foods and drinks you consume affect more than your waistline. Your diet provides you with the nutrients you need and impacts your overall health, and also affects the health of your teeth and gums. Let’s see what the choices you make in your diet mean to your oral health.

Nutrients

If you don’t include certain nutrients in your diet, it’s harder for the tissues in your mouth to fight infection. This can promote gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if not treated properly and early. Experts suggest that gum disease advances faster and can become more severe in people who don’t have a nutritious diet. Ask your doctor for suggestions for a healthy diet full of helpful nutrients.

Balanced diet

Your goal should be to eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. These include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy items. It’s also important to drink plenty of water.

Sugar

Sugary foods and drinks are enemies for your oral health, because sugar is proven to contribute to tooth decay. When plaque comes into contact with sugar in your mouth, it causes acid to attack your teeth and lead to decay. Limit the amount of sugar you consume by reading the nutritional labels on foods and drinks, and opt for items that are lowest in sugar. Soft drinks, candy, pastries, and cookies are common sources of sugar.

Snacking

Avoid snacking in between meals, and choose healthy foods like fruit or cheese when you do snack. When you eat foods as part of a meal, it is less harmful to your teeth than eating lots of snacks throughout the day. This is a result of more saliva being released during a meal, which helps wash food from your mouth and lessen the impact of harmful acids.

Dental care

Practice good oral hygiene like regular flossing and brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

Schedule your appointment at our McDonough dental office

Stop the Pop!!

Whether you call it pop, soda, soft drink, or something else, these terms all refer to a sugary, carbonated drink popular all over the country. It is estimated that Americans consume over 13 billion gallons of soft drinks each year. These beverages can cause serious health problems, including negative effects on your oral health.

Soft drinks are one of the most significant reasons for tooth decay, and it impacts all age groups. From babies drinking it out of bottles to teenagers drinking it all day long to older adults sipping it in retirement homes, it is deteriorating tooth enamel and eroding gums of everyone who consumes it.

Why are soft drinks harmful?

The high sugar content in the drinks is the root cause of trouble, and the high acid content adds to the threat. The sugar combines with bacteria in your mouth to create an acid, which adds to the acid from the drink itself. Then this mixture attacks your teeth. Each time you take a drink of the carbonated beverage, an acid attack begins in your mouth. During this time, your tooth enamel is weakened and cavities are just waiting to form. You may think that the risk goes away by drinking sugar-free soft drinks. Although these are less harmful, they are still acidic and can lead to decay.

How can I avoid harming my teeth?

The ideal way to rule out risks from soft drinks is to cut them out of your diet completely. If you think you just can’t live without them, here are some suggestions:

  • Substitute other drinks. Try drinks with less sugar, like 100% fruit juice and milk.
  • Set a good example. Drink alternatives yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.
  • Sip with straws. This helps keep the sugar from direct contact with your teeth.
  • Rinse with water. After drinking a soda, rinse your mouth with water to reduce the amount of sugar and acid hanging onto your teeth and gums.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse. Using fluoride in your daily dental routine helps to reduce decay and strengthen enamel. Also ask your dentist about the possible need for professional fluoride treatments.

Schedule your appointment at our McDonough dental office

Wisdom Teeth Can be a Pain

Wisdom Teeth Can be a Pain

Tooth pain can be one of the most uncomfortable types of pain there is. It can make your whole jaw and head ache, interfere with eating, and cause your teeth to be more sensitive. One common reason for a toothache is your wisdom teeth, which are the molars in the very back of your mouth that develop last. Sometimes they don’t even erupt, but they can still be there under your gums causing trouble. If you experience pain related to wisdom teeth, here are some suggestions.

Make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. This way you can find out for sure if your wisdom teeth are to blame for your pain, and decide the best treatment plan for your situation. A dentist examination, which may include x-rays, is the best way to determine exactly what’s going on with your teeth. You may not even be able to see your wisdom teeth, but they might be growing improperly under your gums. Often, wisdom teeth need to be extracted to avoid continued pain or worsening condition. Luckily, wisdom teeth extraction is a common procedure that your dentist or oral surgeon is very familiar with, and can provide you with great treatment that will end up relieving your pain.

While waiting for your dental appointment, try applying an over-the-counter numbing gel such as Oragel. This may help relieve your pain at least for a short time. Also, taking non-prescription pain medicines should help. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are both good choices to try, especially to subdue the pain when you want to sleep.

