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5 Things Your Buckhead Dentist Wants You to Know

dentist goes over x-ray with female patient

At our dental office in Buckhead, a large part of what we do involves educating our patients and community about all things related to oral health. While we’re always ready and willing to talk about dentistry, there are some key elements that we feel are the most important for you to know. Read on to learn the five things that topped our list.

Dental health is related to overall health.

Recent studies have identified a positive correlation between poor dental health and several systemic diseases including heart disease, oral cancer, and diabetes. Additionally, oftentimes these diseases will first show signs in the mouth. Like most illnesses, the earlier the problem is diagnosed, the more successful treatment tends to be. This makes maintaining your dental visits at least twice a year important for not only your oral health, but your overall health too.

Bi-annual dental appointments are important.

As we just stated, bi-annual dental appointments can help catch oral health or whole-body problems early, making treatment more successful. But there’s even more to these twice a year visits. At your dental checkups and cleanings, we’ll remove plaque or tartar build up, talk about any changes you’ve noticed, and get you all set for another six months of great oral health.   

So is brushing and flossing everyday.

Bi-annual dental visits aren’t the only way to help keep your smile healthy. Following a proper oral hygiene routine at home is also essential. Your dentist in Buckhead recommends brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day to remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque. Just remember to brush gently using small circular motions to avoid damaging gum tissue.

What you eat affects your oral health.

A healthy diet isn’t only good for your body, it’s also good for your oral health, too. Besides following a balanced diet, you should limit sugar intake as well as carbohydrates. We all know that sugar leads to cavities, but carbohydrates can do the same. As carbs break down, they convert to simple sugars. Bacteria then feed on these sugars and produce an acidic byproduct. This acid then eats away at the protective tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay.  

It’s not normal for gums to bleed.

Believe it or not, but seeing a little bit, or a lot, of blood in the sink after brushing or flossing is not normal. In fact, bleeding gums can be a sign of gum disease, and gum disease is dangerous to both your smile and your body. If left untreated, gum disease could lead to tooth loss, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Don’t ignore bleeding gums and make sure to talk with your dentist about it at your next appointment.

If it’s been longer than six months since you’ve been to the dentist, we encourage you to call our Buckhead dental office to schedule an appointment with us today.

4 Habits That Are Destroying Your Teeth

woman biting nails

Even if you brush twice a day, floss each night, and visit our dental office in Buckhead at least twice a year, you may be doing other things that could be damaging your smile… and you may not even know it. Today we’d like to talk about some of the most common smile-damaging habits and offer ways to help you break them.

Brushing Your Teeth

Yes, your dentist in Buckhead just said that brushing your teeth can be causing damage to your smile, but there’s a catch. Brushing your teeth with a hard toothbrush can cause gums to recede. Once the protective gum tissue goes away from the tooth, you can experience painful sensitivity and, if left untreated, could eventually cause gum disease or even tooth loss. Use a soft-bristled brush.  Also some toothpastes, especially ones that claim to be “whitening”, can be very abrasive and wear the enamel of your teeth.  If you are someone who likes to brush multiple times a day, and we love when people do that, only use toothpaste twice a day.  Brushing your teeth without toothpaste in between is just as effective at removing the damaging plaque around your teeth.   

Biting Your Nails

This is one of two habits that’s not only dangerous for your oral health, but also your overall health (we’ll get the other one is just a bit). Nail biting can introduce all sorts of bacteria that are hiding under nails into your system. And as we know, bacteria isn’t good and can make us sick. In reference to your oral health, biting your nails can lead to jaw issues as well as tooth damage. The position your jaw is in while nibbling on nails can place unnatural pressure on the joint. Doing this repeatedly over years can result in jaw pain or TMJ/TMD. Nails are also made of a hard material, and hard material doesn’t mix well with teeth. Biting nails can lead to chips or cracks in your teeth. To help you break the habit, try using a bitter-tasting nail polish (it even comes in clear if you’re not into colorful nails) to make putting nails to mouth less appealing.

Smoking or Using Tobacco 

We mentioned we’d be talking about another habit that’s both dangerous to oral health and overall health… smoking or any type of tobacco use.. It’s fairly common knowledge that using tobacco can lead to all sorts of health problems, but it can also cause some pretty scary oral health issues. Not only can tobacco in any form cause yellow teeth, it can also increase risk for oral cancer or gum disease, which bring on a whole set of problems of their own. We encourage anyone who uses tobacco to try to quit. We know it’s incredibly hard, but we know you can do it.

