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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Meet Hannah Autry, Our Social Events Director

2020-07-16T17:23:15+00:00January 22nd, 2019|Adam Brown DDS, Dentist Office Monroe NC|

Receptionists, dental hygienists, and dentists: these are familiar positions that we can put names and faces to when we think about our visits to Carolina’s Dental Choice. However, there are many more people that make Carolina’s Dental Choice an outstanding office and dental practice, and they’re not as behind-the-scenes as you might think. Cue the Social Events Director and dental assistant at Carolina’s Dental Choice, Hannah Autry, and hear more about what she helps CDC bring to the Monroe community. Plus, the next time you’re at the dentist, you’ll have another friendly face to put a name to!



Hannah Autry


Place of Birth:

Charlotte, NC



The Dental Staff Institute of Charlotte/CDA


What does your position as the Social Events Director entail?

I get to plan, manage, and execute various events in the community, targeting patients who do not currently have a dentist or are looking to find a new dentist. 


What does a normal day at CDC look like for you?

I am a full time dental assistant, so the majority of my time is spent helping Dr. Brown and Dr. Kashyap treat patients.  When I am not assisting I am planning new social events and working with other local businesses on ways to improve our marketing. 


Why is it important for a dental office to have a Social Events Director?

It brings in new patients, helps us give back to the community, and keeps us on the lookout to improve every part of the office, especially marketing. 


Could you tell us about what CDC’s community outreach plan looks like?

We plan on attending and planning various events in the community to prove that our dental office is the best around!

We recently attended the first annual Union County Bridal Show and Expo to reach out to newly engaged couples looking for a new dentist or wanting to improve their smile for the most photographed day of their lives.  We raffled bleach trays and gave out goodies to every bride, groom, and family member or friend who attended the show and stopped by our table.  We also recently provided Treehouse Vineyards with trivia prizes for the month of January.  After all, wine stains your teeth so bleach trays are beneficial to every wine drinker! 


Who are these events targeted to?

Families new to the area, businesses that have recently changed dental insurance providers, newly engaged couples, and anyone in the community looking for a new dentist.  


Are these events only local to Monroe?

Our events are not limited to Monroe.  We plan on extending our events to Charlotte and surrounding areas in the near future. 


What’s the most rewarding aspect of community outreach?

How much joy it brings people to know we are a small, private, locally-owned dental practice with one location and three doctors. 


Describe your team at CDC in one word.



What’s the most challenging part of your job?

I do not feel any part of my job is challenging because I have enough confidence in myself to handle any task that comes my way! 


How do you start your workdays?

With a nice workout including a long run, a healthy breakfast, and a delicious cup of coffee. 


What brought you to Monroe, NC?

I was raised in Indian Trail, NC where I spent all of my childhood.  Steven (my husband) and I bought our house in Monroe, NC back in 2015 and we plan on starting and raising our family here.  After all, we live less than 5 miles from the office!


What do you like about living here?

Absolutely everything!  I could not image living anywhere else.  We are passionate about traveling, so what better location could we have than to be three hours from the beach and mountains?  The Charlotte area has and will always be home to us.  


What are you passionate about?

My English Bulldogs (Tug Boat and Freight Train) are my children. When my husband Steven and I are not tending to, playing with, and snuggling them we enjoy traveling (the most), hiking, camping, fishing, golfing, being outdoors, working out, cooking, shopping, and spending time with our family and friends! 


What is the most important personal attribute you bring to your job?

I have a very bubbly personality and “never met a stranger” attitude.  Anyone who is working with people in the community needs to have a very outgoing personality!  Also, I feel organization is key to being successful.  My OCD plays a huge roll in my everyday life.  Whether it is here at work, at home, in the car, or even at the gym my life is organized in some way.


What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?

Creating a brochure to be used office-wide and passed out at all social events. 


What do you hope to accomplish this year as Social Events Coordinator?

Assuring each Union County resident has the best experience in our dental office.  Our clients trust us with all of their dental needs, and we appreciate the confidence they have placed in us by referring their family and friends to our practice and contributing to our daily growth!


Where can I learn more about CDC’s outreach events?

Our Facebook page is updated regularly with all events. 

