Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

How much do you know about Gingivitis? April 22, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:08 pm

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums which usually results as an inflammatory response to the film of bacteria on the teeth known as plaque. It can also be caused by certain systemic problems, viral, fungal, or bacterial infections, or by certain medications. Symptoms include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Bleeding that occurs during or after brushing or flossing
  • Red or purplish gums or gums that look irritated
  • Gums that are painful or tender to touch
  • Halitosis (bath breath)
  • Loose teeth
  • It hurts when you chew

Treatments including thorough cleaning, diligent home-hygiene and flossing, or possibly use of anti-microbial agents which are used to treat gingivitis.  If left untreated, gingivitis will turn into periodontitis. When caught and treated early, gingivitis is reversible, but it’s important to treat it promptly before the problem turns into a more long-term periodontal condition involving chronic infection, bone loss, or loss of teeth. Diligent follow up care including home hygiene and routine dental cleanings is essential.

To prevent gingivitis, practice daily flossing, gentle thorough brushing with the proper 45-degree angle at the gum line twice per day for two minutes, and get regular dental cleanings and check-ups. Mall of Georgia Dentistry is committed to helping you keep you teeth healthy, so if you have any of the above symptoms, or just haven’t had a cleaning in a while, give us a call!

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Health Trends That Can Harm Your Teeth April 8, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:45 am

The internet seems to be filled with a huge variety of anecdotal health advice, tips & tricks, and claims for naturally improving health. Countless articles, images, and posts circulating social media tout the benefits of various superfoods, supplements, fitness regimes and the like, and far too few of them consider the effects on the teeth. Take the following examples:

Lemon Water
Have you seen this one? “Start you day by drinking the juice of half a lemon in warm water…” followed by a list of purported heath benefits. But lemon juice is very acidic, with pure, undiluted lemon juice clocking in at about 2 on the pH scale (for comparison, the pH of battery acid is around 1, and plain water is about 7). Acids can easily wear away your enamel, putting your teeth at risk for cavities, sensitivity, and other issues. While a little squeeze of lemon in your water once in a while is fine (especially if you drink through a straw) don’t sip lemon water all day long, and if you do try the morning lemon water drink, use a straw, follow it with a drink of plain water to rinse your mouth (or rinse with something a little alkaline to neutralize the acid) and wait a little while for the pH of your mouth to neutralize instead of brushing immediately.

Apple Cider Vinegar
With the pH of apple cider vinegar measuring around 2.8-3, drinking apple cider vinegar (or ACV for short) comes with all the same concerns and precautions discussed above for drinking lemon juice. But sometimes you may even see erroneous claims that this substance improves dental health, some even including suggestions to use ACV as a mouthwash, or to brush your teeth with or gargle with it. Never use apple cider vinegar this way! That’s a recipe to damage your teeth! Instead, you should take care to protect your teeth from apple cider vinegar.

Charcoal for teeth whitening
Using activated charcoal to whiten teeth has become a trendy new thing recently, and a whole host of “natural” products containing charcoal have popped up to capitalize on this fad. Don’t buy into the hype! If charcoal is managing to make your teeth seem whiter, it’s also taking a bit of your tooth enamel with it, with every use. Charcoal is abrasive, and abrasives cause sustained, irreversible damage your teeth. If you want to whiten your smile, products contain hydrogen peroxide or carbide peroxide such as bleaching strips and dental bleaching kits are a safe option, but skip the charcoal.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we want to help you look after your smile while you try to improve your health. And when it comes to your teeth, we recommend you stick to things that are ADA-approved and scientifically tested and proven.

 

Bruxism takes a toll on your teeth March 23, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:00 pm

Bruxism, grinding or clenching your teeth, happens unconsciously and often occurs during sleep. So what causes it? How does it affect your dental health? What can be done about it? Let’s take a look:

The cause of bruxism is not always entirely clear, but in most cases bruxism is believed to be an unconscious reaction to stress or anxiety. Common, everyday life stress factors are thought to be the main cause for most people. Certain dental problems like malocclusion and some medications can also cause bruxism. Oral sleep apnea and other disordered breathing during sleep can also be a cause of bruxism as the body reacts to not getting enough air.

