4 Steps to Take if Your Dental Filling Falls Out

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Emergency, General & Preventive Dentistry, Overall Health, Restorative Dentistry

woman getting dental fillingOne of the most common restorative treatments your dentist in Rocky Mount uses is fillings. Whether they’re specially crafted for you out of an amalgam (metal) or composite material, we want them to stand the test of time. If your bite isn’t right, then there’s a good chance your filling or dental restoration could fail or even fall out. 

If you have a dental filling that’s fallen out, there’s no reason to panic. We’re going to walk you through what you need to do in just four easy steps. Take a deep breath and read on.

Step #1 – Remove and Replace

If your filling comes loose, you must get it out of your mouth ASAP. You don’t want to run the risk of swallowing it or choking on the material. It might not be a bad idea to keep your filling and bring it with you to your dental appointment. Your dentist will be able to determine if it can be cleaned and restored, or if you’ll need a whole new filling. 

Step #2 – Take Action

If your filling is loose and comes out, it’s also important that you see a dentist right away. But if you’re unable to get to the office, you can take some preventive tips to help preserve your smile health. An unfilled tooth is a welcoming environment for harmful bacteria to make a home and destroy your tooth. Be sure to brush gently and carefully. Rinse with water to make sure you’re removing any debris. (Pro Tip: Saltwater works wonders. One cup of warm water and just a teaspoon of salt will do the trick.)

Step #3 – Find Temporary Pain Relief

Your Rocky Mount dentist would recommend that you take over-the-counter pain medication to help with any sensitivity or discomfort. Be wary and cautious of any temporary dental cement, as it can be messy and make your issue worse.

Step #4 – Avoid Certain Foods

Until you have a chance to see the dentist, it’s probably a good idea to avoid certain foods and drinks that could affect your damaged tooth now that the filling is gone. Stay away from hard or sticky foods that could get stuck in your tooth. Be careful with extremely hot or cold foods and drinks too, as your tooth will probably be a little sensitive. Keep your diet simple and soft until you see us!

If you have a filling that’s come loose, the best/first thing you need to do is call our Rocky Mount dental office. The simple steps above are meant to be a temporary solution to your dental issues. One of the first steps we’ll need to take is a thorough diagnosis and state-of-the-art photos of your smile. We want to understand why your restoration or filling failed in the first place. We’ll take a look at your tooth, and if it hasn’t deteriorated, we should be able to replace your missing filling. We may need to do a little preparation of the tooth, before getting it filled for you again. Either way, we’ll make sure you’re comfortable and pleased with the results!

If you have questions about how fillings work or if there’s something we didn’t cover here today, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re always happy to be your dental partner and make sure your smile gets the very best, VIP treatment – no matter what your dental needs might be!

How Does Vaping Affect Oral Health?

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

e-cigBy now you’ve probably heard of the relatively recent rise in the popularity of vaping as an alternative to traditional smoking. You’ve probably heard that this new craze isn’t as safe as you may have originally thought. New research suggests that vaping has a direct correlation to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. But that’s not all. Our dental office in Rocky Mount also wants you to know that vaping can have a serious effect on your oral health, too. 

Limited Research 

With the relatively fast increase in e-cigarette popularity, research has been a little slow to catch up. But that doesn’t mean researchers aren’t working hard to report their findings. While more research needs to be done to find out just how bad vaping can be for our bodies and oral health, there are a few things several studies have already found. Here’s what your dentist in Rocky Mount knows.

Dry Mouth 

One part of vaping is selecting a juice or flavored liquid. However, some of these liquids contain ingredients such as propylene glycol that are known to contribute to or cause dry mouth. Dry mouth may not sound like that big of a deal, but if it’s untreated, it can increase the risk for decay, bad breath, and gum disease. 

