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Preventative Dentistry is Better for Your Wallet

2022-05-14T14:47:43+00:00May 12th, 2022|Preventative Dentistry|

Healthy Teeth and Saving Money Tips

Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings is the best way to maintain positive oral health—it’s also the best way to save money. Monitoring the condition of your teeth and gums can prevent major health issues, as well as, keep you from spending a lot of money on a procedure or surgery that could have been avoided. Tack on the rising costs of dentistry due to inflation and that dental price tag will be even higher.

If you haven’t scheduled your next teeth cleaning/checkup, now is definitely the time.

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth at least twice a day. We also know the necessity of flossing each night—even if we don’t get it done every night, but we try! There is more, however, to maintaining your oral health than the daily routine. A professional checkup is what truly keeps us in the know of our level of oral health and this is how we learn about the specific preventative measures we can take to better our current situation, whatever that might be.

The state of the inside of our mouths is a complicated one: cavities don’t simply show up one day, they turn over time. The same is true with gum diseases and other preventative health issues. These progressively get worse over time if they are not addressed. This is why it’s so important to keep regular checkups so you can always be in the know of where the level of your oral health is.

What is Preventative Dentistry?

Simply put, preventative dentistry is regular, professional cleaning and monitoring of your oral health. Here are a few things that are done and looked for when you come in:

  • Removing Hardened Plaque. You know when you visit the dentist and he gets that sharp, silver hook tool and scrapes it against your teeth? Sometimes, he has to press extra hard and poke and prod. What he is doing is removing plaque from your teeth. Though flossing and brushing twice a day can get most of this sticky substance from your teeth, little bits of plaque can still remain and harden. In time, that plaque will discolor and can cause damage to the teeth and gums if it’s not removed. Visiting your dentist twice a year will keep this hardened substance from accumulating.
  • Preventing Gum Disease. Bacteria in the mouth can cause gum disease, and most times it is not noticeable to the individual who has it until it’s festered. However, your dentist can help prevent gum disease from ever occurring by professionally cleaning your teeth and gums. And if signs of gum disease continue to show up, he can recommend the proper medication to help illuminate it.
  • Preventing Cavities. Plaque and food particles can create cavities, which eat away at the teeth, and like gum disease, cavities can be difficult to notice right away. Unless you see a dentist, that is. If they are found, cavities can be removed and the damaged tooth repaired, or, in extreme cases, the tooth will have to be pulled. Regardless, it is of the utmost importance that cavities are taken care of right away, as they can lead to more serious oral maladies.
  • Preventing Oral Cancer. The thought of cancer can be scary, but it’s something that should not be ignored. Instead, it should be prevented. Seeing your dentist twice a year and having an oral exam can greatly help reduce your chances of contracting cancer of the mouth.

Preventative dentistry starts with you—you make and keep the appointments, and you maintain the regime you and your dentist decide upon. At Adam Brown DDS, we like to work in tandem with our patients to first identify any issues or potential issues, then—together—work towards a plan to get that oral health with it needs to be and maintain it.

 

The Importance of Maintaining Your Oral Health

As stated earlier, preventative dentistry not only preserves your oral health, it also saves you money in the end. Here are a few more key details to preventative dentistry you should consider:

1. You can’t do it alone. It’s tempting to go along with the notion that brushing and flossing your teeth every day is enough to keep that mouth sparkly clean. It is true that brushing and flossing are important procedures, necessary for keeping your mouth clean, but without having regular checks where a dentist can give a thorough assessment of your oral hygiene, there is really no way to tell where your level of health is. Always make time for a dentist to monitor the condition of your teeth and gums.

2. Pay a little upfront to save a ton in the end. Ironically, people tend to skip dental visits in order to save money, however, the price of dealing with a developed condition, that was not caught by your dentist, will end up costing much more money. Imagine paying out of pocket for a tooth extraction—then again for the replacement! The pain and frustration and money just aren’t worth it

3. Visiting your dentist means meeting with a professional who can offer advice on oral hygiene products for purchase that are specific to you and your need(s). There are so many products out there too! Without the guidance of someone who knows what works and what does not, you might feel a bit lost. This toothpaste promises whiter teeth in two weeks, but this one says it fights gum disease—which to get? At Adam Brown, DDS not only can we advise on products to use, but we can also show you how best to use them.

4. With poor oral health come a lot of side effects: bad breath, a crooked smile, browning teeth, chipped or lost teeth…the list goes on, and these side effects can do major damage to an individual’s self-esteem. However, sometimes these issues can be easily dispelled by a quick visit to the dentist. Preventative dentistry has the power to give you back your confidence!

5. The most important aspect of preventative dentistry is that one simple visit could identify life-threatening diseases. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria, most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Certain medications—such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants—can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, might play a role in some diseases.

Ultimately, your best option for a healthy, fresh smile is to visit us at Adam Brown, DDS. Let us diagnose the current state of your particular oral health and advise on exactly what can be done to clean those teeth and brighten that smile. No matter your current condition, we can help—be sure to schedule now and save money!

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Why Aren’t My Kid’s Teeth Coming In? 

2022-04-21T14:45:48+00:00April 21st, 2022|Kids Teeth|

Kids Teeth Not Coming In

For a kid, the strange feeling of losing that first tooth means everything. The slight pain it causes as it slowly detaches from the gums, and the pleasure felt of sticking your tongue through its absence serves as a right of passage, a moment in time that distinguishes that transfer of child to kid, and eventually to young adult. But what to do when the new, adult tooth doesn’t seem to be breaking through? What if it doesn’t come in at all?! At Adam Brown DDS, we’ve had plenty of experience with this phenomenon and we are happy to share our insight with you.

Children begin losing their teeth around the age of six, but it’s not unheard of for a few teeth to loosen and fall out as early as the age of four—the process of losing teeth can last until the age of thirteen or so. Losing the teeth is usually not a problem, however, new teeth coming in can cause some issues: sometimes they come in crooked, sometimes they are too big for the space left, and sometimes they take their sweet time in breaking through the gums. 

Crooked teeth and too many teeth for such a crowded space can be fixed, but when the tooth itself is not growing things can get a bit complicated. But don’t panic! We have seen and worked with it all before. 

When a child loses a tooth, typically, it can take anywhere from a week to six months for the new tooth to fully erupt.

One thing to note: if the tooth has erupted but is taking a long time to grow, worry not. This is normal. The tooth will catch up and fully grow. It takes some teeth longer than others to get up there. On the other side of this, if six months have passed after losing a tooth and the new one has not yet broken through, it is a good idea to make an appointment with us to check it out. This way, we can evaluate the jaw, teeth, and gums to see where the problem is and make a plan for resolving it. 

 

Common Reasons for Slow (or Non) Growth

Here are the most common culprits for lack of growth, but before diagnosing your child, be sure to schedule a quick visit with us just to be sure:

  • Not Enough Room in the Jaw. Sometimes the reason a tooth won’t erupt is due to the jawbone simply not being big enough. When the baby teeth are lost, the room is made for new teeth—however—those new, adult teeth are not the same size, they are actually bigger and take up more space. This is the reason why dentists tell parents not to worry if they notice gaps between their children’s baby teeth. These spaces will be filled with adult teeth. A problem arises when the child’s jaw can’t accommodate the new growth, which can cause the new teeth to halt their progress because if they do try and squeeze in, they can become impacted and malformed. Luckily, since the jawbone is still growing at this age, interceptive orthodontics can be used to help encourage the jaw to expand. Worst-case scenario, surgery can be performed to make room in the mouth for new teeth—but this is extremely rare. 
  • Directional Issues. Teeth can have a mind of their own and sometimes they don’t want to break through because they are moving in the wrong direction. This problem can occur whether there is enough room in the gums or not, and this is easy to spot since once the tooth starts to erupt it is obvious it is not coming in straight. At Adam Brown DDS, we have found that tooth extraction is one way to fix this issue, but we try and save tooth removal as a last resort. Instead, we first try and coax the tooth into its proper place through orthodontic treatments. We have seen a lot of success with this process, especially if we are able to catch the tooth as it is still early in the eruption process.
  • Naturally Missing Teeth (from birth). Congenitally missing teeth are, surprisingly, pretty common. Usually, we see this phenomenon with the wisdom teeth: it’s normal for adults to be missing one or both of the upper lateral incisors or second premolars, and we have found that this happens due to genetics so if you are missing one or a few teeth because they never erupted, chances are you are not the only one within your family. With congenitally missing teeth though, the permanent teeth actually never develop at all, and since they are not developed, they never push the baby teeth out. If the baby teeth do eventually come out, due to decay or trauma, no tooth will grow in the absence. What to do in this situation? Typically, we create a bridge or partial denture to fill the gap (one tooth or multiple teeth), but we can also perform dental implant surgery that will work as a permanent fix that looks the most natural. One side note, this type of surgery should not be performed while the jawbone is still growing.
  • Extra Teeth. Conditions such as a cleft palate, Gardner’s syndrome, and cleidocranial dysostosis can cause supernumerary teeth to develop, but these extra teeth can come in on their own as well, though this is uncommon. When the dental arch inside the mouth can serve as a wall, blocking the permanent teeth from erupting or developing at all. Thankfully, there are orthodontic treatments to fix this issue, the most common of them involve extracting the tooth or teeth. 
  • Primary Failure of Eruption (PFE). In some of the rarest cases, permanent teeth are present beneath the gums and have a clear path for growth, but they fail to erupt or they begin to erupt and then mysteriously stop growing. It turns out that PFE is actually genetic, and when found there are multiple methods of treatment. The most common is oral surgery and specified treatment to encourage the teeth to come out or commence growing. Sometimes extractions are needed then braces are used to pull the teeth in to fill the empty space—dental implants can also be used to fill space. 

Another similar issue that can arise is when the tooth or teeth are fused to the jawbone and are unable to break loose and erupt the gums. Luckily, there is a surgical procedure that can loosen the tooth from the bone. After the surgery and a few treatments, the problem area should grow. 

 

We Can Help

Remember, if your child’s teeth are not coming in, or they started growing then stopped, don’t panic! The need for major cosmetic surgery is extremely rare. In our experience, we have found that spending time to diagnose the issue and using precise, proven treatments will work in coaxing those stubborn teeth to full growth. Make an appointment with us today so we can help you and your child maintain proper oral health.