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Gifts to Make Them Smile | Holiday Gift Guide

2020-07-16T16:58:42+00:00December 15th, 2018|Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, Teeth Whitening|

stocking stuffer santa dentistPerhaps when you were younger, Santa stuffed your Christmas stocking full of chocolate coins and peppermint twists — and a new toothbrush to remind you not to let all that candy rot your teeth. Santa’s always been a smart guy.

Whether Dasher, and Dancer, and Donner and friends will deliver dental care to your door this holiday season, Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to help you give the gift of dental health this year. We’ve put together a list that includes something for everyone.


Do you have a co-worker that likes to travel or travels a lot for work? Consider travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss and other small packables (like shampoos) and put them together in an attractive travel bag. Tuck in a small first-aid kit, sewing kit, shower cap, earplugs and other travel must-haves or comfort items. Travel items are also great for anyone planning a get-away. Combine the above items with a travel journal, pen, or guide book.

Got a college kid? Put together a semester’s worth of dental supplies including a toothbrush in their favorite or school colors, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, breath mints, single use travel brushes for those late nights in the library in a reusable tote.

And if you’ve got a sports fan, use the same idea but customize it for the team. You can find a Carolina Panthers toothbrush and partner it with a black, blue and silver toothbrush holder or rinse cup. Or consider a Charlotte Hornets toothbrush with a purple or teal hand towel.

Kids can benefit from the same kind of package featuring their favorite characters like Spider-ManHello KittyStar Wars, and The Secret Life of Pets.

Dental insurance for a year would make a wonderful gift for someone who might need an extra hand with expenses in the short-term, a student, or someone waiting for benefits with a new employer. Many options can be found online with different levels of coverage, so check carefully before signing up. In North Carolina, options include: Blue Cross Blue Shield NCAflacHumana, and United Health Care. Low-income children in North Carolina who do not qualify for Medicaid may be able to obtain health and dental insurance through the North Carolina Health Choice Health Insurance Program for Children.


Do you have a small child on your list who has not yet lost their first tooth? Sew up a customized Tooth Fairy Pillow with a little pocket in it for the tooth (and later the money)!

teeth cookie cutters dentistNot crafty? No worries! The artists of Etsy have you covered. There is a wide selection of dental-themed gifts available, sure to initiate grins from lots on your list like personalized tooth ornaments, tooth-shaped earrings and charms, tooth-shaped soap, wall art, and even a Tooth Fairy wand (should she need a hand during busy season). Meanwhile, Shutterfly can help you put together a customized mug or calendar or mousepad featuring photos of all your family members’ smiles.

If you’re a baker, there are tooth-shaped cookie cutters perfect for whipping up a batch of cookies for your dental office or dental student.


So many times we focus on giving things, but things may not be what a person actually needs. Instead hands-on help would be most appreciated! Whether that person is elderly, has mobility issues, or is a new parent, consider being present as a present.

Make a “gift card” for a homemade dinner once a month throughout the year. Whether you invite the recipient over — which also provides social support — or take a casserole over to their house, you’re giving more than just food.

Offer to drive. Making it to appointments can be a hassle without transportation. Talk about coordinating so that you can give your lunch hour to help someone get to the doctor, dentist, or even just run errands.

Lend a hand. Little things like taking out the trash each week, raking leaves, mopping the floor, or walking the dog are great ways to help someone mark a chore off the list. Maybe you have a skill that could be useful like repairing a porch railing, painting the bathroom, or organizing, but always make the effort to learn what kind of help a person needs.


Books are a great gift and there are many available with a take on teeth. For the beginning reader, “I Lost My Tooth” by Mo Willems features an ensemble cast of squirrels and “The Tooth Fairy” with Peppa Pig both help explain the process of losing and regrowing teeth. Adult readers with an interest in non-fiction will find the “The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine” by Thomas Morris a fascinating jaunt through the things we’ve done to the human body in what’s described as a “wryly humorous collection of stories about bizarre medical treatments and cases offers a unique portrait of a bygone era in all its jaw-dropping weirdness.” And keeping with the science theme, “Evolution’s Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins” by paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar studies human evolution and climate change through the records stored in fossilized teeth.

Surprise your family with a vacation to Baltimore, Maryland! The world’s first dental school was founded there in 1840 by Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris. The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (which later merged with the University of Maryland) taught generations of dentists. You can visit the National Museum of Dentistry located on the campus and explore dozens of exhibits featuring some of the objects from their 40,000-piece collection.

