Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

What’s the Matter with Malocclusion? October 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:46 pm

Malocclusion is misalignment of the way the teeth fit together, such as with crowding, gaps, overbite or underbite, rotated or twisted teeth, or other problems with the “bite” or way the teeth align and occlude. Although a large part of malocclusion is genetic and inherited, certain activities can contribute to it. Here are a few things, including some that you should be sure to avoid or to discourage in your children, that can contribute to malocclusion:

  • Prolonged use of pacifier or bottle after infancy
  • Thumb sucking
  • Abnormal or impacted teeth
  • Trauma or injury
  • Improperly fitted dental restoration or orthodontic devices
  • Other medical or developmental disorders of the mouth or face

To help prevent or minimize malocclusion, parents are encouraged to limit pacifier or bottle use and thumb sucking to help prevent them for causing changes in jaw. Beginning treatment to correct malocclusion early is helpful in minimizing symptoms and problems. Malocclusion may cause symptoms such as discomfort when chewing or biting, bruxism, speech or breathing problems, altered facial appearance, a misaligned appearance of the teeth, as well as other long-term effects that can compromise the health and integrity of teeth. Some examples of that would be bruising and nerve injury or nerve death for teeth that receive the brunt of the bite force of the jaw over time, or increased risk of caries between crowded teeth that are difficult to clean around properly.

Treatment for malocclusion may include braces or orthodontic procedures, extractions, placement or replacement of dental restorations, and in some severe cases, jaw surgery or wiring. Seeking orthodontic treatment with a focus on occlusion as well as appearance of the teeth is usually the best treatment for most cases.

Since Dr. Vancil is very aware of the problems that can arise from a “bad bite”, he is a serious proponent of the importance of proper occlusion…. don’t be surprised about how much you can learn about it at Mall of Georgia Dentistry! So if you have any questions or concerns about malocclusion, give our office a call and see if we can help improve you or your child’s smile!


Sensitive teeth tips October 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 9:08 am

Did you know the American Dental Association found that one in eight adults suffer from sensitive tooth pain?  That’s the pain triggered by eating or drinking cold, hot, acidic or sweet foods or liquids.

There are a number of causes.  As we mentioned last week, bruxism – clenching and grinding of teeth – can lead to sensitivity.  So can overzealous brushing of your teeth.  And some people notice sensitivity after whitening procedures.

The biggest cause of sensitivity, however, is gum recession.  That’s when gum tissue is lost and exposes the surface of the root of the tooth.  That leaves the nerve in the tooth more susceptible to pain triggers such as hot and cold.

What can one do to help ease the sensitivity?  First be more gentle when you brush.  And you may want to try a tooth past made to address the sensitivity problem.  The key ingredient is potassium nitrate.  It may take a few weeks to feel the helpful effects, but keep at it.  Secondly, if you drink acidic foods or drink (fruit, orange juice, coffee), have a drink of water immediately afterward to rinse the majority of acid out of your mouth.  Don’t brush immediately.  Wait at least 10 or 15 minutes.

If you’re doing in-home whitening, take a break.  They can alter the physical structure of your teeth and help increase sensitivity.  Finally, consider a night guard to decrease the effect of clenching and grinding your teeth. That will also help decrease that effect on tooth sensitivity.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us, we’ll be glad to review sensitivity with you.

Mall of Georgia Dentistry


Bruxism Basics September 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 9:59 pm

Bruxism, or grinding your teeth…  What causes it? How does it affect your dental health? What can be done about it? Let’s take a look:

The cause of bruxism is not always entirely clear, but in most cases bruxism is believed to be an unconscious reaction to stress or anxiety. Common, everyday life stress factors are thought to be the main cause for most people. Certain dental problems like malocclusion and some medications can also cause bruxism.

Bruxism can be very detrimental to your teeth. The force exerted by the jaw is more than typically required to chew food yet the contact is teeth on teeth. This can wear away enamel, crack and break teeth, bruise the roots of teeth and cause all kinds of havoc that can result in tooth loss and/or expensive restorations. Bruxism can also cause cosmetic issues and lead to TMJ disorders and headaches.

Treating bruxism is usually as simple as wearing a bite guard as needed.  The majority or sufferers only clench and grind at night, but some people also wear theirs during the day if they find the stresses of life are unconsciously taken out on their teeth all day long. A bite guard cushions and protects the teeth from grinding against each other and distributes the force to minimize the impact. Boil-and-bite/over-the-counter bite guards are affordable and easily obtainable, but typically wear out in a few months. Pricier custom-made ones can last years. Rarely, certain patients with bruxism can benefit from muscle relaxers or other oral or injectable medications. Sometimes some patients can be helped by orthodontia if there are bite issues that contribute to bruxism.  Healthy lifestyle and relaxation techniques can help reduce stress factors that lead to bruxism. Bite guards are generally the most beneficial in most cases.

Whatever the cause of bruxism, it can be extremely hard on your teeth and is worth the investment to treat it.  Dr. Vancil is very familiar with the symptoms of bruxism and constantly strives to help raise patient awareness of any signs or effects of grinding as well as recommend a course of action. Patients are also encouraged to contact us for more information if desired. The entire Mall of Georgia Dentistry staff is aware of how treating bruxism can help our patients maintain the healthiest and happiest smile!


