Tooth Extraction or Root Canal: Which is Best for You?

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health, Restorative Dentistry

young man with a toothacheWhen you’re dealing with tooth pain or severe decay you may think that a tooth extraction is your only option. However, at our dental office in Rocky Mount, we want all of our patients to know that there may be another option available that can save your tooth.

The Truth About Root Canals

Root canals have a bad reputation of being scary and painful, but the truth is the treatment itself actually makes the pain go away. Your dentist in Rocky Mount may recommend a root canal if a tooth has deep decay or infection, or sometimes even when a dental restoration is too big. Oftentimes, a root canal can be used instead of extracting a tooth.

When an Extraction May Be the Answer

Even though saving your natural tooth is always the preferred treatment, doing so is not always possible. When decay compromises too much of the tooth or if there’s a severe dental injury to a tooth, an extraction may be more appropriate. However, advancements in dental technology provide you with many options to replace a tooth once it’s pulled. Some tooth replacement options include:

Once a tooth is pulled, replacing it with a dental restoration is highly recommended. If an extracted tooth isn’t replaced, other teeth may start to shift and not only affect the cosmetic appearance of your smile, but may also lead to bite problems and TMJ.

Signs of a Problem

Besides generalized tooth pain, there are several other signs that you may have severe decay or dental trauma that needs treatment. Some other symptoms include:

  • Surges of pain while eating or applying pressure
  • Long-lasting tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Gum swelling or pain

The best way to prevent an extraction or root canal treatment is to keep up with your dental checkups at least every six months. These visits allow the team at our Rocky Mount dental office to monitor your oral health and catch any problems before they turn into something serious. If it’s been longer than six months since you’ve seen a dentist, or if you’re suffering from tooth pain, we welcome you to call and schedule an appointment with us today. We’re here to help make the best recommendation for you to get you out of pain.

Want a Better Smile? Stop Doing These 5 Things

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Hygiene, General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health

ice cubes with lemonProtecting your smile and maintaining good oral health goes beyond daily brushing and flossing. In fact, many things that cause tooth damage are a result of the things we do every day, sometimes multiple times a day, without realizing it. The team at our dental office in Rocky Mount wants you to stop doing these five things to help better protect your smile and overall oral health.

Chewing Ice

We understand that sometimes you just want to chew on the refreshingly cold ice in your drink. But you really shouldn’t. Chewing on really hard ice cubes can cause tiny chips in your teeth and can even break a large piece of a tooth right off. Gnawing on big pieces of ice can even damage existing dental work such as fillings or crowns which would then need to be repaired.  

Biting Your Nails

Biting your nails is a habit that’s dangerous for your smile and your overall health. Your nails are a perfect place for tons of bacteria to hide and a great spot for you to pick up more bacteria from all the things you touch throughout the day. Now, think about what may be getting into your mouth as you bite or chew on your fingernails? Pretty gross, huh? But that’s not all. Biting your nails can cause chips and cracks in your teeth and may even contribute to jaw pain or damage.

Brushing Too Hard

Believe it or not, there is such as thing as brushing your teeth too hard. A rough tooth scrubbing can scratch the protective layer of tooth enamel and actually leave teeth at increased risk for decay. Using a medium or hard bristled toothbrush may also cause similar damage to teeth. Your gums can also be negatively affected by brushing too hard. They can recede, exposing more of the tooth roots and increasing sensitivity.

Eating Acidic Foods

Acidic foods like citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruit can erode tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to bacteria, increasing the likelihood of decay as well as sensitivity. When you do just have to have that orange or drink that glass of wine, try to pair it with drinking a glass of water to neutralize the acids.

Smoking

Smoking, or really using any type of tobacco, can greatly increase the chance of developing scary oral health problems such as gum disease and oral cancer. Both of these serious health problems can lead to other issues all their own. Smoking can also affect the appearance of teeth by causing them to yellow or take on a slightly brownish tint.

Your dentist in Rocky Mount is dedicated to helping you get and keep a smile you’re proud of. Besides maintaining regular dental appointments and brushing and flossing regularly, pay attention to how some of your daily habits can affect your smile. Try to reduce the risk of damage by knowing your habits and working to stop them.