Vintage dental tools can make for a wonderful (if not quite unusual) conversation starter. Forceps, pelicans and toothkeys were commonplace in by-gone dental offices and some were made by blacksmiths. Many pelicans, aptly named for their shape, are made of silver and have hallmarks from a variety of countries, including England and France. Old dental chairs and equipment can be found at local antique shops and online as well as old dental advertising for products or services. In the early days, the local barber doubled as the neighborhood dentist!


Rhythm is Love (Ylang Ylang + Mint) Organic Toothpaste, made in France, is a collaboration between dental and artistic professionals. Uniquely flavored with ylang ylang, yuzu, and mint, the toothpaaste is sure to add a flavor and flair to anyone’s brushing routine.lebon mint toothpaste designer

Twice Early Bird and Twilight Toothpaste is a morning and night duo lights. The Early Bird formula is wintergreen and peppermint, and the Twilight blend combines lavender and mint for a relaxing finish to a long day.

The Burst Sonic Toothbrush is a powerful electric toothbrush with charcoal bristles that sonically vibrate 66,000 times in two minutes to get teeth super clean. It also features a quadpacer that will gently buzz every 30 seconds to ensure that every area of the mouth gets equal attention.

Minimalist, metallic and cool, the electric toothbrushes from Quip were one of the first approved by the American Dental Association. Compact and lightweight, the design looks and works great. Quip brushes suction cup to surfaces like mirrors or counter tops and are shower safe! 

Cocofloss bills itself as freshening, whitening, and soothing this colorful alternative to traditional floss adds a colorful and fun twist to the flossing routine. The 9-piece Floss Fanatic Set is available in a variety of flavors including coco, vanilla, mint, strawberry, and orange.

An electronic UV toothbrush sanitizer from Pursonic protects your toothbrush from germs and bacteria floating around and uses ozone and photo catalyst technology to kill germs and bacteria left behind.

Steripod makes an easy to use toothbrush protector great for home or travel as well as a razor protector and tongue scraper. The protective pods are designed to prevent cross-contamination like beard whiskers in toothbrush bristles.

Dental care can be part of a luxurious self care routine with a whitening treatment followed by a massage, manicure, and facial. Carolinas Dental Choice offers Opalescence whitening products to brighten your smile!


Giving something sweet to eat seems like a holiday tradition. If you’re shopping for someone with braces or orthodontic work, avoid these foods in order to protect their teeth: popcorn, nuts, hard candy, caramel, pretzels, and peanut brittle. Foods that are good for teeth are whole grains, fruits, lean meats, and vegetables. Sugar-free gum and candies are great options. And get creative when putting together a basket of goodies. Don’t forget treats for all family members! Pick up some dental chews for Fido or tartar cleaning snacks for Fluffy too.

If you’re looking for another way to recognize a caregiver such as a dental professional or nurse, think about things that will help them care for themselves. Massages, pedicures, manicures, a trip to the salt cave, compression socks, aromatherapy treatments, and meal delivery kits are great ways to support those whose job is to focus on others.


For the person who has everything, consider making a donation to a dental organization such as Operation SmileDental Lifeline, the American Dental Association initiative Give Kids a Smile, or America’s Dentists Care Foundation’s Missions of Mercy. Helping others guarantees a smile. You can also ask your dental practice how they are involved with the community and support their individual efforts.

Everyone at Carolinas Dental Choice wishes you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. Are your regular cleanings scheduled for 2019?


reindeer teeth gift guide


Did you know?

Reindeer only have front teeth on their bottom jaws! Reindeer have what’s called a dental plate or pad, which is a somewhat like an extra strong gum. Their premolar and molar teeth are made for grinding grass, hay, moss and lichen, and are very similar to those of other grass-eating animals such as cows and horses. Reindeer have 34 teeth total, compared to 32 teeth in people.

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Where Did The Tooth Fairy Come From?

2020-07-16T17:01:03+00:00March 31st, 2018|Dental Trends, General|

Do you remember the excitement of losing your baby teeth as a kid? Maybe even sticking your tooth under your pillow for the Tooth Fairy and waking up to a fun surprise. The Tooth Fairy makes losing teeth so much more exciting and helps children overcome any fears they have when teeth start falling out of their mouth. But where did this tradition come from? Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to share the story of the Tooth Fairy with you.