Clenching and Grinding

Clenching and grinding teeth is common.  It occurs both while people are sleeping as well as when they are awake.  Most of the time it occurs subconsciously, but sometimes you will be aware of it happening. Although it is true you will have a tendency to put your teeth together more when under stress, it also happens when you are not feeling stressed.  No matter when it happens, the results are usually the same. People who clench or grind their teeth can experience headaches, jaw pain, and suffer from TMJ/TMD. What’s more, damage to teeth or dental restorations can also occur.  We will do a thorough exam of your whole system of joints, muscles, and teeth and determine what is the most conservative management of your clenching and grinding.

Even though our Buckhead dental office is all about preventing dental problems before they arise, we know that issues will still occur, sometimes as a result of any of the habits listed above. If you ever encounter a problem with your smile, we always welcome you to give us a call.

Receding Gums: Causes & Treatments

woman indicates gum irritation

If you’ve ever noticed gum tissue appear to creep up higher and higher over time, showing off more and more of the actual tooth, you’ve seen gum recession in action. Really slow action, but nonetheless, you’ve experienced it. Gum recession is incredibly common and can be treated. But our dental office in Buckhead wants to emphasize that just because it’s treatable, doesn’t mean you should let it go. It can be painful and be a sign of more serious problems.

Why is Gum Recession Concerning?

Gum recession is a sign of the loss of the bone supporting your teeth.  The gum needs the bone to attach to and if the bone goes away, the gum has to go away as well.  So in reality, when the gum recedes, some of the bone that supports your teeth has already been lost.  Besides helping to hold teeth in place, one responsibility of the bone and gums is to protect the roots of teeth. When gums start to recede, it leaves the roots exposed to the elements, making teeth sensitive and painful and more susceptible to decay.  It also can cause your smile to be less attractive.  If gum recession is left untreated, it will only lead to more serious and often painful problems including:

  • Severe inflammation
  • Increased susceptibility to bacteria
  • Erosion of more bone and supporting tissues
  • Increased incidence of decay on roots
  • Unattractive smile

Top Causes of Gum Recession

There are a variety of things that can cause gum recession. While we can list multiple reasons here, the main culprits include:

Signs of Gum Recession

Gum recession is a slow process, and the best way to catch it early is to maintain regular visits with your dentist in Buckhead. In between appointments, keep an eye out for:

  • Teeth that appear longer
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Little indentations on the teeth near the gum line

Gum Recession Treatment

Treatment can vary greatly depending on the severity. Sometimes a new toothbrush and better flossing habits will keep it from progressing. Sometimes an adjustment to the forces on the teeth  is needed.  For more serious cases, a deeper dental cleaning called scaling and root planing may be appropriate. People who have let the recession progress for a long time may need to explore a surgical option.

Gum recession isn’t something to take lightly. If you’re experiencing it yourself, we welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office. We’ll talk about your oral hygiene habits, examine your mouth for any other problems, and discuss the best treatment option for you.

What Your Smile Says About You

young woman smiling

At my dental office in Buckhead, we want your smile to look its very best to help you get more satisfaction out of life both professionally and personally. We know your smile is a powerful tool that can tell the world quite a lot about who you truly are. Did you know that evolutionary scientists believe that smiling has its origins as a social signifier? Think of it like a dog wagging his tail. With this action, he can let you know that he wants attention, is happy, etc. A smile does the same thing!

Feeling Self-Conscious About Your Smile

When our smiles say so much about who we are, it’s important that they look their very best. Sometimes due to wear and tear or a dental injury, teeth become cracked, chipped or broken. This can lead to missing teeth and lowered confidence to smile proudly. It can also lead to bad habits such as slouching or poor posture and mumbling. Your smile is your best accessory, so it’s always good to make sure it’s healthy and looking brilliant. This is why it’s important to maintain regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist in Buckhead as well as to brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth looking and feeling great.

Teeth and History

Like dentists, archaeologists are big fans of teeth when it comes to discovering more information about how people of the past lived their lives. It’s easy to determine how old teeth are and the kind of person they belonged to because all teeth follow similar growth patterns. A teenage boy will have slight variations that differ from those of an adult female. These differences can tell scientists a lot about who a person is, how they lived, what they ate, and how old they are. Your teeth are also one of the very few parts of the body that can start to wear down but still function properly.

