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.

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.

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!

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.  

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.

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.

Is Drinking Green Beer on St. Patrick’s Day Bad for Teeth?

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

green beerSt. Patrick’s Day is often celebrated by wearing a bunch of green, maybe going to a parade, and oftentimes, drinking beer. Sometimes bars and restaurants even go the extra mile by dyeing their beer green to enhance the festive feeling. While the team at our dental office in Rocky Mount is all for enjoying the day responsibly, there are a few things about beer and your dental health that you should know about.

Acid Attack

It may surprise you to know that beer is quite acidic. While different types of beer have varying levels of acidity –  darker brews having more than their lighter counterparts – it’s all potentially dangerous to your grin. When large amounts of acid are introduced into the mouth, it begins to wear away the protective layer of tooth enamel. Without this barrier, teeth may become increasingly sensitive and even appear less vibrant and white.

Dingy Discoloration

Enamel erosion is only one potential reason your teeth may be looking a bit discolored. Drinking excessively may also cause your teeth to yellow over time. Dark stouts and porters, along with fruity beers, are the biggest culprits to beer related tooth discoloration. However, the food coloring used in beer on St. Patrick’s Day can also temporarily stain your smile a not-so-lovely shade of green.

Gum Disease

You’ll typically hear us talk about the main causes of gum disease being poor dental hygiene or tobacco use, but those aren’t the only contributors. Drinking alcohol in excess, beer included, leaves your mouth exposed to the loads of sugar found in these types of beverages. When sugar and bacteria unite they form a super sticky film known as plaque. This plaque can be removed through regular brushing, but if you forego brushing, it will harden into tartar. Tartar can block your toothbrush from cleaning all the nooks and crannies, especially along the gum line. This means bacteria is free to do as it pleases, including damaging gums and causing gum disease.   

Reduce The Risk

You can help protect your smile from the side effects of drinking beer by first enjoying it in moderation. Alternating a cup beer with a glass of water will rinse away excess sugars and acid that would otherwise be free to damage teeth. Of course, we also recommend seeing your dentist in Rocky Mount twice a year and brushing and flossing every day.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist, or you see some leftover green tint on your teeth following your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, give our dental office in Rocky Mount a call to schedule an appointment today.

Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry

charcoal toothpasteThe charcoal toothpaste craze seems to be everywhere, and it also seems like everyone is using it to finally get the white smile they’ve always dreamed of. But can this messy black stuff that looks like it’s sure to stain teeth actually whiten them? The team at our dental office in Rocky Mount has the answer.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Really Charcoal?

The stuff charcoal toothpaste is made out of is much different than what you may be imagining. And if you’re visualizing the gray rocks used to heat up the grill at a summer BBQ, you’re thinking of the wrong stuff. Charcoal toothpaste is made from something called activated charcoal, which is a treated form of carbon. The treating process makes the carbon porous. It’s these pores that are reasonable for the claim that charcoal toothpaste can whiten teeth. Essentially, it’s believed that these pores can pull stains, tartar, and bacteria away from teeth.

Is Putting Charcoal Toothpaste in Your Mouth Dangerous?

Activated charcoal has been used as a trusted medical treatment for over 2,000 years. In fact, the ancient Romans used a powder form to brush their teeth. Following the same thought that the porous nature of activated charcoal helps absorb anything it’s path, it’s also been used to help treat people who have been poisoned. This treatment may still be practiced at modern hospitals.

Will Using Charcoal Toothpaste Whiten Your Smile?

We’re happy to report that charcoal toothpaste can effectively remove surface stains on teeth, allowing them to take on a brighter, whiter appearance. However, if your tooth discoloration is below the surface, you may not see a difference after using charcoal toothpaste. Additionally, the American Dental Association (ADA) has a few warnings about the stuff. Since charcoal toothpaste isn’t only porous but also pretty abrasive it can be damaging to teeth. Regularly brushing your teeth with a highly abrasive toothpaste can wear away tooth enamel and leave your teeth at risk for cavity-causing bacteria. A thinner enamel may also mean a duller discolored smile.

Other Whitening Options

Charcoal toothpaste is only one option when it comes to whitening your smile. Other things you can consider include:  

The best way to whiten your smile is to start by scheduling an appointment at our Rocky Mount dental office. Give us a call today!

