Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Foods and Drinks That Stain Your Teeth June 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 6:24 pm

A pearly white smile may be considered a widely desirable feature, but achieving and maintaining that bright white grin may be hindered by your eating and drinking habits. Just about any colorful food or beverage can stain teeth, some worse than others, and unfortunately some of the most popular foods and beverages top the list of “most likely to stain your smile”. Check out some of the most common below:

-Coffee

-Tea

-Wine, especially red wine

-Cola/ dark-colored soft drinks

-Ketchup

-Mustard

-Berries and other intensely colored fruits and juices

-Soy sauce

-Tomato sauce

-Artificially colored things- candy, popsicles, sports drinks, etc.

Obviously all of these teeth-tainting items are really common and many are very popular – our meals, snacks, and drinks would not be so enjoyable without them. So what can we do about it? Keep reading…

Many of the worst-offending beverages can be consumed with a straw, which bypasses the front teeth and helps keep the staining pigments away. As for the solid foods and the beverages that just aren’t the same through a straw, try drinking water immediately afterward to rinse the teeth and minimize the amount of time that they are in contact with your pearly whites.

Get regular professional dental cleanings. The plaque and tartar that build up on teeth hold onto stains and pigments too, and often a profession scale and polish (the basics of a dental cleaning appointment) will do wonders for brightening up your smile.

Since some staining and discoloration is a normal part of living, bleaching treatments and whitening methods are a good option for many people to help undo some of the discoloration that can result from frequent consumption of tooth-staining foods and drinks. A carbamide peroxide-based treatment is generally the best on teeth and gives good results. Whitening toothpastes rely on abrasives to remove surface stains from the enamel, but they are damaging to the enamel and cannot lighten the dentin of the inner tooth, so we advise against using them.

Since it’s not a food or a drink, you wont find “smoking “ on the above list, but it is commonly known that tobacco products of all kinds are responsible for some of the absolute worst staining that can occur! It’s ideal to avoid ever starting, but if you already use tobacco and can quit, that is a great move towards whiter teeth.

Got a smile that isn’t as sparkly and bright as it used to be? At the Mall of Georgia Dentistry office, we offer several different whitening and bleaching methods and products. Just give us a call to discuss which one might be the best fit for you!

 

Why Is Sugar So Bad for Your Teeth? June 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:49 pm

As far back as you can remember, the association between candy, sweets, soda, and cavities has been declared over and over from all the experts on the topic… but have you ever stopped to wonder- what exactly is it about sugar that is so bad for your teeth? The truth is that sugar alone is not the direct cause of tooth decay- there is a sort of chain reaction that takes place, and sugar is a major catalyst. Lets look at the whole process a little more closely:

It all starts with bacteria… your mouth is full of bacteria that live there. They literally live there- eating, breeding, dying- a whole life cycle in the habitat of your mouth. They eating what you eat, and whenever you eat you feed them too. As with humans and most of the creatures we are familiar with, eating and taking in sustenance result in a process of extracting the nutrients from the substances consumed but creating waste products from the non-nutrient part of the consumed substances, and then the non-nutrient parts are excreted. In other words, eating results in excrement. Bacteria are no exception.
These mouth bacteria produce an excrement that is an acid substance. Acid has a negative impact on teeth because tooth enamel is weakened by acid- the molecular bonds that hold the hard crystalline mineral structure in place are disrupted by acid. While these bonds are weakened, tiny holes form, and if acids continue to dissolve the enamel, larger holes form. Over time, the acid can dig a hole straight through to the dentin!
Certain foods result in more excrement than others, and for bacteria, sugars and carbohydrates are the most acid-producing food that we consume… and furthermore, bacteria love these forms of fuel! Sugars and carbohydrates fuel their ability to multiply, increasing their numbers and helping them glue themselves together in a sticky yuck film known as plaque. This plaque is not easily washed away by saliva but goes on making lots of acid.
The very simple formula is that sugar+bacteria=acid, and it’s the acid that does the most harm to the teeth and makes them ripe for decay. So are the gears turning your brain… if sugar doesn’t result in tooth decay until the bacteria turn it into acid, then isn’t it the acid that is really so bad for your teeth? BINGO! Acid is a real enemy of tooth enamel! So while minimizing sugary and carby foods can help reduce the chances of decay, avoiding acidic foods is important too… sour can be as bad as sweet. Lemon juice and citrus, vinegar and pickles, soft drinks (including diet sodas!), energy drinks, fruits and fruit juices… these foods are best limited to meal times, and beverages can be sipped through a straw to help bypass the teeth.

It is possible to eat sugar and still avoid cavities if you take proper care of your teeth and don’t over-do-it with sweets, carbs, and acidic foods. Brushing and flossing daily are the best ways to remove and minimize plaque and keep it in check. Brush and floss thoroughly and visit the dentist regularly too for a professional cleaning and to check for any cavities so they can be treated before they get really bad or cause pain. And at Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we believe education and prevention are the best medicine! So get your brush on 2x2minutes a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and once daily floss floss floss… use a “c” shape and go gently up and down each tooth’s inner surface. Limiting sugary foods and making water the main beverage are good choices for your teeth too… put all this on the list of things that make your teeth smile!

 

Periodontal Measurements May 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:23 pm

So you come in for a dental exam and the dentist or hygienist is poking around all of your teeth and typing or calling out numbers… what is up with that? This is periodontal charting – they are taking a measurement of the suculus, or periodontal pocket depth. There is a natural space or “pocket” between the gums and the side tooth surface around each tooth (called the suculus), and the dept of these pockets says a lot about your oral health.

A deep pocket usually becomes an easy place for oral bacteria to hide and take up residence. These bacteria, over time, cause inflammation and damage to the surrounding tissues. Here are how those measurement relate to various categories of periodontal fitness or disease:

A normal pocket dept is 1-3 millimeters. The surrounding gum tissue will be pink or coral in color and firm, resilient, and healthy. Healthy gums will not bleed.

The presence of inflamed gums and bleeding gums, can indicate gingivitis and usually pocket depths will be 3-4 millimeters. Supporting bone is still intact at this stage.

Pocket depth or 4-5mm indicates a slight periodontitis. Inflammation of the surrounding tissue and slight bone loss are indicated., but teeth will likely not be lose at this stage.

A 5-6mm reading will indicate moderate periodontitis and a more serve level of bone and tissue destruction. Slight tooth mobility may be seen.

Severe periodontitis will exhibit 7mm pockets (or more), as much of the supporting bone has been lost and tooth mobility will be extreme. Eventual tooth loss is common at this stage.

Taking these measurements help determine the periodontal condition of your teeth and helps the dental care team determine what treatments will best improve or maintain the health and vitality of your teeth, gums, and bone. Special procedure, deep cleanings, medications, mouthwashes, or toothpastes may be recommended for deeper pocket depths, as well as maintaining a proper home hygiene routine.

Recommendations for maintaining an already healthy mouth is typically to consistently brush twice daily for two full minutes with a soft-bristled brush, and pay special attention to brushing along the gum line at a 45-degree angle. As well as flossing at least once per day, using a “C” shape and going all the way up and down each inner surface several times to thoroughly clean each side of each tooth.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry we want to help you keep your teeth and mouth as a hole as healthy as can be, and these measurement are an essential part of making the best treatment plan for you. It’s all part of keeping your mouth healthy and your smile bright!

 

Why wear a bite guard? May 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 10:44 am

Your jaw is capable of exerting a tremendous amount of force, up to 1200 pounds of pressure! That’s pretty amazing, right? But when you clench or grind your teeth, that is bad news. And since most clenching and grinding is done at night while you are asleep, you may be unaware of it, and since you are not conscious you are unable to do anything about it unless you take precautions while you are awake. A few common problems that can arise from clenching and grinding (also called bruxism) can include:

-Chipped, cracked, or broken teeth

-Wearing down of the enamel, resulting in a shortening of the teeth over time and/or flat teeth

-Broken restorations (failed fillings, crowns or veneers falling off, broken bonding)

-Loose or sensitive teeth

-Toothache from bruised teeth, injury deep into the tooth root where the nerves are

-Grinding, clanking, or clicking sounds during sleep heard by sleep partner, jaw movement seen by sleep partner

-Jaw joint problems, TMD (temporomandibular disorders)

-Headache, ear aches, facial pain

Indications that you are grinding your teeth can include any of the above problems and more.

Wearing a bite guard can resolve many of the issues caused by bruxism and clenching. Instead of teeth-on-teeth friction, with two hard surfaces grinding against each other, wearing a bite guard places a protective layer of plastic in between. A bite guard is designed to take the force of the jaw, distribute it, and absorb much of it, providing protection for your teeth and taking the load off the jaw and surrounding areas.

Wearing a bite guard is an essential part of taking care of your teeth. Much bruxism is caused by stress, so finding ways to relax and handle the stresses of life may also help reduce the problem. Clenching and grinding is very, very common since most people have lives that include a fair amount of stress in our modern hectic world. And it’s a good idea to mention that while most people usually clench and grind at night, some people do so during the day as well, so bite guards can be worn during the day. Some people do in fact need that.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, Dr. Vancil will inspect your teeth and examine your jaw for any signs of clenching and grinding and discuss your bite guard options with you. Wearing a bite guard doesn’t only protect your teeth… since it can help reduce your chances of dental injury or jaw distress, it might also save you time and money by preventing the need for expensive dental restorations and improving your quality of life… and that’s something to smile about!

 

Taking Care of Your Sports Mouth Guard April 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 5:04 pm

April is National Facial Protection Month, but the importance of wearing helmets and mouth guards for physical activities can’t be stressed enough at any time of the year. Luckily, we’ve noticed that most of our patients are already well aware that facial protection is an essential part of any sporting activity. So you’ve already got a sports mouth guard… now, how to keep it in the best shape so it can serve its purpose most effectively? Put these care tips to use:

-Clean your mouth guard after each use. If possible, scrub it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste or a tiny bit of very mild soap. If you are not able to wash it that thoroughly right away, at least give it a good thorough rinsing with cold water. Avoid hot water though, as heat can warp it.