Inflamed Gums

Evidence found in a 2016 study suggested that vaping can cause gum tissue to inflame, which can put you at risk for gum disease. One possible explanation for this inflammation may be the nicotine itself. Nicotine may reduce blood flow to the gums, and without proper blood flow, the mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria diminishes and the likelihood of inflammation and gum disease increases.

Cell Damage

Another study conducted in 2018 found that vaping may also cause damage to the cell’s DNA. This lowers or eliminates a cell’s ability to divide and grow and can essentially kill off a cell’s life prematurely. The same study suggests that cell damage is directly linked to bad breath, bone loss, tooth loss, and gum disease. 

Many companies that sell vapes claim that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking, and some even say it can help people quit smoking. However, studies contradict this. For example, one study concluded that e-cigarettes helped current smokers reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by about half, while another suggested that smokers who use e-cigs are 59% less likely to quit. Before you decide to use e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking, consider trying another option such as:

  • Reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke a day and continue to decrease over time. 
  • Using a nicotine replacement that has been approved by the FDA. 
  • Researching different ways other people have quit. You can start by visiting the American Lung Association

If you’re a smoker or use e-cigarettes, it’s never too late to quit. Work on finding the right solution for you and of course, call our Rocky Mount dental office if we can help in any way. 

Oral Health Risks for Seniors

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

seniors take selfiesAs we get closer to Senior Citizens Day on August 21st, our dental office in Rocky Mount wanted to dedicate a blog to some of our most treasured and favorite patients — our seniors and their families. Today, we’ll focus on some of the most common oral health risks that tend to affect senior citizens most often, and how to protect your smile against them. 

  • Discolored Teeth – Yellowing or darkening of teeth can happen to anyone, but as we get older, we may start to see our teeth change color and lose their whiteness and brightness. While many things can contribute to tooth discoloration including smoking and tobacco use, the foods we eat, our morning coffee, or our evening glass of red wine, the reason we tend to see discoloration as we age is a bit different. Many times our tooth enamel, which is the white outer coating of our teeth, gets thinner as we get older. This can actually make the insides of your teeth visible, and since the color of the inner tooth is often dark and a bit yellow, the teeth also appear yellow or dark. 
  • Dry Mouth – Dry mouth may seem like a minor concern and nothing worth worrying over. However, if left untreated, dry mouth can increase the risk of decay, gum disease, or even tooth loss. Dry mouth can be caused by any number of things but most commonly it’s a result of medication. The truth is, many prescription medications and over-the-counter medications list dry mouth as a side effect. Why is this concerning? When the mouth dries out, it means there’s not enough saliva to rinse away dangerous bacteria, leaving your teeth exposed to the very thing that can easily create a cavity
  • Tooth Loss – One of the biggest fears we all have when it comes to our oral health is the misconception that we’re going to experience tooth loss at some point in our lives. But this isn’t necessarily the case. If you take good care of your teeth and see your dentist in Rocky Mount regularly, you very well may be able to keep your natural teeth for your entire life. In fact, the best thing you can do to protect yourself against tooth loss is to brush and floss every day, avoid tobacco products, and seek care early if you’re experiencing a problem. However, if you do happen to lose a tooth or need to have to one removed… don’t panic. There are many tooth replacement options available such as dental implants, a dental bridge, or dentures. 
  • Gum Disease – Gum disease is another condition that can affect anyone. But it’s very serious and tends to affect us more as we age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 70% of those over the age of 65 have gum disease. Gum disease is an infection that occurs under the gum line and can cause red, painful bleeding gums. But that’s not all. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and may even increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and as recent research suggests, Alzheimer’s disease. 

While there’s nothing we can do to keep ourselves from getting older, there are things we can do to protect our smiles even as we age including: 

  • Brush and floss every day 
  • See your dentist in Rocky Mount at least twice a year
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you have dry mouth 
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco

If it’s been longer than six months since you or a family member has been to the dentist, we welcome you to call our dental office in Rocky Mount to schedule an appointment with us today.

