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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Visiting the Dentist: Preparing Your Children for the New Normal

2020-09-09T14:55:26+00:00July 21st, 2020|Children's Health|

Going to the dentist can be scary for a child. Even a routine teeth cleaning can seem like a tooth extraction if a child is already apprehensive about having someone tooling around in his or her mouth. Add in the layers of personal protective equipment that are now required of those working in any business or essential service, and a simple trip to the dentist can seem even scarier. This is why it is important to let your children know that though things may look different, and maybe even a little strange, there is no need to be scared.

 

Getting used to the new norm of wearing masks and face shields will take time for us adults, but imagine being a child and observing such a drastic change in our world. Even with detailed explanations of what is happening, it is still off-putting for a child to communicate, or even get close to, someone whose face is partially covered. Getting your kid to sit still in the dentist’s chair just got harder, but there are ways to get your young ones to understand that everything is going to be okay.

 

Show, Don’t Tell

Trying to explain to your child what he’s about to walk into before a trip to the dentist will surely scare him, no matter how nicely you try and say it. Chances are, children will hear something like this: “Someone with a face mask and shield and gown is going to stick sharp, metal objects in your mouth,” even if you literally say something like this: “The dentist will have a face covering and gown, but he is not scary and he won’t hurt you.”

Instead of starting with an explanation, try to show what the experience will be like as much as possible. Put on your mask (and shield if you have one) and have your child sit in a chair like he or she would during a visit to the dentist. With your mask still on, mimic the movements of a teeth cleaning, maybe even get a toothbrush and brush your child’s teeth.

Try and make it fun, but also mention that this is what it will be like going to see the real dentist. Let your child ask questions and keep the conversation open—you know that little mind will be thinking about this for much longer.

 

There’s a Person Under That Mask

Before making the trip to see the dentist, pull up a picture of the entire dental team and show your child. Explain that even though their faces will be mostly covered while you are there, this is what they actually look like. Along with your child, take special note of the hair and eye color of each individual. Since these two aspects will be visible during the appointment, your child should be able to recognize who is hovering over him or her.

It is also important to encourage your child to talk to and ask questions of the staff. Anything that can be done to highlight the fact that it’s a real person beneath the personal protective equipment is helpful—and you can definitely count on the dental staff to engage in conversation as much as possible, so you are not completely alone in your quest to normalize a trip to the dentist.

At Adam Brown DDS, we understand that a trip to the dentist can be especially scary for young ones these days. If you find your child is struggling to understand why going to the dentist is so different than before, take the time to show what it will look like and explain that underneath those masks are nothing but big, bright smiles.

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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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Dental Anesthesia Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

2020-07-16T16:59:14+00:00September 14th, 2018|Dental Implants, Dental Trends|

If you’ve ever undergone a dental procedure such as a tooth extraction or root canal at Carolinas Dental Choice, you’re most likely familiar with — and have been the grateful recipient of — a dental anesthetic. Numbing agents, like novocaine, work by confusing communication between nerve cells so that the brain doesn’t register pain. However, today’s modern medicine hasn’t always been available, and the path to its discovery and use is a sordid one.

Teeth have been causing pain through the ages and remedies to fight the pain are recorded as far back as 2250 BC. A Babylonian clay tablet reveals the recipe to repair cavities — mixing henbane seed and gum mastic. In 1000 BC India, oral care relied on wine. It wasn’t until 1540 that ether was introduced. And while there is no evidence, one can imagine early cave people simple using a large stick to pry out any source of pain.

Early dentistry was commonly performed by barbers. Beginning in the Middle Ages, barbers were performing dental work and surgery in addition to cutting hair and shaving. Blood-letting and leeching, extractions and enemas all were services of the local barber-surgeon. Shave and a root canal? Two bits!

Historical documents from the Wood Library Museum of Anesthesiology detail a Dr. Horace Wells bravely volunteering to inhale nitrous oxide for his own dental extraction in December 1844. Despite nitrous oxide’s reputation as laughing gas, Dr. Wells was a “humbug” during the procedure.

