Enter to Win the "SMILE OF YOUR DREAMS"

Enter to Win the "SMILE OF YOUR DREAMS"

The Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry is celebrating their 25th Anniversary by giving away a "SMILE OF YOUR DREAMS".  

A beautiful smile can be a valuable tool, which has the power to change your life!  If you have always wanted to improve the appearance of your smile, now is the chance to get the "SMILE OF YOUR DREAMS"!  The Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry is giving away up to 8 units of Lumineers valued at nearly $10,000!

No purchase is necessary to win, and you do not have to be a patient at our office.  To be eligible you must be at least 18 years old and a legal resident of the United States.

You can nominate yourself or someone who you think would be a deserving candidate by submitting 1-2 full face smile photos along with a bio and story.  Be specific.  Why would this entrant be the perfect choice?  Why do they deserve a smile makeover?  What is it that would make them benefit from a new improved smile?  Please title your submission "Smile of Your Dreams", and email your entry to info@carolinacosmeticdental.com by October 31, 2017 to be a part of our celebration.

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Lumineers vs. Veneers

Lumineers vs. Veneers

If you are unhappy with your teeth, veneers may be exactly what you’ve been looking for.  Veneers arethin porcelain tooth-like coverings that are placed over the surface of your teeth.  They are great for covering up issues such as stained, crooked, or chipped teeth.  Traditional veneers are generally thicker than Lumineers, and require a more aggressive and irreversible removal of healthy tooth structure than Lumineers when being prepared for your teeth.  Veneers are custom made in a shade that best matches your other surrounding teeth.  This extensive preparation technique usually involves the placement of acrylic temporaries for a couple of weeks while your veneers are being crafted at an outside laboratory.  Lumineers are similar to porcelain veneers in that they are also designed to cover your existing teeth, but they are made of an ultra-thin Cerinate porcelain, so they can be applied seamlessly over your teeth to deliver a natural looking smile.  The minimally invasive Lumineers technique typically eliminates the need for temporaries.  They provide the same function as traditional porcelain veneers, but since they are less invasive, your original tooth is most often not changed and your natural tooth enamel is not damaged.  Either option will give you a beautiful smile and leave you looking and feeling great.  A beautiful smile is a valuable tool, which has the power to change your life!

 

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Enter to Win the Smile of Your Dreams

Enter to Win the Smile of Your Dreams

We are celebrating our office's 25th Anniversary with a smile of your dreams giveaway contest.  A beautiful smile can be a valuable tool, which has the power to change your life!  If you are unhappy with your teeth and have always wanted to improve their appearance, now is the chance to get the smile of your dreams.  The Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry is giving away a 6-unit Lumineers case valued at $7,350.00!  

There is no purchase necessary to be qualified to win, and you do not have to be a patient at our office.  However, to be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old and a legal resident of the United States.  All entries must be received by September 25, 2017.

You can nominate yourself or someone who you think would be a deserving candidate by submitting 1-2 full face smile photos along with a bio and story.  Be specific.  Why would this entrant be the perfect choice?  Why do they deserve a smile makeover?  What is it about them that would make them benefit from a new and improved smile?  Please title your submission "Smile of Your Dreams", and email your entry to info@carolinacosmeticdental.com by September 25, 2017.

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10 Myths About Snoring and Sleep Apnea

10 Myths About Snoring and Sleep Apnea

By: Jeffrey W. Horowitz, DMD, FAGD

 

While nearly 50 million Americans are afflicted with sleep apnea, only ten percent are ever diagnosed.  With only 2-3 percent of these patients successfully treated long-term, sleep apnea is perhaps one of the most under-estimated heath care crises in the world today. This article will dispel some of the myths that have created the current crisis and hopefully create an increased awareness.

 

1.       Snoring is just an annoyance and can’t hurt your health.

Snoring is the number one sign of sleep apnea. 7 out of 10 people who snore loudly or regularly will test positive for sleep apnea. If left untreated, apnea can take 12-15 years off of the average life-span. It is the number one risk factor for heart attack and stroke, increasing the odds of having an event by more than 23 times.

2.       You have to stop breathing at night to have sleep apnea.

One never has to stop breathing to have sleep apnea.  The disease is comprised of two different types of events, apneas and partial apneas. During an apnea there is a complete stoppage of breathing which may be heard as an eventual gasp for breath. Partial apneas or hypopneas are just as dangerous and occur when the airway simply loses some of its size, not allowing enough air to pass. Gasping may never be heard with partial apneas.

3.       Sleep apnea is only a disease of decreased oxygen levels.

While oxygen deprivation is the primary concern in sleep apnea and leads to the most immediate risk, sleep deprivation creates many of the long –term symptoms and illnesses. We need deep sleep to maintain hormone and neurotransmitter levels. Even the most mild sleep apnea causes sleep deprivation, increasing the risk for accidents, mood disorders, diabetes and other hormonal imbalances.

