Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

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


How do dental implants work? August 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:45 pm
Dental implants are one of the newest innovations in modern dentistry.  As the name implies, it is “implanted” in the jaw to take the place of a tooth that is broken or decayed and functions exactly like the tooth it is replacing.  The dental implant is topped with a crown, and if you didn’t know any better you’d never be able to tell the difference between it and a real tooth.
But how do implants work? After all, a tooth has been removed from the jaw and replaced with a metal implant.  How in the world can that end up stabilizing and replacing the tooth that was lost?
The body initiates a process called osseointegration (“osseo” – bone, “integration” – fusion with).   If we’re talking about a front tooth, the tooth socket is cone shaped.  The implant penetrates the apex of that socket and is affixed to the bone in the area.  Kind of like placing a screw in a previously drilled wooden hole that’s too large.  The only way to stabilize it is to screw it into the wood beyond the screw’s original reach.  
The implant is very carefully placed and stabilized.  Then the process of osseointegration begins.  In about 2 months the bone will fill the remaining gap and heal by fusing to the implant.
Implant patients must be careful during that period, but once the osseointegration is complete, the implant and crown will function as any other tooth in the patient’s mouth.
If you have any questions about implants, make sure to give us a call.  We’d love to discuss them with you.

Maintiang Your Bite Guard With Some TLC August 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:58 pm

Bite guards are one of the best ways to help save your smile from some of life’s hard knocks. Whether you have a night guard for bruxism or a sports mouth guard (or both!), and whether it’s over-the-counter or a custom-made one, you can get the most out of it by taking good care of it. Here are some tips for caring for your night guard or mouth guard:

  • Rinse your bite guard or mouth guard well with cool water before and after use. It’s a great idea brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste and rinse daily.
  • Never use hot water on your bite guard, it can soften the plastic and cause it to warp and no longer fit properly.
  • Store your bite guard in its case if it has one, or a clean well-ventilated container that is sturdy enough to protect it. The cases they come with are designed to protect but also provide air circulation. Do not store a bite guard or mouth guard in an enclosed place while damp. A damp bite guard, even if clean, can be susceptible to bacterial growth if kept damp and not allowed to dry.
  • Clean your bite guard case about once a week. The case can be washed with soap and hot water. Dry it with a clean cloth or paper towel or allow it to air dry completely before placing your bite guard inside.
  • Do not store your bite guard in a hot place (such as in your luggage in the trunk of a car, or in your checked baggage on a plane during summer time). The car interior or carry-on baggage are better options for transporting your bite guard. Also, some bathrooms can get hot and steamy, so a nightstand is thought to be safer place to keep a night guard. Sports mouth guards should not be stored outdoors or in a very hot garage or car.
  • If you want, you can soak your bite guard in antiseptic mouthwash about once a week (or as often as you like) to disinfect it and give it a nice minty-freshness.
  • Inspect your bite guard frequently for any damage or wear and tear. You can also bring it to your dental appointment for your dental provider to look over for you.

Wearing a night guard and sports mouth guard helps to maintain the health and beauty of your smile. Make taking great care of your mouth guard a part of your regular brushing and flossing routine to get the most out of your investment in your smile!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: