Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Baby teeth are important! February 11, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:37 pm

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month… what a good time to talk about baby teeth! Some people think of baby teeth as expendable teeth since they will inevitably fall out one day and be replaced by permanent teeth. So why is it important to take great care of them and keep them in ideal shape? Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to baby those baby teeth:

  • It sets the foundation for your child to take great care of their teeth later in life. Proper, thorough brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and regular check-ups are the foundation of healthy teeth. Childhood habits often last into adulthood, so all these good dental habits should be started early!
  • Baby teeth are placeholders for adult teeth. Keeping them in place until the permanent teeth are ready to grow in (or until an orthodontist recommends they come out) is a wise way to prevent malocclusion as adult teeth erupt. Malocclusion can make teeth more difficult to clean, and poorly cleaned teeth can increase the chances of dental caries (cavities). Also, if adult teeth erupt improperly it can require years of costly orthodontic treatment to correct.
  • They are important to your child’s nutrition. Children who are able to chew food well may be better able to get optimum nutrition for their growing bodies. Well-chewed food can also reduce chances of choking on food while eating.
  • They play a role in your child’s ability to communicate. Teeth are important to many of the sounds of speech and for proper pronunciation and communication. As children are still learning spoken language, a normal configuration of baby teeth can facilitate proper formation of sounds, making them more easily understood by others.
  • Some baby teeth have no successor and never fall out! Sometimes the body simply doesn’t form an adult tooth as it should… and sometimes these baby teeth that are retained into adulthood and can be made to function and look like an adult tooth in some cases. In many cases, though, they need to be extracted and replaced with an entirely prosthetic tooth- a baby tooth with restorations or decay is more likely to require that.

So there are a few reasons why taking great care of baby teeth is a great idea. If baby teeth are knocked out by injury or extracted due to decay, there is the potential for all kinds of complications ranging from aesthetic to functional. And creating a strong foundation of excellent oral hygiene is a preventive measure that could save your child the hassle, distress, and financial burden of major dental restorations as an adult.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we think baby teeth are awesome and deserve respect, so let us know if you have concerns about you child’s teeth and we’ll jump at the chance to help you keep your little one’s little pearly whites just right! Happy National Children’s Dental Health Month! 🙂

 

Why does my dentist’s office ask what medications I take? January 28, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:33 pm

Whether they are over-the-counter or prescription, medications have side effects, and many of these side-effects can impact your oral health. Of particular concern are medications that cause dry mouth, which can make you more vulnerable to tooth decay and poor oral health.

Dry mouth is a lack of adequate saliva in the mouth. Without enough saliva, the environment in the mouth is not able to cope as well with everyday things like food particles and acids. Saliva acts as part of the defense mechanism against gingivitis, tooth decay, and infections. Saliva bathes your mouth in a protective solution containing calcium ions, and saliva helps teeth to remineralize after being weakened by a little acid exposure. It helps wash away food that is stuck to the teeth, and can help keep plaque from quickly building up to levels that can cause gingivitis.

Hundreds of medications can cause dry mouth. Some categories of medications known to have this side effect include antidepressants, allergy & asthma medication, anti-anxiety drugs, blood pressure medication, antacids, & more…. including some vitamin supplements. If you feel you that you are experiencing dry mouth, talk to your pharmacist or doctor, or ask your doctor to prescribe a different medicate that does not cause dry mouth as a side effect, if possible.
If a change in medication is not advisable, a few things can help you cope with dry mouth.   Avoid using toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulphate and mouth rinses that contain alcohol. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated. Reduce your caffeine intake since caffeine can aggravate dry mouth. Breathe through the nose, not mouth – air flowing in and out of your mouth will dry up saliva. Keep up with your brushing and flossing routine impeccably and get regular cleanings and check ups. Some patients can benefit from wearing custom made trays at night filled with special remineralizing products, or special prescription mouthwashes.
If you are dealing with dry mouth, please feel free to talk to our office. We stock dry mouth spay and you can also find them for purchase elsewhere. Dr Vancil and the Mall of Georgia dentistry team will be glad to make suggestion of things that might help keep you smiling.