Smoking and Your Oral Health

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Cancer, Oral Health

man smokingBy now we all know that smoking is bad for our health. It increases the risk for cancer, heart disease, and numerous other problems throughout the body. Your mouth is no exception. This November, during the Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society, our dental office in Rocky Mount wants to help the cause of moving towards a smoke-free life by providing our community members with some more reasons to quit.

How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health

One of the commonly overlooked dangers of smoking is how it affects oral health. But it’s certainly a concern for your dentist in Rocky Mount. The truth is, several oral health problems are directly related to smoking, and continuing to smoke can put you at increased risk for:

Tips to Quit

Smoking is addictive and therefore not easy to quit. Some people even try quitting multiple times before they succeed at never picking up another cigarette. We understand how difficult quitting can be and are here to provide support for anyone looking to improve their health by never lighting up again.

  • Find a Support Team. Trying to do something as difficult as quitting smoking isn’t easy to do on your own. Sometimes it’s made easier by finding trusted friends, family members, or health professionals to help. Make sure your chosen quit team can be supportive in the way you need them to be and set up a plan with them.
  • Identify Your Reasons to Quit. Writing out a physical list of why you want to quit smoking can be a great first step to success. Seeing your reasons on paper may help them feel more ‘real.’ When you have a strong craving, get out your list and remind yourself all of the reasons why quitting is important.
  • Know Your Triggers. Part of what can make quitting so difficult is that smokers often develop a routine to when they smoke — on the car ride to work, when drinking alcohol, drinking coffee in the morning, to name a few. While some triggers may be harder to avoid than others, try your best to steer clear of anything that will make you want to light up.
  • Find Alternatives. Another thing that makes it difficult to quit smoking is that smokers get so used to having something in their hand that when they suddenly don’t, it feels uncomfortable. Keep your hands busy by holding a pencil or straw. This can mimic the feeling of a cigarette and ease the mind.

This year’s Great American Smokeout can be your time to finally quit smoking. On November 15, make a plan to quit and stick to it. Select a quit date and take the steps to become smoke free by that date. Your physician, along with our Rocky Mount dental office, can also provide you with additional ways to help.

Jack-o-Lantern Smiles Only Work on Pumpkins

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry

pumpkinPumpkins can easily pull off the look of a crooked grin, missing teeth, and a devilish smile. But when it comes to our own teeth, we prefer to have them straight and white, and we really don’t want to see gaps. That’s why our dental office in Rocky Mount offers multiple forms of cosmetic dentistry so that you can get the smile of your dreams.

Orthodontics

From crooked teeth to gaps, orthodontics can help solve a variety of smile concerns. There are several types of orthodontics now available to patients looking for a smile-straightening solution. Treatment options can range from traditional orthodontics of wire and brackets to newer clear aligners, or even a hybrid of the two with tooth-colored wires and brackets. Your dentist in Rocky Mount can help you find the best option for you.  

Porcelain Veneers

One of the most popular forms of cosmetic dentistry is porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are super thin pieces of porcelain that are permanently fixed the surface of teeth and can create a whole new look. The veneers are custom-created to compliment the natural shape and color of individual teeth so they blend seamlessly into your smile. They have been used to cover up tooth staining and discoloration that couldn’t be addressed using professional smile whitening. Dental veneers can also treat gaps, crooked teeth, or broken teeth.

Cosmetic Bonding

If a tooth is broken or chipped it’s usually repaired using cosmetic dental bonding. Like veneers, bonding is done with an artistic eye, matching the color of the rest of the tooth for an unnoticeable restoration. Bonding is used to treat small areas that simply need to be reconstructed instead of large areas. While this treatment is most commonly used as a solution to a break or chip, it can also be used to help rebuild a tooth that has been worn down from clenching or grinding.

Smile Makeover

When your dentist recommends combining a few different cosmetic dentistry treatments to create the look you want, it’s often referred to as a smile makeover. Your dental team will plan the order of treatments and map out the entire process for you before getting started. Some may even be able to show you what your new smile will look like prior to beginning treatment.

Just because we’re in the heart of jack-o-lantern season doesn’t mean you need to continue to hide a smile that spooks you. Give our Rocky Mount dental office a call today to talk about how cosmetic dentistry can transform your smile.  