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Is It Time for an Upgrade? Choosing Between Invisalign, Dental Implants, and Dentures

2022-02-14T15:42:40+00:00February 10th, 2022|Dental Implants, Dental Trends, Dentures, Invisalign|

Invisalign, Dentures, and Implants Monroe NC

If you feel this is the year to upgrade your smile, you have options. Adam Brown DDS offers several dental treatments that can give you the smile you’ve always wanted!

Three of the most popular treatments include Invisalign, dental implants, and dentures.

The solution that works best for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences, and our office can help you make the right decision. But for now, let’s break down these three types of dental treatments and discuss how they can take your smile design to the next level!

 

What Is Invisalign?       

Invisalign is an alternative to traditional metal braces. These clear aligners are used for teeth straightening, and they gradually shift teeth into their optimal positions. 

When using Invisalign, you don’t have to worry about metal brackets, wires, and other inconveniences of traditional braces. Most teenagers and adults who wear their aligners for the recommended 22 hours a day can correct their orthodontic problems. 

 

The Benefits of Invisalign     

When wearing metal braces, there are many foods that you must avoid, including corn-on-the-cob, popcorn, caramel, chewing gum, and chewy candies. Carrots, hard fruits and vegetables, nuts, and steak are also off-limits.

Because you can remove your aligner trays before meals and snacks, you can eat (and drink) whatever you wish, as long as you brush or rinse your teeth with water before re-applying the aligners.

The most obvious benefit of using clear aligners is that they are virtually invisible. Everyone knows you are undergoing orthodontic treatment when wearing traditional braces, but the average onlooker would not be able to tell when you are wearing Invisalign; the thin clear plastic is almost invisible.

Furthermore, it is easier to maintain oral hygiene when taking Invisalign treatment. It is common to notice stains on your teeth after wearing metal braces, if not gingivitis or cavities. Essentially, it is pretty challenging to brush and floss around metal wires and brackets, and even if you dedicate the extra time and effort, you may not be able to get into all the places you need to. 

All you have to do with Invisalign is remove the aligners, then brush and floss as you usually would. You can even clean your trays by soaking them in a cleaning solution or brushing them with a soft-bristle toothbrush.

Invisalign proves as effective as traditional braces for many patients, and they are much more comfortable. The smooth plastic fits snuggly to teeth, and you don’t have to worry about any brackets or wires poking your gums or cheeks. 

Even if you pay more for Invisalign, understand that emergency dental visits are less likely to occur because clear aligners are remarkably strong. There are no brackets or wires to break off. Moreover, more dental insurance plans are covering Invisalign.

 

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are primarily used to replace missing teeth. Missing teeth can impact chewing and speaking, lead to severe teeth misalignment, and cause gradual bone loss. While there are several ways to replace one or more missing teeth (e.g., dental bridges, partial dentures, complete dentures, etc.), dental implants have become one of the most popular choices because they offer many benefits. 

The patient undergoes a minor procedure to replace the missing tooth’s root with a post; then, the dentist puts a permanent dental crown onto the implant. 

 

Benefits of Dental Implants   

Getting dental implants is not the cheapest treatment, but it is often the most effective way to replace missing teeth. It can help you maintain clear speech, make chewing food more manageable, and provide superior comfort. Implants also look entirely natural, are easy to maintain, and are durable enough to last for many years.

 

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are another way to treat lost or removed teeth. A dentist (or laboratory) fabricates these sets of artificial teeth and gums to fit each patient’s mouth. You can get full or partial dentures. In other words, you can either replace a few missing teeth or all teeth on the top or bottom gum line. No matter what type of dentures you receive, you will have them custom-designed to match surrounding teeth and fit your mouth visually.

 

Benefits of Dentures   

Dentures are typically a less expensive solution for improving a smile and avoiding various oral health issues. They can support the structures around the lips and cheeks, plus they allow you to eat foods as you usually would and speak clearly. Your dentist will recommend whether dental implants or dentures are the best treatment for your situation.

 

Dental Implants vs. Dentures   

As we’ve discussed, both dental implants and dentures are viable solutions for replacing one or more missing teeth. The best treatment for you will depend on preference, price, jawbone health, and other factors. Let’s talk about these two treatments in more detail:

 

Dental Implants Procedure

When getting dental implants, the dentist will replace the missing tooth’s root with an implant that they will cap with a crown. This involves extracting the damaged root and inserting a metal prosthetic root (called a “post”) deep into the bone. Once the bone has grown around the post to secure it, the dentist will place an abutment onto it before applying the crown.

Sometimes, the abutment can be placed during the same procedure as the implant, while other times, it can take a couple of months for the bone to bond to the post.  

 

Dentures Procedure

Dentures are prosthetic, removable teeth for replacing one or many missing teeth. The dentist takes an impression of your mouth (upper gums, lower gums, or both), depending on which teeth need to be replaced. The dentist will also observe your jaw alignment and bite to ensure the dentures can improve your speech and ability to chew. 

Then, a lab will fabricate preliminary dentures for the dentist to fit in your mouth and make any necessary adjustments to the set’s alignment and length. The dentist will then order your final set of dentures so that your teeth and gums look as natural as possible.

 

Costs of Dental Implants and Dentures

Dental implants cost more than dentures. Each dentist’s office varies on price, but the American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that an implant runs from $1,600 to $2,200 per tooth. In comparison, the ADA reports that a patient can receive a complete set of upper or lower dentures for about $1,600. 

