Mall of Georgia Dentistry's Blog

"Making you smile from the inside out"

Are you high-risk for cavities? September 24, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 1:45 pm

Many people dread their regular cleaning visit for fear that they’ll be told they have cavities.  But most people can avoid getting cavities by avoiding lifestyle factors and habits that put them at an increased risk of developing tooth decay. Some of the most common factors that are associated with high risk for cavities are:

  • Sticky or acidic foods. Some foods are more likely to contribute to decay. Foods that stick to your teeth, especially sugary foods like chewy candy (gummies, caramels, etc), cakes, cookies, and dried fruits and raisins cling to the teeth. The bacteria in your mouth converts the sugar into acid, then the acid weakens the enamel and opens the door for decay. Carbohydrates like chips, crackers, and cereal have the same effect. Keep sweets and carb-based snacks to a minimum or enjoy only in a single sitting or at meal time instead of snacking all day.
  • Frequent soda and sports drink sipping. When you steadily sip sodas or sugary beverages, you give mouth- dwelling bacteria more fuel to produce acids that attack your teeth and weaken enamel. Beverages like soda and energy drinks don’t just contain sugar, they also contain acid, so drinking them douses your teeth in acid right away and increase the likelihood for decay as well. If you drink sugary or acidic beverages, use a straw to help bypass your teeth.
  • Inadequate brushing and flossing. Plaque forms pretty quickly after eating and drinking. Plaque produces acid and must be removed thoroughly and frequently. Brushing well both morning and night for two minutes and flossing at least once a day are the foundation for controlling decay
  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva. Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by rinsing away food particles and plaque from your teeth. Adequate saliva flow can help counter the acid produced by decay-producing bacteria and help avoid tooth decay. Medications are a common cause of dry mouth, but sipping on pure water all day long can help.
  • Too little fluoride. Fluoride is a catalyst for remineralization of the tooth enamel. Acid weakens the enamel by disrupting the chemical bonds that hold the minerals in your teeth together. Fluoride helps these bonds reform, and it also weakens acid-producing bacteria. This is why modern dentistry considers fluoride a must for excellent dental health!
  • Worn fillings or dental devices. Dental fillings can weaken, begin to break down and wear out over time. Worn areas can allow food particles or plaque to build up more easily and make it harder to clean the plaque or food away. Fillings and dental prosthetics that leak or don’t fit well allow decay to begin underneath. Get regular check up so a dentist can evaluate your dental restorations and devises regularly.
  • Heartburn and Vomiting. Digestive acids weaken enamel just like the acids in food or acids produced by bacteria. Make sure you treat any Gastroesophageal reflux disease with a medication approved by your doctor, and take extra care of your teeth with extra rinsing and brushing if you get sick with a stomach bug that causes vomiting.

Many of the factors above may be familiar to you but a few may not be so obvious as contributors to tooth decay.

All of us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry know that it’s the daily things that can make or break a good oral health deal with your mouth. Keeping up with your routine 6-month visits is an essential part of helping keep your teeth in great shape, and routine visits are a great opportunity to talk to our staff about any lifestyle factors that could you could change to improve your teeth and oral health. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you have and help you protect and improve your smile!


We’ve Moved! And Other News… September 8, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:16 pm

After 15 years, we’ve moved our Buford office! We are now located at 1905 Mall of Georgia Blvd, Suite 1, Buford GA 30519, just a few stop lights away from our original location. Our new location still has the same great staff you know and love (and the fresh Krispy Kreme donuts!) in a roomier setting where we can better serve our patients’ needs. We are excited for all of our awesome Buford patients to see our new office at their next appointment!

Our new office location is fitted with four operatories (or in other words: dental chairs!) with room for future growth if needed. We have a roomier waiting area for our patients, comfortable for when all your kids plus you parents are all scheduled together, or for patients with wheel chairs or strollers.  You’ll still see the train making it’s way around the whole office!

