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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Finding an Experienced Dentist in Monroe, North Carolina

2020-07-16T16:55:10+00:00June 17th, 2019|Adam Brown DDS, Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Crowns, Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, General, Oral Health, Teeth Whitening|

There are fewer things more stressful than finding a new health provider, much less finding an office and staff to trust you and your family’s smile with. Whether you’re searching for the right dentist to advise your oral health regimen, or are simply in the market for a new dentist, Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to equip you with the right knowledge to find an experienced dentist suited for your treatment needs.

 

Find an Experienced Dentist—Don’t Get Unnecessary Treatments

In need of a second opinion after getting a hefty price estimate for a procedure, you’re not sure you really need? Had a bad experience with a previous dentist and searching for a new practice to rebuild trust with? Waited so long for a dental visit that you’re just ready for a fresh start and motivation? No judgments and no worries! Finding an experienced dentist does not have to be an ordeal.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by your search for the right dentist. From Google searches, Yelp reviews, to scouring websites and seeking out word of mouth recommendations, there are many ways in which we try to find a great dentist. If you’ve moved recently or switched insurance companies, it can also be difficult to move on from a long-time dentist and find another that meets all of your expectations.

Where should you even start? We have laid out the most important considerations in your search for the right experienced dentist.

 

Question 1: What makes a good dental practice?

You have probably asked yourself this before. What makes a good dentist? Is it a staff of gentle hygienists? A dentist who spends time in the room with the patient? The cheapest treatment options around? Let’s discuss it!

 

Expectations should be met with every point of contact, including staff

Whether you are making your first call to inquire about services, scheduling an appointment, or entering the practice, the staff should be welcoming to patients. Practices that leave patients in the waiting room without greeting and without respect for patients’ time are red flags that the dental practice does not respect the time of their clients. A friendly, punctual staff ensures that the visit is great from start to finish.

 

Active listening

Between the hygienists and the dentist, you need a practice that listens to what you say. As the patient, you are the best advocate and knowledge base of your own health, and a good dental practice values that. By listening to your concerns and requests, and acting on what they hear, rather than talking over the patient or not spending and giving the time to the patient to speak their concerns, the patient will collaborate with the dental practice to ensure they are receiving the best treatment options.

 

Attempts to know the patient

In a larger practice, we do not expect our dentists to know the patient’s entire history, but no patient wants to feel like another file on the shelf. A dentist taking the time to know you can affect the level of care that the patient gets. Whether that’s making friendly conversation or taking a few minutes to read your chart, attempting to know the patient can make all the difference in your dental care.

 

Question 2: What are the warning signs of a bad dentist?

Fraudulent dentists certainly are not the norm, but more often than you would think, dishonest practices have impacted patients in their long-term trust in dentistry and their own oral health. The wrong dentist is more concerned with his pocketbook rather than the overall health of your mouth, meaning he may recommend and perform unnecessary treatments. Procedures that aren’t necessary can wreak havoc on your mouth and lead to further problems down the road.

 

Signs of Fraudulent Practice

  1. Urgency without explanation:

If your dentist identifies an issue that is not a dental emergency and tells you a procedure needs to be done immediately, you should start by asking why and for full disclosure on the procedure itself. If you are in a new dentist’s chair for a regular cleaning and suddenly you’re bombarded with procedures of a type you’ve never needed before, or that you did not enter the practice asking for help with, then it may be a red flag. When the dentist is vague on the reasoning for procedures, he may be pressuring you into going forward without understanding all of your options.

  1. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is:

Some dentists offer very discounted, or even free cleanings as a way to get patients in the door. Once in the chair, they may either hit you with fees that were never mentioned as part of the deal or as mentioned before, pressure you into procedures with intensity.

  1. Lack of Patient Education:

As we mentioned before, the sign of a great dentist is one who educates patients and ensures that decisions are made collectively between the patient and dentist. It is not good practice when dentists and hygienists are not willing to take time and explain the dental issues and recommended procedures to the patient. Even the act of not showing patients their x-rays can be a red flag. Your dentist should take the time to discuss what is shown in your x-rays, point out any lesions or unhealthy teeth, and talk through the treatment plan with the findings.

 

Question 3: How does dentistry become susceptible to fraud, and how can I determine if I am part of fraudulent dentistry?

We know that for the majority of dentists out there, it took years of hard work and building trust among their patients to make a successful dental practice. But, as in any profession, there are a small number of professionals out there who turn to taking shortcuts for financial gain. For the medical profession in general, medical diagnoses can be subjective. Because of this, we have a number of suggestions to improve patient advocacy.

 

Understand how your insurance works with the dental practice.