Bruxism can be very detrimental to your teeth. The force exerted by the jaw is more than typically required to chew food yet the contact is teeth on teeth. This can wear away enamel, crack and break teeth, bruise the roots of teeth and cause all kinds of havoc that can result in tooth loss and/or expensive restorations. Bruxism can also cause cosmetic issues and lead to TMJ disorders and headaches.

Treating bruxism is usually as simple as wearing a bite guard as needed.  The majority or sufferers only clench and grind at night, but some people also wear theirs during the day if they find the stresses of life are unconsciously taken out on their teeth all day long. A bite guard cushions and protects the teeth from grinding against each other and distributes the force to minimize the impact. Boil-and-bite/over-the-counter bite guards are affordable and easily obtainable, but typically wear out in a few months. Pricier custom-made ones can last years. Rarely, certain patients with bruxism can benefit from muscle relaxers or other oral or injectable medications. Sometimes some patients can be helped by orthodontia if there are bite issues that contribute to bruxism.  Healthy lifestyle and relaxation techniques can help reduce stress factors that lead to bruxism. Bite guards are generally the most beneficial in most cases.

If bruxism occurs with other symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness, waking feeling unrefreshed after a full night’s sleep, or snoring, then a sleep study should be sought. If sleep apnea is causing bruxism, your doctor may recommend CPAP therapy, oral appliance therapy, airway surgery, or other treatments for the sleep apnea.

Whatever the cause of bruxism, it can be extremely hard on your teeth and is worth the investment to treat it.  Dr. Vancil and Dr. Whyte and the team of dental care professionals at Mall of Georgia Dentistry are all very familiar with the symptoms of bruxism and constantly strive to help raise patient awareness of any signs or effects of grinding, as well as recommend a course of action. We encourage you to contact us for more information if you think you may be grinding your teeth, we would love to help you maintain the healthiest and happiest smile!

 

Plaque, tartar, and how to get rid of them. March 11, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:16 pm

Plague is a film of grime formed by the bacteria that inhabit the mouth. Plaque is full of acids that are produced by the bacteria as they digest sugar and carbohydrates, and this acid is a major contributor to tooth decay and gum disease. So controlling and removing plaque is very important! The removal of plaque is the foundation of a healthy home hygiene routine… the familiar activities of brushing and flossing!

Brushing: The toothbrush is one part of your arsenal in your daily two-part attack on plaque. Use a soft-bristled brush. Plaque is soft and effectively removed by soft bristles, which are much gentler on the gums than medium or hard brushes. Focus on the gum line all along the inside and outside of all your teeth, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and use short circular motions, for two minutes, and repeat twice per day.

Flossing: Flossing is the other half of your plaque-busting routine. The toothbrush cannot get in between teeth and they become a hideout where all those bacteria settle down and make themselves at home in your mouth. Flossing scrapes them away and evicts them. Floss gently all the way up and down each tooth’s inner surface. Curve the floss into “c” shape around the tooth to ensure you are getting the entire surface. Wind the floss between each tooth so as to use fresh clean floss on each tooth. Or you can use dental picks or floss picks. Floss at least once per day.

Other ideas to help minimize plaque:

Take it easy on the sweets. Sugar and simple carbohydrates feed bacteria and help them multiply, so these foods create more plaque. Drinking sugary beverages all day, for example, provides constant fuel for the bacteria. Try to avoid fueling the bacteria all day long, have sweets and treats with meals or in a single sitting instead of grazing or snacking.

Brush your tongue as well, since it too can accumulate plaque, or use a tongue scraper.

Now, let’s talk about tartar. If plaque is not removed frequently, it begins to harden (within 24-48 hours) and it becomes tartar. Tartar needs to be removed by a dental professional. Tartar is more difficult to remove that plaque since it must be scraped off somewhat forcefully- this is what a dental hygienist does in the scaling part of a typical hygiene visit (scale and polish). Bacteria thrive in tartar and can harm the tooth enamel and surrounding gums and eventually even the bones that hold in your teeth, resulting tooth loss!