4.       You have to be overweight to have sleep apnea; Losing weight makes sleep apnea go away.

Sleep apnea is a disease of airway collapse which can happen in people of all shapes and sizes. While obesity can increase the likelihood of having apnea, it affects even the most slender or fit. Losing weight can very often improve the severity levels of apnea, however for many, the apnea remains despite the weight loss.

5.       Snoring and feeling tired are the only obvious signs of sleep apnea.

These are the 2 most common signs of sleep apnea, but there are many other signs that should be considered as high risk for having the condition. These include but are not limited to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, heart disease, stroke and arrythmeas, night-time acid reflux, frequent awakenings, enlarged tonsils or uvula, big tongue or neck, retruded jaw form and many more.

6.       Having sleep apnea is not that big of a medical risk.

See numbers 1, 3 and 5. Sleep apnea increases cardiovascular risk more than any other factor including smoking, obesity and high blood pressure, and causes many of the conditions seen in numbers 3 and 5.

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Back to School With a Healthy Smile

Back to School With a Healthy Smile

It’s finally here, that ever dreaded first day of school.  It’s time for families to get back into their regular routines.  This is actually a perfect time to schedule your children’s regular dental cleaning and exam.  According to the American Dental Association, “A dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back to school preparations.”  Most people do not realize that tooth decay is an infectious disease, the most chronic childhood disease there is.  When a child suffers from a painful tooth or a chronic dental problem, their speech, ability to eat, and their ability to concentrate or sleep may all be affected. 

            It is recommended that children visit their dentist for preventative dental checkups and cleanings twice a year.  By regularly maintaining their smile, any potential dental problems can be diagnosed and repaired before they become bigger problems, which can be painful, costly and require that your child miss class time.  This is also a good time to be proactive with fluoride treatments and sealants, which will help to keep teeth healthy and looking their best.     

            For more dental health tips, log on to ADA.org and browse through the Oral Health Topics list. 

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Common Dental Emergencies and How to Handle Them

Common Dental Emergencies and How to Handle Them

There are many reasons why it is important to establish a relationship with a regular dentist, one very important reason being that you will have someone to call who can provide you care in the case of a dental emergency.  Most dentists provide 24-hour on call help for their patients of record.  Obviously, dental emergencies are not something that most people plan for, but in most cases, when you have an active relationship with a dentist, he or she will be available if a problem should arise.

 

Planning Ahead: What to do in Case of a Dental Emergency

 

What if I bite my lip or tongue so hard that it begins to bleed?

If you bite down on your lip of tongue so hard that you cause bleeding, the first thing you should do is clean the area gently with clean gauze or a clean cloth.  Next, apply pressure to the wounded area firmly in an effort to stop the bleeding.  Once the bleeding is controlled, apply a cool compress and call your dentist to tell them about your injury.  Depending upon the severity of the wound, they may ask you to meet them at the office to make sure that the wound is clean and does not require any stitches. 

 

What should I do if my crown falls off or my bridgework falls out?

Usually when a fixed crown or bridge comes off, there is some underlying factor that has caused this to happen.  Perhaps it was knocked loose or you have been grinding forcing the tooth or teeth to loosen or de-bond.  Another common circumstance that can cause this to happen is decay that has spread weakening the underlying foundation resulting in de-bonding.  Whatever the case may be, it is important that you ultimately see your dentist to have it properly put back on.  This is not an emergency that should cause you to panic, but it is imperative that you go ahead and remove the loose crown or bridge from your mouth as you don’t want to swallow it by accident, or worse, breathe it into your windpipe.  Call your dentist and see if they can get you in fairly quickly, because by waiting you are running the risk of your remaining tooth structure shifting in which case your crown will no longer fit and have to be remade.  In the meantime, it is important that you do not try to fix it yourself with bubble gum or temporary cement that you can purchase at the pharmacy.  This can be risky because it is not a permanent solution putting you at risk of swallowing it or inhaling it.  It is extremely important that you DO NOT try to super glue it back into place as this too is not a permanent fix and this material will most certainly damage the existing crown or bridge.

 

What if I accidentally break or chip my tooth?

Usually a small chip in your tooth is nothing to stress out about.  You should still get into your dentist’s office to let them take an x-ray and make sure that no dentin (the 2nd layer of your tooth) is exposed, but this is not an emergency that must be checked out immediately.  A small chip in the tooth’s enamel (hard outer coating) often times can be smoothed and polished, and the tooth is good to go.  A break in the tooth, on the other hand, should be treated right away.  If dentin is exposed, a dentist will need to cover it for protection until a permanent repair can be made.  If the break is so severe that the pulp becomes damaged, you will most definitely need to get in immediately and a root canal will need to be performed.  In the meantime between chipping or breaking your tooth and getting an appointment to have it repaired, there are a few things that you can do at home to ease the situation.