Beyond having a sense of your general dental coverage, you may not know how the dental practices interact before and after your dental visit. After scheduling your appointment, the staff at the dental practice will reach out to your dental insurance company to find out everything that is covered under your provider. So before you even enter the office, the experienced dentist will know everything that can be billed to you during your dental visit. Unfortunately, this can leave the patient vulnerable to receiving treatments that are more likely to be reimbursed by the insurance company, rather than what’s truly right for the teeth.

 

For example, a dentist may be choosing between a filling and a root canal for a patient. Taking the path with the root canal and crown is more lucrative for the dental practice. This is because it is common knowledge that root canals are easier to pass through an insurance company than a filling, and by receiving a root canal, you’re automatically approved for a crown. Root canals are easier to pass simply because the dentist can justify the root canal by claiming that the patient was in pain. The problem here is that the dentist may have just been able to perform a filling, which is a cheaper procedure and less invasive for the patient.

 

Now that there are some ways of identifying fraud, let’s talk about active ways to prevent getting in those situations in the first place.

 

  1. Choose your dentist based on referrals

Your insurance company may be telling you which dentists to see, but take time to do your own research. Seek out others with the same insurance and ask for a recommendation. Or, if you have a current dentist in the same area but you have switched insurance policies, ask your dentist for a recommendation, or ask for a recommendation from a local dentist society or health professional. Just because the insurance company covers a dentist does not make it a suitable referral. Plus, seeking out opinions from family, friends, and co-workers can give recommendations backed by real experiences.

  1. Consider going family-owned rather than corporate

Chain-dentistry practices drive patients through the door with heavy advertising and discounts, quick cleanings, free exams, and of course, hundreds or thousands of dollars in unnecessary dental work. Corporate dental chains can run on a quota-based model that can sometimes lead to practices working on the side of pushing unnecessary treatments.

  1. Ask for the appointment time

Generally, a new patient appointment should take around an hour and a half. If the office tells you that appointment should only last about a half hour, they may be trying to rush you through what should be a thorough cleaning and appointment, rather than give you the time you deserve as a patient. If you’re an established patient, appointment time can vary, but a cleaning should take at least 45 minutes. If it lasts only 15 minutes, it’s time to start asking questions.

  1. Always check your bill

In a true dental scam, a dentist might inflate claims or bill insurers for procedures that the patient didn’t receive. The best way to avoid this from happening is to ensure communication with your dentist, ask for an estimated price upfront (prior to sitting in the dental chair), and always checking your bill at checkout. According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, it is estimated that Americans lose about $68 billion dollars each year to healthcare fraud. Don’t be a victim of dental fraud; know the signs and do not be afraid to advocate for yourself as a patient.

  1. Check the market rate for common procedures.

There are common procedures you have had before that you know the price for, but when dental pain strikes, sometimes you are willing to pay anything for it to get fixed. It’s at these times when it is most important to ensure that you are being offered a fair, market-rate price, and not just being offered the most expensive procedure that your insurance may or may not cover.

  1. Seek other opinions.

If you have ever had a major dental procedure, it is likely that you might have sought out another opinion. One dentist may recommend that you need it, while another may not. This is totally normal, and encouraged, especially if you feel that any of the signs above are occurring.

  1. Feel out the culture of the office.

While how you feel as a patient is important, seeing how the experienced dentist treats the staff can also impact the care you receive. The best doctors are attentive to patients and staff. If you have a bad feeling with your interaction from the front desk to the dental chair, how can you trust your oral health to the practice? You should feel safe and welcome at the dentist from the moment you walk in the door. 

 

Find a dental provider who’s right for you and your family

Carolina’s Dental Choice is here to make you feel right at home, whether you’re new to the area or a longtime resident. Give us a call today if you’re in need of a welcoming, friendly face in the dental practice world at 704-289-9519.

 

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Gifts to Make Them Smile | Holiday Gift Guide

2020-07-16T16:58:42+00:00December 15th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, 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.

PRESENTS WITH A PURPOSE

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.

MAKE IT HOMEMADE

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.

BE PRESENT

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.

EXPLORE DENTAL HISTORY

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!

DESIGNER GIFTS FOR DESIGNER SMILES

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!

SOMETHING SWEET

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.

GIFT BY GIVING

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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Opioids in Dentistry: What You Should Know

2020-07-16T16:59:31+00:00August 28th, 2018|Dental Insurance, Dental Trends, General|

Have you ever been afraid of going to the dentist? Whether your fear is based on prior bad experiences or the potential for pain, you’re not alone.

However, many dental patients express a different fear regarding dental pain: potential addiction to prescribed pain treatments. Opioids are a type of narcotic pain medication often prescribed after major dental procedures. Opioids work by reducing pain signals to the brain. They are very effective in treating pain; however, they also carry a risk of addiction.

Opioid abuse and overdose has been an increasing epidemic across all ages, genders, and classes in the United States. A stunning national statistic reveals that although the U.S. represents 5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes 80 percent of the global opioid supply. According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), from 1999 to 2016, more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdose.

