As a dentist, I’ve realized one of my greatest joys is seeing the reaction of people once they see their “new smile” after cosmetic dentistry. For many who have spent years, or even most of their lives, concealing a smile with their hand or turning away from people when laughing, seeing them “light up” because of a beautiful smile is a moment I savor as much as the elated patient.
Cosmetic dentistry not only enhances the appearance of your smile, it tends to boost confidence and encourages you to smile more often. However, the skills and commitment to precision and exceptional quality greatly determine the overall results, and ultimately, the satisfaction of the patient.
Over the years, I’ve seen how poor skills and cheap material can leave an individual with “fake” looking teeth. For example, one new patient arrived after investing in closing a gap between his two front teeth. Rather than involve the bordering two or four teeth to distribute the balance, the dentist had merely filled in the gap, creating two very wide teeth. This left the man with “bunny teeth” that made him embarrassed to smile.
In cosmetic dentistry, advanced training in the latest esthetic technology, techniques, and materials can make a significant difference in one’s outcome. Another example is how light is reflected off teeth and the opalescence of teeth. Opalescence describes a slight transparency around the outer edges of each tooth. These factors play a major role in creating a smile that looks like you were born with it versus one that looks like one that’s had “dental work.”
Porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, bonding, and teeth whitening are primarily the options used to enhance a smile. These procedures are often completed in just one or two visits.
Bonding is used primarily to repair chips or cracks, make selected teeth shorter or longer and cover tooth roots exposed by receded gums. The shade of the bonding material is selected to match neighboring teeth and painted on to natural teeth. After the material is properly shaped, a process hardens the material and it is polished for a flattering sheen. With bonding, most applications can be completed in just one appointment.
However, for the most natural look and best longevity, we recommend porcelain veneers or crowns. Unlike bonding, veneers have an edge when it comes to durability and longevity. While porcelain veneers are more expensive, many people feel they are well-worth the difference.
Porcelain veneers are like fingernail-thin shells, each custom-created to specific shapes and shades to enhance the teeth most visible in a smile. For both porcelain veneers and crowns, many are made by a dental lab we know mirrors our own commitment to perfectionism.
Most treatments are completed in two visits. The first visit removes some enamel from the front of the tooth for veneers. For crowns (caps), which cover the entire tooth, more enamel is removed so the protective porcelain crown can be placed to a proper height. Before you leave, we place temporaries on the prepared teeth so you can enjoy a natural look while your final ‘restorations’ are made.
At the second appointment (usually 2-3 weeks after the first), the temporaries are removed and the final veneers or crowns are adhered to each tooth with a special adhesive. Your bite is then checked for proper alignment.
We offer a free, no obligation consultation so you can learn the best options for your smile. During this time, we can also discuss affordable payment plans so you can enjoy your beautiful, new smile while making easy monthly payments.Read More
If you’re a parent, you probably remember nights of too little sleep, resulting in daytime hours where you felt tired, sluggish, and foggy. Stressful situations at work, relationship problems, and too much caffeine close to bedtime can all result in a night of tossing and turning. With insufficient sleep during the night, we all know we’ll pay the price the next day.
Yet, the problem of sleep loss can go much further, as research has found.
Occasional incidences of missing a full night’s sleep are a normal part of life. However, when sleep quality is compromised on a regular basis, its impact reaches far beyond being groggy the following day.
While it was once believed that the brain is at rest during sleep, scientists now know this is far from the case. It has been found that, during the state of sleep, the brain goes through a ‘spring cleaning’ process to remove build-up that interferes with the proper function of how it operates.
As your body’s central control center, the brain is designed to regulate every aspect of the body. During REM sleep, which is the level of restorative sleep the body needs every night, the brain is resetting its systems and cleaning out clutter that interferes with efficient operation.
It’s similar to a coffee shop that closes at night so it can clean the prep areas, rest rooms, dining section, restock the shelves, wash the serving pieces, and be ready for business the following morning. Imagine walking into a coffee shop that failed to take the time for these tasks. It wouldn’t be a very efficient or healthy environment, would it?
When lack of sleep reduces the brain’s ability to ‘clean its house’ on a regular basis, the repercussions don’t take long to emerge. The next time you have a night of inadequate sleep, take note of your hunger levels the following day. You will likely experience an urge to eat more, especially craving carbohydrates as the brain seeks ways to resupply quick energy to a sluggish system.
Feeling tired and sleepy the next day may not seem like a hazard, but imagine someone who is less alert at work or behind the wheel. It has been said that drivers with sleep disorders are more deadly than drunk drivers. Plus, you not only put yourself (and passengers) at risk, others on the road are at risk by merely being in your proximity.
While sleep apnea is a common cause of sleep loss, heavy snoring (often a precursor to sleep apnea) can also cause disrupted sleep to both the snorer and his or her mate. Heavy snoring requires greater energy during sleep and causes the airway passages to work harder under strain.
If you sleep with a heavy snorer, your own sleep is likely compromised. Being awakened over and over at night means your sleep is disrupted. The results can be similar to those who have sleep disorders – daytime fatigue, feeling groggy and less alert during the day, being hungry more often, craving carbs, being less energetic, and nodding off easily.
