Advancements in Dentistry Make for Happier Patients

2020-07-16T16:57:33+00:00February 14th, 2019|Dental Trends, Implants, Oral Health|

Better Dentistry is Here and More Advancements are on the Way!

Ah, remember the eighties? Shoulder pads, big hair, and bigger braces! Times and trends have changed, both in fashion and in dentistry.

Gone are the days of walking into an awkward waiting room with uncomfortable chairs and stacks of decade-old magazines, the sounds of drilling in the background. At Carolina’s Dental Choice, our waiting rooms are comfortable with music, televisions, and a welcoming face behind the desk there to help you.

Scheduling options have improved a lot! With more offices offering expanded hours and online appointment scheduling, finding the perfect time to visit the dentist is easy. Reminders can be emailed—you can even have a text message, if you prefer—helping you keep your busy day on track.

One of the biggest advancements is dentistry today isn’t techy or scientific at all. Dentists today discuss procedures to you as they go along, openly explaining treatment options. A visit to the dentist has become less rigid and uncomfortable. Plus, they use hi-tech equipment that is cool and more precise—and less scary!

Specific ways visiting the dentist has changed over the years:

  • Hygiene and safety are incredibly important. These days you will see clean and sanitized and newly opened equipment in use. Staff wear gloves and masks for your protection and, as mentioned earlier, there is more communication—a better relationship between staff and patient. It is more evident now than every before that your dentist and dental team are there to help you. You will notice that the dentist or hygienist is telling you what they are doing as they go along. Taking away some of the fear of years gone by when you just laid in the chair and hoped for the best! For your benefit, be clear about any discomfort or issues you have been having prior to your examination. We want you to be completely comfortable!
  • Dental insurance. Decades ago, many people did not have the option of obtaining dental insurance through their employer or on their own. With multiple options available now, the staff at the dentist is able to discuss what your procedure will cost in advance when ever possible so you will not be caught unaware. Many dentists will work with you if you don’t have insurance. Another popular option that did not used to exist is buying a dental care package directly through your dentist. This annual plan will include cleanings, X-rays and discounted procedures.
  • Extended office hours are becoming more common at dentists around the country. Knowing that many people have day jobs and limited flexibility, Carolina’s Dental Choice opens at 8 a.m. Monday-Wednesday (7 a.m. Thursday-Friday) so you can arrive at work with a smile! In many communities, there are emergency dental offices open in the evenings and weekends for those issues that just cannot wait.
  • Advancements in X-rays. There are big changes in this arena. The first use of X-rays in dentistry of a living person in the United States took place in 1896. Advances in dentistry and the availability of the equipment grew and X-rays became part of the normal dental routine in the 1950s. 3-D imaging has become more popular as machines have become more advanced and more available in the medical community. Popular for ultrasounds, mammograms, and other uses, they are helping doctors and dentists better diagnose health issues, while making it easier on the patient. This is truly technology changing lives.
  • A cavity’s best friend. Fillings used to appear silver and were in fact made of a combination of metals including: tin, zinc, copper and silver. White fillings (a composite material) started becoming popular in the 1980s, and both the silver amalgam and white fillings are still used in dental practices today. So, what’s new? We now know that fillings, while strong, don’t last forever and advancements in X-rays and exam techniques will help discover issues much sooner.

A brighter smile is now possible!

According to the ADA (American Dental Association), about 1990 was a turning point with new tooth-colored restorative materials, plus increased usage of bleaching, veneers, and implants inaugurate an era of esthetic dentistry.

Whitening of teeth was very rare until recent years, as it seemed like only movie stars and models had truly pearly whites. Today you can choose from whitening options including bleaching and whitening trays, just to name a few.

Restorative dentistry has seen great advancements in the last twenty years. In the past, if you had a tooth removed, you learned to live with that gap in your mouth. Missing teeth can be unattractive and negatively affect your eating habits, because missing teeth also make the remaining teeth work harder.  At Carolina’s Dental Choice, we provide restorative, or prosthodontic. This process involves repairing or replacing bad teeth in order to restore the mouth. This can involve multiple procedures, including using fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges, dental implants, and partial dentures. The main goal of restorative dentistry is to preserve the natural teeth as much as possible and to give you the smile that you deserve. The use of dental implants, partial dentures and other restorative tools, is important if teeth are to be removed.

Braces used to be the first thing you noticed if someone had them and some kids just wanted to avoid having them altogether, with those sharp wires and clunky metal brackets. Traditional braces caused sores, were tricky to keep clean, and restricted enjoying many favorite snacks. Having straighter teeth is beneficial for appearance, but also for the health of your teeth. A popular option for youth and adults today is Invisalign Braces. This modern approach is less invasive and much more attractive.

New ideas in dentistry:

  • Pediatric dentistry. Specialty dentists for kids began popping up around 15 years ago. Because dentists can be intimidating for kids, these new specialty pediatric practices feature graphics, games, and friendly and familiar themes making kids feel engaged and safe. In general, they’ve had additional and specialized training in pediatric dentistry and can work with babies through teens more effectively than ever.
  • No gain from pain. Back in the day, people only went to the dentist when they were in pain. Because of this, the opportunity to prevent issues was often lost and going to the dentist became associated with pain and, for some, trauma. Getting into the habit of twice-yearly check-ups with cleanings will allow the dentist to look for problems in advance of you having to have a dental emergency. Dentistry has become incredibly preventative. X-rays, oral exams, and cleanings all help detect current and potential future problems. Most dental insurance plans cover much, if not all, of this cost and offer discounts on any additional procedures required.
  • Gum disease used to be something patients had to live with. Gum disease is generally not curable, but it is treatable and more importantly, preventable. Prevent gum disease by seeing your dentist on a regular basis—at least twice a year. Early stages can be treated with a dental hygiene therapy called scaling and root planning. While it might sound scary or like an outdoor adventure, the treatment is actually a deep cleaning measure that helps fight back against gum disease. This is a nonsurgical procedure to treat your teeth and gums against plaque, bacteria, and tartar deposits.
  • Beyond the teeth. Checking for oral cancer is another recent addition to a routine dental check-up. Your dentist can examine your oral tissues easily by looking at your lips and inside your mouth, as well as, check your gingivae (gums) carefully, the inside of your cheeks and your tongue (the sides and underneath). The more preventative we are today, the brighter your future!
  • More options than ever. Some still have a slight fear of going to the dentist and the potential pain of dental treatments. In the past, they had little options and would avoid getting needed dental work and even check-ups. But today there is I.V. sedation. Intravenous (I.V.) sedation has become more common and works well for those with fear of the dentist and dental procedures. It is also ideal for patients whose fear of dentistry has led to a large amount of dental work needing to be completed. V. Sedation is also used for outpatient procedures, like colonoscopies. Referred to as “twilight sleep,” you will wake with little or no memory of the procedure. Anesthesia is given via the I.V. and recovery requires someone take you to/from the procedure.

Healthy at home, advancements and options:

Advances in types of toothbrushes have made cleaning your teeth much more thorough and, dare we say, even fun! Gone is the “one size fits all” toothbrush of 20-30 years ago. Now there are multiple sizes and types of bristles, easy to grip handles, and electronic versions on the market in all price ranges.

Flossing is an important thing to do at least daily (after every meal is ideal) to remove plaque and excess food particles. Many types of floss are on the market now (vs. one type fits all 20 or so years ago). Flavored floss, flosser sticks (or picks), waxed and unwaxed string floss, dental tape, electric flossers and natural floss are all options available.

Water picks (the most commonly known one being manufactured by Waterpik) are water flossers that are handy for reaching those hard to get to teeth in the back.  These come in a variety of price points and models, from table top to hand held.

With all dental tools, check with your dentist about the best fit for you and their recommendations.