 

Maintenance of Dental Implants and Dentures

Caring for dental implants is as simple as caring for natural teeth. All you have to do is brush twice a day, floss once a day, and go to your regular checkups at Adam Brown DDS.

Dentures require more maintenance to remain effective. For instance, you must soak them overnight in water or a cleaning solution. You must also remove your dentures and brush them after each meal or snack, and you will need to ensure that you brush any adhesive revenue from your gums.

Another thing to consider is that you will need to have your dentures refitted now and then as your bite changes. Conversely, dental implants are permanent, though you might need to replace a cracked or broken crown. 

 

Choosing Between Dental Implants and Dentures

Your dentist can help you make the right decision concerning dental implants or dentures. But here are a few factors to consider when thinking about your dental future:

Age

Dental implants can last for decades, meaning that people in their sixties or younger might get the most out of these permanent prosthetic teeth. Many older adults prefer to get dentures because they don’t require a time-consuming or invasive procedure.

Jawbone Density

Before you get dental implants, your dentist must ensure there is enough jawbone material to support the posts. If there isn’t, implants might not be a viable solution. 

Age, gum disease, tooth loss, and injury are the most common culprits of jawbone loss. With that said, some dental practices perform bone grafting to support jawbone density, which could be a good option if you can afford the additional time and costs. 

Comfort and Effectiveness

In most cases, dental implants feel more comfortable than dentures, and they also make chewing and speaking feel more natural. There are implant-supported overdentures; however, they can provide better comfort and chewing efficacy than conventional dentures. 

Oral Hygiene

You also need to consider daily hygiene when choosing between dental implants and dentures. Dentures require more time and effort to keep viable, while implants are lower maintenance. Keep an honest assessment of how willing and able you are to care for your dentures each day. 

 

Can I Choose More Than One Dental Treatment?

Yes, it’s possible to get more than one dental treatment at a time. Let’s discuss your options:

Can I Wear Invisalign with Dental Implants?

Some patients receive a dental implant and wish to correct their crooked teeth somewhere down the road. Implants are permanent fixtures, meaning they will not move from their original position. But your dentist can use clear aligners to reposition all the surrounding teeth. Typically, you can still get Invisalign in this situation.

With that said, if you only have a few remaining natural teeth, Invisalign may not be the ideal option. Adam Brown DDS can thoroughly evaluate your situation and help you find the best solution. 

Which Treatment Should I Get First?

If you have not received dental implants or Invisalign treatment, you may be wondering which you should get first. Understand that Invisalign holds your natural teeth in their sockets and gradually moves them into proper alignment. 

On the other hand, dental implants attach directly to the jawbone, which bonds directly to the implant over time. Thus, implants are permanently fixed, and it is typically best to straighten your teeth with aligners before having implants inserted.

When your teeth are aligned before implant placement, it ensures that all your teeth are in their optimal positions. Then, you can replace missing teeth with implants and crowns that look natural and aesthetically pleasing with surrounding teeth. Furthermore, your dentist can ensure that the gap remains healthy during the Invisalign treatment.

Are Dental Bridges a Viable Alternative?

Dental bridges are another type of treatment for missing teeth. Dentists can use a dental bridge, sometimes called a fixed partial denture, to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. Essentially, the bridge attaches to the surrounding teeth to support the mouth’s structure. 

Dental bridges are less expensive than implants, and most patients who receive them are satisfied with the result. However, some people are confused about the appropriate care and maintenance responsibilities, leading to bridges becoming ineffective or unsanitary. 

If you choose to get a bridge, ask your dentist for comprehensive care instructions to ensure your device works well and allows you to maintain oral hygiene. 

 

Conclusion

It’s 2022, and it could be the ideal time to upgrade your smile! While there are many available dental treatments, Invisalign, dental implants, and dentures are some of the most popular options among patients. 

Along with considering the information and advice above, contact Adam Brown DDS to schedule a consultation. We would love to speak with you, go over your options, and help you make the best decision for your future smile and dental health!

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The Dangers of Grinding Your Teeth

2021-12-28T15:33:17+00:00December 28th, 2021|Teeth Grinding|

Teeth Grinding Monroe NC

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a slight headache and a stiff or sore jaw? If so, these symptoms could be the result of grinding your teeth during sleep. Teeth grinding is a common problem with a myriad of causes, and if you think you may be grinding away on those teeth every night, Adam Brown DDS can help you to stop.

Grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw—known as “Bruxism” in the dentistry world—usually happens unconsciously while you are asleep or awake, and it can lead to all sorts of sleeping disorders such as snoring, even sleep apnea.

How do you know if you are grinding your teeth at night? Here are a few signs that could indicate bruxism:
1. Flattened teeth.
2. Loose, chipped, or cracked teeth.
3. Tight or sore jaw muscles, especially when you wake from sleep.
4. Regular toothaches and/or increased sensitivity.
5. A dull ache surrounding your ears and temples.
6. Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), which is clicking or grinding when you move your jaw.

Though having any of these signs could mean you are grinding your teeth, but the best way to be sure is to pop in for a visit. A trained eye can see the side effects of teeth grinding pretty quickly and diagnose the issue and begin working towards a solution.

 

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?
Truthfully, we are not entirely sure what causes bruxism. Whether physical, psychological, even genetic, there are a host of reasons people might grind their teeth while sleeping. Often when people are under a lot of stress and anxiety, they begin to subconsciously bite abnormally or aggressively, which can then lead to bruxism. Teeth grinding can also be a side effect of some medications like antidepressants.

If you think or know, you are grinding your teeth at night, begin narrowing down the possible reasons: does your family have a history of teeth grinders? Are you on medication? Are you under more stress than usual?

 

Getting Help
Rather than trying to live with bruxism until your teeth are whittled down to nothing, consider visiting us at Adam Brown DDS. Even if you are unsure if you are suffering from bruxism, it’s worth a quick appointment to find out and get help if needed. During your dental exam, we will look for any excessive wear on your teeth, any cracks or chips, even loose teeth.

Depending on what we find, we will then discuss a plan to stop you from grinding those teeth every night. Here are some possible solutions:
Wearing a Mandibular Advancement Device. This is a method for the more serious grinders where a mouthpiece is attached to your head that keeps your jaw fixed in one position. It’s not the most comfortable solution, but it works!
Wearing a basic mouth guard to protect the teeth while asleep. The mouth guard is perfectly molded to your teeth, and though this is a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, you will quickly get used to it.
Wearing a splint that keeps the teeth separated. If the mouth guard is too bulky or awkward, consider the low-profile splint instead.
Abstain from alcohol for a while. It has been proven that drinking alcohol does, at times, intensify bruxism while sleeping.
Cut back, or cut out completely, anything with caffeine in it. The energy gained from caffeine can cause nerves and muscles to work overtime while sleeping.
Begin using stress-management techniques. Maybe even begin some behavioral therapy, such as training yourself to hold your jaw and mouth in a single position for long periods of time.

The good news is that teeth grinding is treatable. If you suffer from bruxism, we will find a way to stop it. This is why it’s so important to visit your dentist as soon as you suspect you are grinding your teeth at night. We can assess and apply the appropriate method of treatment, and make any adjustments along the way. The key thing to note is the sooner you get treatment, the healthier your teeth and mouth will be—and remain to be.

 

Healthy Teeth, Happy Living
While we are on the subject of maintaining those teeth, let’s not forget the basics when it comes to keeping them clean and healthy. In order to maintain a pleasant smile, it’s important to set a regime of brushing twice a day. Brush your teeth in the morning and at night with fluoride toothpaste. In the morning it’s a good idea, to begin with, mouth wash, which breaks down plaque and food particles. Then thoroughly floss between each tooth to get those spots your toothbrush won’t reach. When brushing, hold the toothbrush at an angle pointing the bristles towards the gums. Brush, using back-and-forth motions on both the inside and outside of the teeth, making sure not to scrub too vigorously.

Brushing too hard can cause the gums to recede and expose sensitive areas of the teeth. It is strongly advised to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush for two minutes a side and repeat the same process at night. People tend to see the dentist once a year, but it’s much better for you if you go every six months. Here are four reasons why:

1. Removing Hardened Plaque. You know when you visit the dentist and he gets that sharp, silver hook tool and scrapes it against your teeth? Sometimes, he has to press extra hard and poke and prod. What he is doing is removing plaque from your teeth. You see, though flossing and brushing twice a day can get most of it from your teeth, little bits of plaque can remain and harden. Over time, plaque will discolor your teeth and can cause damage to the teeth and gums if it’s not removed. Visiting your dentist twice a year will keep this hardened substance from accumulating.

2. Preventing Cavities. Plaque and food particles can create cavities, which eat away at the teeth. And like gum disease, cavities can be difficult to notice right away. Unless you see a dentist, that is. If they are found, cavities can be removed and the damaged tooth repaired, or, in extreme cases, the tooth will have to be pulled. Regardless, it is of the utmost importance that cavities are taken care of right away, as they can lead to more serious oral maladies.

3. Preventing Gum Disease. Bacteria in the mouth can cause gum disease, and most times it is not noticeable to the individual who has it until it’s festered. However, your dentist can help prevent gum disease from ever occurring by professionally cleaning your teeth and gums. And if signs of gum disease show up, he can recommend the proper medication to help illuminate it.

4. Preventing Oral Cancer. The thought of cancer can be scary, but it’s something that should not be ignored. Instead, it should be prevented. Seeing your dentist twice a year and having an oral exam can greatly help reduce your chances of contracting cancer of the mouth.

Maintaining your oral health is so important, as cavities and gum disease if left alone, could lead to serious medical problems—even heart disease. Poor oral health can even affect other diseases, like diabetes, making them more difficult to control. This is why it’s so important to be sure you are caring for your teeth and gums correctly. If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night, even if you have general questions about keeping up on your oral health, please call or visit us at Adam Brown DDS.

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Oral Piercings and Dental Health

2021-03-22T16:34:40+00:00March 22nd, 2021|Dental Trends, Oral Health|

Oral Piercings and Dental Health Monroe, NC

There is no denying the fact oral piercings have become more prominent over the years. Today, you can find people of just about any age or gender who have a tongue or other oral area pierced. But even though this way of self-expression may be trendy, oral piercings can cause dental complications if they are not properly cared for. Is your piercing negatively affecting your oral health? 

All piercings need to be cleaned regularly, but for oral piercings, this cleaning needs to be extra thorough, because they can attract unwanted reactions and infections that can then cause trauma to your overall oral health. This means it is so important that you maintain a regular hygiene regimen throughout the process of having the piercing.

