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.

Read More

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.     

Read More

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.”   

Read More

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! 

 

Read More

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

Read More

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.    

Read More

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. 

 

 

 

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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!!

Read More

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.

Read More

January 12, is National Hot Tea Day

January 12, is National Hot Tea Day

The Tea Council of the U.S.A. recognizes January 12, as National Hot Tea Day.  Green tea is not only rich in culture and diverse flavors, but it also holds many health benefits.  As a matter of fact, researches are finding that the antimicrobial molecules found in tea called Catechin increases the odds of keeping your teeth as you age.  Regular consumption of green tea leads to a lower incidence of periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. 

            A study was completed which analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men who drank one cup of sugar free green tea daily.  The men were 49 to 59 years old and were examined on three indicators of periodontal disease: gum pocket depth, clinical attachment loss of gum tissue, and bleeding of gum tissue upon probing.  The outcome that these researchers found was that for every one cup of green tea consumed per day, there was a decrease in all three indicators.  The researches believe that the antioxidant Catechin interferes with the body’s inflammatory response to periodontal bacteria.

            Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bone that supports teeth.  Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is essential in maintaining a healthy body, as periodontal disease has been associated with the progression of other life threatening diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. 

            As always, it is recommended that you brush properly at least twice daily and floss regularly to reduce and prevent periodontal disease.  It is also critical that you have your teeth cleaned on a regular schedule to remove calculus build up and to treat any existing gum disease.  However, it doesn’t hurt to find simple things like drinking green tea to boost periodontal health.

Read More

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

Read More

We Got a Little Carried Away

We Got a Little Carried Away

Our office Christmas lunch was beyond fun this year once our treasured hygienist Katy broke out the Speak Out game.  Hasbro’s Speak Out is this year’s must have game.  Though this hilarious game is much like games of days gone by in that it requires one player to try and get the other players to try and figure out what information is written on the card that they have chosen, it is very different because the reader has to wear a cheek retractor, which prevents the reader from being able to speak properly.

            We had such a great time!  Perhaps too great, because we went from reading and guessing phrases straight into singing Christmas carols, all while wearing these silly mouthpieces.  It was all fun and games until the next day when our ever faithful Dr. Cara Lawson awoke with a mouthful of painful sores better known as apthous ulcers.   I noticed on Facebook Christmas day that apparently everyone who I follow must have gotten the Speak Out game for Christmas, since someone was wearing a cheek retractor in every other picture on my news feed, I thought this would be a good time to explain exactly what an apthous ulcer is and to give some tips for helping them to heal.

            Aphthous ulcers are the most common form of oral ulcers.  They are not contagious, simply small non-scarring sores that develop on the soft tissues of the mouth.  Most often they are a result of such things as mouth injuries, a poor diet, viral infections, a weak immune system, or hormonal changes. There are all sorts of outside factors that can contribute to the development of nagging aphthous ulcers as well.  Things such as eating hot, spicy foods, smoking, some medications, and playing with cheek retractors are all common culprits of aphthous ulcers. 

            There is no magic cure for healing these little ulcers once they develop, but there are some tricks that I like to suggest that might aid in the healing process.  Of course most know that rinsing with warm salt water twice a day can be quite helpful.  Another at home treatment that I like to suggest to my patients is for them to rinse with a half and half mixture of Kaopectate and Benadryl.  The Kaopectate will coat the lesions and the Benadryl will numb them a little.  This process will not cause your ulcers to heal any faster, but it will definitely ease the pain somewhat.  If you’re like me and you want them to heal faster, you can always come into the office and have the ulcers lasered.  This procedure does not hurt at all.  It doesn’t even require the patient to be numbed up and only takes about 15 minutes.  Basically we run the laser over the ulcerated tissue where it forms a scab-like layer over the wound.  This process accelerates the healing and offers relief from the pain by cauterizing the tissue and inducing a reparative response.  Your ulcers will immediately feel better, basically comparable to what ulcers feel like just before they are fully healed. 

