What Causes Bad Breath?

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

bad breathWhile bad breath can be embarrassing, there may be a bigger cause for concern if it’s something that affects you every day. The team at our dental office in Rocky Mount knows that bad breath can be a temporary problem… or… even a sign of something more serious. Join us as we look at some of the main things that cause bad breath and also some ways that you can help get rid of it.

Cause #1: Dry Mouth.

Dry mouth is something that can initially appear as a minor problem that comes along with some discomfort. But the truth is, when there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth to rinse away bacteria, they can build up and cause some seriously bad breath and other oral health problems such as decay.

What You Can Do: Dry mouth can be caused by medications, or it could also be hereditary. Treatment would vary depending on the cause of your dry mouth, but the easiest way to help is to make sure to drink plenty of water every day. Keeping your mouth hydrated is an important step in keeping it healthy. If you suspect medications are causing dry mouth and bad breath, talk with your doctor about other potential solutions.

Cause #2: Foods

Perhaps the leading cause of temporary bad breath is the foods we eat. Potent foods such as garlic, onions, or fish can pack a heavy odor that can linger on our breath even after we’re done eating. Many times this type of bad breath will go away over time and isn’t cause for concern.

What You Can Do: To help make the stench caused by food disappear faster, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum. Not only will the minty flavor help mask any lingering food smells, but gum can also help stimulate saliva production and help rinse away bacteria or food particles. If you don’t have gum, swishing with water or snacking on apples or carrots can help.  

Cause #3: Gum Disease.

If your bad breath stays around long after you’ve eaten and it’s become an everyday thing for you, we recommend seeing your dentist in Rocky Mount as soon as possible. Chronic bad breath can be an early warning sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can lead to tooth loss and other concerns throughout the body such as heart disease.

What You Can Do: The best way to prevent gum disease and the bad breath that tends to go with it is to brush and floss daily and to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. However, if you already have gum disease, it’s crucial to get help sooner rather than later while treatment in reversing the disease is still highly successful.

Bad breath isn’t something that you have to live with. In fact, you shouldn’t take bad breath lightly. If you’re concerned about your bad breath and are looking for a solution, we welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. We will help find the cause of your bad breath and work with you to cure it.

What Can You Do to Make a Toothache Go Away?

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

woman with toothacheThere’s nothing quite like the discomfort of a toothache, and yet, there’s actually an entire day dedicated to them. February 9th is recognized as National Toothache Day, and in honor of this strange holiday, our dental office in Rocky Mount is sharing some of the best ways you can make an annoying and painful toothache go away.

Toothache Remedies

  • Floss. Something as simple as a piece of floss can be the difference between continuing to experience toothache pain and finally getting some relief. If you believe your aches and pains are coming from a piece of food that got stuck in between teeth or up into the gums, gently floss the area. Make sure to get up under the gum line and don’t use too much pressure, this can cause bleeding and increased pain.
  • Cold Compress. Using an ice pack or anything you have that’s cold will help make the swelling go down and release any pressure that may be on the nerves. However, don’t apply an ice pack or anything similar to it directly on your skin. Instead, wrap your cold pack in a cloth or t-shirt then apply it to the face for about 15 minutes. You can repeat this process throughout the day but make sure to take breaks in between icings.
  • Oral Anesthetic. If you’re looking for temporary relief through numbing, pick up an oral anesthetic at your local pharmacy. Apply the gel or liquid directly to the painful area and get immediately numb. Keep in mind, oral anesthetics are for short-term use only and are not a permanent solution.  
  • Salt Water. Rinsing your mouth out with a mixture of warm water and salt a few times daily may also reduce toothache pain. The drying nature of the salt will help pull away and dry out any fluid that may be putting pressure on the nerves and causing you pain. Just remember not to swallow.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medicine. If you’re experiencing a toothache, there’s a good chance that you also have some swelling. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help. Use whichever anti-inflammatory medication is best for you and follow the directions on the packaging. Never place a pill directly on the gums or tooth — this will only cause more pain and can lead to damage.

There are numerous things you can do to help ease the pain associated with a toothache, but all of these remedies are only temporary solutions. In order to completely make a toothache go away, we always recommend scheduling a visit with your dentist in Rocky Mount as soon as you can for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

If you’re suffering from a toothache, we welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment today.  

Is Removing Wisdom Teeth Necessary?

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

wisdom teeth on x-rayAbout 90% of the American population has had their wisdom teeth removed. But why is it important that we get these teeth extracted? Is wisdom teeth surgery really that important? What happens if we don’t have our wisdom teeth taken out? The team at our dental office in Rocky Mount has the answers.

Wisdom Teeth Basics

Wisdom teeth tend to develop in our teens. This is when your dentist in Rocky Mount should start to see these third molars on x-rays and when your dental team will start to monitor their development. Occasionally, wisdom teeth develop just fine and there are no reasons for concern. Other times people don’t get their wisdom teeth at all. But more commonly, wisdom teeth need to be removed for a few specific reasons. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why wisdom teeth extraction is usually recommended.

