Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Athletic mouth guards: not just for Football September 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:57 pm

Football season has contact sports in the spotlight once again, and you’ve probably noticed the players are all wearing mouth guards.  Think those plastic, tooth-shielding thingamabobs are just for football? Think again! If you want to protect your smile for the long run, a custom-fitted mouth guard is a must for any athletic activity, team sport, or physical recreation.
It’s true that some sports, like American football, are higher-risk than others, but you would be wise to wear an athletic mouth guard while participating in any sport or activity where you could potentially fall or suffer a blow to the face.  While sports such as basketball may not require a mouth guard as part of standard equipment, wearing one could save your smile. Athletes of any sport should use a mouth guard to protect their teeth, mouth, and jaw from injury.
The list below is far from exhaustive, but consider the following sports and activities… do you (or your child) participate in them? If so, the risk of falls, collisions, or other accidents are substantial while engaging in such activities.
-Mountain Biking
-Martial Arts
-Horseback riding
All of the above actives are subject to falls, collisions, or accidental contact with a moving object (another player’s elbow or piece of sporting equipment, for example). So while a mouth guard may not be fashionable, it would be practical! A custom mouth guard offers superior protection and comfort over the off-the-self variety, and are made from high-quality, durable material to help to protect your mouth and jaw from impact.
Mall of Georgia Dentistry offers patients custom-fitted mouth guards suitable for professional athletes and weekend warriors alike, to protect your teeth on the field, in the court, at the park, at the dojo, on the trail… you get the idea! Give us a call and schedule an appointment. Impressions for a custom-fitted mouth guard are quick and easy, it only takes about 20 minutes. We’d love to help you protect your smile!


Let’s Talk About Tartar August 28, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:54 pm

Dental tartar… what is it? Tartar, also called calculus, is basically calcified plaque. Plaque is the sticky biofilm that bacteria coat your teeth with as they digest and breed in your mouth. This plaque eventually mineralizes, hardening into what we call tartar. Tartar is a combination of mineral build up and organic matter (bacteria). Yuk!
How quickly plaque turns into tartar may depend on a variety of factors, and typical estimates are in the range of  20-30 hours, with 24 hours being a common guideline. Once tartar has formed, it is very hard to remove and requires a dental professional with specialized skills and tools. When you come in for a cleaning and the hygienist uses that metal scraper and/or a small ultrasonic instrument around your teeth before polishing them, this is the part of the cleaning that removes that stubborn tartar from your teeth.
Although only a dental professional can remove tartar once it is on your teeth, you can fight tartar too with tools as simple as your toothbrush and floss! Preventing tartar by diligent plaque removal is actually the best way to combat it.  Brushing twice a day for two minutes with a soft bristled brush and proper flossing daily can help prevent plaque from building up and becoming tartar. Want to step up the game? Electronic toothbrushes may be even batter at preventing tartar buildup than regular ones. Also, sugary and starchy foods may contribute to increased tartar because they encourage more plaque, so limiting them may help curtail tartar too.
Remember, you have to combat plaque very day, because it only takes about that long for it to become tartar. Tartar can interfere with effective teeth brushing and flossing, making tooth decay more likely, and tartar above the gum line can lead to gum disease, so get a good profession dental cleaning so you can effectively remove plaque every day.  Even with the best daily hygiene routine, small amounts of plaque can be missed and turn into tartar, so regular dental cleanings are needed. Tartar is not only bad for the health of your teeth and gums, but it also contributes to bad breath. Tartar is just really bad stuff!
At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we are always here to help answer your questions about preventing tartar build-up. We can help instruct you on the best flossing and brushing techniques, and we have electric toothbrushes available for purchase that can hep you get the job done even better and easier, keeping your smile bright, healthy, and tartar-free!