Each magical figure, like Santa Clause, the Sandman, and the Easter Bunny, has a story and reason that we love them. These stories are all interesting and are so different in many widespread cultures. Everyone’s traditions are all unique and the way people celebrate them make it fun and create charitable moments.

Where does the tradition of the Tooth Fairy come from?

The Tooth Fairy is an old, ancient, mythical figure from western folklore. The tradition began in Northern Europe by the Old Norse. They would reward children for the first tooth they lost. The tradition formed to help children escape the fear of losing teeth and replace the feelings with excitement. The myth goes as follows: children would lose their tooth and tuck it under their pillow at night. Once the child was fast asleep, the Tooth Fairy would fly in, collect the tooth, and in exchange leave the child a small gift or money. This tradition goes back to as early as the beginning of the 20th century.

Before the Tooth Fairy tradition, people did not celebrate teeth in quite the same way. Some actually feared teeth or thought that teeth could bring hardships or even cures. In the Middle Ages, people thought that teeth would bring bad experiences in the afterlife and that they would be searched for after death. To save children from future hardships, they would burn the teeth. Others burned their teeth out of fear that witches would find them and with the tooth, they could control them.

The Tooth Fairy myth came about to distract the fear of losing teeth. Children can be scared when it comes to teeth falling out. They may think that it will hurt or have fears that they won’t be able to eat or speak normally. Many are afraid that their tooth will never come back and that all of their teeth will just fall out. The Tooth Fairy tradition helps alleviate the fear of losing teeth and replaces it with a fun and exciting tradition that leaves children waiting for the fairy.


What does the Tooth Fairy leave in place of the tooth?

Twenty years ago, the tooth fairy may have left a quarter under the pillow but as with everything, teeth are subject to inflation. On average children receive between one and five dollars per tooth. Sometimes children receive different amounts based on which tooth is lost. Generally, the first tooth children lose is valued far more by the tooth fairy and children may receive a higher amount as a reward. Many warn against giving too much for a tooth, as it could cause problem amongst the child and their friends. Children love to share their encounters with magical figures. Who wouldn’t? But when the stories don’t add up, some might get angry or feel left out. This fun and exciting myth should stay fun instead of having children compare whose tooth was worth more.


When does the Tooth Fairy stop coming?

The Tooth Fairy stops visiting a child when they have lost all of their baby teeth or when they stop believing in the magic. Children begin loosing baby teeth between the age of four and eight. This process continues until a child is around nine to twelve years old. Many children will place every tooth under their pillow: some still believing and others just enjoying the fun in the magic. Others will outgrow the tradition before they have lost all their teeth. If this happens, don’t be discouraged: it is just a part of growing up but they will cherish the memories of the tradition when they are older. Children often stop believing in the magical figures around the same time. So if they have out grown the magic of the Tooth Fairy, be prepared for them to lose interest in the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause soon after as well. When children are around age seven to nine, they are psychologically expanding their mind to begin distinguishing fantasy from reality. They is usually when they begin questioning magical figures. 

Even if the child has figured out the myth, it can still continue in the spirit of fun and tradition. Many children admit that even once they no longer believe, they still enjoy the tradition and find it fun to do with their parents. As long as it’s still enjoyable and you don’t have to lie to keep the children believing, Carolina’s Dental Choice says continue with the fun. Who doesn’t love tracking progress with small rewards along the way? The Tooth Fairy is a great way to keep track of a permanent smile in growth.


Why Carolina’s Dental Choice loves the Tooth Fairy

Here at Carolina’s Dental Choice, we love the Tooth Fairy because it helps promote oral health early on. Children can’t learn about their teeth and the importance of the oral health early enough. Starting good habits and educating children on their teeth early in life will help children carry oral health skills with them as they grow. The Tooth Fairy lightens the introduction to dentistry. For children, visiting the dentist, losing teeth, and keeping up with oral hygiene can be scary, but the Tooth Fairy helps take away from the fear and makes the process of dental growth more exciting, less scary, and fun for children.

To get the most out of the Tooth Fairy while teaching children about oral health, we recommend telling your children that the Tooth Fairy likes healthy and clean teeth. This is a great way to encourage your child to brush their teeth and start building healthy habits. At Carolina’s Dental Choice, we love working with children to help them learn the value of their smile early. Our goal is to help you keep your child’s teeth healthy and will make sure your child leaves our office with a smiling face. Also children are able to earn small prizes for every appointment where they make the No Cavity Club! To make your appointment, call (704) 289-9519.