Teeth Tell Your Story

Your teeth have something known as universal signifiers, meaning characteristics that are commonly found in people of a certain age, gender, etc.

  • Central incisorsWhen you’re younger your central incisors (your front teeth) tend to be a little bit more curvier and rounded at the edges. But the older you grow, these teeth tend to become more square in shape.
  • Lateral incisorsRight next door to the front teeth are your lateral incisors. These teeth are round at the ends in women and longer and more square shaped in men.

And guess what else your teeth tell us? If you grind your teeth, it’s usually evident in breaks and chips in your enamel. We can also tell if you smoke, drink coffee and alcohol, and even snore!

If your teeth are painful or making you self-conscious it’s probably a good idea to give my Buckhead dental office a call. We can do a thorough exam to get a more complete idea of what your teeth might be trying to tell you. It’s important to take the steps to have a healthy smile so that you can present your most healthy you to the world!

Serving patients in Buckhead, Atlanta, and Sandy Springs  

Filed under: Dentistry

What to Expect When You Haven’t Seen The Dentist in Awhile

anxious woman in dental chair

Has it been a few years since you’ve seen a dentist? It’s OK. Really! Going to the dentist, no matter how long it’s been since your last checkup, should never be a discomforting or unnerving experience. My dental office in Buckhead will make sure you feel comfortable and at home from the moment you walk in the door. No matter what the reason may be for your lapse in treatment, there’s no time better than now to see a dentist and get checked out.

No Lectures, Please

No matter what age you are, getting lectured can be anything but fun. This is extremely true at the dentist’s office. We understand that life gets busy and things happen that prevent you from coming to the dentist, so our office is a lecture-free zone. We are here to help you not lecture you.

There are just a couple things you need to remember before you come to your first visit:

X-rays and Records
It never hurts to contact your previous dentist to obtain your dental health files. We know that this may be difficult due to circumstances out of your control, but it’s worth checking into before your visit. If you’re not able to get a copy of your records sent to us prior to your visit, don’t panic! We will gather all the information we need when you come to see us!

Questions and Concerns
Please make sure to bring a list of any questions or issues you may have.  We will get to know you and complete a thorough exam to learn together the present condition of your oral health.  We will help you understand your oral health and help facilitate a process for you to choose what you feel is best for you.

We know you and your smile will feel so much healthier following your visit. My Buckhead dental office is proud of you for making the commitment to your oral and overall health. Scheduling your appointment is easy. Just give us a call and we’ll take care of the rest!

Serving patients in Buckhead, Atlanta, and Sandy Springs  

Filed under: General Dentistry

Top 6 Worst Foods For Teeth

biscotti

Food is such an important part of our lives. Not only is it crucial for our health, it’s historically pretty important for our relationships too. We meet friends over dinner, we snack on the couch with loved ones while watching a movie, and we even join blind dates for a cup coffee. At our dental office in Buckhead, we understand the importance of food and really enjoying what you eat. But we also know how some foods can damage teeth. For this blog, we’ve compiled some of the top types of food that are the worst for teeth.  

  • Biscotti – This Italian treat is known for its hard, crunchy texture which is why it’s usually eaten after being dunked in a beverage. However, this difficult to bite biscuit can cause cracks or chips if it’s too hard.
  • Popcorn – A movie watching favorite, the dangers of popcorn lurks in the often unseen kernels. A quick, hard bite onto one of these hard kernels can chip teeth or destroy restorations.
  • Pitted Treats – Snacks like olives sometimes contain a hidden pit. Again, like the culprits above, an accidental nibble of a pit can cause some serious tooth damage.
  • Chewy Candy – Candy in general is typically bad news, but chewy ones can be the worst of all. Due its sticky nature, the sugar-loaded sweet is left clinging to teeth for prolonged periods of time and it can also dislodge fillings.
  • Ice Cubes – These frozen cubes of water can be used to chill a beverage or even for an injury, but they shouldn’t be eaten. Hard ice can not only break teeth, they also create tiny cracks that leave the enamel open to bacteria and, in turn, cavities.
  • Bones – While we don’t tend to choose bones to eat or to gnaw on, they are found in several foods. Some bones are easy to see and we can usually avoid those, but some bones aren’t noticed until it’s too late. Be cautious when eating stews, certain types of fish, or chicken.

While we’d love our patients to avoid these foods altogether in order to greatly reduce the risk of dental damage, we understand that’s unrealistic. Instead, we’d be happy if they just used a bit of caution while enjoying the treats above. More importantly, if something were to happen while eating, we want to encourage them to schedule an appointment at our dental office in Buckhead as soon as possible. The sooner we can evaluate and treat any damage, the less likely there will be additional issues.