1.  Take an over the counter pain reliever, preferably not aspirin as it can increase the risk of heavy bleeding.

2.  Rinse with warm salt water.

3.  If the tooth is left with a jagged edge, the pharmacy sells wax paraffin which you can place over the jagged edge to create a smooth surface and protect the tongue, lip, and cheek.

4.  Eat soft foods and avoid using your broken or chipped tooth when biting down. 

 

What should you do if your tooth is completely knocked out?

If your tooth gets knocked out, this would be considered a medical emergency and you need to have it treated immediately.  There is hope that the tooth can be re-inserted and saved by your dentist if the appropriate measures are taken.  Naturally the first thing you must do is remain as calm as possible and locate the tooth that has been knocked out.  When you pick it up, hold it by the crown of the tooth.  If you try to hold it by the tooth’s roots, you may likely damage them.  Place the tooth in a cup of milk and go straight to your dentist’s office for help.  The sooner you get the tooth re-inserted into the gums, the greater chance you have for it to successfully re-implant, so time is of the essence.

 

What is going on when you begin to feel pain in or around your tooth and gums?

If you are experiencing discomfort in and around your tooth and gums, it could be coming from any number of oral issues.  It could be something as simple as a popcorn kernel lodged beneath the gum line, worse than that it could be a sign that you have an abscess, it might even be something as routine as the eruption of a wisdom tooth.  There are so many different things that could be going on inside your mouth causing pain.  Whatever the case may be, if you are experiencing a great deal of discomfort, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist to have it checked out.  This is very important because the earlier you have the problem diagnosed, the better your chances of recovery.  You certainly don’t want to let a dull ache go to the point it becomes a huge abscess around the root of your tooth.  Don’t ignore the early red flags that there is a problem.  I promise you, you will be glad in the long run.    

 

How urgent is it to have orthodontic emergencies addressed?

Most orthodontic emergencies are not urgent problems.  Most things like loose bands or poking wires can be remedied with a little ball of wax until you can conveniently get into your doctor to be seen.  The same treatment can be used in case of mouth sores along with a dab of a numbing agent like Oragel until the tissues eventually form calluses.  It is more urgent to get into the office for help in the case of a poorly fitting expander appliance or retainer as this can be uncomfortable, and if you let it go for too long, you could be at risk of losing the correction that has already been achieved.   

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Large Neck Size Linked With Sleep Apnea Risk

Large Neck Size Linked With Sleep Apnea Risk

Dental Sleep Medicine education, instrumentation and in-office training company, Sleep Group Solutions, provide Dental education on implementing a sleep protocol. Two day program involves sleep apnea signs and symptoms, including acid reflux, obesity, and large neck size correlations. Upcoming CE lectures include Providence, New Orleans, and San Diego.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, More than 18 million American adults have sleep apnea.  Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include (definitely not limited to) snoring, acid reflux, obesity, and large neck circumferences.  The Sleep Group Solutions program instructs dentists on implementing a Sleep Protocol, and discuss signs and symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea.  Upcoming courses include Providence, New Orleans, and San Diego.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests the size of your neck may be useful in determining risks for various sleep disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea.  Novi, Michigan Doctor, Dr. Anjoo Ely, provides sleep apnea treatment in her dental practice, and says neck circumference is a noticeable visual sign to look out for.  “As an individual becomes more overweight or obese, one area of the body that becomes larger in circumference is the neck.”  Dr. Ely continues, “Aside from having a large stomach, there will also be tissue crowding along the airway, especially in the throat. When the airway becomes narrowed, it is more likely to partially collapse, causing hypopneas or snoring, or completely close off, causing sleep apnea.”   If an individual has enlarged tissue in the back of the mouth and throat -such as big tonsils, adenoids, or tongue, this will likewise contribute. The weight of the neck tissue itself may also lead the soft airway to collapse.

“The circumference, or distance around the neck, is typically measured with a paper measuring tape at our office, during the patients initial visit,”  says Dr. Ely, “In general, this is considered to be a risk factor for sleep disordered breathing when the circumference is greater than 17 inches for men and 15 inches in women.”  Dr. Ely’s office screens each patient for sleep disordered breathing issues, regardless of weight, health, or lack of symptoms.  Children are also at risk, in pediatric pulmonology neck circumference is also used as a screening tool to identify children who may be at risk.

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ACIDITY--WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH MY TEETH???

ACIDITY--WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH MY TEETH???

 

Tooth decay can be multifactorial—in other words, there are several different things that can cause cavities to form.  For example, a high sugar diet and dry mouth are frequent causes of cavities.  Did you know that products with higher levels of acidity can also cause tooth decay?  Acidic products can weaken tooth enamel by removing its necessary minerals for strength.  When this occurs the tooth enamel becomes “demineralized” leaving the tooth at a higher risk for cavity formation.  When bacteria are able to penetrate through this demineralized enamel, tooth decay (or cavities) can start.

