Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

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🙂

 

Is Your Medication Causing Dry Mouth? November 6, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:35 am

Many prescription and over-the-counter medications come with an unfortunate side effect that can have an adverse effect on your oral health: dry mouth. Although adequate saliva flow is essential to a healthy mouth, taking medication to treat or control your heath conditions is necessary and unavoidable.  Medications that cause dry mouth can make you more vulnerable to oral health problems, but there are things you can do to help.

Why is dry mouth bad?  Without enough saliva, the environment of the mouth is not able to function as normal. Saliva is part of the defense mechanism against gingivitis, tooth decay, and infections, performing a variety of important tasks, such as helping to wash away food particles that are stuck to the teeth, and helping to keep plaque from building up quickly. Saliva helps teeth to remineralize after being weakened by a little acid exposure, it bathes your mouth in a protective solution containing calcium ions and other minerals your teeth need.

Hundreds of medications can cause dry mouth, including antidepressants, allergy medication, antihistamines, decongestants, asthma medication, anti-anxiety drugs, blood pressure medication, antacids, and more…. even some vitamins and herbal supplements. If you feel you that you are experiencing dry mouth, talk to your pharmacist or doctor, or ask your doctor if it’s possible to prescribe a different medication that does not cause dry mouth as a side effect.
Changing medication is not always an option, but luckily there are a few things can help you combat dry mouth.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated.
  • Avoid using toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulphate and mouth rinses that contain alcohol.
  • 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.
  • Special sprays and products for dry mouth can help add and hold moisture and may contain ingredients that help protect the teeth from cavities.
  • 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. Dr Vancil and the Mall of Georgia dentistry team will be glad to make suggestions that could help keep your smile bright and healthy.

 

It’s Halloween Candy Time October 22, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:51 pm

Halloween and candy go hand in hand, but sugary treats can do scary things to your teeth if you aren’t careful.  The bacteria in your mouth love sugar… they eat the sugar and produce acid, which weakens the enamel and causes cavities. But some candies can be a scarier than others. So what is the best and worst of the candy you are likely to find in the trick-or-treat bag?
Best idea: plain chocolate. Chocolate is the most popular kind of candy at Halloween, which is nice because chocolate makes the good list.  Plain chocolate washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy. Dark chocolate can be lower in sugar than milk chocolate, but chocolates with sticky or toffee fillings probably won’t wash off the teeth as easily as plain chocolate.
Bad idea: sticky and gummy candies. Gummies are some of the worst candies for your teeth. Gummy, taffy, and fruit chews can really adhere to the teeth, and are generally much harder to remove, sometimes even with brushing. Since they stick to the teeth and stay on longer, the bacteria have more time to work on them and create cavity-friendly conditions.
Bad idea: sour candy. Sour candy has added acids to make them sour, and acidity can weaken enamel and make your teeth more vulnerable to cavities. Sour gummy candy packs a double whammy of sticky and acidic.
Bad idea: hard candy. Be careful with hard candy and do not bite into it- you may break a tooth. But even sucking on a hard candy can be bad by exposing your teeth to sugar for a long period of time, bathing your teeth in sugar.
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know that trick-or-treating is a big part of the Halloween fun. Candy is an important Halloween tradition, and it’s OK to enjoy some, as long as you’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, every day of the year, occasional treats should be OK.  Making smarter choices of which candies to eat, and to give out to trick-or-treaters, is a good idea too.

 

 
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