What You Should Know About Dental Implants

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Dental Implant, Restorative Dentistry

dental implantMillions of Americans will suffer tooth loss at some point in their lives. Many times, adult tooth loss can be caused by gum disease or decay that has been left untreated. But even those of us who take great care of our teeth can experience unexpected tooth loss through an injury. At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we know that nobody wants to go through life missing a tooth. And the truth is, nobody has to. Thanks to improvements in dental technology and skills, we have the ability to permanently replace teeth through the use of dental implants

Benefits of Dental Implants

Now, while dental implants aren’t the only tooth replacement option available to those missing a tooth or even several teeth, it is usually the preferred treatment method for your dentist in Rocky Mount. Unlike other tooth replacement procedures such as a dental bridge or removable denture, a dental implant is a permanent solution that functions very similarly to your natural tooth. It’s like you were never missing one in the first place! There are many benefits to a dental implant including: 

  • The freedom to eat what you want with no worry of slipping dentures. 
  • The ability to brush and floss as normal. No soaking necessary. 
  • A permanent, strong solution. 
  • A natural-looking smile. 

Why Should You Consider a Dental Implant?

Losing a tooth isn’t something that only affects your oral health. In fact, leaving a gap in your smile can have side effects on your overall health as well. Chewing food can become difficult or impossible, limiting your ability to fuel your body with proper nutrition. Other teeth may start to shift, causing overlapping or crooked teeth that can lead to jaw pain and a misaligned bite. Your jaw bone is also left without anything there to keep it strong. This can cause bone loss in the jaw and your face to take on a saggy, old appearance. However, replacing a tooth with a dental implant solves all of these issues. 

Since a dental implant replaces the entire tooth’s structure, including the roots, it’s a restoration that functions almost identically to a natural tooth. This allows you to eat what you want, keeps your jaw bone stimulated and strong, and keeps your smile full and straight. 

What’s Getting an Implant Like?

While the dental implant procedure can sound intimidating, scary, and painful, the truth is, many patients find the process very easy and experience minimal pain. The secret? Start by talking with your dentist in Rocky Mount to see if a dental implant is right for you. If it is, here’s what you can expect. 

  • Placing of the post. A titanium post is surgically implanted into the jaw bone. This is the structure that replaces your natural tooth root and keeps your jaw bone active.
  • Time to heal. It will take your body a little bit of time to fuse the bone and post together to form a strong foundation. In the meantime, your dentist will provide you with a temporary crown to cover up the post. 
  • Cap it off. After the post is healed completely, your dentist will custom-create a crown (or a cap) and permanently attach it to the post. This crown will be shaded to match other teeth so nobody will ever be able to tell it’s not your natural tooth. 

We believe that nobody should go through life with a missing tooth and invite anyone who may be considering a dental implant or other tooth-replacement option to schedule an appointment with us. We’re here to help all of our neighbors find the right solution for them. Call us today! 

Best Things To Do Before Your Next Dental Visit

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry

calendarThat time has come again. It’s time to see your dentist in Rocky Mount. But this time can be different. Whether it’ll be the first time visiting a new office or you’ve been going to the same dentist for many years, there are a few things you can do ahead of time to help make the appointment a little bit easier.

Confirm Your Appointment 

One of the easiest things you can do to prepare for your dental appointment and make sure the visit goes smoothly is to confirm your appointment with the office. Ideally, dental offices prefer confirmation 24-hours prior to your scheduled time. Many times dental offices will either call, text, or email you with an appointment reminder. Make sure to respond to these in a timely manner. If your dentist in Rocky Mount doesn’t offer that service, try to call the office a day in advance to confirm. This helps eliminate any confusion, makes sure you and the team are on the same page, and protects your personal schedule. 

Prepare Your Health History

Your dentist in Rocky Mount is an important part of your healthcare team, and just like medical doctors, they need to know your complete health and medical history. This means that even if you’re not a new patient at the office, you may still need to update your health history form. Make sure you know any and all prescriptions you take along with the dosage, share any health problems you may have, and communicate any changes in your health that may have occurred since your last visit. 