Accepting patients from Buckhead, Atlanta, and Sandy Springs.

Filed under: General Dentistry

Different Types of Dental Imaging

male dentist examines dental x-ray

We get asked a lot of questions at our dental office in Buckhead, and we don’t mind answering them one bit! We believe that the more our patients know, the healthier their smiles will be. One of our more frequent requests is for more information on dental imaging – why we use them, different types, and especially their safety.

The 3 Most Common Types of Dental X-Rays

There are several different types of x-rays that your dentist in Buckhead may use to look at various parts of the mouth’s anatomy. Each type is used for a different reason and can show different problems. Let’s take a look at each one.

  • Bitewing X-rays. These x-rays are helpful in catching cavities early on as they allow the dentist to see places in between teeth that are not visible to the naked eye. Bitewing x-rays can also help identify variations in bone density caused by gum disease as well as help catch any excessive wear in restorations like fillings.
  • Periapical X-rays. Along with bitewings, periapical x-rays are quite common. The images obtained through this type of x-ray show the entire tooth — from the top of the crown to the tip of the roots. This allows your dentist to examine each tooth’s individual structure and bone level. Periapical x-rays can also help catch cysts and abscesses.  
  • Panoramic X-rays. Panoramic x-rays show the entire set of teeth, both top and bottom and from left to right, in one photo. They can also display the jaw joints as well as the upper sinuses. These photos can help determine if wisdom teeth are impacted and can even help diagnose a tumor.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Safety is our top priority with everything we do, including x-rays. Advancements in technology have reduced exposure to the already low amount of radiation emitted by dental x-rays. Additional preventive measures, such as the use of lead vests, are also taken to help limit the exposure even farther. We try to follow the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle which basically says that dental professionals should limit x-rays to only when necessary in order to achieve proper diagnosis and aid in successful treatment.

Other types of Imaging

  • CT scans.  There are a couple of different types of ct scans.  The most commonly used in dentistry is the cbct or cone-beam technology.  These scans are used to evaluate structures in three dimensions, which is an advantage over traditional dental x-rays that are only two dimensional.  The most common use of a cbct is to plan placement of dental implants.  Periapical lesions, which show that a tooth has infection, can usually be seen earlier on a ct than a traditional periapical x-ray.  Ct scans are also used to evaluate the bony structures of the TMJ for people with joint problems.
  • MRI.  Magnetic resonance images are usually taken to evaluate the soft tissue structures in someone who has a TMJ joint problem.  

How often you should get dental x-rays taken depends on a variety of factors. The team at our Buckhead dental office will take a look at your oral health and any history of dental problems to determine how often you should have x-rays taken. A general guideline our office uses is bitewings every 18 months and a panorex every 5 years.  Obviously these are guidelines and the specific needs are individualized according to each patient.  Ct scans are only taken for specific patients who need dental implants or have a TMJ joint problem. MRI images are only taken on patients who have a specific TMJ joint problem as well.

Serving patients in Buckhead, Atlanta, and Sandy Springs.

Know The Signs of Oral Cancer

oral cancer awareness

Every year, April is recognized as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. At our dental office in Buckhead, we strive to keep our patients and our neighbors as healthy as possible, so we’d like to join in and help educate our community on the risks of oral cancer, how to identify it, and why it’s best to identify it as early as possible.

Fast Facts

  • About 49,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a type of oral cancer this year alone
  • Over 9,700 will die from oral cancer in 2017
  • Only an estimated 57% of those diagnosed this year will still be alive in 5 years
  • Patients who have beaten oral cancer once are up to 20 times more likely to develop another form of cancer

Early Diagnosis

One of the main reasons oral cancer is so deadly, and those numbers above are so scary, is that most of the time, oral cancer is caught too late and may have already spread to another part of the body. Unlike other types of cancer, there are no official timing guidelines for screening for oral cancer, like there are for, say, colon or breast cancer. This is one of the reasons why we recommend seeing your dentist in Buckhead at least every six months for a thorough examination. If caught in its early stages, oral cancer can be treated successfully.

Signs & Symptoms

The difficult part to suspecting and diagnosing oral cancer is that its signs and symptoms can disguise themselves as other oral health problems that don’t seem like a big deal, only a minor annoyance. If you notice any of the signs below, call your dentist as soon as you can.