“How Can I Improve My Smile?”

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

woman hides smileAre you unhappy with the way your smile looks? You’re not alone. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, more than one third of U.S. residents don’t like their smiles. But our dental office in Rocky Mount has some good news: you don’t need to live with a smile you don’t like! Thanks to advancements in dental technology, there are easy ways to improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

Smile Whitening

One of the most common complaints people have about their smiles is that it’s just not white enough. Smile whitening is an easy, affordable solution that can help whiten your smile by several shades. There are both in-office and take-home whitening options available, and even over-the-counter products. Before you choose a whitening product, we encourage you to look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance and talk with your dentist in Rocky Mount about the best solution for you.

Veneers

Dental veneers are another popular cosmetic dentistry treatment that can transform the appearance of your smile. These thin pieces of ceramic are custom-shaped to match your specific needs and appear natural. Your dentist will bond the veneers to the front of your teeth, essentially covering up anything you don’t like including discoloration or chips and cracks.

Bonding

If your tooth trouble is more focused on dark, decayed, or chipped teeth, dental bonding may just be the solution you need. Dental bonding is a super simple, yet often incredibly effective, treatment that will quickly create a smile you’re proud of. First, your dentist will remove any decay. Next, the area of concern will be covered with a safe composite material. Your dentist will then use an artistic eye to sculpt the material into a natural shape and even color. The composite material is then hardened, or bonded, to the tooth surface for a strong new look.

Complete Smile Makeover

If you’re someone who can’t seem to narrow down your concerns to just one or two, you may be an ideal candidate for a smile makeover. During a smile makeover process, you and your dentist will work closely together to identify all of your concerns and determine a treatment plan to fix them. A complete smile makeover usually includes several types of cosmetic dentistry treatments, but is a life-changing procedure that will certainly give you a beautiful smile you’re proud of.

If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your smile, we encourage you to give our Rocky Mount dental office a call to schedule a consultation. You deserve a smile you love, and we’re happy to help.

Drinking Wine: Good for the Heart, Bad for Teeth?

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

holiday dinner with wineMost of us have heard that drinking red wine may have heart-healthy benefits. And while there’s still some debate on just how true that is, you may find it surprising that there may just be some oral health benefits to partaking in glass every now and then. Our dental office in Rocky Mount explores these potential smile benefits as well as some not-so-good side effects in this week’s blog.

The Good

Studies conducted in several areas throughout the world have suggested a positive link between drinking red wine and a decrease in tooth decay. One of these studies published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry took bacteria rich biofilm from the mouths of several volunteers, which they then dipped into wine. What they found was that the wine was effective at getting rid of the bacteria. With less bacteria around to weaken enamel and cause decay, one could also assume a lower risk for cavities. However, it might not be all good news.

The Bad

In most of the studies surrounding the positive correlation between red wine and dental health the researchers removed the alcohol content prior to testing. This is important to note since we know alcohol tends to dry out the mouth. A dry mouth has the opposite effect of fighting off decay and actually supports a decay-friendly environment. Red wine also has a tendency to transform teeth from a bright white to a dull or discolored appearance. While that can usually be reversed through whitening or cosmetic dentistry from your dentist in Rocky Mount, it’s still a negative in our book. Finally, the acidity of wine can wear down tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to, you guessed it, decay.

The Final Verdict

We don’t really have a definite conclusion on whether the potential positives of red wine outweigh the negatives. Essentially, more research is needed for us to get on board with supporting the claim that red wine is a good way to fight decay. But in the meantime, we’re not here to tell anyone to stop enjoying their occasional glass of wine, of course. Just enjoy responsibly, keep an eye out for any tooth discoloration, and follow the tips below.

  • Alternate drinking wine with water. If you can, it wouldn’t hurt to rinse your mouth out with water occasionally, too.
  • Hold off on brushing immediately after drinking wine to keep the acid from being spread throughout your entire mouth and all over your teeth.

If you’re a red wine lover and happen to notice some tooth discoloration, call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule a professional whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatment to get your smile back to a vibrant white. Or if you’re just looking for a new place to call your dental home, we’re always welcoming new patients and would love to see you. Schedule a visit with us today!