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Dry Mouth in the Elderly

2020-07-16T17:03:08+00:00September 14th, 2017|General|

Dry mouth syndrome, otherwise known as Xerostomia, is much more than simply feeling parched every now and again. As we age the composition of our saliva changes, and we produce less of it. There seems to be no real cause for this reduction in saliva produced, but it can become a serious problem, one that tends to gradually become worse the older we get. This is why we, at Carolina’s Dental Choice, encourage all our patients who experience dry mouth to come in for a quick check-up. Whether you are young or old, and experience mild or severe xerostomia, it is worth a visit to one of our professionals who can help find a way for you to feel better again.


An Increasing Elderly Population

Thanks to an ever-increasing mortality rate and decreasing fertility rate, America’s elderly population is growing. With a better quality of life comes a richer, longer one. However, there are always two sides to the coin. As our mortality rate continues to grow, we find the need to deal with certain pesky health complications that target the elderly. One in particular, being oral care. Sure, we have found ways to deal with rotting teeth and gum disease. Veneers, dentures, and bridges have come a long way. The practice of restorative dentistry is beyond impressive, just ask any Carolina’s Dental Choice patient and he or she will attest to the wonders of modern dentistry. We can and have done wonderful things for elderly people who find their oral health deteriorating, but one condition that seems to often get missed is dry mouth syndrome. This tends not to be dealt with because most people feel it is one that must be endured. What a lot of elderly people do not know is that dry mouth syndrome can lead to some pretty serious health problems if it is not dealt with. The truth is this is not a condition that needs to be suffered through. For the sake of one’s health and quality of life, dry mouth is something to be taken seriously.


What Xerostomia Can Lead To

Chronic dry mouth can cause difficulty in speech, kill the appetite, and can even lead to cavities and bad breath. In older patients who find their gums beginning to recede, this can be even more detrimental. Dry mouth can affect the exposed area of the teeth, causing them to rot. To add to this problem, taking medication regularly can induce dry mouth. Since the elderly generally take more medication than younger individuals, this directly targets them.

Constant sore throat, dry nasal passages, dental decay, difficulty swallowing and speaking, these all can be a direct results due to poorly produced saliva. Our saliva does so much more than simply lubricate the mouth. One of its most important jobs is to neutralize and rinse away bacteria and acids that are harmful to the teeth and gums. Sadly, as we grow older our mouth produces less saliva, thus leading to xerostomia. This is why Carolina’s Dental Choice takes dry mouth seriously. We know how uncomfortable it can be to have a constantly dry pallet. No one, especially the elderly, should have to suffer through this, which is why we have come up with a few helpful hints for those who are ready to get passed their bouts of dry mouth.

Home Remedies for Dry Mouth Syndrome

If you are tired of constantly having dry mouth there are some pretty successful home remedies you can try. Here are the ones we recommend:

  • This seems a bit obvious, but it’s rather surprising how many people do not drink enough water. According to the Mayo Clinic, older men should drink at least three liters of water a day. Older women should have two to three liters. It’s also important to drink water throughout the day, rather than trying to get it all down in one sitting. By continually drinking water during the day you can help keep your mouth moist and fresh.


  • Sugar-Free Candies. Sucking on sugar-free candy is a great way to temporarily stimulate the production of saliva. Any time your mouth feels dry, pop in a candy. Just be sure your candy is sugar-free, as sucking on sugar can cause tooth decay and continue to dry out the mouth.


  • Sugar-Free Gum. Just as with candy, chewing gum does a wonderful job at stimulating saliva production. Though it is only a temporary fix, chewing gum can last longer than sucking on a piece of candy. Nowadays there are plenty of sugar-free options to choose from, but it’s best to make sure you choose gum with an ADA Seal of Acceptance.


  • Stay Away From Caffeine. This might be the most difficult one to do, but it makes a huge difference. Caffeine naturally dries out the mouth, which will only make things much worse. Choose decaffeinated coffees and teas so you can still enjoy the taste of your favorites, and if you rely on these drinks to wake you up in the morning there are plenty of other options to get you up and moving. A full breakfast, fresh fruit, oats, almonds, these are great ways to wake up. Try eating an apple first thing in the morning. You will be amazed at how well it stimulates. Some even say an apple is more powerful than a cup of coffee!