A word about premedication before dental visits September 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:27 pm

If you have certain medical conditions, your doctor may call for you to take an antibiotic dose prior to many dental procedures – such as a cleaning.  That’s because there is a risk that the bacteria in your mouth could accidentally be introduced into your bloodstream and cause an infection for a small number of patients with specific heart conditions:

  • Artificial heart valves.
  • A history of an infection of the lining of the heart or heart valves known as infective endocarditis.
  • A heart transplant in which a problem develops with one of the valves inside the heart.
  • Heart conditions that are present from birth:
    • Unrepaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including people with palliative shunts and conduit.
    • Defects repaired with a prosthetic material or device—whether placed by surgery or catheter intervention—during the first six months after repair.
    • Cases in which a heart defect has been repaired, but a residual defect remains at the site or adjacent to the site of the prosthetic patch or prosthetic device used for the repair.

In the past, patients with artificial joints were also prescribed antibiotics before a dental visit. But:

In 2012, the ADA and American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons updated the recommendations and no longer recommend antibiotics for everyone with artificial joints. As a result, your healthcare provider may rely more on your personal medical history to determine when antibiotics are appropriate for people with orthopedic implants. For example, antibiotic prophylaxis might be useful for patients who also have compromised immune systems (due to, for instance, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, chemotherapy, and chronic steroid use), which increases the risk of orthopedic implant infection. If you have a heart condition or an orthopedic implant, talk with your dentist or physician about whether antibiotic prophylaxis before dental treatment is right for you.

The fact that the ADA and AAOS no longer recommend antibiotics doesn’t mean you may not need to take them.  That is for you and your doctor decide.  The reason for the decision to forego premedication with antibiotics is due to the growing problem with antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

If you have any questions about this, please contact us or your doctor to ensure whether or not antibiotic premedication is appropriate for you.

Mall of Georgia Dentistry


Toothache remedies through the ages September 19, 2014

Filed under: Dentistry — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 10:18 am

Tooth aches have been with us throughout the history of mankind. And mankind has found A number of ways to deal with them.

In Egypt, Egyptians wore amulets in order to prevent toothaches. If that didn’t work, the protocol was to apply a dead mouse to the affected area.

The Romans had quite a different approach to curing toothaches. One Roman writer, Pliny, advised rubbing the bad tooth with the brains of a dogfish boiled in oil. If that didn’t work, he recommended catching up frog under a full moon and spitting in it’s mouth while commanding the toothache to go away.

In the 17th century, conventional wisdom dictated that the “tooth worm” was the cause of cavities. And while noone ever found a tooth worm, there were numerous remedies offered to try and rid the mouth of these mythical creatures.

Thankfully we live in a modern era where we know what causes toothaches and cavities and can offer relatively pain free relief.  And we promise – no dogfish brains.

Mall of Georgia Dentistry


How to Pick a Toothpaste September 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 7:36 pm

Do you ever scan the shelves at your local grocery store’s or mega store’s toothpaste isle and feel overwhelmed by the variety and selection? Cavity control or tartar control? Whitening, sensitive… the list goes on. There is just so much variety- how do you know which one is best for you?

Most of the time, there’s really nothing special in the packages with the catchy terminology, like “anti-cavity” or “cavity protection”. All fluoride-containing toothpastes (and you’d be really hard pressed to find one that isn’t!) are going to offer a degree of cavity protection. Unless you are talking about special remineralizing toothpastes that you won’t find on store shelves (like MI Paste and Clinpro) then generally, any variety that contains fluoride will be as “anti-cavity” as the next.

It’s best to avoid “whitening” toothpastes since they usually contain abrasive that can wear down enamel over time. And they aren’t very effective at removing stains or whitening the tooth because the tooth shade lies inside, in the dentin, where toothpaste can’t reach.

If you have sensitive teeth or if you are doing some at-home bleaching that is causing sensitivity, then you may want to look for a sensitive toothpaste that contains Potassium Nitrate. This ingredient can help soothe the nerves inside the teeth and reduce sensitivity.

So, mostly all that fancy packaging and specific terminology is just marketing.  A sensitive toothpaste is a good idea for anyone with sensitive teeth, and pass on the “whitening” toothpastes.  If you are quite cavity-prone and think you might require a little something extra, then give our office a call. We have products like MI Paste and Clinpro available at Mall of Georgia dentistry and we’d be happy to talk to you about those and other options. . Otherwise, even your basic low-priced bottom-shelf variety of toothpaste will fit the bill. So don’t worry about getting one with glittery packaging and a lists of promises.  Just pick one you like it and use it twice a day for two minutes with a nice soft brush, and then smile away!


Do you have TMD? September 5, 2014

Filed under: Dental health — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:40 pm

If you suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches the pain may be due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.

Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain in the jaw area
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
  • Swelling on the sides of the face
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth

Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD, and create an effective treatment just for you.  You’ll find some steps you can take to lessen the severity of TMD or help prevent it altogether here.

Call us with any questions.

Mall of Georgia Dentistry



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