What sort of reactions can your mouth have to an oral piercing? There are a number of things to watch for—here are the most common:

  • Oral Infections. Since our mouths are filled with bacteria (mostly the good kind), any sort of oral piercing is subject to infection since it is in continual contact with the saliva and bacteria in your mouth. If the bacteria in your mouth manages its way into your bloodstream, through the hole your piercing is in, a condition called Endocarditis can occur. This is an oral infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and, as you can imagine, this can cause serious health problems—beyond oral.
  • Chipped and Broken Teeth. Piercings located close to the gum tissue can rub and wear at the roots of your teeth. This may not be a noticeable problem at first, but over time this constant friction will cause your gums to recede, exposing the sensitive nerves to your teeth. From this point, as the piercing continues to rub at the base of the gum, the teeth can become brittle and begin to crack. Once there is a crack or break in the tooth it may need major dental work such as a repair filling and a root canal.

*TIP: It’s a good idea to use plastic or other softer materials for oral piercings if possible. Hard metal piercings that rub at your gums and teeth have a high possibility of causing damage.

  • Scratches and Rashes. Lip piercings and other piercings close to the jaw and gum line can cause gum tissue scratches, which do heal but the scratch itself can get infected. Rashes can also break out and other wounds, which open up the possibility for a host of oral infections.
  • Negative Reaction. Speaking of rashes and wounds, since most mouth piercings contain nickel, an allergic reaction can come about if you aren’t sure how your body reacts to the metal. This is why it is so important to make sure you are not allergic to nickel prior to getting a piercing.
  • Ingesting a Piercing. Since oral piercings are inside the mouth there is always the chance of swallowing a piercing or a piece of it. Piercing studios will tell you that swallowing a piercing is harmless, as it will safely pass through your stool, there is no guarantee this is true.
  • Complications with Swelling. Tongue piercings especially like to swell since the piercing itself is damaging nerves and tissue. Some people swell more than others, and for those who do swell a lot, this can be dangerous because the tongue can balloon up enough to make breathing difficult, or even block your airway completely. If you are thinking of getting your tongue pierced, make sure you have quick access to medical attention if needed!

 

What is Your Body Telling You?

Our bodies are amazing machines that like to communicate with us when they are healthy and when there might be something wrong. If we pay attention, our bodies are giving little tells all the time indicating our current levels of health. This information is likely nothing new, but at Adam Brown, DDS we think it’s important for you to recognize a not-so-common sign that your oral health may be in danger, whether that danger is due to a piercing or anything else.

Paying close attention to your gums is incredibly important for analyzing your own oral health. If we have piercings, we know the importance of keeping them clean, we all know the necessity of flossing and brushing and making sure those gums are not receding, but what about when areas of the gums begin to turn white? What is your body trying to tell you when this happens? White spots on the gums are more common than not, but most people do not understand the possible dangers that could arise because of them. 

Unfortunately, noticing a white coloration on your gums could mean a number of different things, and they all have varying levels of seriousness. They can be caused by irritations due to piercings, but they can also come from a lack of proper oral care. That being said, as long as you catch it in time and know the possible reasons, you can get your oral health right back where it needs to be.

Here are some possible reasons for white gums:

  • Leukoplakia: This is an oral disease where white or gray coloration appears on or around the gums. These light spots are created due to mucous membranes that are sensitive and quite painful. Think canker sores, only on your gums! Leukoplakia is often caused by long-term tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, poorly fitting dental appliances, mouth injury, or bodily maladies such as cancer and HIV. If you find painful, white sores on your gums, the best thing to do is see a dentist immediately. Whether it is leukoplakia or not, your gums should never be white.
  • Anemia: This is a tough one because it can produce in many different forms, making it difficult to identify. The best way to diagnose anemia is to notice if the white coloration on your gums is paired with any of the following happenings:

-cold hands and feet

-constant fatigue

-chronic headaches

-spells of dizziness

-shortness of breath

-bodily weakness

-spells of irregular heartbeat

Another tell to anemia is the sudden whiteness of skin beyond just the gums. Some common causes of anemia include vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease. This is definitely one you want to take care of right away. If you feel any of these symptoms could be true for you, make a dental appointment as soon as possible.

  • Mouth Ulcers: noticing white spots on your gums could indicate oncoming ulcers. This is much less serious than the previous causes of white gums, but these sores are no fun at all. If you feel the white spots on your gums could be connected to ulcers, it’s a good idea to begin washing your mouth out with saltwater. This is a great way to keep them away and the inside of your mouth healthy. Some causes of mouth ulcers are sugary foods and drinks, as well as, tobacco use. There is no need to completely cut these out of your diet, but regulation is a must.
  • Gingivitis: this is a mild form of gum disease that is fairly common among American adults. If you notice your gums beginning to recede and turn white, gingivitis is most likely the culprit. A few other signs include swollen and bleeding gums, even painful irritation, and loose teeth. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral care, so if you have fallen off the wagon a bit, it’s best to get right back into the routine of brushing and flossing regularly to keep from this uncomfortable situation.
  • Lichen Planus: this chronic autoimmune condition can inflame the gums and begin to turn them white in lacy patches. Symptoms of lichen planus are similar to gingivitis, but regular dental check-ups can keep this condition from inflammation.
  • Candidiasis: simply put, this is a yeast infection that causes creamy white sores on the gums. This type of infection is usually seen in babies and older adults and is often brought on by diabetes. If you happen to fit any of these categories, it is best to maintain a strict teeth-and-gum cleaning schedule and keep up with your dental appointments. Two appointments a year is recommended, but in this case, you might benefit more from three or four check-ups a year.
  • Oral Cancer: if you ever notice white bumps or growths on your gums, or if you suddenly find it difficult to chew or swallow, see a dentist right away. Most importantly, though, don’t panic. White growths or raised sections on the gums do not always equate to cancer, and even if they do, the faster you get them looked at the better your chances of having them safely removed.

