Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Cracked Tooth? January 31, 2016

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

Cracked teeth can sometimes be hard to detect because the pain may come and go, and it may be hard to determine which tooth is causing the pain. Let’s take a look at some of the causes and symptoms of a cracked tooth and what can be done about it.

Teeth often become cracked from grinding and clenching. Many people grind and clench their teeth at night without even realizing it. Another very common way to crack a tooth is by biting into something very hard, such as hard candy or ice. So some of the best ways to protect your teeth and prevent them from cracking include wearing a night guard and never chewing ice or biting into hard candy. Teeth can also become cracked when people use them as tools, such as opening bottles. Teeth with fillings can often be subject to cracking due to the tooth already being weakened from the filling, and occasionally, certain fillings can be of a shape and substance that may start to act like a wedge being driven into the tooth as they wear out or if the tooth weakens.

Pay attention to the signs of a cracked tooth so that you can catch it early and get it treated before more significant damage develops. If you feel a sudden sharp pain when when biting down, especially on a hard food, or if you have sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks, then you may have a cracked tooth.  Once the enamel of a tooth is cracked, it can pinch and irritate the sensitive  pulp underneath. Over time, infection can set in through the crack since the protective coating of enamel is compromised.

Depending on the severity of the crack and the condition of the underlying pulp and the tooth overall, a cracked tooth can be repaired with a filling or, more often, a crown. Some teeth may require a root canal prior to crown placement, and some may be so badly cracked that extraction is necessary.

Cracked teeth happen. Most of us live busy, stressful lives that make clenching and grinding more common, and many people are not even aware of it. Take great care of your teeth by wearing a bite guard at night if you exhibit any signs of grinding, and take care not to try to chew ice, bite into hard candies, or use your teeth to open things. At Mall of Georgia Dentistry , we want your teeth to last your lifetime, so it’s good for you to know the things that matter to your teeth along with great home hygiene. But if a tooth does crack or exhibit any symptoms of pain or sensitivity, don’t wait- call our office right away.


What Exactly is Plaque? January 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:56 pm

Plaque. You may have heard it referred to as enemy number one of good oral health… you may know it as a sticky white-ish gunk that collects on your teeth…  but what exactly is it?

Plaque is a biofilm. You should be familiar without the prefix “bio-” as corresponding to “life”, so that means plaque is actually alive! Plaque is actually a living bacterial mass. That means countless tiny bacterial organism clinging together and binding themselves to your teeth. Yuk, right?!

The bacteria that form plaque grow when we eat because they are nourished by the food we nourish ourselves with. Some foods, like sugar and carbs, cause them to grow faster because they can digest them so easily. As plaque digest the substances we put in our mouths, they secrete acids as by-product. These acids are what weaken tooth enamel (by disrupting the chemical bonds of the enamel) and open the door for tooth decay.

If left alone plaque dies and hardens and becomes tartar (a.k.a. dental calculus). The rough surface of tartar actually makes the proliferation of even more bacterial plaque even easier, and, unlike plaque which can be simply brushed or flossed away, tartar is stuck on to the tooth like glue. Plaque can begin to harden into tartar after about 24hours. This is why plaque must be thoroughly removed every single day.

Removing plaque is simple! You can do it at home!

•    Brush thoroughly for two minutes twice a day to remove plaque from all surfaces of your teeth. Brush with a 45-degree angle around the gumline.
•    Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gumline, where your toothbrush can’t really reach well.
•    Limiting sugary and starchy foods can result in less plaque, since the bacteria thrives on those substances.

It’s also very important to keep up with your regular dental visits every 6 months for professional cleanings to get rid of any tartar from small amounts of plaque that may have escaped brushing and flossing. Tartar cannot be removed at home. A dental professional with special tools and knowledge is required to safely and adequately remove plaque.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we love to empower our patients with the knowledge that great oral health is grounded on their home care routine, and the simple process of removing plaque from your teeth daily is the key to maintaining a healthy and impeccable smile!


Tooth-friendly New Years Resolution Ideas January 3, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 6:49 pm

A whole fresh new calendar year always seems to inspire the need to get serious about making changes that can improve your life. Want to improve your smile in 2016? Here are a few simple changes you can make that will make your mouth healthy and and your year smile-worthy:

-Floss floss floss! This oft-repeated advice is kind of obvious, and you knew it was going to top the list, didn’t you? If you are not already flossing every single day, then making a resolution to start (and stick to) this daily habit is an easy way to improve your oral health. And since oral health and overall health are linked, you can consider this 90-second or so daily commitment an integral part of laying the foundation of a healthier you in 2016.