Fear of opioids or opioid addiction creates a tricky situation for patients who might be wondering, “How is my dentist going to make sure I am not experiencing pain or suffering, while also avoiding addiction to the pain medications prescribed after dental procedures?’ At Carolinas Dental Choice we make sure to work with you to safely manage your pain.

What are opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. At first, opioids produce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. After repeated and prolonged use, the brain develops a tolerance towards its effects and begins to crave the pleasure-inducing effects, despite becoming less susceptible to the actual pain relief of the drugs. 

How addiction to opioids starts

Opioids are very effective in treating pain, especially when someone is in high pain and needs immediate relief. Often, and unfortunately, addiction may be an unforeseen result of a legitimate need for pain treatment. Opioids like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone are highly addictive and lead to physical dependencies.

Opioids are prescribed for short-term pain management and aid in treating severe pain. Opioids used over a longer period become less effective, which may drive the urge to take higher doses in order to achieve the same effect as when the medication was first started.

What does addiction to opiates look like?

• Using drugs past the prescription or initial pain treatment
• Becoming tolerant and needing the drug more often
• Having withdrawals from the drug
• Strong desire or urge to use the drug
• Continuing use despite financial, legal, or social problems

Once the opioid is stopped, withdrawal symptoms can include muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold-flashes, and more. To lessen the chances of withdrawal take any prescription as directed and plan to taper down doses. Your doctor can help you create a plan to safely reduce your medication use while managing your pain.

Opiates at the Dentist: What’s the problem?

Dentists are the second highest prescribers of opioids in the U.S. Over the past few years however, opioid prescriptions from dentists have been in decline. On average, dentists prescribe three days worth of opioids to their patients, aiming to only administer the lowest-potency opioids for short periods of time for conditions associated with severe pain.

Procedures and conditions that call for opioid prescriptions can range depending on the patient’s pain tolerance and preference, but most commonly include:

• Wisdom teeth surgery
• Tooth/Molar extraction
• Dental infections
• Surgical trauma

The American Dental Association announced new policies to combat the opioid epidemic in March 2018, which include continued education in prescribing opioids and other controlled substances, and statutory limitations on opioid dosage and duration of no more than 7 days for acute pain.

Manage pain responsibly

There is a no one-size-fits-all for treatment, so talking to your dentist to determine what course of action is best for you is a great place to start. At Carolinas Dental Choice we encourage you to update your dentist on your health history, share what medications you might be taking, and disclose if you or someone in your close family are in recovery or have struggled with addiction in the past.

We want to have a conversation with you to answer these questions:

• What is the goal of this prescription?
• At what time and when should I take these?
• How long should I take these drugs?
• Are there risks from this medication?
• What do I do with any extra medication?

Dentists and patients alike need to be on the same page about the perception of pain for these dental procedures, as well as what realistic expectations are for their pain treatment. The goal of pain management is exactly that — management not magic. Often patients may expect to feel absolutely no pain after procedure and anxiety about pain can actually contribute to feeling it. Experiencing a little bit of pain is okay. It will help you keep track of whether something actually hurts and needs treatment or you are continuing to take a medication out of habit. Only treat your pain to the point that it is manageable and does not interfere with your quality of life.

How to treat dental pain without opioids

Opioids are not usually dentists’ first choice to send home with patients. The alternatives to opiates include familiar medications. Over-the-counter pills can be just as effective for controlling pain, and safer, as they are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).

In a recent study by The Journal of the American Dental Association, the most effective pain relief with the fewest side effects is 400 milligrams of ibuprofen with 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen. They also found that this combination is more effective than any other opioid or opioid-containing drugs. Most patients can find pain relief with a combination of Tylenol and ibuprofen, or even aspirin, which are easily accessible and inexpensive.

Patients should keep in mind that unlike opiates, the over-the-counter drug combinations may not work as instantly to relieve pain—but, when used correctly and consistently, these NSAIDs will relieve pain as effectively. At Carolina’s Dental Choice we recommend other pain relief measures such as hot or cold compresses, topical numbing gel, and comforting things such as taking a shower or bath, meditating, or distracting oneself with a favorite activity.

Most people associate major dental procedures with some lingering pain, sensitivity, and discomfort. But if you’re experiencing excessive pain post-dental procedure, don’t hesitate to contact us. Your dentist may recommend an additional evaluation, or develop an alternative pain management plan suited for you.

Struggling with an addiction? Get help. 

Various treatment options and resources are available to help people with addiction. Your primary care doctor, dentist, or any other health professional can help assess the situation and recommend treatment options.

Other useful resources centralized in NC include:

The Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolina

Carolina Healthcare System #ThisisSober Campaign

North Carolina Council of Community Programs – Treatment Services Guide

Recovery Communities of North Carolina

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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|Carolina's Dental Choice, 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.