 

Okay, okay, I get it.  I’m not supposed to eat a lot of sugar or ingest ACID?  I don’t drink acid, doc.”  Let’s first determine how acidity is measured.  Typically, acidity is based on a pH scale.  The pH scale is a measure of acidity or alkalinity of water soluble substances.  PH actually stands for “potential of Hydrogen.”  A pH is a numerical value on a scale of 1-14 with 7 as the middle or “neutral” point.  Anything with a pH below 7 is considered “acidic”.  A pH value above 7 is considered “basic” or alkaline.  “Enough of all this technical stuff, doc.  What does this mean?”   Let’s take a look at a few things that are pretty acidic so you can get my drift.  Battery acid, for instance, has a pH of 1—the most acidic on a pH scale.  Yes, I know you aren’t going to drink battery acid with your dinner, but this will give us a relative point.  Lemon and lime juice have a pH of 2.  This is only ONE POINT above battery acid!  So, you may not be guzzling down lemon juice in your free time, but I know we all have that one friend who loves to suck on lemons.

 

“Doc, give me an example that actually pertains to me!”  Well, we do live in South Carolina, and it’s a common notion that we southerners ALL love sweet tea!  Lipton Brisk, sweet ice tea, for example, has a pH of 2.7.  Prefer soft drinks?  Mountain Dew, Coke, and Sprite all have pHs of 3.22, 2.53, and 3.41 respectively.  “Well, I drink DIET drinks, doc!”   Diet Mountain Dew has a pH of 3.34, only 0.1 more basic than regular Mountain Dew.  The acidity is there my friends!  Coffee drinker?  Coffee is at a pH of about 5.5, which is a lot better than some of the previously mentioned beverages.  Generally speaking, anything other than water (pH of 7) is going to be a little acidic.  (Note: some bottled water can be more acidic than tap water—but, that’s a different subject for a different day!) 

 

“What’s the bottom line, doc?”  I’m not telling you to never drink soft drinks, tea, or anything else that could have a low pH.  I’m human for goodness sake, and love my coffee, sweet tea, and an occasional diet Coke every now and then!  But, as with anything that isn’t necessarily good for us, we should do so in moderation!  If you are a soft drink sipper, finish your drink in one sitting!  If you sip on acidic beverages ALL DAY, you are continually lowering the pH in your mouth—this can be a breeding ground for cavity causing bacteria!!!  When in doubt, rinse it out (with water, that is).   And of course, brushing at least twice a day will help to keep your dentist at bay! 

 

Cara Coleman Lawson, DMD

For a more detailed list of acidic beverages, head to 21stcenturydental.com and check out some of their patient education.

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Summer Smiles

Summer Smiles

Yippee!!!!!!  School’s out!!!!!  Finally we get a break from the daily grind; some time off with the kids without to-do-lists looming over our heads.  I just love summertime and everything that goes along with it, but unfortunately for a lot of kids summer is not the best time for quality oral hygiene.  With the break in regular routines, often times our kids teeth get neglected.  The summer heat poses problems as well because when it’s hot outside they are thirstier and naturally they are more prone to crave sugary sports drinks and popsicles when they want to cool down.  Summertime presents its own set of challenges when it comes to dental health, so the Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry has some simple tips for you to keep in mind that will allow your kids to enjoy their summer break without having to dread their next dental visit.

 

*Keep a Daily Brushing Checklist- Sleeping late and staying up late become the norm when the kids are out of school.  Usually my kids wake up after I leave for work and are still going strong on their video games when I go to bed at night.  I can only hope that I have instilled good hygiene habits into them, because their summer schedules are so far removed from my schedule that I don’t know whether they are brushing their teeth or not.  A good way to keep a check on this is to create a daily brushing checklist.  This way the kids can enjoy their laid back summer schedules and parents can be assured that their independent little ones are still taking care of their teeth. 

 

*Instead of Indulging in Sugary Sports Drinks, Stay Hydrated With Water- Sports drinks are both expensive and loaded with sugar.  When that sugar combines with plaque that is already on the tooth surface, acid is produced which can strip away the enamel layer of the tooth.  Keep water containers available for your child to use to quench their thirst.  Not only is it better for them, it’s a lot cheaper!

 

*Use Mouth Guards When Playing Sports- Mouth guards reduce the risks of oral injuries by providing stability to the teeth and jaw in the event of an accident.  At the Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry we custom make mouth guards which provide comfort and ensure your kid’s teeth won’t get chipped or cracked if a blow to the face should happen to occur while they are at play.  It’s really a pretty inexpensive way to provide protection. 

 

*Protect Your Skin by Wearing Lip Balm that Contains Sunscreen- Most people think that applying sunscreen first thing in the morning will protect them throughout the day as they are out in the elements.  What most people don’t know is that the lips are more susceptible to getting burned than other parts of their bodies.  This is why it is important to protect your lips by applying and reapplying lip balm with at SPF of at least 15 throughout the day.  The effects of the sun are capable of damaging your skin and if not properly protected for a considerable length of time can cause skin cancer.