 

Do you have jaw pain? January 15, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:13 pm

The medical name for the jaw joint is the temporomandibular joint (often shortened to TMJ)- it is formed by the temporal bone of the skull and the mandible bone of the jaw. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD, is any condition of pain or dysfunction in this joint. TMD affects millions of Americans. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the jaw joint area, face, or sometimes neck
  • Pain or stiffness when chewing or difficulty chewing or speaking
  • Popping, clicking, or grating noises when chewing, speaking, or opening and closing the mouth
  • Limited range of motion or locking of the jaw
  • Changes in occlusion (the way the teeth fit together when closed)
  • Headaches
  • Aching and pain around the ears

The exact cause of TMD is not always clear, but many factors can be at work to cause or contribute to the above set of symptoms. Bruxism, clenching, and other stress habits of the jaw, jaw injury or dislocation, arthritis, and improper occlusion are all thought to contribute to or exacerbate TMD.

TMD symptoms can be painful and have an adverse effect on your quality of life. Treatment with an oral TMD appliance that helps to re-position the jaw and relieve the malfunction in the joint can improve or completely eliminate symptoms.

Dr Vancil is not only experienced with treating TMD in patients but takes a special interest in this often-overlooked but common and painful condition. If you experience any of the TMD symptoms listed above, please call us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry- we’d love to help you restore the comfort and function of your jaw joint and give you more reason to smile!

 

What Causes Thinning Enamel? December 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:13 pm

You’ve probably heard it said that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but that doesn’t make it immune to wear, damage, and distress. There are a few things that can contribute to the thinning of your tooth enamel. Let’s look at the most common things that may be damaging your enamel, and what to do about it:

  • Acid erosion- enamel is a very hard substance, but acid weakens the chemical bonds that hold the mineral molecules together. The most common sources of acid erosion are soft drinks and fruit drinks, which contain substances such as phosphoric acid and citric acid. These acids directly threaten your teeth, but drinking through a straw can help minimize the exposure by bypassing your teeth rather than dousing them. Any drink with a low Ph is acidic and can have the effect of weakening the enamel. Sugary and starchy foods also result in exposure of the teeth to acid because the sugars and starches are converted into acid by the bacteria that live in our mouths. Proper and diligent brushing and flossing are important to help keep these bacteria in check.
  • Brushing with abrasives- Although we just mentioned the importance of brushing, you must brush properly and not overdo it.  Do not use abrasives like baking soda or use an abrasive toothpastes. Abrasives literally scrape enamel off of your teeth, like sandpaper. Many so-called “whitening” toothpastes contain abrasives that constantly remove tiny layers of enamel over time and can result in thinning. Your toothbrush itself can harm your teeth if you are brushing too hard and/or using bristles that are not soft enough. Many people make the mistake of thinking that brushing well means using force and really scrubbing, but a soft brush used gently at a 45-degree angle for 2 minutes is sufficient to remove plaque and reduce bacteria populations. It may also be wise not to brush too soon after a meal since the enamel is a bit weaker after being exposed to the acids in food. Drink water after eating and wait about half an hour to brush.

Of the many potential causes of thinning enamel, these above are the most common lifestyle habits. Other common factors include GERD or acid reflux, medications that cause dry mouth, and bruxism.

Once the enamel has worn away it cannot be reversed, but if you avoid or treat the contributing factors you can help prevent it from progressing. Also, using a remineralizing toothpaste can help protect and preserve the enamel that you have left.  At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we have a few different products available that might benefit you if thinning enamel is a concern of yours.

Try to be aware of these common causes of thinning enamel and see if they apply to you- if so, take steps to avoid them, and seek treatment for conditions such as  GERD, bruxism, or dry mouth. Healthy teeth make for a lifetime of confident smiles, and caring for your enamel is essential to great dental health!