Read More

Perio Protect Will Keep Your Mouth From Getting You Into Trouble

Perio Protect Will Keep Your Mouth From Getting You Into Trouble

At the Carolina Center for Advanced Dentistry, we offer a treatment program for patients who suffer with periodontal disease called Perio Protect.  As was written in an earlier post, it is a fact that nearly half of Americans above the age of 30 have periodontitis.  Many people don’t know they have this disease until they’re diagnosed by their dentist.  However, it is a serious disease and should not go untreated.  It is not only the number one cause of tooth loss, but research shows a connection between periodontal disease and serious health concerns including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hardening of the arteries, respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, low birth weight babies, and chronic inflammatory conditions.  This disease of the gums starts when a community of bacteria called a biofilm develops in the space or pocket between the teeth and gum tissue causing an infection.  One theory suggests that this oral bacterium enters the body through infected gum infections and small, bleeding wounds caused by these biofilms.  These small wounds in the tissue allow bacteria to enter into the blood stream and spread throughout the body. 

 

The symptoms of periodontal disease, better known as gum disease, include bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, persistent bad breath, swollen, red, or tender gums, spaces developing between the teeth, receding gums, and loose or mobile teeth.  These symptoms are a part of the body’s response to the bacterial infection.  Many people are known to ignore these symptoms for reasons unknown.  Perhaps it is because it is a disease that is hidden from view, or maybe they think it will remedy itself.  Whatever the reason, treatment is important.  Left unchecked, oral infections can lead to the destruction of your teeth and the bone supporting your teeth, not to mention the other inflammatory effects on the rest of the body.  It is important to visit your dentist for regular cleanings and exams, and to talk with him or her about your risk factors for gum disease and to have any infected areas of your mouth treated.

 

Periodontal disease is most often treated by your hygienist.  Hygienists are trained to perform professional deep cleanings where they even clean beneath the gum line in the space between the teeth and gum tissue.  This type of cleaning is called debridement and scaling, and it is the most successful way that modern dentistry offers to physically remove biofilms before they begin to detach and spread forming new infections.  Unfortunately, bacterial growth is hard to control between office visits.  Biofilms regenerate very easily and are difficult to reach under the gums with toothbrush, rinse, and floss.  This is where the new aforementioned Perio Protect Method can be helpful.  The Perio Protect Method combines these procedures performed with your hygienist with the prescription perio tray delivery of medication at home. This tray has a unique sealing system customized specifically for your mouth to keep dentist prescribed medication at the site of the infections.  Your dentist will provide individual treatment instructions for your condition.  The first phase of treatment may require more frequent usage.  As healing occurs, your dentist may decrease the frequency of use until you are ready to follow a simple maintenance schedule to help sustain healthy teeth and gums. This system is both comfortable and convenient, and research shows that Perio Protect Therapy and cleanings deliver better results than professional cleanings alone.       

Read More

Dr. Horowitz Donates Services to People in Need

Dr. Horowitz Donates Services to People in Need

In the United States, there are a huge number of people who need dental treatment, but simply cannot afford to get it.  Dr. Jeff Horowitz participates in a donated dental services program called Dental Lifeline Network, which provides free, comprehensive dental treatment to our country’s most vulnerable people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile.  There are over 15,000 dental volunteers and 3,700 dental laboratories within this group that donate their services to these people who are in critical need of care. 

Unfortunately, often times our seniors do not have the opportunity to receive dental care.  Only 22% of them have the luxury of receiving dental insurance benefits, and those who cannot afford necessary treatment are twice more likely to lose their teeth than those who can afford to have work done.  Medicare is not an option for them either, because dental work is not a covered expense under this plan.  There is limited coverage for those who have Medicaid, generally only exams, single tooth x-rays, and extractions are covered expenses.  Needless to say, all too often, underprivileged Americans are not able to get the treatment that they may need.  Thanks to the kindness and generosity of volunteers within the Dental Lifeline Network, many lives are being forever transformed.  According to Dr. Horowitz, volunteering through Dental Lifeline Network has been a win-win experience.  When asked, he said it makes him feel good to do good things for those who are in need.    

Read More