Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Home for The Holidays! November 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:58 pm

For many people who live far away from their loved ones, traveling to stay with family at Thanksgiving and Christmas time is a holiday necessity! Don’t let traveling or staying away from home become a potential pitfall in your dental hygiene routine. Make plans to take great care of your teeth on the road and away from home. Here are a few pieces of advice:

-Whether your journey to your destination is going to be a long one or not, carry travel-sized toothpaste and a toothbrush with you. Add some floss to your stash too. If you get delayed, or if you just feel like your mouth could use a refresher before you arrive to greet your friends and relatives, you’ll be prepared.
-Remember to pack your night guard! Even one overnight stay without it can result in problems.
-If you rely on an electric toothbrush, bring it with you! It may be bulkier than a manual but that is usually no big deal, and maintaining an impeccable hygiene routine is worth it.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to stay on time for your regular dental cleanings and check-ups and have any needed restorations done in a timely manner in order to help minimize the chances of something becoming a painful dental issue while you are out of town trying to enjoy your holiday. Most denial offices have limited hours around the holidays, and it would be especially difficult to find one open for dental treatment on a holiday. Be preventative and proactive instead. And be sure to avoid foods and activities that can put teeth at risk, like peanut brittle and pralines, biting into hard candy, or chewing ice.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we hope all our patients are set to have a fantastic Thanksgiving, Christmas, ect.  We wish you a happy, healthy smile this Holiday season and many, many things to smile about!


Why you can Relax about Dental X-rays November 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:23 pm

Did you know that x-rays play a huge role in dental diagnosis? They are often the only way to detect cavities developing between the teeth or discover problems below the gum line such as bone loss and abscesses. X-rays provide a visual window into otherwise hidden areas of the mouth… without x-rays, it’s like trying to practice dentistry in the dark!

Many patients are wary of x-rays due to radiation exposure. At our office, we use digital x-rays. Digital x-rays result in lower exposure to radiation than the traditional x-rays of days gone by. The level of exposure for a digital dental x-ray is quite low, particularly when compared to other types of x-rays and medical scans, but also in the context of the overall radiation a person is exposed to annually. For someone who gets digital dental bitewing x-rays yearly, taking the images would account for less than 1% of the annual radiation exposure a person is expected to receive on average.

Using the unit of measurement for radiation mREM, a standard dental x-ray delivers about .5-.9 mREM.   A person generally receives about 360-600 mREM from background sources over the course of an average year. Background sources of radiation include space, the sun, the ground, the air, and seemingly benign things in our surroundings that actually emit radiation. Cooking with Natural Gas exposes a person to about 10 mREM per year (due to the Radon in the natural gas) and living in a brick home adds another 10-20 mREM (versus living in a wooden home).  Cross-country plane travel can expose someone to 3-10 times as much radiation as one standard set of dental x-rays, and having a mammogram is estimated to be the equivalent to approximately 80 or more digital dental x-rays!
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we are committed to taking the greatest care of your teeth that we can, and x-rays are an indispensable part of that! Your x-rays allow Dr. Vancil to make a better, faster, and more reliable diagnosis.  With digital x-rays, the image appears on the screen right away, allowing your dental healthcare team to see what is happening immediately. So, the next time you come to our office and find out that an x-ray is needed, you can rest easy knowing that you need not worry any more about these helpful images than you would about flying to New York or Miami and back, or living in a brick house… isn’t that something to smile about!


Keeping Halloween Happy for Your Teeth October 23, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:01 pm

It’s that time of yeah again… October is ending and Halloween will upon us in a few days. Are your teeth ready for the most potentially cavity-inducing occasion on the calendar? Let’s review a few things that can help make Halloween happy, not only for your sweet tooth, but for all of your teeth!
When it comes to candies, some are worse than others… way worse! And the worst Halloween candies are the ones that stick to your teeth: think of things like caramels, gummies, and taffy. These chewy, sticky treats cling to the teeth and are pretty hard to remove. While they are stuck there, the sugar sits on your teeth and feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which produces enamel-eroding acids! The acids weaken enamel and open the door for tooth decay.
Another really bad candy to avoid is sour candies… sour candies contain acidic ingredients to give them the sour taste, so they already contain acids before the bacteria even get to work on the sugars! Of course, sour candies and that are also sticky and chewy are the worst of the worst.
The best candies for you teeth are sugar-free hard candies and gum, especially if they use Xylitol as a sweetener. Xylitol has an anti-cavity effect. But since sugar-free candy might be hard to come by in a trick-or-treat stash, it might be useful to note that plain chocolate is a fairly good choice. Since chocolate melts easily, it is much easier to wash away from the teeth by drinking water or brushing.
That Halloween haul is going to be around for a while, so remember that it’s best for your teeth to eat candy at meal times or in one limited sitting.  The more frequently you eat candy, the more often you would introduce sugar to the bacteria that love to turn it into acid, so the idea is to keep those times few and far between rather than constantly grazing over the day. It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water after indulging in goodies to rinse the mouth and wash off the teeth. Limiting exposure is important!
Thanks to the bacteria that live in your mouth, sugar can be a scary thing for your teeth, but you don’t have to run away screaming from all the Halloweeny treats! Just be moderate and smart about it, and take great care of your teeth- that means impeccable home hygiene and regular dental cleanings and check-ups. Dr. Vanci and the Mall of Georgia Dentistry team want all of our patients, family, and friends to have a Halloween that really makes them smile!