 

DENTAL IMPLANTS AND HOW THEY WORK

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.

 

TOP ORAL CARE TIPS FOR DENTAL IMPLANTS

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.”

 

DENTAL IMPLANTS AND COST

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.

 

OTHER OPTIONS TO DENTAL IMPLANTS

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.

 

CAROLINA’S DENTAL CHOICE IS HERE FOR YOU

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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What Do White Gums Say About Oral Health?

2020-07-16T17:00:13+00:00May 29th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dentist Office Monroe NC|

Our bodies are amazing machines that like to communicate with us when they are healthy or when there might be something wrong. That’s right, there are little tells happening all the time indicating our current levels of health. This information is likely nothing new, but at Carolina Dental Choice we think it’s important for you to recognize a not-so-common sign that your oral health may be in danger.

 

Paying close attention to your gums is incredibly important. 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. Let’s take a look at some of the probable causes of white gums.  

 

What White Gums Could Mean

Unfortunately, noticing a white coloration on your gums could mean a number of different things, and they all have varying levels of seriousness. 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 an 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 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 salt water. 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 to 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 to 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 important 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.

 

 

How to Prevent White Gums

The good news is that you don’t have to just sit around and hope your gums don’t start turning white. There are a number of preventative measures to be taken that can keep your oral health at its peak. Here are a few we at Carolina Dental Choice recommend:

 

  • Begin by brushing correctly. The best way to keep white spots from appearing on your gums is to brush in small, circular motions. This will keep the toothbrush bristles from pushing your gums away from your teeth, which causes irritations that can lead to any of the conditions previously listed.

 

  • Floss every day: despite a completely false rumor floating around lately, flossing is incredibly important for your oral health. This keeps food from resting between your teeth, which begins to rot and aid in gum disease. Floss every morning or at night right before bed. Be sure not to jam the floss down on your gums. Use soft, clean motions, going back and forth. Hit every area between the teeth and rinse with water or mouthwash after.

 

  • Stop using tobacco: this can be a touchy subject, but using tobacco of any form greatly increases the odds of various gum diseases. Quitting smoking or chewing tobacco is much easier said than done, but if you are a user, at least try and reduce how much tobacco comes in contact with your mouth. Your gums will thank you!

 

  • Watch your diet: sugary drinks and foods, alcoholic beverages, even fatty meats can all have a negative effects on your gums. As stated earlier, you don’t necessarily have to cut these things out of your diet completely, but if you are the type of person who enjoys these on a regular basis, try and cut back a bit. At the very least, make sure you brush your teeth right after eating or drinking sugary or fatty substances.

 

The biggest thing to remember is not to panic. Have fun, enjoy good food and drink. Just be smart about it. Brush and floss regularly, and MOST IMPORTANT: come see us at Carolina Dental Choice. We have the capability to detect oral health issues, often before they become apparent even to you. We can then advise you on exactly what steps need to be taken to reduce and eventually eliminate any possible disease or irritations.

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The Secret Behind Flossing!

2020-07-16T17:02:38+00:00September 29th, 2017|Carolina's Dental Choice|

Carolina’s Dental Choice takes pride in helping people have healthy teeth and a smile they want to show off. This is why we encourage people to floss daily. Flossing is a simple task that can be done in just a few minutes but stubborn non-flossers often underestimate the importance of those few minutes. Flossing cleans in-between the teeth and reaches places that simply brushing cannot. When you floss, you remove those tiny food particles and plaque that can’t be seen in-between your teeth and by removing the plaque, you can help prevent tooth decay.

Flossing is a must for good oral health. We know that flossing can be a little tricky and can be easily forgotten but flossing is essential to keeping your gums and teeth healthy. Flossing not only removes food from in-between the teeth, but it also helps protect the gums by cleaning out foods that, if stuck between your teeth, could cause bacteria to grow on the gums.  Flossing breaks down the plaque and bacteria biofilm on your teeth and protects your teeth from decaying and your gums from Gingivitis.

Believe it or not, when bacteria is left in-between your teeth it can actually change the whole ecosystem of your mouth. This can make you more vulnerable to bacteria related infections. Bacteria and plaque are your gums worst nightmare. The gums are very sensitive and when they come in contact with bacteria and plaque it can cause serious problems. Gum decay and gum infections are very common and if untreated can lead to gum disease.

Do your gums bleed when you floss? This is normal. Gums are sensitive and if they are not used to regular flossing, the flossing will irritate them until they become adjusted. Once you begin flossing daily, your gums will become stronger so that your gums will be less irritated and bleed less often.

Here at Carolina’s Dental Choice we want our patients to have the healthiest smile they can. Having routine visits to our office will help you keep your teeth happy. Just don’t forget to practice daily oral hygiene as well. Schedule an appointment at our office or give us a call to learn more about oral hygiene.

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