Transfer Records 

If this will be your first visit to this dental office, make sure you’ve contacted your previous dentist and requested to have your dental records transferred. Knowing your dental history, being able to access any x-rays or images, and reviewing your previous dentist’s notes will help your team give you the best dental care possible. 

Share Concerns

A lot can happen in between your dental appointments, and if anything does, it’s important for your dentist to know about it. Take a little time to think if anything has been bothering you, if you have any pain or discomfort, or if there are any parts of your smile you wish were different. Then share those concerns with your dentist. The best way to get the best result is to always be honest with your dental team. This will only help further customize your care. 

Know Your Schedule 

Most commonly, people see the dentist twice a year. That means that you’ll probably be asked to schedule your next appointment six months from now. If you haven’t looked that far ahead in your schedule, you may be clueless as to what days or times will or won’t work for you. Before your visit, check out your calendar to see if there are any upcoming vacations or prior commitments so you can get rescheduled on a date and time that works with your schedule. 

We’re always accepting new patients at our Rocky Mount dental office and welcome you to call to schedule a visit with us today.

Summer Foods That Your Smile Will Love

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

summer foodAs you’re enjoying the sun this summer and the foods that tend to go along with long summer days and nights, the team at our Rocky Mount dental office wants to share a few snack ideas with you that your smile will love. 

Top 4 Summer Foods for Your Smile

When choosing what to eat this summer try this basic rule of thumb: if it’s good for your body, it’s good for your teeth. Try some of the following: 

  • Cheese – Cheese is a great snack for your teeth and your bones. It contains both calcium and vitamin D which work together to keep teeth and bones nice and strong. Cheese can also increase saliva production which will help rinse away bacteria and sugar. 
  • Chicken – Enjoying a piece of grilled chicken breast may sound perfect, after all, it’s healthy and delicious. But the drumsticks, thighs, and wing can be more beneficial for your smile since they contain collagen. Collagen is incredibly important for strong, healthy teeth and gums. 
  • Vegetables – Crispy, uncooked vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and celery are fantastic snack options for similar reasons as the other foods. Raw veggies rub away buildup on your teeth as you chew and protects your smile against decay. This quick cleaning may also help keep bad breath away. 
  • Water – So this one isn’t really food, but it is really important. Keeping your mouth hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help rinse away food particles and bacteria before they have a chance to settle in and cause damage. 

What to Avoid

The truth is, not all summer snacks are great for your teeth. There are some that can increase your risk of decay and cavities such as:

  • Condiments
  • Soda
  • Alcohol

These foods and drinks either have a lot of sugar, are acidic, or can dry out your mouth — all of which can increase the chance of decay and cavities. 

Choosing healthy snacks (and drinks!) this summer can go a long way in protecting your teeth against decay. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid some of your favorites if they’re on the “avoid” list. Just remember to enjoy those in moderation and of course, see your dentist in Rocky Mount regularly.

“What Do I Do If I Have a Dental Emergency?”

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

man with toothacheLike any type of emergency, a dental emergency can be serious, and you should act quickly. But not all dental emergencies require the same type of treatment. Knowing what to do if you have a dental emergency is key to successful treatment and easing any pain you have. At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we’d like to share some of the most common dental emergencies and how to handle each one.  

Broken/Chipped Tooth

What to Do: Clean your mouth and any pieces of the tooth you can find by rinsing with warm water. If you happen to be bleeding, apply a piece of gauze and pressure to the area to help stop it. A cold compress can reduce swelling and ease any pain that you may have.

Lost Filling

What to Do: Losing a filling will leave a hole in your tooth, which can be pretty painful. Get to the dentist as soon as you can. While you’re waiting, you can fill the hole with dental cement that you can buy at many pharmacies or grocery stores. Keep in mind this is a temporary solution.

