All About Cosmetic Dentistry in Rocky Mount

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

smiling woman with glassesWhen you hear the term ‘cosmetic dentistry,’ you may think about how these smile-enhancing treatments seem to be reserved for the rich and famous. But that’s far from the truth. In fact, your dentist in Rocky Mount performs many different types of cosmetic dentistry services that can range from simple to complex. Anyone can improve their smile with cosmetic dentistry, but many may not know where to start or just what’s involved during treatment. We’re here to help. 

What Treatments are Considered Cosmetic Dentistry?

There are several treatments that are classified as cosmetic dentistry. Let’s explore a few of the most common ones. 

  • Whitening – The most common complaint of many patients is that their teeth aren’t as white as they’d like. To combat this, many will turn to the cosmetic dentistry treatment of smile whitening. Professional whitening can dramatically brighten a smile in just one visit, and take-home touch-up gel can help the results last in between treatments. While there are plenty of options to whiten teeth out there, we recommend talking with your dentist first before you begin any smile whitening treatment. 
  • Veneers – Another incredibly common cosmetic dentistry option is veneers. These thin slices of porcelain or medical-grade plastic can essentially cover up minor imperfections, brighten your smile if teeth whitening isn’t right for you, or even help make teeth appear more uniformed in size and shape.  
  • Bonding – Dental bonding treatment is done by taking tooth-colored material that matches the rest of your teeth and, you guessed it, bonding it to the tooth surface. Bonding takes a combination of art and science to create a natural appearance that can correct discoloration, chips, or minor gaps. 
  • Crowns – Dental crowns are used in a variety of situations, but their main purpose is to protect teeth. Also known as caps, crowns can help strengthen an unhealthy tooth or to protect one that had a root canal. While crowns can be made up of a few different types of material, porcelain crowns are custom-created to match the shape, size, and color of surrounding teeth for a flawless look. 

To find out which cosmetic dentistry treatment is best for your individual situation, talk with your dentist in Rocky Mount. Occasionally, a combination of treatments may be recommended to get your ideal smile.

How to Pick the Best Cosmetic Dentist for You

Finding a dentist to transform your smile can be a daunting task. To help make your selection process easier, start by doing your research. Ask friends or family members, read reviews online, and take the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s suggestion and check out dentists’ before and after photos. When you’re ready, schedule a consultation and share your concerns and desires with your dentist. 

If you’re unhappy with your smile, there are several things you can do to transform your look. Start by scheduling an appointment with your dentist in Rocky Mount. Be sure to speak with them openly and honestly about your concerns and what you’d like to achieve. Your dental team will then work with you to find the best way to get you your ideal smile. 

The Dangers of DIY Smile Whitening

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in Cosmetic Dentistry

smiling girlIf you’ve surfed the internet at all over the last few years, chances are you’ve seen claims of how certain DIY smile whitening treatments can transform your teeth. While we understand how tempting it can be to try these easy and affordable trends to get a brighter, whiter smile, your dentist in Rocky Mount wants you to know that they don’t come without risks. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular DIY smile whitening treatments and how they can actually negatively affect your oral health instead of helping it.

Activated Charcoal
Perhaps the most popular at-home smile whitening treatment is brushing with activated charcoal. If you’ve seen photos of people with black teeth and a mouth full of black spit, you know what we’re talking about. Supporters of activated charcoal claim that it pulls out stains from the teeth and can give you a whiter smile. However, your dentist in Rocky Mount knows that activated charcoal isn’t only super messy to use, it also has risks. Since charcoal is abrasive in nature, using it or brushing with it can damage enamel, which is concerning. Once tooth enamel is gone there’s no way to get it back, which can make teeth more sensitive and at more risk for decay and cavities.

Oil Pulling
Another up-and-coming popular smile whitening treatment is oil pulling. The concept of oil pulling has been around for thousands of years. The idea behind it is that by swishing coconut oil around in your mouth and between your teeth for 20 minutes, you can kill bacteria and even whiten teeth. The immediate downside that we see is that it takes 20 minutes of moving melted oil around in your mouth. But more so, there is no research to either prove or disprove the effectiveness of oil pulling in whitening teeth or leading to better oral health.

Baking Soda
Brushing with baking soda may not be a new trend but it is still very popular. You can even find toothpaste at the store that promote the ingredient. Now, despite activated charcoal and oil pulling, there is some evidence that baking soda can whiten teeth, but only a little bit. Additionally, baking soda is also abrasive and can wear down tooth enamel which, as we know, can increase tooth sensitivity and the likelihood for decay and cavities.

Lemon Juice 
Applying lemon juice to teeth or brushing or swishing with lemon juice is yet another dangerous way that people have tried to whiten their teeth. Lemon juice is very, very acidic and very, very bad for tooth enamel. Too much acid in our diet alone can weaken enamel and put teeth at risk. But applying acidic lemon juice directly to our teeth or exposing our teeth to it for long periods of time can absolutely damage enamel fairly quickly.

Your dentist in Rocky Mount understands that everyone wants to have a bright, sparkling white smile. But before you dive into trying one of the “latest and greatest” DIY smile whitening trends at home, we encourage you to talk with a dental professional to help you find the safest and best way to whiten your teeth.

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!