Remember that prevention is often the best way to avoid dental pain. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss every day. See your dentist regularly for checkups, because problems with wisdom teeth can sometimes be spotted before you ever begin to feel any pain associated with them. This allows you to deal with the problem before you have to endure a toothache.

If you live in the McDonough area contact us today

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Does your mouth feel like it’s full of cotton? Or does it remind you of the Sahara Desert? Having an overly dry mouth can result from a variety of dental and medical issues. For example, one common culprit of dry mouth symptoms is related to medications. The best long-term solution is to consult your dentist or physician to determine the root cause of your dry mouth, and to get treatment to solve the problem. Sometimes all that is needed is to change to a different medication, and your dry mouth will disappear. However, here are some things you can try to temporarily relieve your dry mouth until you are able to determine what is causing it.

  • Sip water often.
  • Limit caffeine consumption, which can dry out your mouth even more.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy.
  • Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute, such as Biotene.
  • Do not use tobacco products of any kind.
  • Do not use mouthwashes containing alcohol, because it can be drying.
  • Avoid over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, which can worsen your dryness symptoms.
  • Add moisture to the air using a humidifier.
  • Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth.

If you do experience the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s especially important to protect your oral health. Make sure you brush your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride, and ask your dentist if prescription fluoride toothpaste would benefit you. Use a fluoride mouth rinse before bed to add an extra layer of protection for your teeth. Limit the amount of sugary foods or items high in acids, as both of these types of foods increase your risk of tooth decay. Following these tips for relieving dry mouth symptoms can make it more comfortable for you to eat, swallow, and talk.

Schedule your appointment at our McDonough dental office

Regaining Your Confidence through Teeth Whitening

Magazine articles often say that a smile reveals a person’s personality. If so, you don’t want to have dull, yellow, stained, dingy teeth! Instead you want a faultless set of pearly whites that communicates the best things about you, such as good hygiene and a confident air.

To transform your smile from dull to brilliant, teeth whitening is a great option. The field of dentistry has developed a whole array of products and procedures for brightening smiles. For example, patients may choose to completely hide their discolored teeth behind dental veneers. Or, tough stains can be covered up with dental bonding. If you’re looking for methods that simply bring your yellowed teeth back to a more appealing shade of white, there are several teeth whitening techniques to choose from:

  • Over-the-counter products are available from your local drugstore including whitening strips, gels, pens, toothpaste, mouth rinses and more. These require consistent use following the directions, and take longer than most other methods. Most products do provide some level of improvement, but not as dramatic as professional methods.
  • Home whitening methods are available from your dentist, such as customized trays that you fill with a special bleaching solution to wear at home for a period of time. At-home whitening typically takes several weeks to achieve desired results.
  • Professional whitening is performed at the dentist’s office using specialized tools. It is the most effective method and results are visible in only about an hour, due to the highly concentrated bleaching solution and enhancement with ultraviolet light or lasers.

Teeth whitening not only brightens your smile but also can shape your entire personality. A common benefit is increased self-confidence because you no longer feel you need to hide your teeth, but instead you tend to smile and laugh and speak more easily. Feelings of embarrassment about your teeth can affect you in many ways, but a smile that you’re proud of can improve the way you interact with others. Ask your dentist about whitening methods that can help you improve both your smile and your personality.


If you need a dentist in McDonough contact us today

Treating Receding Gums With Oral Surgery

While minor gum recession can be treated by your dentist with deep cleaning and antibiotics, serious gum recession can only be treated with oral surgery. A loss of bone and gum pockets that are very deep require gum surgery to address the pain and damage left by acute gum recession.

Three treatments are used primarily in the treatment of serious gum recession, in order of invasiveness: pocket depth reduction, regeneration, and soft tissue graft. Pocket depth reduction involves a deep cleaning of the affected area. The periodontist folds the gum tissue back and utilizes tooth scaling and root planing to remove any tartar and plaque built up around the tooth. Once the gum pockets are clean, the surgeon pulls the gum tissue gently around the tooth, eliminating the deep pockets altogether or significantly reducing their depth.