Knocked Out Tooth

What to Do: One of the scarier dental emergencies is having a tooth knocked out. In this case, promptness is incredibly important. If you can get the tooth back into the socket within an hour, the chance of saving the tooth increases. There are a few things you should know when handling a knocked out tooth. First, only touch the tooth by the crown and do not touch the roots. Then try to place the tooth back into the socket. If this isn’t possible, store the tooth in a cup of milk or keep it under your tongue with some spit.

Toothache

What to Do: A toothache can come on suddenly but typically means a problem has been brewing for a little while. Reduce pain by rinsing with warm salt water, applying a cold compress against the cheek, or using a bit of clove oil to the sore spot.

See Your Dentist in Rocky Mount

Even though there are things you can do to help reduce pain related to a dental emergency, it’s still crucial to see your dentist quickly. Early intervention by a dental professional is the absolute best way to successfully treating dental injuries and should not be delayed.

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, we encourage you to call our Rocky Mount dental office as soon as you can. We’re here to help.

Explore The Power of Dental X-Rays (And All They Do For You)

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

dental x-raysIt’s very rare that a day goes by at our Rocky Mount dental office where we don’t rely on the power of x-rays to help us plan for or even complete a case. We’re able to get a good look at everything from your teeth and gums to your jaw bone and bite health. We can see things that aren’t always visible at first glance.

With the advancements in dental technology, there are many different types of x-rays available on both traditional film and digitally. Most dental offices have made the switch to digital x-rays, but it’s important to note that today’s dental x-rays are very safe and give off very little stray radiation. Dental x-rays are advanced thanks to changes in dentistry over the years relying on using:

  • Lower x-ray dosages
  • Higher quality film
  • Film holders
  • Well-designed, full-body lead aprons lined with lead

What Kind of Dental X-Rays Do I Need?

When it comes to dental x-rays, there are two types of ways your Rocky Mount dentist might go about getting the right images to help your smile. Besides having the option of having photos taken on traditional film or images that are stored digitally, dentists can choose either an intraoral or extraoral x-ray.

Intraoral means inside your mouth and extraoral means outside the mouth. Intraoral x-rays are the most common type of dental x-ray and provide an extremely high level of detail to help us diagnose cavities, examine your tooth roots, look over your bony areas, check the status of developing teeth, or monitor ones that have yet to erupt.

Extraoral x-rays are usually relied on to help dentists and orthodontists focus on the bones in your head, mainly your upper and lower jaw. We can see the bigger picture of what’s going on from your head to neck and how it’s all connected to your oral health and growth.

How Many Types of Dental X-Rays Are There?

If you combine both intraoral and extraoral radiographs, there are eight different kinds of x-rays that dentists can use to treat patients. Some of the most common ones include:

1) Panoramic X-Rays – Gives the dentist a full view of your nasal area, jaws, teeth, joints, and sinuses. Orthodontists love doing these x-rays before treatment, so they know how things are growing and coming together in younger patients.

2) Periapical X-Rays – Focusing on one tooth, we can see it in its entirety from crown to bone.

3) Bitewing X-Rays – These images are taken when we need a better look at your back teeth or molars. It helps in diagnosing wisdom teeth problems and shows the dentist how your teeth fit together.

4) Occlusal X-Rays – This is helpful for younger patients because these images give us a clear view of what’s going on underneath the gum line and how teeth are placed. We get a perfect view of both your upper and lower arch. We can also see if you have extra teeth that never broke through your gums.

If you’re interested in learning more about x-rays or want to know if you’re due for a set or two, please call your dentist in Rocky Mount. (If you’re looking for a new dentist and need some x-rays, we’re happy to help with that too!)

Your Smile Loves Calcium. Do You?

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

foods with calciumWe all know the old advertising slogan – “Milk. It does a body good.” This is mainly in part because it’s rich in calcium, a nutrient that’s vital to helping your teeth and bones stay strong enough to last a lifetime. At our Rocky Mount  dental office, we always want you and your family to make the healthiest, best decisions to fit your lifestyle. Millions of Americans choose to follow diets that restrict or don’t include dairy, such as vegetarians or vegans. There are also millions of other Americans who are known as lactose intolerant and can’t do dairy either.