Oral piercings or not, it is of the utmost importance to keep up on proper oral health. Whenever in doubt to what your body is telling you, contact us at Adam Brown, DDS. We are always here to help!

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Sensodyne or the Knock-Offs: Which Sensitivity Toothpaste Should You be Using?

2021-02-23T20:03:45+00:00February 23rd, 2021|Oral Health, Sensitive Toothpaste|

Sensitive Toothpaste

Sensodyne, though a little pricier than the average sensitivity toothpaste brand, is worth the extra cost, and we can tell you why. 

At Adam Brown, DDS we recommend Sensodyne to all of our customers. Whatever your experience with sensitivity is, it is always a good idea to safeguard yourself against potential pains since there are no negative effects of using a sensitivity toothpaste. Not only does Sensodyne protect against pain, but it also comes without the addition of added chemicals that can erode enamel and damage your gums.

But more on the health benefits of using Sensodyne here in a bit. Let’s look at that price difference.

At Adam Brown, DDS we took to the internet to find out how Sensodyne typically compares with a leading sensitivity competitor, Aquafresh sensitive. The first thing we looked at is the difference in price between the two kinds of toothpaste:

  • Sensodyne rings up at just over $4.00 at Walmart, where Aquafresh runs at about $2.75.

That price difference can be enough to initially turn you off to the idea of using Sensodyne, but it’s important to remember that sometimes with higher prices you are paying for higher quality—and this is one of those times.

In order to analyze the quality of each toothpaste, we had different reviewers use the two different kinds of toothpaste for one week each. Each of the reviewers spent one week with Sensodyne, switched to their normal toothpaste for one week then used Aquafresh for a week.

The results ended up being a great indication as to which one of the brands provided the best sensitivity relief. One reviewer, who had suffered from sensitive teeth before trying the kinds of toothpaste, wrote “With Sensodyne, you can feel the sensitivity going away with the very first brush stroke. My teeth have never felt better! I couldn’t feel any difference after the first use of the Aquafresh, and after a week I felt very little sensitivity relief compared to what I had felt before using Aquafresh.”

One reason Sensodyne is so effective is its ingredients, including those not included. Since Aquafresh includes whitening agents in its toothpaste—“Gently whitens while you brush!”—there is the danger of these agents eroding your enamel, causing sensitivity issues. So, ironically, this sensitivity toothpaste could end up causing more problems with tooth sensitivity.

This isn’t to say you should not whiten your teeth. It can be safe to use whitening products, but this is best done under the supervision of a dentist like Adam Brown. It is especially harmful to use whitening products if you already have sensitive teeth since whitening products tend to exacerbate sensitivity.

 

What About the Taste?

Another one of our reviewers commented on the taste of Sensodyne compared to Aquafresh, stating “The Sensodyne has a strong taste, but it is still pleasant despite its strength. The aftertaste is great too. That toothpaste flavor goes away shortly after brushing but isn’t terrible while you’re waiting for it to go away. The Aquafresh had a much grittier and unpleasant taste. The aftertaste was equally strong.”

Reviewers on Amazon.com tend to agree. Sensodyne has nothing but good reviews: “Almost overnight I had two teeth become so sensitive to sweet, cold, heat, even just breathing through my mouth that just eating was painful. After two days of Sensodyne things were much better and after four days almost back to normal. Very happy with the results.” –Michael Sean

Even other dentists recommend the use of Sensodyne: “My dentist recommended his and I’ve been using it for three years now. The sensitivity of my teeth has definitely improved and I can’t imagine not continuing with it forever.” –Stevenzac (Long Island), Amazon.com

Sensodyne is the most trusted brand here at Adam Brown, DDS and we highly recommend it for your home as well. Visit our website or contact us directly with any of your oral healthcare questions.

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Adam Brown, DDS: A Safe Return to Routine Dental Care 

2020-09-21T16:23:59+00:00September 9th, 2020|Adam Brown DDS|

Delaying oral care such as routine teeth cleanings can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and even heart disease, and with restrictions slowly being lifted, why continue to put your oral health at risk? Schedule an appointment with us at Adam Brown, DDS today to get your mouth clean and healthy. 

As the country slowly comes down off of high alert, there arise questions of what should and should not be done, where we can go and where we can’t. But with North Carolina going from Phase 2 to Phase 2.5, we have more clarity on what activities are safe, and which ones we should get back to right away—like going to the dentist.

But is it safe to go back to the dentist? Thankfully we have clear guidance on this issue, and from a trusted source: The American Dental Association. This association of respected professionals, who are a constant help in providing accurate science and practice procedures within the dental field, recommend keeping up on routine dental procedures.