 

*Use Your Break Wisely by Scheduling Dental Cleanings and Exams While the Kids are Free- Dental hygiene is of great importance for healthy teeth.  When the kids are in school, scheduling and keeping dental visits can be quite the challenge.  Summer is a perfect time to schedule your family’s dental cleanings and any treatment that they might need to have done.  Do it now because if this summer is like most, in the blink of an eye you’ll be registering for next school year again.     

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The CEO From PreXion Visited Our Office

The CEO From PreXion Visited Our Office

Our very own Dr. Horowitz is honored to be featured in PreXion Corporation’s informational catalog.  PreXion Corporation is a Japanese company specializing in medical imaging research and development.  They distribute primarily Dental Cone Beam CT in the US and globally.  In 2015, PreXion succeeded in developing the world’s first technology of photoacoustic imaging system using NIR-LED as a light source.  Dr. Horowitz says that, “with its versatility and precision, PreXion CBCT has revolutionized my approach to comprehensive patient care.  From TMD to airway management and full mouth rehabilitation, PreXion has taken our practice to the next level.”   

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With Dental Implants and Mini Dental Implants You Have Lots of Reasons to Smile

With Dental Implants and Mini Dental Implants You Have Lots of Reasons to Smile

Let us introduce you to the benefits of dental implants and mini dental implants to see if they are right for you!  Implants are the newest standard of care for tooth replacement.  Losing one or more of your teeth not only affects your ability to eat, it also causes bone loss.  Where the gap is created by having lost your tooth or teeth, the jawbone in that area will begin to shrink which will ultimately change the shape of your face and your smile.  Luckily, dental implants stop bone loss.  Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss. 

If you are in good health, then you will almost certainly be a good candidate for dental implants or mini dental implants.  Contact our office and come in for a complimentary evaluation to find out if implants are the right treatment for you.  Various medical conditions may decrease the effectiveness of dental implants, so at your evaluation we will be able to determine and let you know whether or not this is your best option.  If it is determined to be the best option, we can typically restore your natural smile within a three-step process.

1.  Of course at your first visit, we will review your health history with you, examine your mouth, and answer any questions or concerns that you may have, which will help us determine your best plan of action.  Once all questions are answered and you are fully informed of your treatment options, if you decide to proceed with dental implants, we will take any necessary x-rays and we will create models of your mouth so we can determine your implant position. 

2.  At your next visit, your dental implant will be placed into the bone.  This is a relatively painless procedure completed under local anesthesia.  Occasionally a bone or gum graft will be necessary; otherwise at this point we will gently place a titanium implant into the jawbone.  This post mirrors the root of the tooth.  Eventually the bone fuses to this post creating a foundation.  The heads of the implants protrude slightly above the gum tissue and provide attachments for securing an abutment that we will later affix a crown to.  The bone and gum will need an adequate amount of time to heal before this is done, so at this visit you will likely receive a temporary crown.

3. At your third and final visit, your missing tooth or teeth will be replaced with a permanent crown or bridge which will easily blend with your natural teeth and your smile will be restored.  Finally you will have your permanent solution for your missing tooth or teeth!

It is important to remember that dental implants are not just a cosmetic solution, but they also offer many benefits for a healthy smile.  Yes, they do look and feel like natural teeth, but they also prevent bone loss and facial sagging.  They won’t slip or get lost like removable partials or dentures nor can they get lost.  They function just like natural teeth and can last an average of 40+ years when properly maintained.  Needless to say, dental implants and mini dental implants are an excellent solution to support and restore your missing teeth! 

 

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Whitening--Is It Worth the Sparkle??

Whitening--Is It Worth the Sparkle??

Let’s be honest, the world we live in is all based on LOOKS!  Everyone is dying to have that perfect “Hollywood smile,” or trying to pass the “tissue test” as advertised on say, Crest whitening commercials.  So, how do we achieve this bright white smile?

            First off, we must remember, every smile is NOT equal.  The Good Lord made us all different for a reason, so be proud of what you have!  And, if you just can’t get over the color of your teeth, there are lots of things we can do about it.  Secondly, remember every Hollywood smile you see is not necessarily the patient’s natural, God-given teeth.  Many smiles you see on TV or in the movies have been created in a dental office somewhere!  Sure, many of our favorite actors and actresses have natural, whitened teeth.  But many of our favorites have had cosmetic work, including crowns and or veneers, to enhance their smiles.