The best snacks for your teeth August 11, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:51 pm

We are fortunate to live in a place where food is abundant and the variety of foods available to most of us is extremely plentiful. When it comes to snacks, some of the many, many options are really bad for your teeth, and some are actually pretty good for your teeth. Anything that is sugary, acidic, sticky (or the worst- all three!) is in the “bad” category. Let’s take a look at a few star picks for tooth friendly snacking :

Cheese. Cheese is a real winner for your teeth. Not only is it a great source of calcium and minerals that are beneficial to the teeth, but it is also anti-acidic to your chompers… it actually alkalizes the oral cavity. Studies have even shown that eating a bit of cheese after an acidic meal results in a healthier mouth pH.

Nuts and seeds. This one comes with a caveat: because nuts can be very hard, people have been known to break or crack teeth while just eating them. So use caution or go after softer nuts like walnuts, cashews, or pecans. Otherwise, nuts and seeds are not acidic or sugary and pretty low-risk from that perspective, and boast a healthy mineral content.

Celery. Celery is a wee bit acidic, but not drastically, and it is not sugary. The fibers in celery have the potential to give the teeth a bit of a scrub while you chew… all that chewing and fiber and saliva production can dislodge plaque from the teeth. Other raw veggies can also have this effect.

Meats. Meats are usually pretty low on those three factors that mark the un-tooth-friendliest snacks (sugary, acidic, sticky). Some meats and jerkys can tend to get stuck in between the teeth and some may have acidic seasonings or condiments.

The worst snack foods for the teeth? Fruit snacks and gummy snacks, dehydrated fruit, crackers and chips, snack cakes. The fruit snack and cakes are probably obvious, but if the crackers surprise you, then you may not realize that carbs act like sugars in the mouth, and crackers and chips actually tend to stick to the teeth really badly.

Some snacks are both bad and good for your teeth. Fresh fruits such as apples have natural sugars and acids that can compromise teeth, but they are also watery, tending not to stick, and contain fibers that are thought to help remove plaque and stuck on particles from the teeth while chewing. Have a bite of cheese after  that apple, maybe?

Another thing to note: drinking water to rinse the mouth after snacking is a great idea, but don’t brush your teeth until about half an hour after snacking. Brushing while the enamel is temporarily softened due to consuming acids can actually make things worse for your teeth.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we love all kinds of snacks, and having the sweet stuff as an occasional treat is OK. But by reaching for the tooth-friendliest snacks most of the time, you will be doing your teeth a huge favor and keeping your smile in great shape! Happy snacking!


Mouthguard Matters July 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:42 pm

It’s back to school time, and that means football season and many other school-year sports are starting up as well.  So it’s time to remind all our patients about the importance of a good-quality mouthguard!
All kinds of sports and activities raise the risk of dental injuries, but contact sports like football, soccer, and hockey have an increased likelihood of collisions with other players or equipment. Mouthguards help by dissipating the force of collisions, distributing the impact, and minimizing the effect on the teeth and gums.
Mouthguards are available over the counter, but a custom-made mouthguard from a  dentist has several advantages. They are more comfortable, allow for easier speech and breathing, and are intended to be more durable and effective. Although they are more expensive than over the counter options, they are much less expensive than treatment of injuries that could result if there is no mouthguard or if the mouthguard is poorly-fitted or inadequate!
Another advantage of a custom mouthguard could go beyond concern for the just the teeth and mouth.  One study found that professionally-fitted mouthguards made by a dentist were associated with a reduced risk of concussion among athletes. The study followed over 400 players from half a dozen high school football teams. Three of the teams were randomly assigned to wear custom-made mouthguards, and the other three teams wore only standard over the counter mouthguards, such as those from sporting goods stores. All of the football helmets were the same. The study found that 8.3 percent of athletes wearing the other the counter mouthguards suffered concussion injuries, but among the group wearing custom-made mouthguards, the rate of concussion was 3.6 percent.(You can read more about that study here.)
Is your child already wearing a good custom mouthguard? If so, good job! If not, Mall of Georgia Dentistry can help!  Give our office a call and we’ll be happy to answer any question about custom mouthguards. Making sure your child is properly protected while practicing and playing could save more than just their smile!


