July 29, 2015
Healthy Smile, Happy Mouth
On the chewing surfaces of our back teeth (our molars and premolars), there are deep grooves or fissures where tooth decay can often start. Because of the anatomy of the deep fissures in the tooth’s enamel, bacterial plaque can infiltrate these areas. However, toothbrush bristles and fluoride cannot often get into these hard-to-reach grooves. This environment, therefore, inhibits the natural protection of our teeth from our saliva, and simultaneously aids in plaque accumulation, thus resulting in the loss of minerals in the teeth and consequently, decay.
How Dental Sealants Can Help Prevent Tooth Decay
Dental sealants are considered a preventative treatment wherein a protective plastic film is professionally applied to the fissures to ‘seal’ the area. This film is simply a resin material similar to that used for tooth-colored fillings. It only takes a few minutes in the dental chair for a dentist or hygienist to apply a sealant to a tooth. The sealant then serves as a blockage for bacteria, thus preventing it from infiltrating those deep grooves in the tooth. It also provides a smooth surface that is easily cleaned by your toothbrush bristles and can naturally be protected by your saliva. Another plus about sealants is their design. When applied, they flow easily into the deep grooves of our teeth, without any need of prior removal of tooth structure. They are a truly painless and beneficial method of tooth decay prevention.
Candidates for Sealants
Sealants are most beneficial to kids and teenagers because they can help prevent bigger problems in the future that could potentially be caused by the existence of those tooth fissures. Many kids get sealants on their molars and premolars shortly after they come in, so as to protect them from cavities during those years they are most susceptible. Even smaller children may benefit from having sealants applied to their baby teeth. It is imperative to keep those baby teeth healthy so they don’t come out too early, as they are pivotal in providing the proper spacing in preparation for kids’ adult teeth. Especially if your child’s baby teeth have deep grooves or fissures, it is smart to talk now to your dentist about whether the application of sealants would be a good preventative measure. However, some adults are also good candidates for dental sealants. If you do not have any existing tooth decay or fillings, sealants may be a good solution for you, too.
Under proper care and monitoring, a dental sealant can last for up to 10 years. That’s a decade of decay prevention! Of course, it is imperative to have it checked by your dentist for wear and tear and possible chipping at your regular semi-annual cleanings. With the right maintenance, a dental sealant can be a simple and affordable long-term solution for a problem before it even has a chance to start! Ask your hygienist or dentist at your next check-up if you are a good candidate for dental sealants.
July 22, 2015
We all know that our dentists tell us to schedule cleanings twice a year, but how much thought have we actually given to why?
Regular cleanings and dental visits are important for several reasons, but just like taking your car to the shop for oil changes, tire rotations and periodic checkups, the most important reason for getting your teeth checked semi-annually by a professional is maintenance. Dentists are around for more than just those emergency calls when we chip a tooth, for example, or feel shooting nerve pain. They are actually there to help us prevent serious dental issues as much as possible, by performing those regular cleanings and taking x-ray pictures (typically on an annual basis) so that they can try to catch problems early, and hopefully before they become BIG issues.
When’s the Last Time You Checked?
It costs a lot less (and is a lot less painful) to get a cavity filled, for example, then to have a tooth pulled or get a root canal. Sure, these things can’t always be avoided, but if there’s a chance they can, why not take it? Most dental benefit plans actually cover these regular maintenance visits because they want you to take good care of your teeth, too. It costs them less money in the long run.
According to a recent Time magazine article citing research conducted by the CDC, 91% of Americans have had tooth decay in their lifetimes, and a whopping 25% percent of us have one right now that isn’t being treated. That’s a quarter of our population running around with a cavity that could lead to much more serious issues if they don’t schedule an appointment with their dentist now to get it fixed.
And that’s just for adults. As stated in the same article, tooth decay “is the most chronic disease among kids and adolescents ages 6 to 19,” even though it can be preventable.
Follow These Easy Tips for Cavity Prevention
So, what do you need to do to help prevent cavities for yourself and your family? Other than those regular checkups we talked about, the ADA recommends the following additional tips for tooth decay prevention:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste;
- Flossing at least once a day;
- Drinking water with fluoride (from your tap or refrigerator filter);
- Eating fruits and vegetables;
- Being cautious of dry mouth; and
- Limiting your sugar intake.
Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, so be sure to discuss prevention tips with your dentist at your regular cleanings. That’s yet another reason why regular visits are so important. You get that one on one time with your dentist to ask all those questions that may arise in between your visits about how best to care for your mouth, and ultimately your body. If you haven’t had a regular cleaning in a while or are due for one soon, be sure to give us a call at Atlanta Smiles and Wellness to schedule it.