            Obviously the least invasive way to get that bright, white smile is by whitening.  As with any dental procedure, there are many ways to achieve whiter teeth.  We must remember, however, that people have varying shades and undertones to their teeth, often times limiting the brightest shade that one person could achieve.  Although there is no way to know exactly what shade you may achieve on your path to whiter teeth, a generic “shade guide” is often used to determine which category you may fall under.  The shade of our teeth is greatly determined by our underlying dentin color.  Dentin is the layer of our tooth that lives under the enamel surface.  Our enamel may also carry stains and color changes, but our dentin is what determines our natural tooth color.  A typical, universal shade guide ranges from A shades to D shades.  A shades are typically yellowish to brownish shades.  B shades have more of a white undertone, also with a hint of yellow.  C shades are grey in color and D shades are a mix between grey, red, and brown.  Can you whiten your teeth in any category?  YES.  How white will your teeth get?  This depends greatly on what type of whitening treatment you are using and how stubborn the stains are.  It’s also important to remember that crowns, veneers, and composite fillings DO NOT change color with bleach.

            So, what’s better, over the counter bleaching, in office whitening procedures, or take-home bleach trays?  Again, there’s no simple answer to this question.  A general rule of thumb is the length of time taken to achieve whitening results increases as the percentage of bleach decreases.  What does that mean??  Over the counter whiteners (say, whitening strips or trays you may buy at your local grocery or drug store) are typically 10% carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.  Since the “bleach” percent is only 10%, it may take longer for you to achieve the results you are looking for.  Most bleaching trays that can be made in a dental office setting can hold bleach anywhere from 10% to 35%.  On the same note, the “in office” bleaching treatments usually run at about 38% bleach.  Although the 35% (or in office 38%) bleach will allow you to achieve your whitening results more quickly, many patients will have increased sensitivity.  SO, another rule of thumb is the greater the percent of bleach, the greater the risk of post-operative sensitivity. 

            What about whitening toothpaste??  There are SO many new products on the market—I’m sure you’ve seen the ads for the “charcoal toothpaste” or the new “AP-24” toothpaste.  The problem with most whitening toothpastes is the amount of abrasives in them.  Many of these toothpastes have an increased abrasiveness, potentially causing more damage to the tooth structure than good.  Abrasive toothpastes may wear away the enamel layer of the tooth.  Although your teeth may initially appear whiter and brighter, they may have an increased risk for sensitivity, cavities, or wear from the toothpaste.

            What are you telling me, doc???  Don’t believe all the advertisements you see!  Remember, different products work differently for different people.  When in doubt, ask your dentist or a dental professional…we did go to school for this, that is.  Smile bright, my friends!!!!!!

 

Cara Coleman Lawson, DMD

Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry

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Doctor...I Think I Have TMD

Doctor...I Think I Have TMD

In my many years in dental practice, I am often asked by patients whether or not they might have TMJ.  They have either read about the symptoms and self diagnosed or been told by their physicians that this might be the case.  This is why I think it is important to address exactly what TMJ is.  TMJ is the abbreviation for Temporomandibular Joint. The Temporomandibular Joint is a connection between bones, just like the knee or elbow, wrist or ankle.  So, when I’m asked the question, “Do I have TMJ,” I usually reply, “Yes, you actually have two.”  The real question is, do you have Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. 

 

What is TMJ Dysfunction?  Well, it’s like having a “bad” knee or a “bad” hip, only it is a “bad” jaw.  Just like your knee, there’s cartilage between the bones of your head and jaw.   This cartilage can wear out just like your knee.  The bones of the jaw joint can develop arthritis just like any other joint in your body.  The cartilage can also become displaced, causing pain and clicking.  To make matters worse, both of your temporomandiblar joints are connected together by the “U” shaped jaw bone, therefore, the two jaw joints and the jaw bone all have to work together.  Just like in a three legged race, if the two participants in the race are working in harmony, they may win the race.  If not, they will likely not and they may even fall down.  The two jaw joints are forced to move together by the jaw bone.  Adding your teeth and your bite into the mix really makes the system very complex.  For things to be healthy and working properly, all of the components have to work in harmony.  When they do not, this causes the condition Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, or TMD.  Patients who suffer from TMD have difficulty opening their mouths and difficulty chewing food.  They may also have painful clicking and popping of the jaw joint or pain just in front of the ear.   

 

Treating TMD requires careful diagnosis.  It is very important to seek professional help if you think you are suffering with it.  At your appointment your dentist will examine your teeth, bite and the alignment of your jaw joints.  He or she will listen to and feel your jaw and ear area as you open and close your mouth, and will examine your teeth looking for issues such as high fillings in your teeth, displaced teeth, or cavities which will cause your bite to be uneven.  Other problems such as underbites or overbites, will also be noted.  If the results of this preliminary testing are positive for TMD, you will need a CT or CAT scan of the jaw area which will provide detail on the bones in the joint and surrounding areas, the sinuses, and the brain.  If all of all diagnostics result in a positive diagnosis, treatment can vary from simple arthritis medications like Advil or Aleve to bite adjustments and braces.  Splint therapy might be required and surgery is usually indicated in the worst cases.    