Remember- your home hygiene routine is essential to keeping plaque under control- it’s simple and takes just a few minutes a day! Follow this up with your regular cleanings and check-ups and you’ll have the upper hand on plaque. At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we do what we can for our patients to help them have the healthiest teeth possible, but we can’t come to your house to brush them twice a day and floss them for you! Embrace the power you have over plaque, give it your best attack every day, and kick it out of your mouth!

 

Keep baby teeth in great shape February 25, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:36 pm

Baby teeth may be temporary (eventually they’ll be replaced by their bigger and bolder successors) but it really is important to keep them in great shape! 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! 🙂

 

Heart Health and Oral Health… what is the link? February 11, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 3:01 pm

Research is constantly uncovering new associations between various health conditions, heart health and oral health among them.  Studies have not definitively proven a mechanism for how gingivitis, periodontitis, or poor gum health may actually cause or contribute to diseases of the heart and vascular system, meaning the official word on the subject is still “inconclusive”, but study findings are alarming and worthy of consideration.  A consensus review over 100 studies determined there seems to be a relationship between heart heath and oral health. Here are a few of the findings:

  • Gum disease by itself appears to be a risk factor for coronary artery disease.
  • Gum diseases is an inflammatory condition, and the bio-markers of inflammation are a major indicator of heart attack risk.
  • A link was found between clogged arteries in the legs and gum disease.
  • Though gum disease itself hasn’t been directly linked to stroke, gum disease is an important risk factor for diseases of the vessels and arteries that are responsible for the blood supply the brain, which is a risk factor for stroke.
  • The same bacteria found in gum disease are found in blood vessels that are going through atherosclerosis (hardening).

So be diligent with your oral hygiene routine : brush twice per day and floss daily, and get regular cleanings and checkups.
Let us know if we at Mall of Georgia Dentistry can help you with any aspect of maintaining a healthy smile. Come see us for regular cleanings and checkups, especially if you have periodontal conditions. If having great oral health isn’t a reward enough by itself, consider how your heart might benefit!

 

Why do wisdom teeth so frequently need to be removed? January 27, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:02 pm

Most people develop one or more third molars- also know as wisdom teeth- usually in the late teens. They are notorious for becoming impacted instead erupting properly. If that is the case, having them removed is absolutely necessary to prevent painful problems.
Reasons for removing wisdom teeth can include:
•    The jaw may not be large enough for them. They may not have room to break through your gums and take their place among the other teeth.
•    They may erupt only partway, with gum tissue covering over part of them. This makes a trap for food particles and bacteria which can and lead to painful infection.
•    Often, one or more wisdom teeth comes in at the wrong angle, such as sideways, or with the top of the tooth facing to either side, which will not result in a functional tooth but can cause pain and problems.

Removal of impacted wisdom teeth must be performed by an oral surgeon since they are still partially or completely embedded in the jaw.  Impacted wisdom teeth are not like normal teeth that can be extracted by a dentist. A panoramic x-ray can show the position of the wisdom teeth in relation to all of the teeth in the jaw to help determine if extraction is necessary or advisable.

Even those who develop normal and healthy wisdom teeth may still be advised to have them removed since they are extremely far back in the mouth and very difficult to brush, floss, and clean around. Like all teeth, if wisdom teeth are not properly cared for, they will eventually cause problems, but they may even be too far back in the mouth for a dentist to reach in order to treat, in which case their removal is the best option.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know that wisdom teeth can be some of the biggest trouble-makers in your mouth, so don’t be surprised for us to check them and make recommendations at any appointment at our office!  Surgery to remove wisdom teeth is very common and routine and can save a lot of suffering and more expensive problems in the long run. If you have questions or concerns about your own or your child’s wisdom teeth, please contact our office and we will be happy to help you.

 

 
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