Imagine your life after having awakened from a restful night’s sleep. You feel ready for the day, have more energy, are more motivated, feel more alert. For those who have sleep apnea or snore heavily, the solution can often be as simple as a small, FDA-approved custom-designed mouth piece worn during sleep.
Oral appliances are small, comfortable and highly effective for those who have mild to moderate sleep apnea or snore. By moving the lower jaw forward just slightly, the airway passages are more open and normal breathing is typically restored.
These oral appliances are affordable with easy payment plans available. The most important thing is that you resolve your sleep quality for your own health (as well as the well-being of your sleep mate).
Life should be lived to its fullest each day! Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to arrange a free consultation. During this time, I’ll explain the process, anticipated costs, and answer your questions thoroughly. We are also Medicare Certified.Read More
When people smile our way, there is just something about white, bright teeth that draw us in. And, whitening is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to improve the appearance of a smile.
What can whitening your teeth do for you?
Studies have shown that it can make you appear more attractive to the opposite sex. For example, according to an article in the Huffington Post, a study conducted at Loyola University found that teeth whitening greatly increased the potential to be asked out for a second date. The study also showed a 59 percent increase in dates perceiving their new acquaintance with white smiles as being outgoing and more social.
Whitening your teeth is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to perk up your appearance and enhance how others see you. Whitening teeth can even help you look younger.
As we age, teeth tend to yellow or brown. Whitening teeth can take years off your appearance. White teeth also project an image of a good commitment to oral hygiene since they appear to be cleaner and brighter.
A bright smile can boost self-confidence as well. When you feel good about the appearance of your smile, it can prompt you to smile more often. Research shows that smiling boosts the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals. This is true even when ‘faking’ a smile.
Another bonus of whiter teeth is how they can camouflage flaws in a smile. Crowded, crooked teeth seem less prominent when teeth are a lighter shade.
While drug store types may seem like they’re good buys, our Nite White system by Zoom provides results that are far more dramatic with better longevity. This holiday season, you can have a bright, white smile that stands out beautifully – and, at a very affordable rate.
Now through December, we are offering Nite White take home kits at a special rate of only $150. This includes trays and 6 tubes of gel. If you’ve already whitened your teeth and just need a touch up kit, just $50 will provide you with 3 tubes of gel to get your smile back to a dazzling level.
Let your smile sparkle for the holidays – and beyond! – with a whitening system that is safe, affordable and offers dramatic results. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to discuss whitening options and other ways to enjoy the advantages of a fabulous smile!Read More
It is a misconception that losing natural teeth is a normal part of the aging process. Although previous generations may have assumed that tooth loss (and ending up in dentures or partials) was natural for adults as they grew older, we know today that this is far from true – and certainly not desirable.
When teeth are missing in a smile, it compromises its appearance, often causing people to feel self-conscious when smiling. Yet, the repercussions of missing teeth go far beyond esthetic. It is now known that dental challenges caused by missing teeth can lead to a long list of problems.
The space left by missing teeth needs to be filled to avoid teeth drifting. Drifting teeth can lead to:
• Compromised chewing efficiency
• The tooth above or below the missing tooth growing too long
• Neighboring teeth moving out of alignment
• More challenges with food accumulation, accelerating bacteria growth
• Uneven chewing patterns, which strains jaw joints and can lead to worn teeth, tooth fractures and chips, clenching and grinding, and headaches
• Loss of jaw bone mass in the extracted area
• Facial changes and biting/chewing problems in the area of tooth loss
• Increased risk of tongue biting
Periodontal (gum) disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, it is easily preventable with simple measures applied on a daily basis. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing and twice-a-year dental visits can greatly reduce the risks of gum disease and subsequent tooth loss.
Those most at risk for tooth loss with the highest susceptibility to gum disease are:
• Males over the age of 35
• Adults who fail to have professional dental care
• Not brushing teeth
• Having diabetes, high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Additionally, teeth most commonly lost due to gum disease are in the front of the mouth rather than back teeth. Health issues such as diabetes and arthritis can also make you more vulnerable to developing gum disease.
When a tooth is lost, it is imperative that it be replaced as soon as possible. We recommend dental implants because they restore the look and feel of a natural tooth. Dental implants also recreate the presence of a tooth root in the jaw bone. This helps halt bone loss, protects your facial structure, and preserves the natural alignment of your bite.
Missing natural teeth? We offer many tooth replacement options to restore the look, feel and function of a natural-looking, confident smile. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule a free consultation to discuss the choices that may be best for your individual needs.Read More
Research has shown an indisputable correlation between the bacteria of gum disease and a number of serious health problems. This occurs because the infectious bacteria of gum disease can migrate to other parts of the body, triggering problems elsewhere in the body.
Oral bacteria are able to enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Once bloodborne, they have been found to trigger inflammatory reactions far beyond the mouth.
Periodontal disease bacteria are highly destructive. They destroy teeth, gums and bone structures that support tooth roots. This disease will only worsen without treatment. Symptoms include swollen and tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, persistent bad breath, and gums that darken in color.
Eventually, pus pockets form on gums and some teeth may loosen. To no surprise, advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Findings now reveal that advanced gum disease can cause the release of inflammatory components, enzymes and other factors that have been linked to the development of some cancers.