Perhaps most excitingly, Dr. Vancil’s associate, Dr. Michelle Whyte, is now part of our team! They have dreamed of practicing dentistry together since they were study partners in dental school, and that dream is now a reality. We are so excited to have Dr. Whyte on board and we know our patients will love her.

Finally, the news that Mall of Georgia Dentistry has expanded by acquiring an additional office location on Braselton Hwy in Dacula- Mall of Georgia Dentistry Hamilton Mill- has been pretty commonly known for several months, but did you know you can now schedule at either office location? It took some time to integrate the patient databases and get the Hamilton Mill office set up on the same management software as Buford, but we now have both offices on the same page and patients can be seen at either location.

All of us at Mall of Georgia Dentistry are excited about our growth and expansion and all the new ways we can better serve our patients. Our goal is inspiring people to “smile from the inside out”!


Your Mouth on Meds August 26, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:29 pm

Many over-the-counter and prescription medications come with a side effect which can have an adverse effect on your oral health: dry mouth. Dry mouth means a lack of adequate amounts of saliva in the mouth. Without enough saliva, the environment of the mouth is not able to cope as well with everyday things.

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 dryness of the 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 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. Dr Vancil and the Mall of Georgia dentistry team will be glad to make suggestion of things that might help keep you smiling.


Why does my dentist need X-rays? August 13, 2017

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

Different types of dental X-rays serve different purposes for your dental health. Some help your dentist discover cavities, some will help diagnose an abscess, others will show the position of the wisdom teeth and more. Let’s discuss the main types X-rays we might take at our offices and how these x-rays are part of your dental health.

Bite-wing X-rays. These are the most common type of dental X-ray, usually taken as part of a routine visit, once or twice per year (depending on individual needs, insurance coverage, and other factors). Bite-wing images help diagnose cavities between the teeth. They show the inner sides of back molar teeth. Since molars have large side surfaces, the in-between surfaces are not possible to see without X-rays. So with bite-wing X-rays you get a look in-between 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-rays. This is an X-ray of the 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” is actually a series of smaller X-rays that make up a set. Multiple X-ray images are taken of the entire mouth, including every tooth and all the front teeth and back teeth, just a few 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 to inspect inner dental structures periodically.

Panoramic X-ray. A panoramic X-ray is a single image of the entire mouth, both jaws, and all the teeth, including un-erupted teeth or impacted wisdom teeth. This type of X-ray is useful for detecting the position of all teeth as well as emerging adult teeth in children and adolescents. Panoramic X-rays are very important for orthodontic treatment as well as wisdom teeth removal.  They can also detect abnormalities in the jaw.

Although there are other types of X-rays not included in this overview, all of the common X-rays listed above are frequently taken at Mall Of Georgia Dentistry, and every one of them can play a role in keeping your smile in the best shape possible. Dental X-rays 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 your smile bright and healthy!


Back to School Dental Tip: Athletic Mouth Guards July 30, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:04 pm

School sports are an enduring tradition.  Are your kids on the team? All those after-school practices and weekend games mean your child’s teeth are at increased risk for accident or injury.  So it’s time to remind all of our patients about the importance of a good-quality mouth guard!
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. Mouth guards help by dissipating the force of collisions, distributing the impact, and minimizing the effect on the teeth and gums.
Mouth guards are available over the counter, but a custom-made mouth guard from a  dentist has several advantages. They are more comfortable, allow for easier speech and breathing, and they are intended to be more durable and effective. Although they are more expensive than over-the-counter options, they are much less expensive than most dental treatment that could result from injuries sustained with no mouth guard or if the mouth guard is poorly-fitted or inadequate.
Another advantage of a custom mouth guard could go beyond concern for the just the teeth and mouth.  One study found that professionally-fitted mouth guards 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 mouth guards, and the other three teams wore only standard over-the-counter mouth guards, 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 over-the-counter mouth guards suffered concussion injuries, but among the group wearing custom-made mouth guards, the rate of concussion was 3.6 percent. You can read more about that study here.
Is your child already wearing a good custom mouth guard? If, yes, that’s awesome! If not, Mall of Georgia Dentistry can help!  Give our office a call and we’ll be happy to answer any question about custom mouth guards. Making sure your child is properly protected while practicing and playing could save more than just their smile!