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Geriatric Dentistry Because Cavities Aren't Just for Kids

Geriatric Dentistry Because Cavities Aren't Just for Kids

Cavities and the Cost of Root Decay:  When we think of cavities, mostly we think of children.  If you were born prior to the 1970’s, you probably did not have fluorides in your drinking water.  When we were kids, cavities were pretty common.  Most of us can remember going to the dentist and having the little pick stuck in our teeth.  We were told that we had some number of cavities.  These cavities were what we call in dentistry, “pit and fissure” decay.  It is the decay that develops in the grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.  However, with the use of fluorides much of that type of decay has been eliminated. 

 

If you’re like me, born prior to 1970, you are facing another type of decay.  It is called root decay.  Unlike the decay that develops on the rough chewing surfaces of back teeth, root decay is the result of bacteria eating into the surface of the root.  Root surface is different from tooth enamel.  Enamel is hard like glass and is not living tissue.  The roots of teeth are like wood, they are living tissue.  Like the difference between glass and wood, roots of teeth are soft and rough by comparison.

 

Major Causes of Root Decay are: 

 

1.  Receding Gums: When the gum tissue recedes, root surface is exposed.  Root as we know is soft and “rough”, so it easily collects bacteria.  Plaque is a bacterial colony which grows on the exposed root.  Bacteria plaque eats away at the root surface.

 

2.  Dry Mouth:  Many of us suffer from dry mouth.  Dry mouth can occur because of the medications we are taking or because our saliva has become thicker and has poorer wetting properties.  Dry mouth contributes to the accumulation of bacterial plaque on and around the exposed roots of teeth.

 

3.  Diet:  Sucking candy, breath mints, cough drops, and vitamin lozenges are all great contributors to decay formation and growth.  The sugars in these things are fuel for the bacterial plaque and add in its growth.

 

4.  Oral Hygiene:  Exposed root adds another level of difficulty to cleaning teeth.  Recession leaves spaces between the teeth making it easier for food to accumulate and bacteria to grow.  Cleaning all these openings is difficult and not generally accomplished by regular tooth brushing.

 

 

 Problems Dentists Face in Treating Root Decay is:

 

The distance between the outside of the tooth and the nerve is largest at the top or crown of the tooth.  It decreases as we go down to the root.  So, the distance from the top of the tooth to the nerve is about 7 mm or slightly more than ¼ of an inch.  Along the gum line of lower front teeth the distance from the outside of the root to the nerve can be only 2 mm or about a 1/16th of an inch.  When we are removing root decay, exposure of the nerve often happens.  This results in the need for root canal treatment and a cap or else you will lose the tooth.  Access to the decay can be difficult, making decay removal and filling the cavity likewise very difficult.  Even if the nerve is not exposed, the tooth is weakened and the likelihood of tooth fracture increases.  This also can result in the tooth needing root canal treatment and a cap or tooth removal.

 

There are Things You Can Do:

 

A better diet, fluoride toothpaste, and better oral hygiene can reduce the likelihood of decay.  Root decay does not have to be a big and expensive problem.  You can help prevent root decay by avoiding sucking on sugary candies, using toothpastes and rinses that contain fluoride and using saliva substitutes recommended by your dentist if you suffer from dry mouth.  It is also of the utmost importance to have your teeth checked regularly so that any issues that may arise are found early. 

 

 

 

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No Dental Insurance...No Problem!!

No Dental Insurance...No Problem!!

For patients who do not have dental insurance, or are unhappy with what their current plan has to offer, The Carolina Center for Advanced dentistry offers an in office insurance plan to ensure that you are able to receive the dental care that you need at an affordable rate.  Unlike traditional dental insurance policies that come with limitations, our Advanced Dental Plan (ADP) offers you limitless dental care.  We love helping patients have healthy, beautiful smiles and making access to dental care as easy as possible.  Enrollment with the ADP plan for one year includes

 

*2 Routine Cleanings with Fluoride

*2 Periodic Examinations by Your Dentist

*Yearly Periodontal Examinations by Your Hygienist

*A Yearly Set of Bitewing X-rays

*Oral Cancer Screening

*A Yearly Sleep Disordered Breathing Screening

*Full Mouth Series & Panoramic X-rays Discounted to $85.00

*15% Discount off of all Dental Procedures, Including all Specialty Services

 

ADP Annual Fees

*New Patients $375.00

*Children $325.00

*Established Patients $300.00

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Burning Mouth Syndrome, A Hot Topic

Burning Mouth Syndrome, A Hot Topic

We have all burned our mouths and tongues on hot food at some point, but imagine living with a burning sensation in your mouth all day every day.  This is the plight of those who suffer with Burning Mouth (or Burning Tongue) Syndrome.  This condition affects close to five percent of Americans.  Most often it affects the top of the tongue, the lower lip, and the roof of the mouth.  The constant burning sensation may be accompanied by a dry, gritty feeling in the mouth and changes to taste sensation. 