The lifespan of your dental restorations October 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:11 pm

Dental restorations such as fillings are subject to wear and tear and will usually need to be replaced at some point. There are many individual factors that can play a role in how long a filling lasts, including the material used and your oral hygiene routine. Let’s look at some of the expected lifespans of various fillings and what factors might affect their lifespan:

Amalgam fillings: Amalgam fillings are the silver ones. The estimated longevity of an amalgam filling is around 12 years.

Composite filings:  Composite fillings are white fillings. On average, composite fillings last 5-7 years before they need to be replaced.

These averages are not guarantees, some fillings last less than one year while some may last more than 20 years!  The above lifespans come from a review of multiple studies. A research team that compiled data from multiple studies that had been done prior to 2002 found that 80% of amalgam filling were still functioning properly at the 10 year mark, while only around 60% of composite fillings lasted even 8 years.  Common reasons for a filling to fail include the breakage of the filling itself, tooth decay developing under the filling, or the filled tooth weakening and breaking around the filling.

You can help your fillings last by maintaining a great oral hygiene routine of daily brushing and flossing, regular dental cleanings and check-ups, and wearing a night guard to protect them from the effects of nocturnal clenching and grinding (some people may benefit from wearing a bite guard during the day time as well).  Grinding your teeth causes them to crack and break, fillings included! Avoiding things that contribute to decay, such as frequent snacking on sugar and carbs, or sipping on sodas and other acidic beverages throughout the day, can also help restorations last.

Remember, your oral health depends on your oral hygiene, so take an active role in maintaining your teeth and the restorations they have.  At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we aren’t just here to fix teeth that have problems, but to help you learn how to prevent problems too! Brush for two minutes two times a day using a 45-degree angle at the gum line and all around each surface of each tooth, and floss daily with a c-shape gently up and down each inner tooth surface.


What Causes Sensitive Teeth? September 27, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:07 pm

Sensitive teeth happen when the dentin inside the tooth becomes exposed, such as from receding gums or thinning enamel. The dentin contains pores, like tubes that run to the nerve in the center of the tooth. This means that things like cold beverages, hot beverages, acidic and sweet foods can easily stimulate a pain response. Things that may lead to sensitive teeth include:
•    Brushing too hard. Using a hard–bristled brush or brushing too hard or incorrectly can wear down enamel and expose the dentin. It can even cause receding gums, exposing the tooth root and opening the door to the nerves of the teeth.
•    Enamel erosion. Brushing too hard can contribute to erosion. Using abrasive tooth pastes such as “whitening” toothpastes, and acid consumption -too many acidic foods and drinks- can also weaken enamel and contribute to enamel erosion.
•    Receding gums. As mentioned above, receding gums can be caused by brushing too hard, but it can also be caused by periodontal disease as a result of continuous improper dental hygiene, or sometimes have other causes such as orthodontia.
•    Gingivitis. Inflamed and sore gums can expose the root surface of the tooth, providing a direct route to the nerve.
•    Cavities. Tooth decay that is deep enough into the dentin or that occurs near the gum line commonly results in sensitivity.
•    Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. Broken or cracked teeth harbor bacteria that can make their way to the tooth pulp and result in inflammation, pain, and sensitivity.
•    Bleaching. Teeth whitening products have a reputation for causing temporary sensitivity in many people.
•    Bruxism. Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear away enamel, exposing underlying dentin.
•    Dental procedures. Temporary sensitivity can occur following procedures such as a cleaning or root planing, or crowns and other restorations. It usually goes away in 4 to 6 weeks.
Sensitive teeth can usually be managed by using specially formulated toothpastes or other products help block the signal to the nerve so it is less easily stimulated. You can reduce the chances of developing sensitive teeth by maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine: brush properly with a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently but thoroughly, with focus along the gum line at a 45-degree angle for two minutes twice a day… floss at least once per day, use a “c” shape and go all the way up and down each side of each tooth. Also, avoid abrasives like so-called “whitening” toothpastes, just use a regular fluoride toothpaste. Keep up with your dental check ups and cleanings every 6 months, and wear a bite guard regularly. Try to limit acidic foods and beverages.
If you have been experiencing tooth sensitivity, give us a call at Mall of Georgia Dentistry. There are a variety of products we can discuss with you that might help your situation and get you smiling again!