There are plenty of ways you can get calcium without strictly relying on cheese, yogurt, and milk. (Although, if you do enjoy them make sure they’re part of your regular diet to help boost your calcium intake.) Let’s take a look at how a diet rich in calcium affects your teeth and your bones.

Getting Calcium Without The Cow

There are a variety of health or personal reasons that some people choose to avoid dairy products. There’s no reason to worry, because there are plenty of delicious, nutritious foods out there that can supply your body’s demand for calcium.

Fortified products: Orange juice, waffles, tofu

Veggies, Nuts, and Beans: Leafy greens, almonds, soybeans, soy milk, spinach, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

Teeth & Calcium: A Love Story

Your teeth, gums, and jaw bone are all affected by the amount of calcium you have in your daily diet. Your dentist in Rocky Mount will tell you that calcium will help your teeth stay healthy and protected against cavities, decay, and tooth loss. It’s a match made in dental heaven.

FUN FACT: 99% of the calcium in your body is found in your teeth and bones. – Institute of Medicine

Your gums appreciate calcium too because it helps them stay healthy free from damaging bacteria and disease. Calcium also helps your muscles and blood vessels work more effectively.

Bones & Calcium: Another Love Story

Why should your Rocky Mount dentist care so much about calcium and your bones? Well, obviously we want the best for your overall health, but in terms of your oral health, we know how important calcium is for your jaw bone. Your jaw bone serves as the anchor for your teeth, so you’ll want to keep it healthy for as long as possible to avoid tooth loss down the road. It’s also super important to remember that the other bones in your body also need calcium to help prevent damaging osteoporosis later in life.

Getting the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age, is very important to help keep your smile and your gums healthy. It’s really a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. We thank you for reading your blog. If you have questions or concerns about your smile, you know who to call. We’re always happy to help in any way we can!

How to Whiten Teeth

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry

teeth whiteningEveryone wants to have a dazzling white smile, but the truth is, a lot of things we do every day can take their toll on our pearly whites. Whether it’s the coffee we drink every morning or the glass of red wine we relax with at night, many common foods and drinks can stain our teeth over time, making them look dull or discolored. Our Rocky Mount dental office wants you to know that there are ways to transform your smile and whiten your teeth.

Over-the-Counter Smile Whitening

There are plenty of over-the-counter smile whitening products available. You can even get them online. These whitening solutions can be effective and are usually pretty affordable, but they don’t come without risks. Whitening your teeth using strips or store-bought trays can put you at risk for leaving the whitening solution on too long which can damage your gums or increase tooth sensitivity. Over-the-counter whitening systems may also take longer for you to get the results you want.

Professional Whitening

Professional tooth whitening is usually done in your dentist’s office and is the fastest way to brighten teeth. While often more expensive than over-the-counter whitening solutions, professional whitening can transform teeth by several shades in one visit, and the results are typically immediate. Your dentist may also give you touch up whitening gel and customized trays for you to take home.

Veneers

Occasionally there are just some stains that won’t go away through whitening alone. For those tough situations, your best whitening option may be a form of cosmetic dentistry known as veneers. Veneers are custom-created, thin pieces of porcelain that are permanently fixed to the front of teeth. They can cover up many imperfections including stains. Dental veneers are custom shaded to blend seamlessly with the shape and size of nearby teeth for a natural and attractive look.

The best way to figure out the best way to whiten your teeth is to schedule a visit with your dentist in Rocky Mount. They’ll talk with you about your whitening goals as well as any oral health concerns or conditions you may have. After that, they’ll make a recommendation that’s most appropriate for you.

Our dental office in Rocky Mount is here to help you get a smile you love and are proud to show off. We welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment.