Small Family Dental Practices: Where We Know Your Name!

2021-11-12T17:28:26+00:00November 12th, 2021|Adam Brown DDS, Dental Trends|

Family Dentistry Monroe NC

As with so many other industries, dentistry is changing. Yes, technology and treatments continue to improve each year, but those are not the changes we are talking about.

At Adam Brown, DDS, we have been keeping a close eye on the dental practice landscape around the country, and we are noticing that fewer and fewer small, private practices are continuing to operate independently. And since these types of practices play such an essential role in their respective communities, this is a concern for dentists and families alike.

We are pleased to provide the best care possible for the families that we see regularly, and we are still doing it independently! Below, we will discuss how dental service organizations (DSOs) are impacting dentistry and explain why choosing a family dentist could be the best option for you and your kids!

 

The Emergence of DSOs

Small independent dental practices are facing some vulnerabilities right now, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, the pandemic brought many challenges to private practices across the country, but most offices survived and are now back to seeing patients as they were before February 2020. No, the problem has nothing to do with attracting or retaining patients. The issue is that there are fewer dentists looking to step in when older dentists retire.

Not too long ago, it was common for dentists straight out of college to find a smaller town or suburb with a retiring dentist looking for a replacement. Now, many younger folks are choosing to live in large metropolitan areas, if not city centers. Moreover, dental school is expensive and more graduates are entering their careers in more debt than ever, so starting or purchasing a practice is simply too costly and complex.

Then there are dental service organizations (DSOs). In short, these organizations are not owned by dentists, and they go around the country buying out dental practices to handle the operations of the business. This business model allows younger dentists to focus their time and energy on the clinical aspects of their job, bring in a consistent salary, and remain free of the stresses and responsibilities of owning a practice. As such, DSOs are gaining more traction each year.

 

Few Options for Retiring Dentists

While there are clear benefits to newer dentists looking to kickstart their career, the rise of DSOs put dentists who are retiring from a solo or small-group practice in a predicament. There are basically three paths they can take:

1. Work longer than they anticipated to (until they are forced into retirement by their health).
2. Shut down their practice without providing any options for their patients.
3. Sell their practice to a DSO.

More retiring dentists are finding that selling to a DSO is the only option that serves themselves and their patients. But this path puts independent dentistry as a whole in jeopardy. In other words, as DSOs become more and more prevalent, they will transform the way dental practices around the country operate. And it could leave very few dentists who have the ability to run their own practices.

 

Small Practice, Big Opportunities

Here’s the thing that a lot of young dentists who are graduating from dental school do not realize: Small, private practices can provide better opportunities for them both in the short term and long term. Smaller practices come with less competition and lower overhead costs, which means that dentists can better support themselves and their families. Sometimes, they can do it by only working part-time.

As long as a dentist is motivated and has the drive to maintain control of their career, putting down roots at an independent practice can provide exceptional opportunities and flexibility, both of which can especially benefit those wanting to raise families.

Then there is the community to consider. Small towns and suburbs need dentists, just as they need other medical professionals nearby. A lot of people simply are not going to drive 30 minutes to an hour for regular dental visits. And when a community has no dentist, or the few dentists in the community are booked to capacity, many individuals will opt out of preventative care.

Moreover, small practices are often active in supporting the community through sponsoring recreational teams, inviting school groups for office tours, providing low-cost or free care for those who need it, and more. Unless more is done to maintain the sustainability of private dental practice, the trend of DSOs and their effect on communities could continue on its trend.

 

The Benefits of Family Dentistry

There are many similarities between family dentistry and general dentistry. For example, both use top-notch equipment and provide quality dental care for patients, as well as expert insight into each individual’s oral health. There is one distinction between these two, however, that sets a family dentistry like Adam Brown, DDS apart from general dental practices: We serve patients of all ages and can treat different family members all under one office.

Among other perks, choosing a family dentist can provide your household with familiarity, convenience, reduced anxiety, and better oral health—for parents, children, and grandparents alike! Let’s take a deeper look into the advantages of going to a family dental practice.

Familiarity
When you go to a family dental practice, the chances that your children will develop positive relationships with their dentist are much higher. At Adam Brown, DDS, we know the faces and names of all of our patients, and this increases the likelihood that our patients (especially children) will maintain their dental health. For children, this means that they’re more likely to have healthy teeth and gums as they enter adulthood.

Scheduling
Keeping up with dental appointments as an individual is hard enough. But if you are responsible for the appointments of everyone in your family, it can be downright overwhelming! Not only do you have to take off work for each appointment, but you also have to take your kids out of school and coordinate other responsibilities to make it all fit. Instead of scheduling different appointments for each member of your household, choose a family dental practice that will make scheduling easy for you.

For example, we will go out of our way to set one appointment for your whole family. Think about how much easier and convenient that will make your life! Rather than taking the time to schedule several appointments in any given week, all you have to do is make a family trip to the dentist to ensure everyone’s teeth and gums are taken care of.

Relationships
Parents tend to love going to a family practice because it provides the opportunity for both them and their children to develop lasting relationships with their dentists. In some cases, the same dentist will work with three or four generations in the same family! A child can have the same dentist as a toddler, adolescent, college student, and adult. The trust that is built throughout that kind of timeframe can not be replicated elsewhere.

Forming a healthy relationship with a dentist can help your child feel more comfortable talking about oral health symptoms that could cause severe problems down the road. If the dentist doesn’t know what you or your child is feeling, they may not be able to detect an issue until it’s too late, meaning that more expensive and painful procedures could be necessary to fix it.

When you go to a family dental practice, everyone in your household can rest assured that the dentist is prioritizing your health and best interests. And they will also know how to better monitor allergies, sensitivities, and family history with everyone involved. A family dentist will take into account dental diseases anyone in your family has had in the past. For instance, if one individual in your family has a genetic condition, your dentist will know precautions and strategies to take for everyone else in your family.

Less Dental Anxiety
We all know that going to the dentist is not a favorite activity among some children. Dental anxiety is a real thing for children, and it impacts adults too! Family dentists can help households to ease their dental anxiety. By going to a practice like Adam Brown, DDS, you will know that you can rely on friendly faces that will become familiar!

Matching your child with the right dentist will help them become more comfortable with their checkup appointments, at-home dental hygiene routine, and any procedures that might become necessary as they grow up. This is especially true if your family goes to appointments together.

Since younger children often like to imitate the actions of the role models in their lives, your child might become less fearful of the dentist if they see you and their siblings getting dental care without any issues. And it won’t take long for your child to grow more comfortable and confident to go through checkup appointments on their own. In other words, going to a family dental practice can help your child outgrow dental anxiety so that it doesn’t stick around into adulthood.

On the other side of the coin, if your child never becomes comfortable with their dentist and fails to grow out of their anxiety, they could neglect to go to regular checkup appointments as adults. This would mean their dentist would not be able to detect oral health problems early, potentially leading to intensive treatments and procedures. At Adam Brown, DDS, we make sure to support and help children overcome their dental anxiety and foster their dental wellness!

Tracking Dental History
When your family goes to a family dental practice, all of your dental records will be kept in the same place instead of being spread across several different offices. This means that your dentist will be able to easily monitor your family’s medical history and address any pressing medical issues that they identify over time. Genetics are critical to dental health, and a family dentist will be able to help everyone in your household maintain their dental health and provide insight when it is needed.

Oral Health
If you want to keep your family’s teeth and gums healthy, it is essential that each of you keeps up with your regular visits to the dentist. By going twice a year for a checkup, you can stay ahead of cavities, tooth decay, gingivitis, and other common dental issues. This will help you to prevent pain, tooth loss, and swollen or bleeding gums. Once issues like these set in, it can lead to periodontitis and, ultimately, tooth loss.

Brighter Smiles
Going to your dentist for regular cleanings can go a long way in keeping your family’s smiles in pristine shape for pictures or big events. If you are relying solely on your at-home routines, you may develop yellow or discolored teeth over time. By scheduling cleanings or even teeth whitening appointments, you can keep everyone’s smiles bright. Your family dentist can also advise you on your daily oral health routine, such as providing practical tips, recommendations for toothpaste and fluoride treatments, and so on.

Access to Treatments
Finally, family dental practices provide a wide range of treatments and procedures all under the same roof. This means that your family will not have to seek treatment from other offices for cleaning, restorative procedures, Invisalign, and other treatments for each person. At Adam Brown, DDS, we even provide world-class cosmetic procedures! In other words, family dental practices are highly versatile.

 

Conclusion

The rise of dental service organizations is transforming the landscape of dental practices across the country. While there are perks of DSOs for young dentists, they pose some serious risks for smaller private practices and their communities. By choosing a family dentistry like Adam Brown, DDS, you not only can support independent dental practice, but you will also have access to all the benefits associated with choosing a family dentistry listed above. Don’t wait—book your family’s appointment with our office today!

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All About Dental Veneers: Should You Get Them? 

2020-10-19T12:57:35+00:00October 15th, 2020|Veneers|

So, you looked in the mirror the other day and thought, “Why can’t I have teeth like Beyoncé?” Or maybe it was more like, “My smile would be complete if I only had a set of chompers like Patrick Dempsey.” 

Perfectly-aligned, pearly white teeth can do wonders for your appearance, not to mention all the mental health benefits that come along with them. But orthodontic procedures are not cheap, and they shouldn’t be committed to on a whim. 

One type of dental treatment that has increased in popularity over the years is veneers. In short, dental veneers are thin shells that are bonded to your existing teeth to enhance the appearance of those teeth. When everything goes right with the procedure, getting veneers can truly transform your smile (for the better). However, when everything does not go right—and a lot can go wrong—getting veneers can be something you wholeheartedly regret. 

Here’s the gist: Getting veneers is a significant investment, and it comes with risks. However, if you determine that it’s right for you, and you go to a qualified cosmetic dentist, it could provide you with a smile you’ve only ever dreamed about. 

If you’re considering getting veneers, or even if you’re just looking into it for the first time, then you’ve come to the right place. Not only is there some great information and advice below, but Dr. Adam Brown is the expert cosmetic dentist you want to see! 

 

WHAT ARE VENEERS?

First of all, it will help to understand exactly what dental veneers are. As previously mentioned, veneers are thin coverings that are permanently attached to the front surfaces of your teeth. The most common materials used for veneers are porcelain and composite resin. And ideally, they will match the surrounding teeth in color. 

Veneers are being used more and more often by dentists to treat cosmetic issues like stains, chips, and fractures. Typically priced by the individual tooth, you can get a single veneer to fix a defected tooth. However, a lot of people have six to eight veneers put on—usually on the top teeth. While more expensive, this makes it easier to obtain a symmetrical, natural-looking smile. 

Most veneers used today are made of porcelain. The procedure for putting on traditional dental veneers is moderately invasive, though not as invasive as implants or crowns. Getting dental implants means replacing the whole tooth, while crowns are caps placed over an existing tooth. Veneers, on the other hand, cover just the front surface of the tooth. 

No Prep Veneers

Nonetheless, applying veneers are a conservative approach that requires minimally adjusting the front of the tooth to allow room for the veneer. In many cases, it’s necessary to adjust the tooth past the enamel for the veneers to be placed correctly. The procedure is irreversible and you can expect a local anesthetic to be used. 

There is a less invasive option than traditional veneers. “No-prep veneers” don’t require the shaving of a tooth under the enamel, and putting on no-prep veneers is usually a quicker and all-around easier procedure that doesn’t demand an anesthetic. Whether you need traditional or no-prep veneers will depend largely on the condition of your teeth before the procedure.

 

SCARY STORIES 

If you spend as little as two minutes searching the web, you can find a plethora of horror stories of people who have had terrible experiences with their veneers. In most instances, the failing veneers are due to improper application; that is, the dentist did not have the proper experience and skills to do the procedure. However, the materials used for veneers can also cause problems. And when you have an unqualified dentist using cheap materials, it’s a recipe for disaster. 

Another thing to consider is that, while the procedure for traditional veneers is irreversible, the veneers themselves are not permanent. Therefore, they often need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. Here are a few of the most common problems associated with dental veneers failing:

 

Improper Application 

No single person has the same mouth. This may sound obvious, but it is sometimes not taken into consideration during a traditional veneer procedure. All dental veneers must be custom-fit to the individual, and this includes being the right size and shape for the smile’s symmetry. Otherwise, you can run into any number of problems, such as “horse teeth” and vulnerable veneers. 

 

Fractures

Chips and cracks happen most often when veneers are fabricated with cheap porcelain materials. And once you start noticing any signs of breakage, it’s essential to seek help from a qualified cosmetic dentist because the problems can turn disastrous fast. 

 

Separation

Dental veneers can also become loose and separated from teeth over time. More times than not, the culprit is either poor oral health or lack of proper custom fitting. For example, if you have tooth decay or gum disease, it makes it difficult for a veneer to remain adhered to a tooth. Along with doing your part by practicing good oral hygiene, it’s imperative that the dentist thoroughly evaluate your oral health and fabricate the veneers to fit correctly before any procedure takes place. 

These are just a few of many things that can go wrong with dental veneers if the entire process is not handled properly. Below, we’ll expand on the primary reasons that veneers go bad.

 

WHY VENEERS GO WRONG 

As previously mentioned, when a dental veneer procedure is unsuccessful, it’s usually due to one of two things: The dentist who performed the procedure was not qualified, or the wrong materials were used. Sometimes, it’s an unfortunate combination of the two. 

 

The Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry is not recognized as a separate field from general dentistry, which leads to many dentists undertaking veneer procedures who are unqualified to do so. Fabricating and applying dental veneers is a complex process that requires ample experience and skill. You may have a great dentist, but unless they are an expert in cosmetic dentistry cases, they shouldn’t be the one performing your dental veneer procedure. 

A qualified cosmetic dentist will have a unique ability and passion for facial aesthetics, symmetry, and harmony. They will be able to consult what you want in your new smile and evaluate your face shape, complexion, and teeth to determine the ideal size and shape of your new-and-improved teeth. And they will know exactly what materials to use. 

 

The Materials

When a dentist uses the wrong materials for a patient’s veneer procedure, a variety of things can go wrong. For example, using a cheap bonding agent can cause separation and discoloration. Using outdated or low-quality porcelain can lead to chips and cracks. 

Also, the materials used in a procedure should be matched to each person’s unique needs. Someone who tends to grind or clench their teeth, for instance, will require harder material for their veneers than someone who does not. However, the denser the material, the more complex the process becomes for making the teeth look as naturally translucent as possible. So, that’s why it’s essential to evaluate each patient to determine what materials should be used. 

 

FIVE FACTORS TO CONSIDER 

If you are interested in getting dental veneers (and you have an experienced cosmetic dentist to turn to), here are five key factors to consider before signing the dotted line:

  1. Oral Health Issues

Are your oral health issues strictly cosmetic, or do they go deeper than that? If you have misshapen teeth, dark or internal stains, and/or small cracks, chips, or gaps, getting veneers might be the best path forward. But if you have gum disease, plaque buildup, or cavities, these issues must be addressed before the process of getting veneers begins. Otherwise, you will simply be covering up unhealthy teeth, which will make the issues worse. 

Another consideration is if you have microdontia. While it’s not technically a health concern, microdontia is a hereditary condition that leaves a person with underdeveloped teeth and gaps between the teeth. In short, this makes it looks like they still have baby teeth. If this describes your situation, then veneers are likely the best solution. 

 

  1. Going Through the Process

Getting veneers is not nearly as invasive as getting dental implants. However, it’s still invasive and can be quite painful. You will probably need to go under for the procedure, and you can expect your teeth and gums to be sore for at least a few days following the procedure. Plus, there’s the whole process of consulting your cosmetic dentist, undergoing evaluation, and waiting for your veneers to be fabricated. All this to say that you should make sure you are willing to go through a potentially lengthy and uncomfortable process. 

 

  1. Maintenance and Care

Even if your dental veneers are made of the best materials and are fabricated and applied perfectly, you will need to take care of them. Make sure you are up for this responsibility. Brush and floss at least twice a day, wear a night-guard when sleeping if you grind or clench your teeth, and refrain from biting your nails excessively. Moreover, be conscious of stain-causing substances like coffee, red wine, and cigarettes.

 

  1. The Costs 

Getting dental veneers is not cheap, and because it’s categorized as a cosmetic procedure, it’s rarely covered under insurance. Typically, traditional veneers average about $925 to $2,500 per tooth, depending on the type and brand name of veneers used, the expertise of your dentist, and the cost of living in your area. No-prep veneers are a little less expensive at $800 to $2,000. However, traditional veneers can last five to eight years longer than no-prep veneers, which makes traditional veneers the more cost-effective choice in the long run. 

 

  1. Alternative Treatments

Are there cosmetic solutions other than dental veneers that would better meet your specific needs? This is something you will need to discuss during the consultation with your dentist. Depending on your concerns and desires, teeth whitening, dental bonding and contouring, restoration, and/or other less-involved procedures might provide you with the smile of your dreams at a lower price tag. 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE PROCEDURE Dental Veneers

If you and your cosmetic dentist decide that dental veneers are the best path to giving you the smile you envision, then you should know what to expect when it comes to the actual procedure. Your dentist should cover all of this information during your initial consultation, but here is a brief breakdown of how the process typically goes:

  • You will have a preliminary appointment in which your dentist will examine your teeth and gums. This is when it will be determined whether any corrective measures should be taken before veneers are placed, such as resolving tooth decay or wearing braces for a time to fix crooked or uneven teeth. 
  • Then, you will go in for an appointment to have your teeth shaved down. This usually involves about half a millimeter being taken off with a grinding tool. The dentist will then take a mold of your teeth and send it off to a lab where your custom veneers will be fabricated. At this point, you may be given temporary veneers made of composite resin. 
  • In a week or two, your dentist should have your porcelain veneers, and you’ll be able to schedule the placement procedure. 
  • Before applying them to your teeth, your dentist will thoroughly evaluate the shape, coloration, and fit of your veneers to ensure they are everything you hoped for. 
  • Then, the dentist will deep clean your teeth to eliminate bacteria. They will also roughen the texture of your teeth with a grinding tool to ensure effective adhesion. 
  • Finally, your dentist will bond the veneers to each tooth using dental cement and will harden the cement with ultraviolet light. 

All and all, the application of your veneers should take no longer than two to three hours. 

 

Conclusion

If you’re looking to significantly improve your smile, dental veneers might be perfect for you. Along with understanding what to expect from the process, make sure you address any oral health issues beforehand and that you are prepared to maintain and care for your veneers. Also, run through the costs, and rule out any better, more cost-effective treatments for your situation. 

Last but not least, make sure you are working with an expert cosmetic dentist who will use the best materials available. Contact Dr. Adam Brown to schedule your consultation now!

 

 

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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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The Hidden Dangers of Mouthwash: What You Need to Know

2021-02-05T18:11:46+00:00June 5th, 2019|Carolina's Dental Choice, Dental Trends, Dentist Office Monroe NC, Oral Health, Teeth Cleaning, Teeth Whitening|

Mouthwash is often touted as a safe and effective method for curing bad breath and improving overall oral health. But recent studies show that not all mouthwashes are created equal. Before you add a mouthwash to your daily dental regimen, take a minute to understand some of the potential dangers that might be hiding in that morning and evening routine.

 

The Problems with Conventional Mouthwash

While advertising may state that conventional mouthwash kills 99.9% of all bacteria, that’s not always the full dental story. Many conventional types of mouthwash contain up to a 26% alcohol content in addition to other dangerous ingredients. When you swish mouthwash twice a day in your mouth for an extended period of time, a number of things occur.

  1. Alcohol destroys the friendly bacteria your body needs to maintain normal blood pressure and positive oral health. Think of it like an antibiotic for your mouth. It doesn’t distinguish between good and bad oral bacteria, it simply kills it all.
  2. Conventional mouthwash dries out your mouth and affects saliva production. This can actually result in worsened breath over time in addition to increased cavity production because saliva acts as a natural barrier for both of these dental conditions.
  3. Recent studies have shown that using conventional mouthwash may potentially lead to high blood pressure issues because of disruption with the body’s production of NO (Nitric Oxide), a molecule inside the body that helps to regulate blood pressure.

A sample of ingredients that are the biggest culprits for these dental issues include alcohol (associated with drying your mouth and killing bacteria), Chlorine Dioxide (used as a bleaching agent to whiten teeth), Chlorhexidine (an antiseptic that is also an allergen), and formaldehyde (dangers include cancer risk and respiratory problems).

 

Discovering Natural Mouthwash Alternatives

There are several natural mouthwash alternatives available over the counter that provide a safer option for those that want to maintain their daily swishing regimen. A few choices are listed below.

  1. The Natural Dentist
    This mouthwash can be found at most major retailers and is tailored towards those with sensitive teeth and gums. The ingredients are all natural and contain 20% Aloe Vera which is a natural antiseptic that replaces conventional use of Chlorhexidine without the side effects.
  2. Therabreath
    This mouthwash is also available at most major retailers and helps increase saliva production instead of drying out your mouth. It also uses natural ingredients including aloe vera and tea tree oil which is another natural antiseptic used to aid in overall oral health.
  3. Oral Essentials
    Created by dentists and thoroughly tested, this mouthwash contains sea salt to help maintain the healthy mineral balance in your mouth. In addition, you’ll find such natural ingredients as aloe vera, coconut oil (a natural teeth whitener), and essential oils (aids in freshening breath). This mouthwash can be found on Amazon in addition to other online retailers.

  

Do-It-Yourself Mouthwash? Why not!

A quick search on the internet for do-it-yourself mouthwash will yield plenty of recipes for you to experiment with. When wading through the never-ending list of oral options, keep a few essential ingredients in mind. 

  1. Aloe Vera
    As mentioned above, Aloe Vera is a top-notch replacement for the conventional mouthwash ingredient, Chlorhexidine. Studies have shown that it is equally as effective as an antiseptic but without all the harmful side effects.
  2. Essential Oils
    Essential Oils are a natural way to freshen breath without the drying effect of alcohol. They also contain antibacterial properties and oils such as lemon contain whitening properties to help keep your teeth shiny and bright.
  3. Sea Salt and Baking Soda
    Both these ingredients have strong benefits for oral health. Used as mouthwash ingredients, sea salt will help to restore the mineral balance of your mouth while baking soda will help to ease gingivitis and whiten teeth.

 

Final Thoughts on Mouthwash

Studies show that conventional mouthwashes are not as effective or as safe as typically advertised. They can contribute to dry mouth, mess with the balance of bacteria in your mouth and even cause increased gingivitis and cavity formation. The best way to keep your dental health in tip-top shape is to work on the problem from the inside out. Keep a balanced diet and stay away from processed foods and sugars. If you still want to make mouthwash a regular part of your dental routine, stick with all natural brands or create your own recipe so that you are in control of the ingredients going into your mouth and body.  For more information, please contact Carolina’s Dental Choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warning: Teething Jewelry May Pose Significant Risk

2020-07-16T16:58:35+00:00December 27th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, Children's Health, Dental Trends, Oral Health|

You may have seen it advertised in women’s magazines or on parenting blogs, cute jewelry marketed as a way for moms to look stylish while caring for a teething tot. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning that the jewelry may present a serious choking hazard or strangulation risk.

what age and order do baby teeth come in

“Teething jewelry includes necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry that can be worn by either an adult or child, and is often marketed to relieve an infant’s teething pain,” states the FDA’s safety warning. “The beads of the jewelry may be made with various materials such as amber, wood, marble, or silicone. Jewelry marketed for teething pain is not the same as teething rings or teethers, which are made of hard plastic or rubber, and are not worn by an adult or child.”

The American Dental Association has joined the FDA in cautioning parents and caregivers that the jewelry has not been proven safe or effective. The FDA received a report of a 7-month-old child who choked on the beats of a wooden teething bracelet while under parental supervision. An 18-month-old child strangled to death when his amber teething necklace became wrapped around his neck during a nap.

“Teething jewelry may also be used by people with special needs, such as autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to provide sensory stimulation or redirect chewing on clothes or body parts,” the FDA safety warning also states.

The jewelry poses similar risks of choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth, and infection for these people.

Instead of using teething jewelry to treat teething pain, parents and caregivers should adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations. Teething typically begins between ages 4 to 7 months and may cause mild irritability, crying, a low-grade fever, excessive drooling, and a tendency to chew on things.

  • Try gently rubbing or massaging the gums with one of your fingers, a small cool spoon, or a moist gauze pad
  • Teething rings are helpful, too, but they should be made of firm rubber. Teethers that are to be frozen tend to get too hard and can cause more harm than good. Never allow an infant to use a teether that is frozen solid. Either simply chill them in the refrigerator or allow them to thaw to the point you can easily squeeze the contents around. Be warned that liquid-filled rings or other objects may crack and leak.
  • Pain relievers and topical medications applied to the gums are not necessary or useful since they wash out of a baby’s mouth within minutes.
  • Stay away from teething tablets that contain the plant poison belladonna and gels with benzocaine. Belladonna and benzocaine are marketed to numb your child’s pain, but the FDA has issued warnings against both due to potential side effects.
  • If your child seems particularly miserable or has a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius), it’s most likely not a result of teething pain. Consult your pediatrician.
  • When your child’s baby teeth have begun to come in, gently brush them with a soft child’s toothbrush. To prevent cavities, never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle, either at nap time or at night. By avoiding this situation, you’ll keep milk from pooling around the teeth and creating a breeding ground for decay.

Baby teeth are important to your child’s health because they form the foundation for chewing, speaking, and smiling. If a baby tooth is lost too early, permanent teeth can drift into the empty space, making it harder for other adult teeth to erupt. This process contributes to crooked and crowded teeth in later years.

Your child’s first dental visit should come after their first baby tooth has emerged but before their first birthday.

 

 

If you have questions about your child’s oral health, contact Carolina’s Dental Choice so that we can help you address any concerns. Visit us at carolinasdentalchoice.com to schedule an appointment or call us 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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Diabetes & Dental Health

2020-07-16T17:22:42+00:00November 27th, 2018|Carolina's Dental Choice, General, Oral Health, Teeth Cleaning|

One in 10 Americans — or more than 30 million people — have diabetes, according to the Office of Disease Prevent and Health Promotion (healthfinder.gov). People with diabetes have an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums. These bacteria are what cause periodontal disease, a chronic, inflammatory condition that can destroy your gums, all the tissues holding your teeth, and even your bones. The American Dental Association states that periodontal disease is the most common dental disease among those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22 percent of those diagnosed. In fact, one in five cases of total tooth loss is related to diabetes. 

Dental complications due to diabetes also include oral burning — a burning sensation inside the mouth that may include a bitter taste and dry mouth that is caused by uncontrolled blood glucose levels — and thrush — the growth of a naturally occurring fungus that the body is unable to control and may cause sore, white — or sometimes red — patches on your gums, tongue, cheeks, or the roof of your mouth.

November is American Diabetes Month, and Carolina’s Dental Choice wants to help you ensure that your efforts to manage the condition include your oral health.

Even if you don’t have diabetes now, that doesn’t mean that you never will. Or, if you’re not someone who regularly goes to the doctor, you could even have diabetes and not know it yet. Approximately 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year — and 8.1 million people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it. Another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

HOW DIABETES WORKS

There are common misconceptions about diabetes. Diabetes is not simply caused by eating too much sugar. It is not a disease only seen in people who are overweight.

Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas, a gland situated behind and below the stomach, does not properly produce the hormone insulin. What is supposed to happen is that when you eat food that food is digested in the stomach and broken down and converted into glucose, a type of sugar. That sugar is required for your body to function. The stomach and small intestines absorb the glucose and then release it into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, glucose can be used immediately for energy or stored in our bodies, to be used later. However, in order to store the glucose for later, the body must have insulin. Think of it almost as if food is like going to work, cash is glucose, and your savings account and ability to retire is insulin. Without the savings account, all the cash gets spent!

HOW DIABETES DEVELOPS

It is thought a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors cause type 1 diabetes though exactly what those factors are is still unclear. What’s known is that in type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks and destroys your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leaving you with little or no insulin. Consequently, diabetes can be thought of as an autoimmune disease. You may be familiar with other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, or lupus.

It’s believed that genetic and environmental factors also play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes — although being overweight is strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. 

RISK FACTORS FOR DIABETES

The Mayo Clinic outlines certain risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Weight. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
  • Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Family history. Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
  • Race. Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races — including black people, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are at higher risk.
  • Age. Your risk increases as you get older. This may be because you tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as you age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing among children, adolescents and younger adults.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you’re also at risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.
  • High blood pressure. Having blood pressure over 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, your risk of type 2 diabetes is higher. Triglycerides are another type of fat carried in the blood. People with high levels of triglycerides have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Your doctor can let you know what your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are.

SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES

According to the Mayo Clinic, Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it’s more common in people older than 40.

Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections

In addition to gum infections, you can look for other symptoms to show up in your mouth, if diabetes is left untreated, explains the American Dental Association.

  • You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry.
  • Because saliva protects your teeth, you’re also at a higher risk of cavities.
  • Gums may become inflamed and bleed often, which is called gingivitis.
  • You may have problems tasting food.
  • You may experience delayed wound healing (such as when you bite the inside of your cheek or have a tooth pulled).
  • You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
  • For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.

Note that dry mouth isn’t just an annoyance. It can impact your oral health. Certain medications and other conditions can cause dry mouth, but symptoms include:

  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking
  • A burning feeling in the mouth
  • A dry feeling in the throat
  • Cracked lips
  • A dry, rough tongue
  • Mouth sores
  • An infection in the mouth
  • Bad breath

EFFECTS OF DIABETES

Most people have felt the short term effects of their blood sugar getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) such as when eating too much, being sick, experiencing a lot of stress, exercising too much, or not eating enough.

Early hyperglycemia may result in frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, fatigue, and headaches. More severe hyperglycemia may include nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain.

Mild hypoglycemia can make you feel hungry or like you want to vomit. You could also feel jittery or nervous. Your heart may beat fast. You may sweat. Or your skin might turn cold and clammy. Moderate hypoglycemia often makes people feel short-tempered, nervous, afraid, or confused. Your vision may blur. You could also feel unsteady or have trouble walking. Severe hypoglycemia can cause you to pass out. You could have seizures. It could even cause a coma or death. If you’ve had hypoglycemia during the night, you may wake up tired or with a headache. And you may have nightmares. Or you may sweat so much during the night that your pajamas or sheets are damp when you wake up.

With diabetes it is not simply a matter of a person having only too much or only too little blood sugar, its that the body can not regulate blood sugar levels. Wild swings in blood sugar can have profound physical effects.

  • Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward.
    Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage (retinopathy). Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal poorly. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  • Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected, none has yet been proved.
  • Depression. Depression symptoms are common in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Depression can affect diabetes management.

MANAGING & PREVENTING DIABETES

For a person with diabetes, the main focus of treatment is to control the amount of glucose in the body so that blood sugar levels stay as close to normal as possible.

Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented. However, healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

  • Lose weight if you are overweight, and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your current weight.1 For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose about 10 to 14 pounds.
  • Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, at least 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional about which activities are best. Start slowly and build up to your goal.
  • Eat healthy foods. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day and help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

For tips on living with diabetes and caring for your oral health, you can also download tips from the National Institute of Oral and Craniofacial Research:

Talk to your dental hygienist and dentist at Carolina’s Dental Choice, if you have diabetes or have been experiencing any of the oral symptoms of diabetes such as dry mouth, gingivitis, or trouble tasting food. We can make recommendations to help you best manage your oral health now and in the future.

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