-Do not leave it in the sun, since, as stated above, heat can warp the plastic. So don’t store it in the trunk of the car (or any place hot) along with the rest of your sporting equipment, or in the glove box, or in direct sunlight.

-Store your mouth guard in an appropriate container. You want a hard well-ventilated container. A hard sturdy container will help to protect it from physical harm, while ventilation holes or vents will allow it to dry out thoroughly between uses. Most sports guards come with this type of container, and you should be able to find one at your local drugstore if it wasn’t included.

-Soaking your appliance in Listerine or any good antiseptic mouthwash occasionally can help to clean and disinfect it and remove stains and odors.

-Frequently inspect your mouth guard for wear and tear. Look for rips, tears, and holes that may affect the fit or the ability to protect your teeth and surrounding tissue.

-Finally, do not abandon it in an empty parking lot, like poor example pictured. It’s not possible to have it with you and in your mouth protecting your teeth during your sporting events and practices if you lose it, silly! Taking good care of it also means keeping it in a safe place at the ready for use when needed. But life happens, so if you do lose it, just get a replacement right away!

mouthguardparkinglot

Wearing a mouth guard can help save the pain and expense of repairing an injury, and dentist-fabricated customized mouth guards offers the best protection of all. But whatever type of mouth guard you use, take care of it so it can take care of your teeth. And please do bring it along to any appointments you have so Dr. Vancil or someone on the Mall of Georgia Dentistry team can look it over for you too. #brushfosssmile and #wearyourmouthguard!  :)

 

The Importance of Oral Cancer Awareness April 12, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 4:36 pm

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer is a broad term which includes mouth cancer, tongue cancer, and even throat or tonsil cancer. Also included are cancers of the very back of the mouth (the oropharynx), as well as lip cancers on the exterior of the mouth. An estimated 45,750 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year in the U.S.  Worldwide, 450,000 cases will be diagnosed annually.
Oral cancer will be newly diagnosed in about 115 Americans every day, and it’s a sad fact that a person dies from oral cancer each and every hour of every single day. With early detection, those cases caught in the first stage of development, there is an estimated 80 to 90 percent survival rate. But unfortunately, a majority of cases are found at the late stages, and that results in a high death rate of around 43% at five years from diagnosis. It also increases the likelihood of treatment-related morbidity as more aggressive treatment becomes necessary in the late stages.  Lack of public awareness is a major factor in the frequency of late-stage diagnosis. So if you or a loved one experience any of the following symptoms, do not ignore them, get a screening immediately!

Symptoms of oral cancer include:
•    Lumps, bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas, swellings or thickenings on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
•    Velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
•    Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
•    Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
•    Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
•    A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
•    Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
•    Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
•    Ear pain
•    A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
•    Dramatic weight loss

All routine exams at Mall of Georgia Dentistry include a basic visual oral cancer screening, and we are also able to perform many other types of screening for cases of special concern. Early detection is an important part of beating oral cancer and stopping it in its tracks, so be aware of the warning signs and act right away!

 

Common Dental X-rays and Why They Are Needed March 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 6:35 pm

There are different types of dental X-rays, and the type of X-ray needed will depend on the situation. Some are diagnostic, some are routine, and some are only required under certain circumstances. Read on to get an overview of the main different types X-rays we might take at our office and to get an idea of what purpose certain types of X-rays are typically going to serve in your dental health.

Bite-wing X-rays. These are the most common type of dental X-ray, taken as part of a routine visit, usually once or twice per year depending on individual needs and other factors. Bite-wing images help show the inner sides of back molar teeth – molars have large side surfaces, and those surfaces that are next to each other are not possible to see without X-rays. So with bite-wing X-rays you get a look inbetween all those back teeth to detect any possible decay that is not visible to the eye or with probing or other testing methods. These X-rays can also help detect loss of bone density due to periodontal disease. Bite-wing X-rays usually do not show the entire tooth root though.

Periapical X-ray. This is an X-ray focused on a full, whole tooth from the bone surrounding the root tip to the crown. This is the type of X-ray that is commonly required in the presence of a toothache in order to detect the cause… decay, abscess, fracture, problems with root structure, or other conditions that need immediate diagnosis.

Full mouth X-rays. The full mouth X-ray series is a set of multiple X-ray images covering the entire mouth, including every tooth and all the front teeth and back teeth, two teeth per image. This series can be a good diagnostic and preventive tool to check the entire mouth for things like cavities, bone loss or periodontal conditions, and inspect inner dental structures periodically.

Panoramic X-ray. A panoramic X-ray shows the entire mouth, both jaws and all the teeth, on a single X-ray image. This type of X-ray is useful for detecting the position of all teeth as well as emerging, un-erupted, and impacted teeth. Panoramic X-rays have a high importance for facilitating orthodontic treatment, for example.

These common X-rays are frequently taken at Mall Of Georgia Dentistry and they can all help support your smile. This is not a comprehensive list of all the different types of dental x-rays there are, there are other types not included in this overview.  Various dental X-rays can help improve your dental and oral health in many ways, from finding cavities while they are still small, to diagnosing an infection, to facilitating orthodontic treatment. Dental x-rays are great tools to help you keep a bright healthy smile!

 

 
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