Highly concerning, the National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly half of adults in the U.S. have some level of the disease, even though it is one of the most preventable of all diseases. It is hoped that the recent revelations that link oral bacteria to serious health conditions may lead to heightened awareness to its prevalence. And, thus, more efforts to avoid or successfully treat it.
For many years, it was suspected that chronic infections and inflammation are associated with a higher risk of developing cancer. This prompted more research to focus on deeper studies into the relationship between bacterial and viral infections and carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis is the process that causes normal cells to mutate into cancerous cells.
For example, one study of over 48,000 American men between ages 40 – 75 showed that participants with a history of periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of cancer than those without gum disease. This was after adjustments were made for risk factors such as smoking and diet.
It was also found that, of those with a history of periodontal disease, their susceptibility to certain cancers came with a 30 percent or higher risk. The study showed that a history of periodontal disease increased the risk of lung cancer by 36 percent, kidney cancer by 49 percent, pancreatic cancer by 54 percent, and caused a 30 percent higher risk of blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.
The study also showed that even non-smoking participants with periodontal disease still had a 35 percent higher risk of blood cancers as well as a 21 percent overall increased risk for cancer.
Chinese researchers also conducted a study of over 321,000 men and women, adjusting for those who were diabetic, drank alcohol and/or smoked. They found a much greater lung cancer risk in the participants who had periodontal disease with women who had gum disease having a higher risk of developing lung cancer than men.
If you have symptoms of gum disease, it is important that you have treatment promptly. In our office, we treat patients gently, respectfully and to the highest standards and make appropriate recommendations for the individualized needs of each patient.
Begin by calling 843-871-6351 to schedule a no-charge consultation appointment. If dental fear is an issue, we can discuss comfort options, including oral and I.V. sedation. We can also discuss payment plans that helps to finance treatment into easy, monthly payments.Read More
The definition of “Seniors” has changed rather drastically over the past several decades. No longer deemed the inactive, rocking chair adult, today’s seniors are active — in sports, socially involved, and still learning and participating. And, their numbers are a force to be reckoned with.
According to the U.S. Census, “baby boomers” (Americans born 1956 – 1964), are the fastest growing age group in the U.S. Currently, 14.5 percent of the nation’s population are ages 65 and over. By the year 2029, the over-65 population is estimated to be 20 percent. (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/cb17-100.html)
It is also estimated that one out of every four 65-year-olds will live past the age of 90, and one out of 10 will live beyond the age of 95. (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html)
One contributing factor to this trend has to do with their determination to stay active and involved. This is one of the reasons why dental implants are so appealing when an individual is faced with tooth loss.
Whereas aging adults were once associated with dentures soaking in a glass by the bathroom sink, today’s senior prefers the stability and confidence of dental implants.
But, how old is too old for dental implants?
It is a common misconception that an individual is beyond the age for dental implants. As long as one’s periodontal (gum) health is good, there is actually no age limit on having a successful outcome when it comes to dental implants.
For seniors who may have experienced loss of multiple teeth, dental implants offer a successful solution for all adults. Too, they not only replace missing teeth, they resolve the many frustrations commonly associated with removable teeth such as dentures and partials.
Quite frankly, any age can expect a successful outcome when the implants are properly selected, placed and maintained. The failure rate is actually very low, with dental implants enjoying one of the highest of all implant-in-bone success rates – up to 98 percent.
However, like anything that is not a natural part of the body, there are issues that can complicate implant success, including:
While there are risks, the many advantages of dental implants far outnumber any downside. Dental implants add to everyday pleasures, including the enhanced ability to taste, bite and chew a diet of healthy, delicious foods. The stability of dental implants also restores confidence in social settings, allowing you to speak and laugh without worry.
Dental implants also halt the process of bone loss, helping the jaw bones retain a full, healthy shape. This prevents changes in facial appearance that can be aging far beyond one’s actual years.
The best way to fully understand the risks involved is through a no-charge consultation. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule. During this time, we can discuss the implant type that may be best for your needs as well as treatment time and costs. If comfort is a concern for you, we can also discuss sedation options, including oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep).Read More
Sometimes, things can occur without being obvious for quite some time. For example, seeing a tire that has abnormally worn down on one side is an indication that it has been out of alignment for an extended amount of time. Or, losing a button means that the threads gave way a while back and gradually became looser and looser.
As a dentist, I occasionally examine a new patient and see signs of worn teeth. Sometimes, the individual has fractures or chips on teeth as well. These are typically indications of clenching or grinding teeth, which often occurs during sleep. It’s rather common, however, that the patient has no idea this has been taking place.
Like a tire that’s just slightly out of alignment, minor disparities aren’t always noticeable. Eventually, however, the wear and tear does become obvious. Although it may take years for the signs to clearly emerge, like anything, the sooner you resolve the problem, the better.
Clenching and grinding of teeth is known as bruxing in the dental profession. This action often takes place while the individual is asleep, so they are unaware they are doing it. However, upon awakening, the person may notice jaw joint pain, headaches, difficulty opening the mouth fully, ear ringing, or dizziness.
What causes this?
The most common cause is bite misalignment. When the upper teeth do not meet harmoniously with the lower teeth, it can transfer stress or strain to the jaw joints.