            The cause of Burning Mouth syndrome is unknown, but research has shown that this condition is the result of a nervous system malfunction, whereby the nerves do not send or process information correctly, leaving the pain receptors active.  This does not mean that there is permanent damage to the nerves, but an alteration in the way they function which can often be linked to other conditions.  Some of the conditions that can contribute to Burning Mouth Syndrome include but are not limited to:

 

Nutritional Deficiencies- Low levels of Iron, Zinc, and Vitamin B-12 can contribute to neuropathies and BMS.

 

Dry Mouth- Dry mouth may be the result of diabetes, Sjogrens Syndrome, radiation therapy, or it can be a side effect of too many medications.

 

Hormonal Changes- Women experiencing menopause and post-menopausal women have a higher incidence of BMS.

 

Fungal Infections- Oral Candidiasis can directly cause a burning sensation.  It does not always appear as a white film and can often be overlooked.

 

Acid Reflux- Reflux can be its own problem secondary to over-production of stomach acid, inability of the muscles to hold the acid within the stomach or dietary concerns.  It can also be the result of undiagnosed sleep apnea.  Acid insult to the oral tissues can cause burning, discomfort or alteration of taste.

 

Sensitivity to Foods or Dental Products- Spicy foods or flavoring such as Cinnamon can directly irritate the taste buds.  Reactions or allergies to dental products can have the same effect.  The products that most commonly cause these issues are toothpaste ingredients, alcohol containing mouthwashes, denture adhesives, acrylics and non-precious metals.

 

            The best way to find out what is causing this condition involves both a dental and physical exam.  The dentist can readily recognize oral candidiasis, sensitivity, and dry mouth, while the physician can perform bloodwork to see if there are nutritional deficiencies or systemic conditions contributing.  Addressing any underlying disorders found by both the physician and dentist should help. 

            Finally there are a few steps you can take first, before being tested.  Drinking water regularly and chewing sugarless gum to promote saliva may take care of the symptoms.  Avoiding tobacco and products with alcohol should also help, as well as avoiding hot, spicy, or acidic foods.  Introduction of a quality daily multivitamin may also be of benefit.  If the condition persists despite all of these efforts, talk with your general dentist and your physician.  For many, Burning Mouth Syndrome symptoms can be alleviated or vastly improved.

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Follow Us on Facebook or Instagram For a Chance to Win

Follow Us on Facebook or Instagram For a Chance to Win

All of our followers on Facebook and Instagram are automatically entered to win our monthly giveaways.  This month we are giving away a gift certificate to our local spa, The Spa on Main.  The winner will get a certiface for a 1 hour facial along with a foot masque.  

On Facebook, we are listed by our name, Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry.  On Instagram you can find us at cacenter4advanceddentistry.  Follow us and we will follow you back.

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February is Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health Month.  Many people are not aware that dental health and heart health are related.  As a matter of fact, 91% of people with heart disease also suffer from gum disease.  Researchers have had a difficult time proving that taking care of your teeth will prevent heart disease; however there are theories about how the two are connected.

 

*Daily activities like chewing and brushing may release bacteria into the bloodstream which cause infection elsewhere in the body.  The same species of bacteria that is found in patients with gum disease has also been discovered in the plaque in arteries in the heart.

 

*Gum disease and heart disease both contribute to inflammation in the body.

 

            The idea that bacteria in the mouth cause disease in other areas in the body is reasonable, but has yet to be proven.  While we cannot definitively say that by taking care of your teeth you will lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, you can prevent the possibility of health complications by brushing and flossing your teeth as well as visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and exams.  The positive effects of these practices are well established!!

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Sugar and It's Impact on Your Teeth

Sugar and It's Impact on Your Teeth

January is the time of year when a lot of people try to cut back on their eating.  Between that post holiday sugar hangover and bathing suit season looming on the horizon, for many folks this is the perfect time to reduce their sugar intake.  However, there is another reason that cutting back on sugar is a good idea, because sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay!

            Not too long ago, the American Dental Association reported bacteria as being one of the chief causes of tooth decay.  Basically bacteria in the mouth (Streptococcus Mutants) use sugar to get their energy.  The byproduct  of this is acid which is harmful to teeth and causes cavities.  These acids form into a glue-like consistency making it easy for them to stick to the surface of teeth.  As a result, teeth begin to demineralize creating soft spots which ultimately become cavities. 

            There are a number of things that you can do if you want to reduce or prevent the decay of your teeth.  Of course you can start by cutting down on the amount of sugar that you consume.  Another thing that I would recommend to help cut down on the corrosion of your tooth’s enamel would be for you to make it a habit to brush your teeth as soon as you can after sugar consumption.  Because the acids sticks to your teeth so well, saliva is not enough to wash the bacteria away, brushing is essential!  The next thing I would like to suggest is that you do a little research to make yourself more aware.  Get to know which foods contain large amounts of hidden sugar and try to make changes in your diet.  Cutting back on the extra sugar will surely decrease the rate of deterioration, not to mention, it will have you looking great as bathing suit season creeps in.

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