  • Keep a Humidifier Running. Having a little extra moisture in the air can do wonders to relieve dry mouth. For $50 to $100 you can purchase a nice little humidifier that will keep your room, or even your entire house, free of dry, stale air.


  • Breathe Through Your Nose. As much as you can, try and breath only through your nose, as mouth breathing quickly dries the mouth out. Obviously there are times when you need to breathe through the mouth, like when you are running short of breathe, but when you are resting utilize the nose.


  • Stay Away From Smoke. Smoke, especially from cigarettes or cigars, drastically dries out the mouth. Even just being around those who smoke can cause a reaction. Try your best to stay smoke free, and if you have friends or family members who smoke, kindly ask them to put it out.


  • Use the Right Mouthwash. Rinsing the mouth a few times a day with alcohol-free mouthwash is another great way to keep the mouth moist. Just make sure it truly is alcohol-free! Alcohol is another one that tends to dry the mouth.


  • Floss Daily. Those of us who suffer from dry mouth can end up with periodontal disease due to bits of food and decay stuck between teeth. These bits of food can become dangerous when there is not enough saliva in the mouth to break them down. You can counteract this problem by flossing at least once a day. Morning and night are the ideal times, but if you can only do one, try and floss right before bed. This way you are not sleeping, and possibly mouth breathing, with dirty teeth.


Our last bit of advice is possibly the most important: come see us for a teeth cleaning. Not only will we make sure your teeth are shiny and clean, we can also find additional ways to help your specific case of dry mouth. This way, if you suffer from extremely dry mouth we can advise on some more serious methods to make you happy again. Call us at 704-289-9104, or visit our website: See you soon!


By: Andrae Bergeron

Content Writer

CCP Web Design





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The Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use on the Teeth

2021-02-05T17:58:45+00:00August 30th, 2017|General|


Sitting on your couch watching TV, you hear the commercial that seems to have found the perfect cure to a common illness, you sit and listen and observe the happy people, then the commercial ends and a quick and speedy list of about a million side effects are announced in a low monotone voice. Carolina’s Dental Choice wants you to know the negative effects opioids have on your teeth. The fact of the matter is this: there is a good chance that due to modern advancements in medicine, we have begun to take advantage of the fact that there is a drug for just about any ailment. We have become so focused on feeling better, we have neglected to read the fine print. This is not to say modern medicine is bad. Rather, it is important that we take extra good care of our teeth. This is true more now than ever, especially with the use of opioids on the rise.


Narcotic pain relievers prescribed only by a medical professional are called opioids. Most of us know them better by their particular names such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine, but each of these opioids carries with it a dangerous condition: dry mouth. There are many side effects to opioid use (addiction being the most deadly), but dry mouth is the one that can do direct damage to the teeth. What happens when we use opioids for short or long periods of time is the saliva deteriorates from the mouth. We need the bacteria in saliva to be continually present in order to fight off infection, tooth decay, and a host of other possible issues. Admittedly, dry mouth does not sound to be all that serious of a problem, but it is important to understand that dry mouth is simply the source of other much more serious side effects to opioid use.


This is not to say opioids are bad, but the long-term effects of opioid use can be extremely hazardous to the teeth if specific measures are not taken. Here are several of the symptoms that can become present after opioid use:


  • Dryness in the mouth and throat – this can cause discomfort when talking or trying to swallow. It can keep you from sleeping, even keep you from eating.


  • Thick saliva – this is when the little saliva you have left in your mouth becomes viscous or mucus-like. This can interfere with speech, eating, and drinking. It can also create bad breath.


  • Sore throat – we all know how terrible it is to have a sore throat. It’s difficult to sleep and swallow. It can even be painful to speak at times.


  • Increase in plaque development – more plaque means higher chances for cavities and rotted teeth. Gum infection can also occur.


  • Bad breath – there are different types of bad breath: one caused from the foods or drinks we intake and another from dry mouth. The former can be dealt with by brushing, chewing gum, or taking mints. The latter is minimally effected by these things, and continuously gets worse with the more opioids we take.  


  • Mouth sores – these painful infections seem to irritate to no end, and without enough saliva in the mouth, they take longer to go away.


  • Poor sense of taste – dry mouth can even cause our taste buds to suffer. Foods begin to taste dull, flat, or completely void of flavor altogether.