Toothbrush TLC July 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:01 pm

The most powerful weapon in your healthy-mouth arsenal is your toothbrush.  So it makes sense that proper care and maintenance for your toothbrush is important to your oral health. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, more often if the bristles become frayed or worn. A worn toothbrush can’t clean effectively. (Side note: if the bristles on your toothbrush start looking frayed or bent in less than three or four months, you are most likely brushing too hard!)
  • It may be a good idea to replace your toothbrush if you’ve been sick.  Bacteria or cold and flu viruses can remain embedded in the toothbrush bristles and lead to re-infection.  Recent studies have shown that this may not be of high concern, but it’s still a safe bet to switch to a fresh brush once you’ve recovered.
  • Rinse the toothbrush thoroughly with tap water after each use to remove any toothpaste and particles.
  • Store your toothbrush upright and allow it to air-dry. Keep toothbrushes separated so that germs are not transferred from one brush to another.
  • Don’t share toothbrushes with others. Everyone should have their own toothbrush.
  • Avoid covering or storing toothbrushes in closed containers. The trapped moisture can invite the growth of bacteria.
  • It may be a good idea to store your toothbrush at least 6 feet away from the toilet. Flushing actually splashes bacteria out into the air and it can travel several feet, potentially landing on your toothbrush!

We love all kinds of toothbrushes at Mall of Georgia Dentistry… whether manual or electric, both are capable effectively cleaning your teeth. Along with floss and regular dental visits, your toothbrush is essential to good oral health.  If you have any specific questions about how take care of your toothbrush or what kind of toothbrush might best suit you, give our office a call!


Wisdom Teeth July 2, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:12 pm

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to erupt on each side of the upper and lower jaws, usually in the late teens. While some people fail to develop any third molars, most people do develop one or more of these teeth, and these teeth are notorious for not erupting properly and instead becoming impacted. If that is the case, having them removed is necessary to prevent painful problems.

An oral surgeon performs the removal of impacted wisdom teeth because they are not like normal teeth that can be extracted by a dentist since they are still partially or completely embedded in the jaw. 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.
Reason 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.

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 b happy to help you.


What are bitewing X-rays? June 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 11:46 am

X-rays are some of the most important tools dental professionals have when treating teeth. There are several types of x-rays you might encounter at a dentist office, but the most common are bitewing x-rays. You know these, right?

Bitewing radiographs are routine x-rays that detect cavities between the teeth. They can also show decay that is occurring under existing fillings. Bitewing x-rays are very important for cavity detection because it is impossible to see underneath fillings or between two molars with the naked eye… you need x-ray vision for that!

This type of x-ray is a specific view of the teeth that shows the upper and lower back teeth. The name “bitewing comes from the shape of the film, reminiscent of wings with the little tab situated in the center of the X-ray film, which you bite on to hold the film in place. Centering the x-ray film in the bite of the teeth positions it so that it captures an even amount of imagery from the upper and lower teeth. Bitewing x-rays can also be valuable for checking occlusion, or how the upper and lover teeth line up and fit together.

These types of x-rays are considered routine and preventative or diagnostic, and they are typically done at a routine cleaning appointment once or twice per year. Individual needs may vary, but adults are usually recommended to get bitewing x-rays about once every year or two, and children once or twice per year. People who have had few or no cavities may require them less often, and people who are prone to more cavities may be advised to have them done more often. Your dental health care providers review each patient’s individual caries risk and make a recommendation based on that.

If it has been a while since you’ve had bitewing x-ray images taken of your teeth, don’t be surprised to hear the dental hygienist recommend them at your next appointment! At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know how important it is to catch tooth decay early, before it becomes a more invasive and expensive problem. Bitewing x-rays are just one great way we help keep your smile bright and healthy!


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