 

Keeping your smile bright through the Holidays December 16, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:34 pm

The “hap-happiest season of all” my have a dark side when it comes to your teeth. It’s the season of sweets… cookies, candies, punch and cider, chocolates, hot coco, and seemingly endless holiday treats. But you can still enjoy the season without risking your smile by following a few tips:

  • Indulge in sweets and confections at meal times or in a single sitting rather than continuous snacking. Frequent snacking will constantly reintroduce the sugary fuel that causes oral bacteria to create plaque and enamel-eating acid.
  • Avoid chewing on or biting into candy canes or hard candies. Many people break their teeth by eating treats that are too hard to be chewed. Sucking on hard candy is also to be kept to a minimum since it exposes the teeth to sugar over an extended time period.
  • Choose light-colored drinks at you holiday parties. Opting for spite, ginger ale, flavored water, white wines, or spritzers rather than things like cola, cranberry juice, hot cocoa, or red wine will be less likely to cause staining of your teeth. Apply this tip year-round for best results, to preserve the whiteness of teeth. But for those who enjoy deep-colored drinks, using a straw can help, and you can also use a whitening product occasionally for any stains.
  • Of course… continue to brush every morning and night and floss daily too!  Plaque doesn’t take a holiday so neither should your oral hygiene routine!

We hope you’ll be merry and be of good cheer, and a smile is the way to show it. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year from all of us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry!

 

Bright Smile Gift Ideas December 3, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:54 pm

For any family member, friend, or loved one on your list who loves to maintain a bright healthy smile, we can help!  We’ve got some gift suggestions that you can get right at our office. Here are our recommendations:

  • Sonicare  or Oral B Electric Toothbrush
  • Kid’s Electric Toothbrush
  • Air Flosser
  • Gift certificates for Whitening Kits
  • Opalescence Bleach
  • Sheer White Strips

And for the stockings:

  • Nimbus toothbrushs
  • Replacement brush heads

Check out our Holiday Specials:

  • 15% off electric toothbrushes & air flossers
  • 15% off bleaching kits
  • Buy 3 get 1 Free Nimbus brushes

If any of these ideas sound great for someone on your list, come see us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry! Our Holiday Special pricing is available through the end of December. These deals are also nice if one of the people on your Christmas list is you!🙂

 

Cold and Flu Season and Your Teeth November 20, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:43 pm

Keeping up with your brushing and flossing routine is especially important when you are sick. Many things that are commonly used to sooth cold and flu symptoms, such as medications, cough drops, and juice, can wreak havoc on your teeth if you aren’t careful. Staying in bed and forgoing your regular hygiene routine in the name of rest and recovery may be tempting to some people, but your teeth need even more attention to make it through an illness with no harm done. A few precautions may help aid your whole body in staying well once you’ve recovered. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated, and try to keep your nasal passage clear. Colds and sickness often clog our noses and cause us to breath through our mouths. Many decongestant medications cause dry mouth. A dry mouth is at an increased cavity risk.
  • Avoid cough drops and cough syrups loaded with sugar. Choose sugar-fee, and if you must use a cough syrup or liquid medicine that contains sugar, rinse well or brush after use. If you are unfortunate enough to have a stomach flu that causes vomiting, be sure to clean your teeth well since stomach acid can erode the enamel (people always want to freshen and clean their mouth after such unpleasantness anyway!)
  • Replace your toothbrush following a cold or bought of illness. Although some studies have shown that re-infection is unlikely, toothbrushes have been shown to grow and harbor bacteria, so better safe than sorry.
  • If necessary, over-the counter biteguards can be replaced easily, but soaking biteguards or retainers that are meant to last for years in a strong antiseptic mouthwash for a while is a good idea. Do not use hot water on them as that may cause the plastic to soften and lose its shape. You can also contact our office to ask about ways we can help you disinfect retainers or biteguards with cold sterilization if you are concerned.

If you have an appointment at Mall of Georgia Dentistry, and on the day of you find that you are ill or have a fever, please contact our office to talk about rescheduling. It will help avoid exposing our office staff and other patients to infection, your appointment will go much better when you are well, and, obviously, illnesses are best recovered from by staying home and resting yourself!  We hope you stay well this winter and all year-round, but if you don’t, we hope you take good care of yourself and recover quickly. Just remember to take care of your smile too, you’ll need it a lot when you’re feeling better🙂

 

 
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