Luckily, there are remedies for dry mouth, and by taking a little time out of your day, these side effects of opioid use can be one less thing to worry about.

If you have been prescribed an opioid it is extremely important to have routine exams at Carolina’s Dental Choice. Once you are here, we can have a close look at your teeth and mouth to see what is most likely to happen once you begin taking the medication. We can even discuss possible side effects specific to your teeth from long-term opioid use. Regardless of how long you will be on the medication, there are a few things to start doing in order to counteract the many possible outcomes previously listed due to opioid use.

One thing you can do is purchase artificial saliva spray. This can help to moisten the mouth and increase the flow of saliva. If your dry mouth continues, you may want to contact your physician. He or she can prescribe Pilocarpine, which helps stimulate salivary glands to create saliva. Before trying either of these things, start by drinking extra water to see if it does the trick.

There are a few good home remedies that have proven to help many suffering from dry mouth, and it never hurts to try these first.


  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss each time as well.


  • Drink plenty of water or unsweetened fluids with meals.


  • Use only sugar-free mints or gum to stimulate saliva flow.


  • Try to breathe primarily out of the nose rather than your mouth.  


The digestion of food is dependent upon saliva. Saliva not only keeps the mouth moist, it also helps prevent against viruses, fungi, and tooth decay from taking place inside the mouth. Even if you are taking measures to control your dry mouth, it is essential that you still come into Carolina’s Dental Choice regularly for cleanings and checkups. Viruses, fungi, and tooth decay are not always apparent at first, which is why you want a professional who can detect and deal with them right away.

Here are a few more things to consider:


  • Brush your teeth with soft bristles. If soft bristles still cause pain or irritation, try soaking the bristles in warm water prior to use.


  • Avoid flossing around bleeding or sore gums, as this can cause more serious problems. If your gums do not seem to be getting better, make an appointment with Carolina’s Dental Choice right away.


  • Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride and that does not contain alcohol. Alcohol in mouthwash can actually encourage dry mouth.


  • As much as possible, refrain from sticky, sugary foods and drinks. Any time you do consume these, be sure to brush your teeth right afterward.


  • Drink a lot of water throughout the day. This almost goes without saying, but it really can help keep the mouth from remaining dry.


  • Run a humidifier in your room while you sleep. This will make sure the air you are breathing in is not too dry.


  • Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks tend to quickly dry out the mouth. If you partake of either make sure you drink plenty of water before and after. Brushing your teeth after these can help as well.


We Can Help You

At Carolina’s Dental Choice we are here to help you. If you have been prescribed opioids, and have found that your mouth feels a little dryer than usual, come see us. Any or all of the preventative measures listed here can help, but allowing one of our trained professionals to look at your mouth can help pinpoint the most effective way for you to protect yourself from extreme dry mouth.


By: Andrae Bergeron

Content Writer

CCP Web Design

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Why is Dental Insurance and Dental Health Not Included in Regular Healthcare?

2020-07-16T17:13:58+00:00July 31st, 2017|General|

Though dentistry is a medical practice, and is a very important part of an individual’s bodily health, both the medical system and insurance programs do not see it this way. They actually never have. For some strange reason, anything dental related is considered separate from these institutions. Dental insurance and dental health plans are not typically included in regular healthcare, which ends up leaving patients in a pricy predicament that produces negative results. At Carolina’s Dental Choice, we won’t leave you confused as to what is and is not covered. We are committed to taking care of all our patients, and this begins with understanding that dental health is bodily health.

There are countless tales of woe depicting situations where individuals with mild to severe dental issues are not able to receive the care they need because their healthcare provider simply does not cover dental. These individuals end up having to live with the pain caused by cavities, chipped or dead teeth, or even more complicated issues requiring dental surgery. Dental care is simply not seen as a part of one’s health. This makes absolutely no sense. To say there is no link between a person’s dental health and his or her overall health, is completely untrue. Just ask any dentist. Poor oral health can devastate the rest of the body. So why don’t regular healthcare providers see it this way? Well, it’s a bit complicated and extremely antiquated.