All About Dental Hygienists

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Hygiene, General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health, Our Team

hygienist and patientThis month we’re taking some time to thank our dental hygienists, and with good reason. Every October is recognized at National Dental Hygiene Month. It’s 31 days dedicated to not only recognizing the important role dental hygienists have at our dental office in Rocky Mount, but also to educate patients on just what our hygiene team does during their appointments.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist?

Many people know that dental hygienists are responsible for giving each and every patient a thorough, in-depth cleaning at their appointments. But the responsibilities of hygienists go far beyond dental cleanings. These team members also help educate patients on any oral health concerns and proper at-home care, identify any problems early, and are focused on preventing these problems in the first place in order to keep patients healthy. After all, according to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), there is a link between oral health and several problems that can affect the entire body such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

What’s Required to Become a Dental Hygienist?

The first step to becoming a dental hygienist is to get an associates degree. As of 2017, there were more than 300 accredited dental hygiene programs available in the United States. These programs can be found at local community colleges, technical schools, and universities. To earn a degree in dental hygiene it takes about three years of schooling, including labs, clinical work, and classroom lectures. An interest in the sciences including biology, chemistry, and anatomy would make the coursework and a dental hygiene career more enjoyable. Once a degree is earned, dental hygienists are usually required to pass a licensing test.

Top Tips for Patients

When you visit your dentist in Rocky Mount, you will most likely have some time with a dental hygienist. Besides preventing any dental problems from popping up, this hygienist is also responsible for passing along information on how you can keep your teeth healthy in between visits. Some of the most helpful tips are below.

  • Brush for Two Minutes

Brushing every day is great, but brushing twice a day using correct technique and for the recommended two minutes is even better. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and small, gentle circles instead of scrubbing back and forth.

  • Floss Regularly

When you don’t floss regularly, you’re leaving about 35% of each tooth uncleaned. That greatly increases the likelihood that bacteria will wear away enamel and cause decay. Flossing in between every tooth and up under the gum line can minimize this risk.

  • Use Mouthwash, But Choose Wisely

Many times mouthwash is used as a breath freshener, but if you’re using the wrong mouthwash for you it can actually make bad breath worse. If you choose to use mouthwash, choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance or talk with your hygienist about what’s right for you.

This October, and at every visit, we hope that you will thank your dental hygienist for doing their part in keeping your smile healthy. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning, we welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment today.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Hygiene, General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health

embarrassed womanHaving bad breath can be embarrassing. But the team at our Rocky Mount dental office is here to help. In fact, we help patients everyday find out what’s causing their bad breath and work with them to fix it. Today, we’re going beyond the help that we can provide in our office and providing you some tips on what you can do to help get rid of bad breath at home.

Watch What You Eat

Of course if you eat a pasta dish packed with garlic or a hot dog loaded up with diced onions your breath is going to tell everyone you talk to what you had for lunch. But your diet can affect your breath long-term, too. Eating enough fresh and crunchy fruits and veggies such as apples, carrots, or celery regularly will help rub off any bad breath bacteria that may be sticking around on teeth.

Brush, Brush, Brush

Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day not only protects your pearly whites from decay and cavities, it also helps remove any bacteria that’s built up throughout the day (or night!). Besides brushing, flossing helps get rid of the more stubborn bacteria that have wiggled their way up under gums. Don’t forget about your tongue either. A gentle brush or a swipe of a tongue scraper will take care of any bacteria that’s left over.

Fight Off Dry Mouth

There are many things that can cause dry mouth including smoking, mouth breathing, and even certain medications. While dry mouth is uncomfortable, it may also a contribute to bad breath. When a mouth is dried out there’s not enough saliva to clean away bad breath bacteria, which builds up and gives off an unpleasant smell. To protect yourself from dry mouth and bad breath drink a lot of water, talk to your doctor about possibly using a different medication, and make a plan to quit smoking.

Stop Smoking

Speaking of quitting smoking, smokers tend to suffer from something known as smokers’ breath. This unique smell is caused by the tobacco itself and also from the chemicals found in cigarettes. These chemicals bring a stench all their own which lingers around even after someone is done smoking. Quitting can help your health in more than ways than helping freshen your breath. It can reduce your risk for heart disease and several types of cancer.

It Could Be More Than Just Bad Breath

Bad breath doesn’t only affect oral health. The truth is it can also be a sign of a problem somewhere else in the body. Not all bad breath smells the same, and different smells can indicate various health concerns. For example, a slight stench of ammonia may be a symptom of liver cirrhosis. Bad breath has been tied to many systemic diseases including kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, and respiratory infections.