The first nurse anesthetist dates to 1877, but it wasn’t until 1889, at the Philadelphia College of Dentistry, Henry I. Dorr, MD, DDS was appointed as the world’s first Professor of the Practice of Dentistry, Anaesthetics and Anaesthesia.

Dental pain relief developed from the humble beginnings of ether (a pleasant-smelling colorless volatile liquid that is highly flammable) to laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and more recently from ethyl chloride (a gas or volatile liquid) to Procaine (commonly known as Novocaine).

Now dental anesthesia makes what was once a truly torturous process into something that may be simply unpleasant.

Your first experience with dental anesthesia may have been during wisdom tooth extraction (the four hindmost molars which come in during young adulthood) which can cause issues including pushing other teeth out of alignment. Wisdom teeth also tend to be impacted meaning they are stuck just below the gum surface. Nearly 85 percent of adults have had wisdom teeth removed. Another common dental procedure is a root canal, which hollows out a tooth and removes infected pulp inert material.

Dental anesthesia falls into three basic categories:

  • Local Anesthesia — Medication is injected into nerves within the gums to numb the area to be treated. This type of anesthesia is commonly used during fillings, treating gum disease, or preparing teeth for crowns.
  • Sedation — Administered by inhaling nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, or orally in the form of a pill taken prior to the dental procedure, this form of anesthesia is commonly combined with a local anesthetic to help relieve anxieties and reduce pain.
  • General Anesthesia — The strongest form of anesthesia available for dental procedures involves intravenous medications that produce a temporary loss of consciousness. General anesthesia is usually only used during extensive oral surgery procedures and requires a medical facility more advanced than a typical dentist’s office.

 

You may have heard of I.V. sedation and wondered if it were for you. Intravenous (I.V.) sedation has become more common and works well for those with fear of the dentist and dental procedures. It is also ideal for patients whose fear of dentistry has led to a large amount of dental work needing to be completed. I.V. Sedation is also used for outpatient procedures, like colonoscopies. Referred to as “twilight sleep,” the sedation allows patients to wake with little or no memory of the procedure.

While in the United States and much of the developed world there are many options available for safe and pain-free dental procedures, much of the world still has limited options when it comes to oral health care.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “In developing countries, oral health services are mostly offered from regional or central hospitals of urban centers and little, if any, priority is given to preventive or restorative dental care. Many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin-America have a shortage of oral health personnel and by and large the capacity of the systems is limited to pain relief or emergency care. In Africa, the dentist to population ratio is approximately 1:150,000 against about 1:2,000 in most industrialized countries.”

This continues more than 20 years the primary care initiative “Health for All,” which has yet to be fully implemented. According to WHO, “in many countries, national capacity and resources — human, financial and material — are still insufficient to ensure availability of and access to essential health services of high quality for individuals and populations, especially in deprived communities.”

The Dental Anesthesiology Research (DAR) Group, based in Alexandria, Va. was founded in 2000. They focus their research in: 1) local anesthesia: anatomy, pharmacology, and therapy. 2) sedation: general anesthesia, deep sedation, moderate and minimal sedation, and, 3) pain management: acute and chronic orofacial pain, orofacial cancerous pain and synalgia.

While those are a lot of big words, the point is that dental anesthesia continues to develop and address more complex patient care including: intravenous and inhalational sedation, sedation in hospital and ambulatory environments, sedation for all dental procedures, including oral surgery, pediatric dentistry, and general dentistry, perioperative patient management: intellectual disability, physical disability, comorbid illness/medical complexity, and dental phobia.

Despite continued advances into pain relief in dentistry, a third of Americans have not seen a dentist in the last year, according to a Gallup-Healthways poll. Many do not see a dentist because of the expense and only wealthier individuals seeking regular dental care, but another reason cited for not pursuing dental care is being the lack of realization that good oral health is key to overall good health. Poor oral care has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and stroke; and research has found that those who suffer from gum disease are twice as likely to develop coronary artery disease. The Mayo Clinic suggests brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, and eating a healthy diet, along with attending regular dental check-ups.*

While dental procedures can seem scary and overwhelming, advances in anesthesia, options for pain relief during and after procedures, and continuing research to develop additional care methods, are making it easier for you to get the dental care you need.

 

*Medical Daily.

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