The more we know, the better your health:

Poor oral health has been debated as a possible cause of heart disease for years. In 2012, experts from the American Heart Association reviewed the available scientific evidence and concluded that poor oral health hasn’t been proved to cause heart disease — and that treating existing gum disease hasn’t been proved to reduce the risk of heart disease. Still, studies have shown:

  • Gum disease (periodontitis) is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease.
  • Poor dental health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the blood stream, which can affect the heart valves.
  • Tooth loss patterns are connected to coronary artery disease.
  • There is a strong connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease and evidence that people with diabetes benefit from periodontal treatment.

Even though oral health isn’t a key to heart disease prevention, it’s important to take care of your teeth and gums:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss daily.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Protect yourself by learning more about the connection between your oral health and overall health. Remember, be preventative!

The connection between oral health and overall health:

  • 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.

So even if you still have big hair, shoulder pads, or drive your DeLorean to the office, the team here at Carolina’s Dental Choice is ready to treat your dental health needs, whatever they may be. Let us help you take preventative measures to keep your smile bright and glowing into the future.


*Mayo Clinic

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Why Dental Implants May Be the Right Choice for Your Oral Health

2020-07-16T16:59:46+00:00June 28th, 2018|Dental Bonding, Dental Crowns, Dental Implants, Dental Trends, Dentures, Fixed Bridges, Implants, Teeth Whitening, Veneers|

Carolina’s Dental Choice is committed to the philosophy of restorative dentistry, which is reproducing or repairing teeth and adjoining bones and tissue, through the use of metal and ceramic materials. Though dental implants have been around, in some form, for more than 40 years, it’s surprising how many people today don’t know the procedure is an option to replace a missing tooth or even multiple teeth. Implants are the closest in comparison to natural teeth. They are just as secure, long lasting, and easy to manage.



An implant is a titanium “root” which is placed into the jawbone in order to support a crown, bridge or denture. Ceramic crowns, onlays or veneers address the appearance of the “new tooth.” Over time, the human body completes the process, by growing bone and tissue around the tooth. This provides the artificial implanted tooth with even more stability and permanence.

Treatment generally is a three-part process that takes several months, according to the American Dental Association:

Step 1) The dentist surgically places the implant in the jaw, with the top of the implant slightly above the top of the bone. A screw is inserted into the implant to prevent gum tissue and other debris from entering. The gum then is secured over the implant. The implant will remain covered for approximately three to six months while it fuses with the bone, a process called “osseointegration.” There may be some swelling, tenderness or both for a few days after the surgery, so pain medication usually is prescribed to alleviate the discomfort. A diet of soft foods, cold foods and warm soup often is recommended during the healing process.

Step 2) The implant is uncovered and the dentist attaches an extension, called a post, to the implant. The gum tissue is allowed to heal around the post. Some implants require a second surgical procedure in which a post is attached to connect the replacement teeth. With other implants, the implant and post are a single unit placed in the mouth during the initial surgery. Once healed, the implant and post can serve as the foundation for the new tooth.

Step 3) The dentist makes a crown, which has a size, shape, color and fit that will blend with your other teeth. Once completed, the crown is attached to the implant post.



Dental implants can be an option at just about any age, as long a patient has healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant and is committed to maintaining basic oral care. Implants do not require any further care than one would provide for natural teeth, such as rinsing, flossing, and brushing a few times a day.

“Dental implants are very successful and long lasting but as with any surgical procedure, there might be complications,” writes Dr. Anveeta Agarwal, a consultant oral pathologist. “The best way to avoid dental implant failure is to make sure you practice good dental hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for dental check-ups and cleanings.”

Dental implant care tips include:

Practice good oral hygiene – brush twice a day and floss once daily. Using interdental brushes, brushes that slide between teeth, can help clean the hard to reach areas around your implant.

  • Quit smoking – smoking can weaken the bone structure and can contribute to implant failure.
  • Visit your dentist – cleanings and exams every six months can help ensure your implant is in good condition, and that it stays that way.
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods – don’t chew on hard items such as ice and hard candy because they can break the crown and your natural teeth.

The American Dental Association considers two types of implants to be safe. They are:

Endosteal implants — these are surgically implanted directly into the jawbone. Once the surrounding gum tissue has healed, a second surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. Finally, an artificial tooth (or teeth) is attached to the post-individually, or grouped on a bridge or denture.