Regeneration utilizes a similar treatment to pocket depth reduction, but it also addresses any bone loss that occurred due to acute gum recession. In this process, a regenerative agent such as graft tissue, membranes or tissue stimulating proteins is added to the affected area. The gum tissue is then tucked into place and stitched down. Over time, the regenerative agent will work to rebuild lost bone and tissue, leaving healthy and thriving tissue behind.

The most common soft tissue graft is taken from the patient’s own mouth, either by removing tissue from the roof of the mouth or from the gum tissue near the affected tooth. The healthy gum tissue is placed in the affected area, over the exposed tooth root, protecting it from infection and damage.

To prevent the need for oral surgery to address your receding gums, have good oral hygiene habits. Brush, floss and see your dentist twice a year for checkups and professional cleanings. Talk to your dentist if you have any other questions about how to reverse or prevent gum recession.


We treat patients from McDonough and the surrounding area

Wisdom teeth dentist

Wisdom Teeth: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Wisdom teeth, your third set of molars, are named that because they are the final teeth to erupt. They usually come in between ages 17 to 25, and are located in the very back of your mouth on the top and bottom. Your dentist will examine you to find out if your wisdom teeth are properly positioned and healthy. If they aren’t, your dentist will recommend removal.

How do you know wisdom teeth should be removed?
Some of the signs there is a problem with your wisdom teeth include pain, infection, cysts, gum disease, damage to nearby teeth, and tooth decay. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist for an examination.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?
Sometimes your teeth just don’t have room to grow in properly. They can erupt at angles within your jaw, sometimes even horizontally. If wisdom teeth aren’t able to erupt normally they can become trapped, or impacted, inside your jaw. Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are pain, infection, and swelling. When teeth are impacted, they can lead to serious problems. Many dentists want to avoid impacted teeth and therefore remove your wisdom teeth before they erupt or grow too big.

Are there less obvious reasons to remove wisdom teeth?
It’s not always clear when these teeth way in the back of your mouth are causing problems, or might in the future. Many dentists remove them in teens or young adults so they don’t cause problems later, or become too firmly planted in the jaw. Also, sometimes wisdom teeth are removed as part of orthodontic, periodontal, or restorative treatment plans.

What happens if I don’t have them removed?
Some dentists prefer to wait and see what happens with time to your wisdom teeth. Make sure you continue to have these teeth monitored, because the risk of problems doesn’t go away with age. Removing wisdom teeth isn’t always necessary, because if there’s room in your mouth and they come in properly, they work just like any other teeth. The key is to watch them to make sure problems don’t arise in the future.

Dental office for wisdom teeth removal

Decreasing Your Fears of General Dentistry

Decreasing Your Fears of General Dentistry

It’s no joke that some people are afraid of going to the dentist. There’s even a word for this fear: dentophobia. It can prevent you from getting preventive care, diagnostic tests, or restorative treatments, all of which are vital in maintaining good oral health. If you suffer from dentophobia, what can you do so that you’re able to visit your general dentist?

The first step is educating yourself about the process. Fear of the unknown may be what’s stopping you from visiting the dentist. Schedule an appointment, get a tour of the office, ask about the equipment being used, and learn about common procedures. Take the time to meet the dentist and staff so that you can obtain a comfort level with the caregivers.

If knowledge isn’t enough to ease your dental fears, ask our general dentist about medications available that will allow you to successfully get treatment without having too much anxiety. Sedation dentistry is offered by many general dentists today, which offers various levels of sedation. Nitrous oxide (or laughing gas), oral medications, or even general anesthesia are often available depending on your needs and concerns.

Many dental offices provide relaxation aids to make patients more comfortable. These may include listening to music through headphones, watching videos, lap blankets to increase comfort, and more. You might also want to invite a friend or family member along as a source of support throughout your appointment. Consider rewarding yourself after a successful appointment by going to lunch afterwards or treating yourself to a favorite item like ice cream or a pedicure.

If your dentophobia still isn’t controlled with these techniques, a professional psychologist may be able to suggest breathing techniques or other relaxation methods to help. Sometimes identifying the root of your fears can help you overcome them as well. The main thing is to figure out a way to be able to visit your general dentist and get the care you need for a healthier smile.

If you need a dentist in McDonough contact us today

General dentist in McDonough

Make Your Dental Visits a Success

At least twice a year, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist. These visits allow your dentist to assess you oral health, address any concerns you have, and look for signs of problems. Protecting your teeth and gums is a partnership between you and your dentist. For the best results, follow these helpful hints:

Find the right dentist in McDonough

Selecting a provider and dental office that fits your personality will make you more likely to keep your appointments.