Bad breath should be taken seriously. If it’s a chronic problem, you should see your dentist in Rocky Mount as soon as possible.

Nobody should have to live with the embarrassment of bad breath or the fear that it’s a sign of something serious. Our dental office in Rocky Mount can help. We encourage you to give us a call to schedule an appointment with our trusted team today. We’ll talk with you about your health history, habits, and discuss the best solutions to get rid of your bad breath.

Whole Grains Month

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Hygiene, General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health

bowl of whole grain riceEach September is recognized as Whole Grains Month and serves to raise awareness of the multitude of health benefits that come along with eating foods made from whole grains. The most discussed health benefits of whole grains are usually related to heart health, but as our dental office in Rocky Mount knows, the benefits of eating a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains goes beyond the heart.

Whole Grains Protect Teeth, Too

Whole grains can be great for our hearts and may even help reduce the risk of obesity and cancer. But recent research shows that eating the recommended daily dose of whole grains can protect oral health, too. Foods rich with whole grains are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that work to keep mouths healthy.

  • Magnesium – Magnesium works with calcium to build strong teeth and strengthen enamel to protect them against bacteria and decay.
  • Vitamin E – One of the main functions of vitamin E is to reduce inflammation. This is important in the fight against gum disease. Research shows a positive correlation between high inflammation levels and the risk for developing gum disease, a vitamin E can help keep inflammation levels low.
  • B Vitamins – A variety of B vitamins found in whole grains are beneficial to oral health by lowering the risk of developing mouth sores or canker sores and fighting off bad breath. Some studies also show a positive correlation that certain B vitamins can protect against cavities.

Recommended Daily Whole Grain Servings

The table below shows the recommended daily servings by age range and gender according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Age Female Male
1-3 2 2
4-8 2.5 2.5
9-13 3 3.5
14-18 3.5 4
19-30 3.5 4.5
31+ 3 4

Best Sources of Whole Grain

Eating enough whole grains doesn’t need to be difficult, and you don’t need to give up delicious foods like some people think. In fact, making small changes can go a long way in helping you and your family get your daily dose of whole grains.  

  • Swap your morning cereal for a whole grain option
  • Use whole grain bread or wraps for sandwiches
  • Try a dinner loaded with whole grains by buying whole grain pasta
  • Instead of a side of potatoes, eat brown rice
  • Choose whole wheat hamburger or hot dog buns instead of white bread

When shopping for foods high in whole grains look for the gold and black Whole Grain Stamp.

Eat Well, See Your Dentist

What we choose to eat has an effect on not only our overall health, but our oral health too. Your dentist in Rocky Mount urges you to follow a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water.

Eating well and seeing your dentist twice year can keep your smile healthy. Don’t put off your bi-annual dental checkup, call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment.

6 Ways to a Whiter Smile

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry, General & Preventive Dentistry

woman smiling in sunshineWhether it’s due to your daily morning cup of coffee, your nightly glass of red wine, or time itself, there are plenty of things that can make our smiles appear dull, discolored, or simply just not as white as we’d like them to be. However, at our dental office in Rocky Mount, we want everyone to know that just because a smile may have become a little less vibrant, doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way. There are plenty of things you can do to help get (and keep!) your smile your ideal shade of white.

Smile Whitening

Many times tooth discoloration can be easily fixed by getting professional smile whitening from your dentist in Rocky Mount. The whitening solution offered by dental professionals is different than what you can buy in the store and tends to result in more drastic results. Some dental offices offer the option of in-office whitening or take-home whitening, both of which can transform your pearly whites.

Dental Veneers

If your teeth are stained below the surface and a professional smile whitening won’t give you the results you’re looking for, you can talk to your dentist about dental veneers. Dental veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that cover your natural tooth and can help whiten a smile or even repair small chips or cracks.

Eat Well

Besides having dental treatment done to give your smile a brighter look, keeping an eye on what you eat and drink can help keep teeth white. Some common foods that can cause staining include berries, wine, tea, coffee, and pasta sauce. If you can, try to rinse your mouth out with water immediately after enjoying any staining foods and then brush about 20 minutes later.