These joints, which lie just in front of the ears, are the joints that hinge the lower jaw to the skull. Known as the temporo-mandibular joints (or ‘TMJ’), these joints are in nearly-constant motion. Every time you speak, eat, laugh, yawn, and even swallow, these joints move. If they do not move fluidly and in unity, they can become inflamed.
Like many parts of our bodies, the jaw joints strive for self-repair. The skin heals itself, the immune system fights infection, and broken bones reconnect. When an imbalance in the joints effects efficiency and comfort, they seek to find a more comfortable position when they have the least interference — during sleep.
During sleep, the jaws attempt to shift and ‘force’ themselves to find a place of harmony. This prompts the action of clenching teeth together or grinding them back and forth.
Although the alignment of teeth may seem unrelated to the balanced movement of the jaw joints, the results of disharmony can be pretty severe – and costly. Broken, fractured or chipped teeth can require crowns or even replacement of teeth. Worn teeth typically need crowning or repair of cavities that has occurred when the protective enamel of teeth has been worn down.
For our patients who need these repairs, they have the advanced technology of our CEREC 3D computerized process. This creates crowns and other ceramic restorations (crowns, bridges, implant teeth) in a single visit, saving the patient time and often reducing numbing requirements by half.
Once we verify that your bite is truly out of alignment (and the cause of bruxing), correcting it may be as simple as reshaping selected teeth. Some crowns may be needed and an oral appliance may also be advised. These appliances are custom-made to comfortably fit the unique contours of each mouth and do not interfere with sleep.
When bite misalignment is more severe, we may recommend orthodontic treatment. Although some adults cringe at the need to wear braces, ‘invisible’ options are available that can make treatment more comfortable and seem less awkward than the wires and brackets of traditional orthodontics.
Like a worn tire, the problems of misalignment will only worsen without repair. Let’s restore your bite to a harmonious position so you can avoid the discomfort, costs, and treatment time associated with TMJ disorders. Begin with a free consultation by calling 843-871-6351 or tap here to begin.
What do model Lauren Hutton, songstress Madonna, and actor Samuel L. Jackson have in common? They each share the trait of gapped front teeth. This trait, which actually is fairly common — affecting up to 25% of American adults, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) — is known in the dental profession as a diastema.
Having a gap between upper front teeth is a genetic trait and occurs more often in Black males who are more prone to the trait than females.
Once felt to cause an awkward appearance when smiling, adults today are more comfortable with a disastema, largely due to celebrities who have refused to
let the trait interfere with smiling with pride. After all, can you imagine Lauren Hutton without her smile as it is or Michael Strahan smiling any differently than with his now-famous gap?!
We believe the most important part of smiling has to do with the health of a smile. When teeth and gums are healthy, smiling with confidence is a perk of good oral health. However, some smile traits can make smiling seem awkward for some individuals. In addition to gapped teeth, having a gummy smile (which exposes too much gum tissue above teeth in a full smile) can cause some to ‘hold back’ rather than smile joyfully.
If a diastema is causing you to feel less than comfortable when smiling, you’ll be pleased to learn that filling this space can often be done in just one or two visits, and very affordably. We begin by assessing the width of the gap. When the open space is minimal and the two front teeth are not wide, we may be able to focus treatment on just those two teeth.
However, filling a wider gap by trying to widen the two front teeth can result in “bunny teeth.” To avoid this, it may be necessary to involve more than just the two gapped teeth. The material that is used may also depend on the width of the gap. The one recommended for you will be explained. The two options typically used for correcting a diastema are:
• Bonding – This treatment uses a tooth-colored composite resin that is painted onto natural teeth. The material is carefully shaped to fill in the space between the teeth. The procedure often requires just one visit and numbing needs are minimal. The process begins with a careful shade matching so the composite resin blends naturally with the color of the teeth involved in treatment. Then, the teeth are ‘roughed’ and a conditioning material is applied so the bonding adheres properly. After the bonding has been shaped and contoured, an ultraviolet light is used to harden the material. Finally, the material is polished to a natural sheen.
Although bonding is an affordable option that can repair flaws in a single visit, its drawbacks should be considered. For example, bonding material isn’t as strong as porcelain, which is used in veneers and crowns. This makes bonded teeth are at greater risk for chips. Bonding material also stains or yellows more easily.
• Porcelain Veneers & Crowns – The closest thing to the durability and longevity of natural teeth is porcelain. Superior to any other material used in cosmetic dentistry, porcelain restorations even reflect light as a natural tooth and can provide an opalescence so natural no one would suspect you’ve had ‘dental work’. Porcelain is highly durable (a particular advantage for front teeth) and more resistant to staining. For wide gaps, just four or six veneers can recreate a smile beautifully while eliminating the former space.
For some gaps between teeth, moving natural teeth into proper alignment through orthodontic treatment may be the best option. We work with several exceptional orthodontists and can request an evaluation to determine if your diastema requires this type of treatment.
Keep in mind that realigning teeth may not only close the space between your teeth, it may help to create a healthier smile. Teeth that are in proper alignment are easier to keep clean and help you avoid problems associated with misalignment, including TMJ disorder. This can lead to teeth that are chipped, broken or worn as well as jaw joint pain, headaches, migraines, ear ringing, dizziness, night-time clenching and/or grinding, and jaw popping.