-Cut back on, or give up, soda (or any acidic or sugary beverage that you regularly consume… that includes diet!) Acidic beverages such as soda, energy drinks, coffee concoctions or sweet tea, even juices, all contribute to weakening enamel and tooth decay. Cutting out the worst offenders would be great for your teeth, but even cutting back is a good move. Try limiting them to just meal times and drinking only water in between. Use a straw any time you do drink these beverages. See if you can enjoy unsweetened coffee or tea drinks.

-Make your routine checkup appointments, and any other recommended treatment appointments, and get it done! Putting off treatment or skipping cleanings just leads to more or worse problems in the long run. Taking care of your teeth within the time frame specified by your dentist is an essential part of committing to having the best oral health you can have.

-Wear a night guard!  It has been estimated that up to 90% of Americans have some degree of clenching or grinding that affects their oral health. Many of them already wear a night guard, but if you have ever been told that you need to wear one and aren’t doing that yet, NOW is the time to start! If you haven’t ever been told that you need one, at your next appointment, ask if you exhibit any signs of clenching or grinding.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we want every smile to shine healthy and bright. A few simple daily things that take only a few minutes can be just what you need to get you on the road to your best oral health and the brightest of smiles in 2016! Have a Happy New Year!


The Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes December 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:01 pm

Modern technology has countless ways of making things easier and better for us. We have machines for cleaning dishes and clothing far faster and better than by hand, doesn’t it makes sense that having a machine to help us brush our teeth would be advantageous?

An electric toothbrush is an easy way to get really, really clean teeth at home – with little effort or thought involved.  Electric toothbrushes remove more plaque from hard-to-reach places than manual brushing. Make sure to use soft bristles to keep it gentle on the gums. Good-quality electric toothbrushes effectively clean teeth that have braces, and they are gentle on restorations like crowns, cement, implants, as well as thinning enamel.

Did you know that most people only brush an average of 45-70 seconds? It seems we are pretty bad at estimating time, so an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer is a great thing! Most of them have a built-in timer, so you never have to count or watch a clock or worry that you have under-brushed.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we highly recommend investing in a good electric toothbrush if you aren’t already using one. We carry a coupe of really good models at our office, and through the end of December they are 15% off!  Come get one for yourself or as a gift for someone you love. It’s one of the best things you can do to keep your smile healthy and bright!


Dental Phobia Fix? December 6, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 4:40 pm

Being nervous or anxious before going to the dentist is is not rare, so if that sounds like you, you are not alone. But if you avoid regular dental check-ups or ignore tooth pain out of fear or anxiety, your dental health is likely to suffer. What can be done to help make going to get the dental care you need a more manageable or easy feat?  A new study offers one potential solution.
Researchers in the UK found that fear of the dentist can be alleviated by participating in cognitive behavior therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a psychotherapy technique that can effectively relieve a variety of anxiety-related disorders for many people. For this study, the researchers surveyed patients at a clinic run by the King’s College London Dental Institute Health Psychology Service, asking them to report their levels of various psychological issues including dental anxiety, as well as answer oral health-related questions and associated quality of life. Almost all of the participants reported that they had problems with their teeth, mouth, or gums that affected their daily lives and quality of living. All of them also scored high on an anxiety scale regarding specific fears relating to some aspect of receiving dental care. The most common fears were connected to injections and dental drilling. These patients then began receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, and after an average of 5 therapy sessions, 79% of them were able to have dental treatment without requiring sedation or anxiety medication. Many of the patients were found to have generalized anxiety and psychological issues beyond just fear of the dentist.
Experts believe that phobias and fears are learned behaviors, and that anything learned can be unlearned and replaced with something positive. For a variety of reasons such as cost and time, we realize that not everyone will be able to easily receive professional therapy for their dental anxiety, so if you have dental phobia, talk to our office about your anxiety before scheduling your appointment. Being up front about your fear or anxiety allows Dr. Vancil and the Mall of Georgia Dentistry team to adapt treatment to your needs. Please don’t let dental anxiety keep you from taking great care of your teeth by getting needed preventative and restorative treatments done. It will keep you smiling in the long run!


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!



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