Stop Smoking

Smoking or using any type of tobacco not only puts your oral health and your overall health at risk for some serious health concerns, it can also cause your teeth to appear yellow or have a spotty brown look. Tooth stains caused by tobacco are also more difficult to reverse.

Brush Often

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day will help keep your teeth white and healthy. Maintaining proper oral hygiene keeps plaque off of teeth which, if left alone, could make stains harder to remove.

Visit Your Dentist

We always recommend that our patients see us at least every six months. These regular appointments not only help us keep an eye on your overall oral health, but also allow us remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth that could contribute to staining.

If you’re unhappy with the color of your smile, we welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment today. We’ll talk with about what you don’t like and what you’d like to change so we can put together the best treatment plan for you.

“Why Is My Mouth Watering So Much?”

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Hygiene, General & Preventive Dentistry, Oral Health

man wondersTalking about spit isn’t incredibly glamorous, but it sure is important. Especially for those who produce too much of it. When someone has too much saliva, they may be embarrassed and uncomfortable by the common side effects of something called hypersalivation. At our dental office Rocky Mount, we want these patients to know that while it is uncomfortable, excessive salivation may also be a sign of an underlying problem.

Spit Is Important

Believe it or not, spit plays a crucial role in our overall bodily function. It helps break down food as we chew, making it easier to swallow and for the stomach to digest it. Saliva also rinses away bacteria in the mouth and neutralizes acids that otherwise could eat away at tooth enamel and cause cavities. We typically produce about 1.5 quarts of spit every day. However, when more is produced, we’ll experience mouth watering.

What Causes Mouth Watering?

There could be any number of possible explanations to excessive saliva production and mouth watering. While some may not seem serious, the best thing you can do is to call your dentist in Rocky Mount to better understand your underlying cause. Some possible causes of hypersalivation may include:

  • A diet high in starches
  • Medications
  • Acid reflux
  • Infections such as gum disease
  • Neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease
  • Poisoning

What are The Signs of Hypersalivation?

There are some obvious signs of hypersalivation including drooling, spitting, or constantly swallowing. But there are also other symptoms that aren’t always so noticeable, including:

  • Bad breath
  • Changes in speech
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Chapped lips
  • Dehydration

Even though many of the causes of hypersalivation aren’t serious, it’s still something that shouldn’t be ignored. Getting answers to what’s causing your mouth to water is the first step to treating it successfully.

We welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment. At your visit we’ll dive into your symptoms, talk about how long you’ve been experiencing them, and review your medical history and medication use. All of this will help us get a thorough picture of what may be going on so we can determine the best way to treat it.

Cosmetic Dental Veneers

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry

dental veneersAt our dental office in Rocky Mount, we want everyone to be confident with their smiles. But we know that sometimes that’s just not the case. Instead of living with a smile you’re unhappy with, there are tons of cosmetic dentistry treatments that can help give you a smile you’re proud to show off. In today’s blog we’re going to highlight one of the most common forms of cosmetic dentistry, dental veneers.

What Are Veneers?

Dental veneers are custom-created thin pieces of porcelain that can change the appearance of your smile. Each one is designed to blend into your natural look, taking size, shape, color, and even translucency into consideration. This incredibly versatile cosmetic dentistry option can be used to treat several cosmetic concerns that would otherwise require multiple different treatments including:

  • Worn teeth
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Crookedness
  • Unevenness or shape irregularities
  • Teeth discolored that couldn’t be brightened through whitening
  • Gaps

Treatment

The process to get dental veneers typically takes one or two treatment appointments as well as a consultation, which is the first step in pursuing veneers. During the consultation, you and your dentist in Rocky Mount will talk about your smile, what you’d like to change, and your personal treatment plan. At the next visit, treatment will begin.

Your first treatment appointment usually includes preparing the teeth by removing a thin layer of enamel. This gives the veneer space to seamlessly blend into the rest of your smile. Temporary veneers will usually be fitted at this appointment while the permanent ones are being created to your dentist’s detailed specifications in a lab. When the permanent veneers are ready, you’ll return to the office to have them bonded. After that, you’ll have a new smile that you’re proud of.

Don’t continue to live with a smile that affects your confidence or that you simply don’t like. There are treatments available that can help. Call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule a consultation with us today. We’ll be happy to talk with you and determine the best cosmetic dentistry option for you.