Are you brushing too hard? July 16, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 2:36 pm

Although usually done with good intentions, brushing your teeth too hard can be detrimental to your oral health. A vigorous scrubbing may seem like it would it result in the cleanest possible teeth, but the reality is that your gums and enamel need to be treated with care. Does your toothbrush look worn or frayed after only two months or less? You are brushing too hard.

Brushing with too much force can cause problems such as receding gums or eroded enamel. Those things can cause tooth sensitivity and may possibly lead to other more serious issues down the road, such as a need for gum surgery. Brushing hard is not doing any favors for your teeth.

It’s also very important to use a soft tooth brush, avoid using a hard brush  Hard bristles can be damaging to tooth enamel and cause gum recession. Use a soft-bristled brush and brush gently. A soft-bristled bush cleans just as thoroughly as any other brush and can give your gums a nice little massage while helping to remove plaque along the gum line if you brush properly.

There is no need to rush when you brush. Brushing really hard and vigorously does not make up for a lack of time spent brushing your teeth. The average person only brushes for about 45 seconds, far short of the recommended two minutes (120 seconds)! Take your time being gentle and thorough for the full two minutes. Think of brushing as a mini-massage or spa time for your teeth and really pamper them.

At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know you should take it easy on your teeth! Use a soft or extra-soft toothbrush, such as the Nimbus brand that we carry in our office. Also, many electric toothbrushes are great for people who brush too hard, some models even have sensors that alert you when you apply too much pressure, and they are designed to be gentle on teeth as well as being equipped with two-minute timers.  So if you’re one of those people who scrubs too much, call us and we’ll tell you what brushes can help you lighten up!





Need help choosing a toothpaste? July 2, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mall of Georgia Dentistry @ 12:22 pm

The toothpaste isle at your local grocery store can be overwhelming. Row after row of tubes boasting such things as cavity control, tartar control, whitening, sensitive… the list goes on. There is just so much variety- how do you know which one is best for you?

Most of the time, there’s really nothing special in the packages with the catchy terminology, like “anti-cavity” or “cavity protection”.  All fluoride-containing toothpastes (and you’d be really hard pressed to find one that isn’t!) are going to offer a degree of cavity protection. Unless you are talking about special remineralizing toothpastes that you won’t find on store shelves (like MI Paste and Clinpro) then generally, any variety that contains fluoride will be as “anti-cavity” as the next.

It’s best to avoid “whitening” toothpastes since they usually contain abrasive that can wear down enamel over time. And they aren’t very effective at removing stains or whitening the tooth because the tooth shade lies inside, in the dentin, where toothpaste can’t reach.

If you have sensitive teeth or if you are doing some at-home bleaching that is causing sensitivity, then you may want to look for a sensitive toothpaste that contains Potassium Nitrate. This ingredient can help soothe the nerves inside the teeth and reduce sensitivity.

Most of that fancy packaging and specific terminology is just marketing.  A sensitive toothpaste is a good idea for anyone with sensitive teeth, and you should pass on the “whitening” toothpastes.

If you are truly cavity-prone and think you might require a little something extra, then give our office a call. We have products like MI Paste and Clinpro available at Mall of Georgia dentistry and we’d be happy to talk to you about those and other options. Otherwise, even your basic low-priced bottom-shelf variety of toothpaste will fit the bill. So don’t worry about getting one with glittery packaging and a lists of promises.  Just pick one you like it and use it twice a day for two minutes with a nice soft brush, and then smile away!


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