Subperiosteal implants — these consist of a metal frame that is fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts, which are attached to the frame, protrude through the gums. As with endosteal implants, artificial teeth are then mounted to the posts.

Though some patients may be reluctant to undergo dental surgery — as well as the idea of having titanium pieces implanted to the jaw — dental implants offer a viable tooth replacement option when other attempts have failed. Patients may have tried bridges or dentures and been unhappy with the results, but dental implants are a healthy alternative.

“For some people, ordinary bridges and dentures are simply not comfortable or even possible, due to sore spots, poor ridges or gagging,” states Colgate. “In addition, ordinary bridges must be attached to teeth on either side of the space left by the missing tooth. An advantage of implants is that no adjacent teeth need to be prepared or ground down to hold your new replacement tooth/teeth in place.”

Additionally, implants serve a cosmetic function. Missing teeth may impact a person’s ability to get a job. 

How Dental Implants Can Improve Your Ability to Get a Job

“Poor oral health can significantly diminish quality of life in a number of ways – the most obvious being a person’s ability to eat, sleep and speak,” according to a 2016 report from the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative. “However, there are also social and economic consequences that can impact a person’s job readiness and performance, and ultimately the economic stability of communities. A survey of North Carolina adults revealed that the impact of oral health on job readiness is greatest among those from low-income households.”



Because dental implants can be used for one or more teeth, and the replacement teeth can vary in size and complexity, assigning a cost-point for the procedure can be challenging. At Carolina’s Dental Choice we usually see prices fluctuating anywhere from the $1,000 to the $3,000 range. Before making any final decisions on payment though, it is a good idea for a potential patient to consult with a dental practice and insurance company in order to clarify how much of the cost may be covered. 

At Carolina’s Dental Choice we provide information about payment, including insurance, Medicaid, and our in-house saving program online, and we are happy to discuss this information with you in person or over the phone.



In addition to dental implants, Carolina’s Dental Choice offers traditional dentures, bridges, partials, which replace teeth. Cosmetic options we offer include teeth whitening and veneers, which are porcelain and permanently bonded to your natural teeth. They can enhance tooth shape, color, length and size. Dental bonding repairs teeth with a tooth-colored resin (stable plastic material) that enhances your smile and can be done in one quick and easy visit.



It is our practice to have private consultations with our patients to discuss your teeth, your options, and your treatment. Our dental practice embodies family dentistry by treating our patients like family and working with you to make you smile!

You may find information including new patient forms on our website. Contact us today at 704.239.9519 to schedule your appointment!

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Seven Ways To Get Your Smile Ready For Summer!

2020-07-16T17:11:15+00:00April 30th, 2017|Dental Bonding, Dental Crowns, Dental Implants, Fixed Bridges, Implants, Teeth Cleaning, Teeth Whitening, Veneers|

With a whole season of fun events ahead you’ll want to make sure you look your best. Whether you are posing for that summer beach picture or smiling at a wedding you want your teeth to look their best. Make an appointment at Carolina’s Dental Choice to have your teeth cleaned or perhaps get a quick fix for a problem tooth.

Teeth Whitening Wilmington


Here are quick ways to improve your smile for the summer:
1   Teeth Whitening
Do you drink several cups of coffee in the morning or eat foods that stain your teeth?  Dr. Vaghani or Dr. Luckhardt can remove those stains with a simple, inexpensive teeth whitening procedure within a few weeks.  Using a carbamide peroxide gel that stays active for up to 6 hours you should notice a dramatic difference within a day.  Our dentist use Opalescence tooth whiten gel.  It has a good track record and can safely be administered at home.  The gel can stay on for short periods of time or over night. Patients often find this form of teeth whitening easy to use. The Opalescence gel comes in three different flavors and prevents dehydration. The gel works by bleaching your teeth to get rid of stains or discoloration.
2   Teeth Cleaning
Sometimes all it takes is a deep clean to do the trick! A deep clean at Carolina’s Dental Choice is an easy way to give your teeth a lift and help prevent dental issues. It is recommended that patients make it a routine to have their teeth cleaned regularly.