  • A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away after two weeks
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck
  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • Chronic bad breath

Risk Factors

Understanding the risks that increase the chance of developing oral cancer can go a long way in helping to prevent it. While some risk factors are uncontrollable, there are some that you can control and avoid:

  • Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women
  • Oral cancer typically develops in those over 40
  • About 80% of oral cancer patients are, or have been, tobacco users
  • Drinking alcohol heavily also increases your risk  

If you suspect you’re at risk for oral cancer or have additional questions, we welcome you to call our Buckhead dental office.

Now accepting new patients from Buckhead, Atlanta, Sandy Springs. 

“What Do I Have to Do to Be a Dentist?”

become a dentist

Considering a career as a dentist? We may be biased, but the team at our dental office in Buckhead thinks it’s the best job you could have. Dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists are an important part of a total healthcare team, and are crucial to keeping patients healthy. We get to serve people in a very unique manner and get an opportunity everyday to help people feel better about themselves.  The spiritual reward from serving others, especially over a long period of time, is incredible. If you’d like to experience the rewarding feeling we get each and every day, dentistry may be right for you.

Will You Enjoy Being a Dentist?

Before we go into the specific steps on how someone becomes a dentist, it’s important to discuss the qualities and interests one should possess in order to be happy in this field.  You need to enjoy learning.   An interest and excellence in the sciences is recommended. Dentistry and the courses required to become a dentist are highly science focused, so it’s crucial to have an organic attraction to science.  Dentistry is also incredibly artistic, so having an artistic eye helps and obviously you should have good eye-hand coordination.  You also need a true desire to serve others.

The Steps to Become a Dentist

After you’re able to identify that the basic, underlying characteristics of being a dentist interest you, you can start to outline the steps you need to take to become a dentist.

  • Complete Your Bachelor’s Degree. While you can get your Bachelor’s in anything, you’ll be one step ahead if you focus on biology, chemistry, physiology, and other sciences.  
  • Score Well on the DAT. Following undergraduate school, you’ll need to take the Dental Acceptance Test and score well to be considered for dental school.
  • Go to Dental School. Typically, dental school lasts four years and includes a combination of classes and clinical work.
  • Take Your Board Exams. Before you can practice dentistry, you’ll need to pass the National Board Dental Examinations as well as any other requirements necessary for the state you wish to practice in.

“Will I Be Able to Find a Job?”

While the job hunt is always a daunting task no matter which industry you decide to enter, there’s some good news about the rising need of dentists from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job availability is projected to grow at 18% through 2024, more than double the average growth for other careers.

If you’re seriously considering a career as a dentist, our Buckhead dental office recommends that you perform research on what dentists do and what your job environment could look like to see if it’s something that will make you happy.  We highly recommend it!

Welcoming patients from Buckhead, Atlanta, Sandy Springs.

Filed under: Dentistry

The Oral Health and Heart Health Connection

heart health

Our Buckhead dental office’s philosophy of patient care revolves around keeping our patients healthy, and not just in their mouths. Many whole-body concerns are associated with oral health problems, including heart disease. This February, in celebration of Heart Health Month, we’d like to educate our patients on the oral health and heart health connection and how keeping your mouth healthy can protect your entire wellbeing.

Gum Disease and Its Link to Heart Disease

One of the main areas we’re going to explore is how gum disease can affect someone’s heart health. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection in your gums caused by a buildup of plaque on your teeth. When there’s an infection in your mouth, it can very easily be transferred into your bloodstream. If this occurs, your body produces more C-reactive protein (CRP), which is one of the known indicators of cardiovascular disease. Elevated levels of CRP can lead to some serious health issues including:

  • inflamed arteries
  • blood clots
  • heart attacks
  • strokes

Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is treatable, and treatment is easier and more successful if it’s caught early. If you notice any of the signs below, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Buckhead as soon as you can.

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffy, tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth that feel loose

Keep Your Mouth Healthy

There are things you can do to keep your mouth and gums free of disease. We recommended maintaining appointments at our dental office in Buckhead at least twice a year. But that’s not all. It’s also important for you to follow a proper at-home oral health care routine at home. Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day, everyday.  

If you notice any signs of gum disease, or if you’re looking for a new dentist, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. After all, your dentist is an important member of your health care team and can protect your body from serious diseases, like heart disease.

Welcoming patients from Buckhead, Atlanta, Sandy Springs.

Filed under: Oral Health

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