Is your favorite beverage bad for your teeth? September 18, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:19 pm

Tooth enamel is a crystalline structure that is very hard but is easily weakened by acidic substances. Acids interfere with the chemical bonds that hold the the molecules of the enamel together. When the teeth are exposed to a lot of acidic substances for prolonged periods or with frequency, over time the enamel will dissolve. This is called acid erosion.
The most common culprits in acid erosion are beverages- many types of beverages are quite acidic. Check out the general average pH measurements of many popular drinks in the list below. The smaller the number, the lower pH and the more acidic; the larger the number, the higher the pH and the more alkaline. A neutral pH is that of regular water, which measures in at around 7 on the pH scale. Virtually all of these very popular beverages measure in with an acidic pH! But, as you can see, some are worse than others:

Unsweetened Tea 7.2
Water 7.0 (neutral)
Milk (2% or skim) 6.8
Chocolate Milk 6.7
Black Coffee 5.5
Root Beer 4.6
Tomato Juice 4.5
Beer 4.4
7-Up/Sprite 3.7
Juicy Juice 3.5
Red Wine 3.5
Apple Juice 3.4
Diet Cola 3.4
Orange Juice  3.3
Redbull 3.3
Mountain Dew 3.2
V-8 3.1
White Wine 3.3
Sweet Tea (bottled) 3
Gatorade 2.9
Dr. Pepper 2.9
Hawaiian Punch 2.8
Hi-C 2.7
Monster Energy 2.7
Lemonade 2.6
Coke 2.5

Drinks with a pH value of approximately 5.5 and below are implicated in acid erosion of the teeth. Drinks that are acidic and also contain sugar pack a double whammy because the sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth that produce even more acid. This is why sodas and energy drinks are so widely maligned by dentists! Most of these beverages are very popular and a few of them are actually healthy other than their impact on your teeth, so it’s not practical to avoid them all day every day forever! But they should be consumed with care and within limits.

What steps can you can take to neutralize the impact these drinks have on your enamel and help mitigate acid erosion?
Drink with moderation. Only drink acidic beverages at mealtimes, or during limited timeframes, instead of sipping all day and creating an environment for your teeth that is one of continual exposure to acids.
Drink through a straw. The beverage is still going to raise the pH of the mouth temporarily, but using a straw can help reduce the amount of direct contact with the the majority of your teeth.
Drink water after. Drink or rinse the mouth with regular water after drinking an acidic drink to help dilute and neutralize the acid and wash it off of your teeth.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we want to help you keep your teeth lasting a lifetime. Since daily habits are there impacting your smile all the time, education about the best and worst things for your smile is a key part of that. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, just call our office. Meanwhile… brush, floss, and smile!


What Does Fluoride Do? August 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 10:37 am

Fluoride… you’ve heard its name over and over again from your dental heath professionals. You see it listed on dental product packaging. You know it is good for your teeth and you know that it fights cavities… but *how* does it do that? Let’s take a look:

Fluoride is a chemical ion of fluorine, a common Earth element. An ion is a positively-charged or negatively-charged atom that helps elements combine with one another. The enamel covering of the teeth is crystalline. It is a form of hydroxyapatite, mostly made up of the minerals calcium and phosphate. These molecules are held together by chemical bonds.

Acids are able to weaken chemical bonds and break them.  Acids come from acidic foods as well as from within your mouth- formed when the bacteria that live in the oral cavity break down sugars and starches and excrete acids. These acids start to weaken the chemical bonds, dissolving the crystalline structure of the enamel, and causing demineralization. This happens frequently because people eat acidic foods, sugars, and starches all the time.

Quickly neutralizing the acid helps allow the tooth to remineralize fairly easily, to re-establish the chemical bonds. Now here is where fluoride comes in:  the presence of fluoride ions help enamel remineralize by acting as a catalyzing agent in the remineralization process- it helps the molecules combine with each other. And it can also become part of the tooth enamel, making a somewhat more acid-resistant enamel containing fluorohydroxyapatite and fluorapatite.

This is great news for children, because the process of adding more fluorohydroxyapatite and fluorapatite to the enamel seems to worked really well while teeth are developing.  This makes for a tooth structure that is more decay-resistant, strengthening the enamel from within. With fluoride in the mix, the chemical bonds are a bit stronger and acid can’t weaken them quite as easily.

Fluoride ions also have been found to have an anti-microbial effect. Studies have found that fluoride seems to inhibit a step in bacteria metabolism. This means that fluoride can decrease the amount of acid that the bacteria living in your mouth are able to produce.

So that is why there is so much hype about fluoride when it comes to your teeth! If you’d like to know more about how to use fluoride to improve your dental health, and which fluoride-fortified products and treatments we offer at Mall of Georgia Dentistry, contact our office! We’d love to help you take advantage of this awesome smile-strengthening substance!



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