Provide an accurate health history
Although your dentist’s primary concern is your mouth, overall wellness can impact your dental health. For example, chronic health issues like diabetes and HIV can increase your risk for gum disease.

Bring a list of current medications
Your dentist needs to know the names and dosages of any medicine you take regularly. Certain medications, such as pain relievers, allergy medicines, and anti-depressants, can cause dry mouth, which may make you susceptible to dental problems.

Report any issues right away
Sometimes, you may develop a toothache or notice bleeding gums between your visits. Don’t ignore these symptoms because they may indicate bigger problems. The longer you wait to address any issues, the more time and money you will lose.

Share your fears
For some people, dental visits cause anxiety or fear. Let your dentist know exactly what worries you. Most doctors want you to feel relaxed and comfortable, so they will take time to answer your questions and help you feel at ease.

If you live in the McDonough area contact us today

 

Why Do I Need Root Canal Treatment?

Even though regular checkups and proper dental hygiene greatly decrease the need for root canal treatment, the fact remains that it is one of the most common procedures performed by dentists today. What are some of the most common reasons you might need this dental solution?

Decay:
The primary cause for root canal procedures is decay that has entered the tooth pulp chamber and progressed to the point of causing infection or abscesses. Pain and tooth sensitivity often accompanies severe decay. Root canal treatment is the best way to avoid tooth extraction and restore oral health.

Trauma:
If a tooth endures strong force such as from a sports injury, car accident or fall, the trauma can damage the tooth so badly that root canal treatment is needed. Even if trauma isn’t completely evident at first, a severed nerve to the tooth can cause it to die over time.

Genetics:
Traits of teeth like their strength are passed along through genes. Some people inherit soft teeth that are more prone to decay, making it difficult to avoid decay even with diligent oral hygiene.

Tooth fracture:
A tooth can be fractured through chewing hard foods or ice, teeth grinding or clenching, or habits like nail biting. Even hairline fractures may allow bacteria to enter the tooth’s pulp and cause infections. Once the bacteria takes hold, root canal treatment may become necessary.

Deep cavity:
Deep cavities within teeth can allow infections to thrive, eventually causing the tooth to become inflamed or die. A deep cavity isn’t necessarily painful, so patients may not even realize they have an infection. Regular dental checkups help catch cavities early, before they are able to become so deep and serious.

Previous dental work:
Extensive or repeated dental work can cause trauma to teeth nerves and associated inflammation, making root canal therapy an important solution.


If you live in the McDonough area contact us today

Do You Need a Root Canal Procedure?

When a tooth is seriously decayed or has become infected, a root canal procedure can be done to repair the tooth and save it. During the procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed, while the remainder of the center of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and then carefully sealed to prevent infection.

“Root canal” is the term for the natural space within the tooth’s center. The tooth’s nerve is in the root canal, as is the pulp (or pulp chamber), which is the soft area within the root canal. Because the tooth’s nerve isn’t vital to a tooth’s health, removing it doesn’t prevent the normal functioning of the tooth.

Removing the nerve and the pulp is necessary in some cases to address irritation, inflammation and infection stemming from severe decay, damaged or deep fillings, cracked or chipped teeth or facial trauma. When the nerve tissue and pulp become damaged, bacteria begin to form within the pulp chamber. This can lead to a serious infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess can form when the infection spreads past the ends of the tooth roots.

Additionally, severe infections can lead to bone loss around the tip of the root or holes in the tooth that drain the infection into the gums or through the cheek into the skin. It can cause swelling that spreads to the face, head, or neck.

Sometimes, the only signs you need a root canal procedure are more minor. They can include tooth pain when applying pressure or chewing, discoloration (darkening) of the tooth, tenderness and/or swelling of the gum tissue, or a pimple or blemish on the gums that is recurring. Acute sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures that does not abate with time can also be a sign.

Talk to your dentist or endodontist (a dentist whose specialty is the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and trauma to the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth) about your concerns. Your dentist will know what to do so you may make the best decisions for your long-term tooth health.

 

If you live in the McDonough area and you need a root canal, contact our dental office today.