Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

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!


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!


Teeth Brushing 101 March 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 4:43 pm

Brushing your teeth is so routine that some people may take it for granted that there is a right way and a wrong way to get the most out of your daily brushings. Here are a few basic things to remember:

2 minutes. Brush for two minutes and continually move the brush around the entire inner and outer arch of the upper and lower teeth, being sure that back and front of all teeth are attended to. Most electric toothbrushes are set to run a 2-minute cycle.

Focus on the gum line. As you move your brush around, don’t just brush the teeth alone but you should also brush the gums, so focus along the gum line. The gum line is where most of the food debris and plaque deposits will collect anyway, and it can be like a little massage for the gums, keeping the gums clean and healthy supports the overall health of your teeth. The gums are important!

45-degree angle. Brushing at a 45-degree angle aims the bristles of the bush for optimum cleaning between the teeth and under the gums as you focus along the gumline and go around the teeth. So angle the brush upward 45 degrees on the upper arch and downward 45 degrees on the lower arch.

Opt for Soft. Soft bristled brushes are just a effective at cleaning the teeth and removing plaque as hard or medium, and unlike hard or medium, soft or extra soft brushes are gentle on those oh-so-important gums. Using a soft touch is also important. Too-hard brushing can damage the gums and cause gingival recession.

2 times per day. Brushing twice daily keeps the bacteria in the mouth in check.  In the morning and before bed are generally the ideal times to brush. Some patients may be reccommended a different frequency, but 2 times is generally the best. Brushing too often may be hard on the enamel and gums.

Many people may have learned to brush a certain way at a very young age and could have developed improper or sub-par brushing techniques that have been ingrained into habit over many years.  An occasional review of the best techniques currently recognized in dentistry can also be a helpful reminder to review your own brushing routine and make sure it’s as good as it could be, and to help teach children learning to brush on their own.  At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we believe there is no question that good brushing and flossing are the foundation of great oral health!


Are baby teeth really important? February 26, 2015

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

Baby teeth… they’re meant to be temporary, destined to be replaced by their bigger and bolder successors… so is it really so important to keep them in great shape? The answer, you may have guessed, is YES! And here are a few reasons why:

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.

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. Avoiding too may sugary or acidic drinks and foods can also help maintain tooth health. Childhood habits such as these can endure into adulthood, so all these habits should be started early!

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 can mean helping to 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! :)



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