There’s No Room

Most people fall into the category where their mouths don’t have enough space to accommodate four more teeth. This can often be identified early through dental x-rays, and wisdom teeth removal can be incredibly easy. However, if treatment is delayed or avoided, the teeth can get trapped in the bone and become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and put you at increased risk for infection or an abscess. Furthermore, if wisdom teeth aren’t removed and are allowed to force their way into the mouth, other teeth will shift to make room. This will result in overlapping, crooked teeth.

They’re Facing the Wrong Way

Normally wisdom teeth will be facing crown up like all your other teeth. But sometimes wisdom teeth can come in at a weird angle or even sideways. When this happens the wisdom teeth should definitely be extracted. If not, these large teeth can cause permanent damage and severely affect the other teeth in the mouth.

When Wisdom Teeth Can Stay… Maybe

There are times when wisdom teeth come in almost perfectly and there’s no immediate need for extraction. However, wisdom teeth are difficult to care for properly. They’re hard to reach with a toothbrush and flossing requires an almost acrobatic approach. Because of this, your dentist may still recommend having them removed if only to reduce the risk of other problems down the road.

Wisdom teeth removal is incredibly common and most people have theirs removed at some point in their lives. The best way to monitor wisdom teeth development is to maintain regular appointments at our Rocky Mount dental office. Keeping a close eye on how your wisdom teeth are erupting can mean a quicker treatment plan and easier removal.

4 FAQs About Dentistry

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

faq'sIf you have questions about dentistry, you’re not alone. At our dental office in Rocky Mount, we love answering questions from our patients and neighbors in order to help them get a strong, healthy smile. Let’s take a look at four of the most common questions we get asked.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are extremely safe, but they do still require radiation. However, the radiation exposure from dental x-rays is super small and so are the potential side effects. The use of protective equipment such as a leaded apron farther minimizes risk. Dental x-rays are incredibly helpful when looking at teeth as they allow us to see things that may not yet be visible to the naked eye as well as into the jaw bone. The images produced from x-rays help us catch decay or other problems early when treatment is easier.

Do I Really Need to See the Dentist Twice a Year?

It’s usually recommended that patients get a dental checkup every six months. But unfortunately, many people only go to the dentist when they have a problem. The truth is, your dentist in Rocky Mount suggests visiting regularly to prevent just that. Bi-annual dental checkups can prevent potentially painful problems from ever occurring, and if there does happen to be a concern, catching it early often means easier and cheaper treatment.

Is Flossing Necessary?

Even if you brush your teeth twice a day every day you’re still missing out on thorough cleaning. While brushing does a good job at removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and mouth, most toothbrushes just can’t get in between the tiny spaces between each tooth. This is where bacteria, plaque, and food particles love to hang out. If not removed regularly the chances for decay greatly increases. But cavities aren’t your only concern. Failing to remove buildup from around and under the gum line can also put you at risk for gum disease.

What’s the Best Way to Whiten Teeth?

There are many smile whitening options available to us today. From over-the-counter strips to whitening toothpaste, professional in-office whitening to take-home trays from your dentist, how do you know which whitening option is best for you? Each whitening method has its own set of pros and cons. The fastest way to get whiter teeth is usually a professional in-office whitening treatment. But it’s not the right choice for everyone. If you’re looking to get a whiter smile, start by talking with your dentist to find the solution that fits your needs.

As always, if you have questions about dentistry, the team at our Rocky Mount dental office is here to help. Simply call and talk with us today!

New Year’s Resolutions for Better Oral Health

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

family photoSomething interesting happens around this time every year. People start reflecting on the last twelve months and start thinking about some things they can change in order to make the next twelve even better. These changes, or resolutions, are usually quickly lost within the first few weeks of the new year. But this year, our dental office in Rocky Mount wants to help you make some solid, easy-to-keep resolutions to improve your oral health in 2019.  

Brush & Floss. One of the easiest resolutions you can make for better oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. This means brushing twice a day, every day, and flossing once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to gently (emphasis on gently) scrub away bacteria and plaque buildup. But brushing alone doesn’t reach all surfaces of your teeth. This is where flossing comes into play. Flossing between each and every tooth daily removes the things that brushing alone can miss. Following this at-home oral health routine is one of the best ways you can improve your oral health.

Drink Water. Drinking water is a simple thing that can make a big difference in your health. Being hydrated allows our bodies to function properly and efficiently. It’s also great for oral health; water rinses away bacteria and neutralizes acid which, if not removed, will cause decay and cavities. Water can also keep breath fresh by fighting off dry mouth. This year, commit to drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day and drinking other beverages in moderation.

Visit Your Dentist in Rocky Mount. We recommend dental visits at least every six months, sometimes more if appropriate. These dental checkups are important for several reasons including:

  • Deep cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup
  • Diagnosing any problems early before they cause bigger problems
  • Monitoring oral health for signs of potential disease, whether oral or systemic

Many systemic, whole-body problems such as heart disease and diabetes can actually first show signs and symptoms in the mouth. When caught early at your regular dental appointments, treatment can be easier and more successful. Signs of more oral-specific problems such as gum disease and oral cancer can also show signs early, making the chances of solving these serious problems more likely.

The best way to follow through with New Year’s resolutions is to write them down, make a plan, and stick with it. When it comes to resolutions involving your oral health, the team at our Rocky Mount dental office is here to help. Call us to schedule an appointment today and let’s get started on the best year your smile has ever seen.

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.