Begin by scheduling a free consultation to discuss the options that may be best for you. During this time, I can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss affordable payment plans that can break treatment fees into easy monthly payments.Read More
The health and appearance of your smile depends on a daily commitment of thorough at-home care. It also depends on regular involvement with your general dentist.
These visits are designed to remove plaque and tartar buildup that has accumulated between visits and catch problems at early stages. The appointments are spaced at 6-month intervals to keep you in a better position to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Not many people look forward to a dental cleaning or exam, although we actually have some who tell us they DO look forward to their oral hygiene visits. They enjoy seeing long-time staff members whom they’ve grown close to. Primarily, though, they like the clean feeling and bright smile they get from these twice-a-year visits.
I understand people who don’t look forward to dental check ups, however. I feel the same way about my ophthalmologist. I know I need an annual eye exam and like the doctor and staff very much. But, the process isn’t something I deem pleasant, even though I appreciate its importance.
One of the reasons many of our patients are such long-time patients is because they trust us. They know we will never over-treat or under-treat, recommend treatment according to their specific needs, respect their preferences, and make their comfort a high priority at every visit.
Comfort is a big deal when it comes to dentistry. There are many individuals who avoid dental care altogether because they have such intense dread or fear associated with these visits. Dental fear or anxiety is said to affect over 70 percent of the American adult population.
To lessen the worries of anxiety or fear of being in pain, we have taken a number of measures. We pride ourselves on having a relationship of trust with our patients — they trust us to keep them comfortable and minimize the potential for discomfort. Yet, we know that comes with time. New patients simply don’t walk in and perceive that; they need to experience it to just know it’s part of our commitment to care.
Below are just a few of the ways my team and I optimize your comfort in our Summerville dental office:
For adults who have fear, anxiety, or even dental phobia, we have been able to help the majority to achieve a healthy, appealing smile while being relaxed and comfortable. Here, we know you can learn to dread less and smile more!
Consider starting with a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we will discuss your concerns, make recommendations for your specific needs and goals, and give you a firsthand look at the exceptional Summerville SC environment we offer for your very best smile.
To schedule, call 843-871-6351 or tap here to begin.Read More
As early as grade school, most of us were taught that digestion begins in the mouth.
Through the process of chewing, a flow of acid surges into the mouth via saliva. These acids are the initial stage of digestion, helping to break foods down so, once swallowed, they are better prepared for the next phase of digestion.
One of the reasons we are urged to chew food slowly is to allow these acids to work efficiently. When well-chewed food arrives in the stomach, the continuing process of digestion can more easily cultivate vitamins, protein, fiber, and minerals from newly-arrived contents.
But, back to the mouth. It is in the mouth that, as a dentist, I have a firsthand view of the damage that these acids can cause. While beneficial to the digestive process, oral acids can put teeth at high risk. And, when those acids are mixed with acidic foods and beverages, the acid levels are able to reach a pretty severe level.
Before I touch on acidic foods and beverages, however, I’d like to address sugar. Because sugar is not deemed an acidic food, people are often unaware of just how harmful it can be.
Bacteria in the mouth are living organisms, which mean they eat and reproduce. Sugar is a preferred food since it tends to rev up their growth. The more bacteria that are in the mouth, the greater the risks for problems.
When oral bacteria multiply faster, plaque forms faster, too. This is a sticky film of bacteria that coats the teeth and gums. Sugar helps plaque to grow faster and become glue-like, so it is able to be more adhered to teeth. This means it is more challenging for saliva to remove oral bacteria throughout the day.
Oral bacteria is the origin for nearly every problem that occurs in the mouth. From gum problems (including periodontal disease) to cavities to bad breath to tooth loss – an over-accumulation of bacteria is typically the culprit.
So, back to acid from other eats and drinks. We often overlook the fact that so much of what we consume is acidic. Tomatoes and citrus fruits are generally known as being acid. However, many people are unaware that things like wine, salad dressings, colas, and coffee are all acidic as well.
Adding acids to the mouth through food and beverages means you are adding to already naturally-occurring oral acids. This increases acidic levels in the mouth to such an extent that they can actually soften tooth enamel.
Of course, we’re not saying you should eliminate your morning coffee deny yourself a glass of wine with dinner. We are, however, giving you better awareness of the higher risk you have for developing problems as a result.
How do you minimize acid’s potential for smile problems that can be costly and time-consuming to repair?
First, consider that what you consume enters your body through the mouth — it’s the first contact. Thus, acidic foods and beverages do the most damage at the entry point. Simply being aware of their potential for damage can help you be more proactive in prevention.
Also, it is important to know how to lessen the effect of oral acids, which is pretty easy. Keep a glass of water (unflavored) nearby and take gulps occasionally, letting the water wash over your teeth and gums before swallowing.
Or, better yet, slip away to the bathroom between each drink or meal and swish water in the mouth. Take several mouthfuls of water, swish, and spit it out after each time.
Naturally, brushing twice a day helps to remove oral bacteria. But, it must be done thoroughly. Spend at least two minutes per brushing (even when using an electric toothbrush) and move across all surfaces of each tooth. Finish up by brushing the tongue, which typically harbor millions of bacteria. Floss daily and swish several times afterward.
As we age, saliva becomes less plentiful. Too, many medications have side effects that are drying to oral tissues. To counteract these effects, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Watch your intake of foods and beverages that can be drying to the mouth, such as caffeinated beverages and spicy foods.
If you smoke, you need the added protection of an oral rinse to replenish moisture. It may also be advised that you see your dentist every 3-4 months rather than every 6.
Lastly, be aware that each time you eat or drink (other than water), acid flows into the mouth. This surge of acid continues for 20 or so minutes after your last drink or bite. The longer you spend eating or drinking, the longer your mouth must endure the elevated acidic onslaught.
This is a common reason why children who frequently use a sippy cup of juice or teens who sip colas throughout the day are so prone to cavities. And, adults who are coffee, tea, or cola drinkers throughout the day are also upping their risk for dental problems.
To us, the more our patients know about how to prevent problems in the first place, the healthier and happier their smiles. That’s always the goal!
Begin with an examination and cleaning. We’ll help get your smile in excellent shape so it’s easier to maintain between visits. We’ll customize an at-home program so you are better able to keep it in great shape between visits, too!
Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to begin.
Through decades of research and findings from countless studies, there is no doubt that your oral health plays an integral part of your overall health. Not only does oral bacteria overload lead to tender, bleeding gums, it causes cavities, bad breath and some serious health problems far beyond the mouth.
Studies have shown that oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, it can cause inflammatory reactions that have been associated with a long list of diseases and health conditions. These include stroke, heart disease, preterm babies, diabetes, arthritis, and some cancers.
Still, with all these findings, it’s perplexing that nearly half of American adults have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. I believe the problem lies in the fact that gum disease can begin – and even exist to a certain extent – without obvious symptoms.
To help our readers be in a better position to avoid (or respond promptly to) gum disease, I hope the following Q&A will help in your appreciation of good oral health:
What is gum disease? Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It forms from accumulated oral bacteria. Like any infection (which is bacteria that is straining the capability of the immune system), it causes redness, tenderness, and swelling. Because it is hidden inside the mouth, gum disease is easier to ignore than if the same were to occur on a skinned knee. Early-stage gum disease causes the gums to bleed when brushing, tender gums, and frequent bad breath. As it progresses, gums swell and turn red. The gums loosen their grip around the base of teeth. Eventually, persistent bad breath occurs and may be accompanied by pus pockets that form on gum tissues. As the bacteria eats away at the structures that support tooth roots, the need for tooth removal can occur.
Why should I worry about gum disease? As if the discomfort, bad breath, and rotten teeth weren’t enough, many people are unaware that gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. When a tooth is lost, it creates a domino effect that can lead to more tooth loss. Replacing teeth can be expensive. For some tooth replacement options, it typically causes bone resorption. This is when the jaw bones that once supported natural tooth roots begin to shrink in mass. A thinning jaw bone is what causes a denture or partial to slip or rub uncomfortably on tender gum tissues. (Dental implants, fortunately, mimic the presence of tooth roots. This halts the process of resorption.) Additionally, as mentioned prior, gum disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream and contribute to a number of serious, even deadly, health problems.
How do I prevent gum disease? Although I’d like to say that twice-daily brushing and daily flossing is sufficient, that’s only part of the equation. It is necessary to keep the mouth moist. Aging and the side effect of many medications can be very drying to the mouth. This mean that oral bacteria are not being washed away efficiently. Also, American diets are full of sugar. Sugar is especially challenging in the mouth, triggering acids that can damage almost immediately. Too, just over 52 percent of the adult population visit the dentist every six months. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), over 20 percent (in 2014) stated they only saw a dentist every “few years.” (https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute/dental-statistics/patients) Your dental check-ups are structured to remove built up oral bacteria that has hardened on teeth (known as tartar, or calculus). Seeing your dentist every six months helps you to prevent, or greatly minimize, the risks associated with gum disease.
As a dentist in Summerville, I’ve been pleased to offer a “dental home” where our patients know we will treat them thoroughly, respectfully, and with gentle hands. We keep our fees affordable so all individuals can enjoy the benefits and confidence of a healthy smile.
If you suspect you have gum disease or have not had a dental cleaning in over six months, call 843-871-6351 to schedule an appointment. If preferred, ask to begin with a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we’ll discuss your unique needs and how we can assist you in achieving the smile you desire.Read More
Summer in the South means fun in the sun! With summer comes lighter clothing that, unfortunately for most people in the U.S. these days, is more revealing. That’s because over one-third of Americans are fat. Well, more than fat; they’re obese.
The latest estimates show that 40 percent of the population is obese, according to a March 2018 article in the NY Times. Over 7 percent are classified as severely obese. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/health/obesity-us-adults.html)
Diet is certainly a factor. Americans are known to be over-consumers of sugar. And, while the American Heart Association recommends daily intake of sugar to no more than about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men, the average U.S. adult consumes over 19 teaspoons daily on average.
Fortunately, Americans are becoming more aware of “you are what you eat.” Consumption of sugar has gotten more press these days, emerging as a key contributor to the weight problem of Americans.
Yet, losing weight is a tedious process. While diet and exercise are part of the normal requirements for weight loss, sleep quality has been found to be an influencing factor by crisscrossing brain signals.
Apparently, having the willpower to bypass the dessert cart may be more challenging if you have a sleep disorder. Studies now show that Sleep Apnea can contribute to improper alterations in hormones that regulate satiety and hunger. This means that the brain is actually working against our efforts to lose weight when we are sleep deprived.
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that deprives the body of sufficient oxygen during sleep. People who have Sleep Apnea can have pauses in oxygen intake, not breathing for up to a minute. These pauses can occur hundreds of times over the course of a night, which robs the heart and brain of sufficient oxygen. Not only does this present a tremendous health risk, it tips the brain’s ability to regulate hunger controls out of whack.
In addition to lacking the energy and drive to exercise, Sleep Apnea sufferers also endure a reaction in the brain that revs up carb cravings for a quick fix of energy. It’s difficult to opt for a handful of raw almonds when your brain is pushing you to down a few Oreos.
Consuming sweets and carbohydrates gives us a temporary energy surge. Because the brain knows this will perk you up, carb cravings are triggered by the brain. The combined “need” to consume carbs and lack of energy results in guess what? Right – weight gain! For those who are trying to lose weight under these conditions, they are fighting an uphill battle.
Research has found that the brain is actually very active during sleep. In REM sleep, the brain is busy removing toxins and other elements that have accumulated during the day. During this time, the brain can restore itself to peak efficiency to properly regulate hormones and other functions in the body. Some hormones trigger hunger cravings and others signal feeling full.
The intake of sufficient oxygen levels during sleep allows the brain to reset itself to keep these hormones operating efficiently for the coming day. When you wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep, your brain has no need to trigger carbohydrate cravings to pull you out of sluggishness. Nor does it need to urge you to eat more when you really don’t need it.
In addition to fatigue, sleepiness, feeling foggy and food cravings, Sleep Apnea has been linked to a number of serious health problems. These include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, a
Once diagnosed, a common therapy for many Sleep Apnea sufferers is a CPAP device. This is a mask worn over the face that is attached to a fan that pushes air into airway passages. Although CPAP is an effective oxygen delivery system, it is estimated that only 22% of those who have been prescribed CPAP are consistent users. This is due to patient claims that they can’t move around comfortably in bed, the mask makes some feel claustrophobic, and some find the devices noisy, inconvenient and embarrassing.
For mild to moderate levels of Sleep Apnea, we offer an FDA approved, custom-designed oral appliance that eliminates the need for CPAP. Our Oravan mouth pieces are comfortable and will not interfere with sleep. They are also effective for heavy snoring (a common precursor of Sleep Apnea).
If you are a heavy snorer or suffer with Sleep Apnea (or sleep with one), these problems will not resolve on their own. Begin by calling 843-871-6351 for a free Consultation. During this time, I’ll explain the small, comfortable Oravan mouth pieces we will custom-design for you. You’ll quickly find that you can sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.Read More
Let’s say you’re nearing the time when an ’empty nest’ in on the horizon. In anticipation of having extra space, you may have some ideas as to how free space could be reconfigured. A workout room? A media room? An office for a new in-home business?
Although designers and contractors could come in with a sketch pad and pencil, wouldn’t you be more assured with a visual proposal that gave a firsthand view of where, what, and how?
Today’s technology is designed to eliminate guesswork and provide the means to achieve goals without unexpected glitches.
This is true for dentistry as well. Advanced computerized technology has given dentists the tools to diagnose, treatment plan, and perform procedures with precision based on each individual’s needs and goals.
Dental offices can vary significantly when it comes to advanced technology. Not only does this equipment require a monetary commitment, most require intense training of the dentist and staff members in order to utilize each piece properly. While some of these advancements can seem rather intimidating, I’ve found that they can be of such benefit to our patients that the learning process becomes exciting.
Case in point – when I first invested in CEREC 3D technology, I took a couple of courses but avoided using it for months. When I decided to truly master it, I became so enthralled at the results that I pursued every advanced course I could take. Now, I am a proud Mentor for CEREC 3D, providing training assistance to other dentists who make this positive leap into the future of dentistry.
While my goal has always been to provide options that enhance patient comfort, save them time, and create optimal outcomes, it has also been important to select technology that is ‘green.’ At Smiles By Andrews, we have incorporated features that are environmentally-friendly, which minimize the use of chemicals, save water, and reduce waste.
We are proud of the environment we offer to our patients. Experience the benefits of these features yourself! We are always happy to welcome new patients to our office and even offer a free consult for those who wish to ‘check us out’ before committing to an appointment. Just call our friendly staff at 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule.
While we are pleased to offer this technology, what our patients notice most is the respectful, friendly, compassionate environment we provide. Regardless of your need, we are committed to exceptional care with an emphasis on comfort.
I hope to meet you soon!Read More
When most people think about a dental implant, they envision a replacement tooth that is held by the jaw bone. This is correct since Dental implants are unlike replacement teeth supported by neighboring teeth (as in crown-&-bridge) or a denture that is contoured to fit the ‘ridge’ where tooth roots were once held.