During a routine clean, patient’s teeth are brushed diligently, flossed, and examined for cavities and other dental formalities. This teeth cleaning removes plaque and tar that form on the teeth that can be hard to see and difficult to remove. The dentist will clean each individual tooth and remove all unwanted materials on the tooth through brushing, flossing, scrapping, and special dental techniques.

3   Dental Crowns

Uneven teeth? Discolored teeth? Or a week tooth? That’s where dental crowns can help. Dental crowns are designed to help restore the shape, color, and strength of a tooth. This is a considerable option for dental and cosmetic reasons. One of our experienced dentists will examine your teeth to see if a dental crown is necessary and to identify which crown would bet fit your dental needs.  A dental crown is a tooth shaped, porcelain crown that goes over the tooth. This is best for weak teeth that are predicted to crack or break or for teeth that have already cracked. The dental crown can also help support dental bridges or be used for cosmetic purposes. 

As a bonus, most insurance companies cover dental crowns if the procedure is necessary.  

4   Veneers

Looking for that perfect Hollywood Smile?  Veneers are a great choice to cosmetically enhance your smile.  The veneer is a thin custom made cover that can be placed over the teeth. They are made of porcelain and look identical to natural teeth. The veneer is permanently bonded to your tooth to keep your smile looking great!

Veneers change the shape, size and color of your teeth.  First, a small portion of the original enamel is removed, this allows for room for the veneer to be placed on the tooth and function just like the natural tooth.  Veneers may even be placed on the same day with minimally prepped veneers. This type of veneer requires no enamel to be grinded down.

5   Implants

If you have thought about dental implants before, take a second look. This procedure and the products associated with it have changed dramatically over the last six months.  Implants are the latest innovation in cosmetic dentistry.  If you are missing a tooth or two dental implants are a recommended way to replace missing teeth. The implant is a permanent replacement that is durable and looks natural. It can also be an alternative to getting dentures. Dental implants are embedded into the jaw and covered with an artificial tooth that matches other teeth.

There are two types of dental implants; endosteal implants and subperiosteal implants. Endosteal implants are directly implanted through a surgical procedure that implants directly into the jawbone. After the gum tissue is healed another surgery is needed to connect a post to the original implant. After these surgeries have taken place am artificial tooth is placed on the post. The subperiosteal implants are metal frames that are placed on to the jawbone just below the gum tissue. When the gum heals, the frame is secured into the jawbone. Then a post is attached to the frame and an implant is attached.

6   Fixed Bridges

The fixed dental bridge is another method done at Carolina’s Dental Choice to help repair missing teeth. A fixed bridge is a procedure used to replace one or more missing teeth. A bridge consists of two or more crowns. These artificial teeth can be made using gold, alloys, porcelain, or a mixture. The bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants. Dental bridges have many benefits that can help you obtain the perfect smile, create a proper way of speaking and eating, create structure, and prevent teeth from moving out of place.

There are three main types of dental bridges; Traditional Bridges, Cantilever Bridges, and Maryland Bonded Bridges. Traditional Bridges uses a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth. This is the most often form of bridge and is usually mad in ceramics or a porcelain fused to metal. Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on one side only of the missing teeth. This is not a very common form of bridge. Finally, there is the Maryland Bonded Bridge, these are gums supported by a framework of metal or porcelain and use porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth. The wings are often on one side of the bridge and bond to natural teeth.

7  Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a very quick and easy way to repair teeth that have cavities, cracks, chips, or to alter the shape and size. Dental bonding is a one-trip visit that makes it quick and easy. The bond is very cost effective. The bond is done by using a tooth-colored resin that is a durable plastic material. The dental bond can last anywhere from three to ten years!

To book an appointment before your spring event call Carolina’s Dental Choice at 704-289-9519. Dr. Brown and his team of wonderful dental experts would love to help enhance your smile so you can be confident and smile with pride!


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