The ADA has worked closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure all decisions and recommendations are made concerning the health of all Americans. In March of 2020, the ADA called for practitioners to push all non-emergency care to a later date in order to limit the possible spread of Covid-19. This decision by the dental community not only limited the spread of the virus, but it also allowed hospitals access to more personal protective equipment and, in turn, saved lives.

In May, experts at the ADA—working closely with the CDC—called for the reopening of dental practices under new safety guidelines, encouraging everyone to get back on track with routine dental appointments.  

 

Is It Safe?

Nothing these days is one hundred percent safe, but with the right safety procedures in place, it is a good idea to go to the dentist. In fact, no Covid-19 cases have been traced to a dental office so far.

The dangers of forgoing regular checkups for a prolonged period can cause severe problems, especially during a pandemic since we are confined to small areas and tend to eat more tooth-decaying foods and exercising less. Throw in a few carbonated drinks and sweet snacks every day and it won’t take long for your oral health to drastically deteriorate. Even dentists have noticed dirtier mouths since the beginning of the pandemic.

If you have visited your dentist lately, you have certainly noticed the difference in your appointment—the change in procedure starts before you even enter the office.

After setting an appointment, patients complete a pre-screening questionnaire, which asks general questions about your current health status, and if you have been around anyone lately who has tested positive for Covid-19.

You may have also noticed fewer times slots for appointments. This is because dentists are seeing fewer patients each day so that each person who enters the office for a dental appointment won’t have to worry about getting too close to others.

Once you enter the office for your appointment, the nurse will take your temperature before you wait for the dentist.

 

Keeping Your Teeth Clean During Covid-19                                                                

Clearly, it’s time to get back to the dentist, but until you can make your appointment with us at Adam Brown, DDS there are plenty of things you can do on your own, during this unprecedented time, to maintain your oral health.                                                       

In order to maintain a pleasant smile during a pandemic, set a regime of brushing twice a day. According to www.mayoclinic.org, it’s important to brush your teeth in the morning and at night with fluoride toothpaste. In the morning it’s a good idea to begin with mouth wash, which breaks down plaque and food particles. Then thoroughly floss between each tooth to get those spots your toothbrush won’t reach. When brushing, hold the toothbrush at an angle pointing the bristles towards the gums. Brush, using back-and-forth motions on both the inside and outside of the teeth, making sure not to scrub too vigorously. Brushing too hard can cause the gums to recede and expose sensitive areas of the teeth. It is strongly advised to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush for two minutes a side and repeat the same process at night. 

 

Quick Tip: How to Enjoy Sweets Without Killing Your Teeth                                                         

There’s no denying it, it is really hard to stay away from sweets and drinks that are bad for our teeth. And, whether in fresh cocktails to be enjoyed outdoors, or in cakes, candies, and cookies, sugar seems to be one of the main ingredients. Just how do these sweets affect your teeth and gums? What happens when we eat a lot of sugary treats or sip on too many cocktails, is the sugar combines with any plaque (hard or soft) in the mouth to create an acid. This acid then eats away at your teeth. And though this is a serious matter, as no one wants her teeth to be eaten away, it can be prevented. 

If you are regularly and correctly caring for your teeth twice a day, there are ways to still enjoy sweet foods and fresh drinks without damaging your teeth. If you are eating something high in sugar, gargle with mouthwash or water after you are finished. This will not completely clean the teeth and gums, but it can clear away enough unwanted matter before you brush next. As for drinks, try and find or make ones with fruit as a substitute for sugar. And, as with sugary treats, it’s a good idea to gargle or have a glass of water after.  

It’s best to see the dentist for a cleaning at least every six months. Here are four reasons why:  

  1. Removing Hardened Plaque. You know when you visit the dentist and he gets that sharp, silver hook tool and scrapes it against your teeth? Sometimes, he has to press extra hard and poke and prod. What he is doing is removing plaque from your teeth. You see, though flossing and brushing twice a day can get most of it from your teeth, little bits of plaque can remain and harden. In time, that plaque will discolor and can cause damage to the teeth and gums if it’s not removed. Visiting your dentist twice a year will keep this hardened substance from accumulating.
  2. Preventing Gum Disease. Bacteria in the mouth can cause gum disease, and most times it is not noticeable to the individual who has it until it’s festered. However, your dentist can help prevent gum disease from ever occurring by professionally cleaning your teeth and gums. And if signs of gum disease show up, he can recommend the proper medication to help illuminate it.
  3. Preventing Cavities. Plaque and food particles can create cavities, which eat away at the teeth. And like gum disease, cavities can be difficult to notice right away. Unless you see a dentist, that is. If they are found, cavities can be removed and the damaged tooth repaired, or, in extreme cases, the tooth will have to be pulled. Regardless, it is of the utmost importance that cavities are taken care of right away, as they can lead to more serious oral maladies.
  4. Preventing Oral Cancer. The thought of cancer can be scary, but it’s something that should not be ignored. Instead, it should be prevented. Seeing your dentist twice a year and having an oral exam can greatly help reduce your chances of contracting cancer of the mouth.

Besides have a bright smile while we wait for things to slowly become normal again, there are other reasons to keep your mouth clean. For instance, did you know cavities and gum disease, if left alone, could lead to serious medical problems such as heart disease? This is why it’s so important to be sure you are caring for your teeth and gums correctly. 

We are happy to be back to work, and we can’t wait to help you get your mouth back into shape. Visit us online today and schedule your next teeth cleaning appointment. 

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