However, a dental implant is not one piece, but actually made up of three parts. The first part is the implanted portion. This piece is similar to a hollow screw that is positioned in the jaw bone beneath the gum tissues. This is your tooth root replacement. This piece is designed to recreate the presence of a tooth root, which is beneficial for the bone that supports it as well as the replacement teeth that will be attached to it.
Once placed, the bone begins to grow around the implant, securing it in place. This process takes approximately 3-4 months and is known as “osseo-integration.” During this phase, patients are able to wear temporary teeth (or often, their existing denture or partial) comfortably.
The second and third components of dental implants are referred to as the abutment and the restoration. These are typically placed in the same appointment. After the phase of osseo-integration is complete, an opening is made in the gum tissue over each implant site. Into the implant, a post is secured and a replacement tooth (or bridge) is then attached to the post.
With the implant held by the jaw bone and the replacement tooth secured to the implanted portion, the look, feel and function of real teeth is restored. This means that your implants will have the same foundation as that of natural teeth so you can enjoy dependable biting and chewing strength and stability.
When more than one tooth is missing in the same area, a bridge of two or more teeth can often be attached to one implant. For those missing all upper and/or lower teeth, a full arch of teeth can often be secured to 4 to 8 strategically-placed implants. This is an appealing option for people who are missing all of their upper or lower teeth and want to replace the discomfort and frustrations of a ‘rocky’ denture.
This option also minimizes the expenses associated with dental implant treatment. Because the cost for dental implants is largely based on the number of implants placed, attaching a bridge of teeth or securing a full arch can translate into a tremendous savings.
In our office, we utilize advanced CEREC 3D technology to create single crowns, bridges, and even full arches of replacement teeth. These ‘restorations’ are made of beautiful ceramic that is natural-looking and durable. This also saves you a tremendous amount of time by eliminating waiting time for a dental lab. Additionally, there is no need for a second appointment for a dental lab’s final teeth to be placed.
In addition to restoring the ability to eat and chew securely and comfortably, dental implants help to halt bone resorption that occurs when tooth roots are no longer present in the jaw bone.
What is this?
Without the presence of tooth roots, the bone lacks necessary stimulation that helps to maintain its mass. Dental implants recreate this stimulation, preserving the bone’s height and mass.
In addition to placing neighboring teeth at risk, bone loss can create changes in facial appearance that are aging far beyond one’s actual years. These changes include deep wrinkles around the mouth, a pointed chin, jowls that form from detached facial muscles, and a mouth that appears collapsed into the face.
There are many types of Dental Implants, each designed to accommodate individual needs and preferences. We offer a free Consultation that allows interested adults to learn the types best for them and have their questions answered thoroughly.
During this time, we can also discuss affordable payment plans. These can break your treatment costs into easy monthly payments, often with no interest charged and no down payment required.
Call 843-871-6351 to schedule your no-charge appointment.Read More
For a number of reasons, we often recommend Dental Implants to our patients when it comes to replacing natural teeth. For those who are missing all upper or lower teeth, several strategically-placed implants can often support a full arch. This restores biting and chewing comfort and dependability.
However, not everyone can afford Dental Implants or wants to undergo the procedures to have them. Here, we are respectful of all patients as to the tooth replacement option that is best for their preferences. Our goal is to provide each patient with an excellent fit and optimal comfort for all options in tooth replacement. For some, this may be through a full denture.
People are often surprised to learn that today’s Cosmetic Dentures can restore the ability to eat comfortably and securely with the added benefit of providing a more youthful smile. In addition to having advanced training and skills, I use advanced dental technology and materials to create a natural look and feel with a secure fit and exceptional durability.
Cosmetic Dentures are able to provide a more youthful smile because the process begins with the custom-design of the gum base that supports the teeth. With the proper increase in the distance between the upper and lower jaws, Cosmetic Dentures can often provide a sort of ‘mini facelift.’ This helps to smooth out the wrinkles around the mouth and lift lower facial muscles that lessens facial sagging.
In addition to creating a more youthful look of the face, your smile will have a more flattering look as well. For each individual, we enhance the look and feel of the teeth in Cosmetic Dentures and design your smile according to your preferences. For example, we can create teeth to the degree of whiteness you desire. We can also design the height of teeth so they are at a more flattering height. Lastly, we can adjust the gum line (area that shows above each tooth) so it is to a level that is esthetically-pleasing.
You’ll also appreciate that Cosmetic Dentures will never LOOK like dentures! No one will suspect you are a denture wearer or are wearing ‘fake’ teeth. Rather than feel self-conscious with replacement teeth created by cheap denture clinics, the teeth in Cosmetic Dentures are made so you will never look like you wear dentures! The teeth will also provide the luminosity and opalescence of natural teeth, even reflecting light as natural teeth.
For patients who still have remaining natural teeth, we use the same artistry in designing Cosmetic Partial Dentures. These are created with a gum portion that blends naturally with existing gums and custom-designed teeth that have a highly-natural appearance.
In our dental office, we make the design of a beautiful smile part of the overall construction of Cosmetic Dentists and Partials. We want you to have a smile you feel good about; one that makes you want to share it often! Let’s discuss the tooth replacement option of your choice during a no-charge, no obligation consultation. Call 843-871-6351 to schedule.Read More