A Strange History

Nowadays, dentists are known to be highly trained professionals who have endured numerous years learning their craft but this has not always been the case. An article in the Atlantic provides a brief history of dentistry. The article states that up until the 1800s, all dental problems were taken care of by local barbers. Sounds a little strange, huh? Imagine popping in for a quick shave only to have your barber explain that he needs to pull a few teeth. The local barber could become a primitive dentist in a pinch, often times even conducting minor surgeries as well. This was this way dental worked for years because surgery and medicine were seen as two completely different practices. A barber could also be a dentist and a surgeon, since these practices were messy and barbaric. Bad teeth were yanked from the mouth. Open wounds were sewn back up without numbing agents. It didn’t really take someone well practiced as it did someone who could handle dealing with lots of blood and screaming. Whereas the practice of medicine was more refined, requiring intelligence and finesse. Deciding what would help a patient cope with pain and injury took time and education. So it makes sense for the separation between dentistry and medicine. At least it makes sense for back then.


But once anesthesia and numbing agents came about, everything changed. Patients could now be put under or numbed, and the practice of surgery and dentistry became more sophisticated. People began to study oral health more seriously, leading to a true profession in the field of dentistry. Even though the idea of dentistry was changing to something proper and professional, the stigma of its previous uncivilized nature was never dropped. Students wishing to pursue studies in dentistry had difficulty

gaining acceptance into medical schools, and they were often left to teach themselves.  



The Stigma Continues  

Up into the mid 1960s, dentistry was still seen as something not quite connected to our bodily health. It just didn’t carry the same level of importance to society as other medical practices. And when Medicaid was finally established, dental was not included. But that was over fifty years ago, and we know so much more now. It’s clear that oral health is indeed directly connected to our overall health. But for some reason, today’s healthcare providers typically only offer dental for children and pregnant women. The rest of us are on our own. And this is a scary thought seeing how anything beyond a teeth cleaning can end up costing a lot of money. And for those who cannot afford such procedures, they are left to live with the pain. And sadly, this pain usually evolves into more serious issues that cost even more money.


According to The Atlantic, “Just 12 states include the full suite of dental services, including common procedures like crowns and root canals, for Medicaid patients. Three offer nothing at all. The rest provide something in between—usually a list of preventative procedures, like cleanings and X-rays, and sometimes extractions and fillings” (Khazan). And the article goes on to say that when state budgets get tight, guess what gets cut first? Yep, anything to do with dental.


It Just Doesn’t Add Up

Think of the results of poor oral health, bad breath, missing, or discolored teeth can, at the very minimum, reduce confidence. They can even keep you from getting that job you want or impact relationships with friends and loved ones. On a larger scale, poor oral health can effect your very being. Dental problems can cause chronic headaches, diabetes, and heart problems. Nerves that are connected to your mouth can reverberate pain to other parts of your body, resulting in pain all over, not just in the mouth. Yet our healthcare providers continue to see dental issues as completely separate from other bodily health problems. But aren’t our mouths, and everything inside of them, a part of our body? Uh, yeah. How is it logical then that health insurance plans can decide which parts of our body are to be covered? It just doesn’t add up.


It Gets Worse

It’s bad enough that most dental needs are not covered by regular insurance providers, but what’s even worse is that what is covered is incredibly confusing to understand. Usually, the dental procedures included are labeled as “Additional Benefits,” implying they are extra services rather than those that are normally in need by everyone. Healthcare providers also like to explain that they are not required to provide the dental services listed, and that they have the right to discontinue the coverage of any or all of them whenever they want. This means you can go to a dentist one day to have a cavity taken care of, and then come back the very next day for the same procedure only to find out it’s not covered any longer. Healthcare customers are often left in the dark as to which procedures are actually covered. There have been cases of individuals who were covered for a more complicated procedure, such as a root canal, but were not covered for something simple, like a routine cleaning.

What this confusion does, besides cost us more money, is encourage people to not see their dentist regularly. Whereas it is strongly recommended to visit the dentist for a cleaning and checkup every six months, most people only see their local dentist once a year at best. Some just don’t go at all. And this works right into the hands of the healthcare providers. We pay to be insured, they make dental so confusing we don’t end up using it.


Let Us Take Care of You

At Carolina’s Dental Choice we are just as upset about the current state of dental insurance as you. That’s why we are clear and up front about everything. We will not only let you know which insurance companies we accept, but we will also help you understand what procedures are covered. Dental care is a health issue, and we take it very seriously. It’s time to get what you are paying for. Begin to take advantage of your provider’s dental coverage, as big or little as it may be.


By: Andrae Bergeron

CCP Web Design

Content Writer

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