July 15, 2015
It’s easy sometimes to take things for granted, especially living in modern America today. We want our kids to appreciate the small things, but sometimes we as adults can be guilty of forgetting that simple lesson ourselves.
We recently learned that the children at the Holy Family Primary School in the village of Hopkins in Belize didn’t have access to toothbrushes. We were shocked that an item so commonplace to us would be such a luxury to others.
We immediately sent a box of toothbrushes with a group heading there during Spring Break to take along with them to these kids. We were pleased to receive this picture with their smiling faces in return! It was a small gesture on our part that made a big impact on them. What can you do to give back? It doesn’t have to be something grand to make a difference in someone else’s life.
These kids gave to us, too. They reminded us to be grateful for everything we have and to remember not to take things for granted. We may have sent smiles to Belize, but they sent them right back to us, as you can see from the picture and note (below) we received in response.
Hi Sandy and Dr. Giesler!
A very belated thank you for your donation of toothbrush kits for the Holy Family School in Hopkins, Belize. I just received a photo from our friends at the hotel we stayed at (Villa Verano) of the children happy to receive their toothbrushes and wanted to share!
If you’ll remember, we were leaving for our spring break trip and noticed on the Villa website their Pack for a Purpose program, wherein they invite guests to bring along donations to the local school and animal shelter. http://www.villaveranobelize.com/community-involvement/
While pulling together t-shirts and books for the primary school, I noticed they ask for NO candy or treats as the children did not have access to toothbrushes. I was appalled and immediately called Sandy. I remembered you guys had so kindly donated toothbrushes to WT Jackson Elementary for an event I had worked on, and I wondered if you had any similar toothbrushes to donate to this cause.
Sandy, you were so kind to immediately set aside a box of the toothbrushes! I picked them up the day before we left, and I am happy to tell you they made it safely to the village of Hopkins in Belize and the Holy Family Primary School.
I think the attached picture says it all. Atlanta Smiles is spreading smiles not only in Atlanta, but as far away as Belize!
Again, thank you so much and see you soon,
July 8, 2015
Sleep Apnea is a hot topic these days. Our own Dr. Giesler and Dr. Kovitch wrote an article about sleep apnea that was published in Best Self magazine. And well it should be. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea is so common that it affects more than 18 million people in America. However, 1 of every 27 people (or 3.68%) are undiagnosed. That’s over 10 million Americans.
And it’s more than just snoring and poor sleeping habits at night. Sleep apnea can be the cause of many side effects, including sleepiness during the day, moodiness, low energy and focus, headaches, increased body weight, and it can even cause you to be more likely to have a heart attack while sleeping. These symptoms don’t just apply to the stereotypical “overweight male over 40” either. Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea regardless of their gender, age or health, even children.
Alternative Treatment Options
Most people think that the only treatment for sleep apnea is a snore mask called a CPAP machine. We’ve all seen it on TV shows and movies, and some of us may even shudder at the thought of having to wear an apparatus akin to a Darth Vader mask to sleep. Though the CPAP machine is traditionally the most commonly prescribed method, there are other alternatives to treating this serious condition that are both less bulky and less offensive to your partner!
As featured recently on The Doctors’ Show, a new surgery claims to cure it by moving the tongue out of the way during sleep, timed in conjunction with the sleeper’s own breathing patterns. However, for those of you not ready to try a new and invasive surgical procedure, Atlanta Smiles & Wellness has an alternative (and less expensive) form of treatment that sleep apnea sufferers who are CPAP intolerant can use.
Dr. Giesler and Dr. Kovitch tell their patients that a CPAP machine is the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but not all patients can tolerate the mask and end up storing it under their beds to collect dust. Surprisingly, only about 40% of patients with a snore mask actually use it! For the other 60%, a two-piece oral appliance worn during sleep that creates a space for the air to travel, thus preventing the soft tissue from collapsing and disrupting breathing patterns, may be a more feasible solution. This alternative treatment is not only quieter and more comfortable, it is also much smaller than the CPAP machine (which makes it more convenient for travel as well).
A Sleep Study Is the Only Way to Know for Sure
75% of us have at least one of the above-mentioned symptoms of this condition. So, how do you know if you have sleep apnea? The only true way to be diagnosed is to participate in a sleep study. For more information on sleep studies in your area, please consult your physician. Or if you do not have a regular physician, we would be happy to refer you to one. At Atlanta Smiles and Wellness, we care about more than just giving you a beautiful smile.
June 30, 2015
One of the most common questions our doctors get from our patients is regarding bad breath, or halitosis. There’s nothing like a bout of bad breath to kick your confidence in the teeth and keep you from feeling your best. In order to treat this embarrassing and unpleasant condition (or even better, prevent it), it’s important to know first about its causes.
Typically, halitosis is due to bacterial build up on your tongue. According to the American Dental Association, it can be caused by a number of things, including your diet, gum disease, dry mouth, bad habits and even particular medical conditions like sinus infections, diabetes, or liver and kidney disease.
Some of the Causes of Bad Breath May Surprise You
We all know that strong smelling foods like garlic and onions, for example, can leave a distinctive taste in your mouth that will also be exhaled in your breath. However, lots of foods (even those that may seem harmless at the time you eat them) can cause bad breath later. This happens when food particles remain in your mouth as a result of infrequent brushing and flossing, thus collecting bacteria and ultimately leading to halitosis.
Plaque can also be the cause of bad breath. Plaque build-up over time can lead to gum disease, and persistent bad breath can be a warning sign that you may have developed this condition. How do you prevent plaque? Always brush and floss at home, but also be sure to maintain your regular cleanings and semi-annual visits with your dentist, where they have the tools and training to really get into those hard to reach places.
Dry mouth, or a decreased flow of saliva, can be due to salivary gland problems, frequent breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, or (quite commonly) different medications. When we don’t salivate enough, it is more difficult to clear away those pesky food particles that like to attract bacteria. The good news is that there’s a way to help create more saliva in your mouth, either by sucking on sugarless hard candies, increasing fluids, or even with a prescription for artificial saliva. Our dentists would be happy to help you determine which option could be best for you.
Bad habits like smoking and other tobacco use is another contributing factor to halitosis. Not only does it deaden your taste buds and stain your teeth, tobacco also irritates your gums. In fact, the ADA reports that “tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease and are at greater risk for developing oral cancer.” This fact probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise anymore. If you have ever smoked or used tobacco yourself, it is hard to deny that the risks far outweigh the benefits. We want you to be and feel healthy, so don’t be afraid to talk to us about stopping this habit for good!
Halitosis can also be attributed all the way to your tonsils! In fact, the #1 reason why adults have their tonsils removed is because of bacteria. Crypts or pockets that form on the tonsils trap food inside of them, which can remain there for days or even as long as weeks. As you can imagine, this can cause a horrible smell that emanates from the tonsils and comes out through your mouth (think of old food rotting in your refrigerator or trash can).
Don’t Worry, There’s an Easy Fix
It’s hard to hide these and other bad habits when it comes to your mouth, and even though quick fixes like mouthwash, breath mints and gum might mask the smell for a short while, they are only temporary bandages. Brushing and flossing are two often overlooked yet extremely important ways that you can help prevent bad breath on your own. Make sure you brush your tongue also, since that’s where those pesky bacteria often set up shop. Toothbrushes are a great tool for tongue brushing, or you can also use a tongue scraper if you prefer. We are more than happy to help you find the best oral hygiene regimen to keep your breath smelling fresh and clean!
Make sure to ask us at your next visit, and keep those maintenance visits on track. If you are a religious teeth and tongue brusher and flosser and still have a bad breath issue, you may have a more serious problem like one of those discussed above. If that’s the case, getting in for your next checkup is the best way to find a solution.
February 23, 2012
We have all seen the billboards around town about childhood obesity – let’s face it, America seems to be one of the unhealthiest nations. From our portion sizes to our food ingredients, we tip the scale. It is understood that people are overweight, but the health risks don’t resonate as much. The study below explains the rise in sleep apnea and childhood obesity. It is recommended that appliances are custom fitted, which is one of many services we specialize in. If you or your child suffers from any of the symptoms listed, make an appointment with your dentist to see what the best treatment would be.
February 15, 2012
The HPV Vaccine has recently made headlines again, now encouraging young boys to get the vaccine as well as young girls. While we do not administer the vaccine, we are also encouraging a proactive approach. Atlanta Smiles and Wellness is one of the only dental offices in Atlanta that offers a quick and easy screening to patients of all ages. Teaming with OralDNA Dental Labs, patients are able to take a simple salivary diagnostic test, OraRisk. While in the chair (the test can be taken at the same time as your cleaning), patients swish with a solution for 30 seconds and then expel into a cup that is later sent to the lab for testing….that’s it! Click here for more information on these services!
January 31, 2012
Our great friends over at Aesthetic Specialty Centre are having a ‘cool’ event! On February 27th, at their Old Alabama Road office, staff and reps will give you the inside scoop of their newest treatment, Coolsculpting. The best part, those who attend receive 20% off….space is limited, so reserve your seat today. And remember to tell them that Atlanta Smiles and Wellness sent you.
January 26, 2012
February has a lot in store for our patients! Specials include:
- The Take Home Teeth Whitening System: a 2 for 1 for only $350 (typically this package runs $375). *Restrictions Apply.
- The Zoom! In-office Teeth System for $250 (typically this package runs $495).*Restrictions Apply.
Ask our Atlanta cosmetic dentists if you qualify for our February specials!