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Give the Gift of A Smile for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Give the Gift of a Smile!

Give the Gift of a Smile!

It’s October, and in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Atlanta Smiles is having special discounted prices on teeth whitening. Both our in-office Zoom teeth whitening and our take-home custom trays and whitening solution are drastically discounted this month. And even better, all proceeds from these sales will go directly to the Atlanta Smiles Foundation to help survivors of domestic violence and their families.
The Atlanta Smiles Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2006 to help domestic abuse survivors and their families by providing pro-bono dental restoration and facial reconstructive services. Based on individual circumstances, the services provided may range from preventive and routine work, to cosmetic dentistry, to dental and facial reconstruction. Dr. Marc Yune, an Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon, works in conjunction with founder Dr. Dina Giesler by providing surgery to the head and neck areas for those who have been injured in severe domestic abuse cases.

As health care professionals, we believe we possess special gifts and talents for making a huge difference in the lives of our patients. We utilize our skills to eliminate serious pain and improve overall health to survivors and to their children. Aesthetically speaking, our work can make a critical difference by giving people a renewed confidence to function at a higher level in their everyday lives. We believe this confidence gives survivors the courage to leave the violence that threatened to destroy them and their children.   Dr. Dina Giesler, DDS, MAGD

The Atlanta Smiles Foundation works in partnership with area shelters, agencies and programs that are dedicated to survivors of domestic abuse. Its mission is to send survivors of domestic abuse on their journey to reclaim their self-esteem, their sense of value and their lives.

This month, do your part by helping the Foundation give the gift of a smile to these deserving people, and brighten your own in the process!

For more information on the Foundation and how you can help during any month of the year, see our website here: http://www.atlantasmiles.org/.

Kids and Fluoride

Have you ever watched a child put toothpaste on their toothbrush?  It’s not usually the delicate pea-sized amount that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends for kids 3 and older.  Even for younger kids, the AAP says only to use a “smear (grain of rice amount)” prior to the 3rd birthday.  But, why is it that the amount of toothpaste is such a big deal?

Too Much Toothpaste is Dangerous

Because of the fluoride.  Most of us know the HUGE benefit of fluoride—it helps to prevent tooth decay and cavities.  Dentists recommend fluoride use in different applications to both treat and prevent decay.   However, when it comes to small kids (ages 6 and younger), there are lots of potential issues which can be caused by fluoride as well.

According to fluorideallert.org, “children who swallow too much fluoride toothpaste can suffer acute poisoning, even death.  In fact a single tube of bubble-gum flavored Colgate-for-Kids toothpaste contains enough fluoride (143 mg) to kill a child weighing less than 30 kg (Whitford 1987a),” or 66.14 pounds.

Toothpaste for Kids

This is why introducing our children to toothpaste containing fluoride isn’t something parents should do too early.  Lots of kids will ingest the toothpaste even if they are old enough to “know better,” simply because a lot of those on the market have added flavoring like bubble gum or fruit juices to make them more appealing.

Children also don’t have the best swallowing reflexes, so they may be ingesting more of the paste than is physically safe whether they, or you, realize it or not.  Several of these kid-targeted toothpastes with fluoride will say they are safe for an age as young as 2 years, though many dentists recommend waiting until the age of 6 or older to let your child use fluoride toothpaste, simply because then you know they will be spitting it out.  It will benefit their teeth without getting ingested.

So, without fluoride toothpaste, how do parents ensure children are getting the actual amounts that are needed to perform the benefit that fluoride was designed to do, which is prevent tooth decay?

Here’s the Good News

The answer is water.  Parents are instructed to brush their babies’ new teeth simply with a toothbrush and tap water.  And parents of toddler-aged children have probably had the discussion with their pediatricians or dentists about the type of water their children drink.  Tap or filtered water from the refrigerator is safest, and beware of giving them only bottled water.  Why?  Because our local water supplies contain fluoride.  According to kidshealth.org in fact, “as of 2012, CDC statistics show that more than 60% of the U.S. population receives fluoridated water through the taps in their homes,” whether it’s naturally occurring in their water or added at processing plants.  You can even check the Environmental Protection Agency’s database to find out what’s in your water.  The same website demonstrates that water fluoridation is actually estimated today to reduce tooth decay by “20%-40%.”  And it’s been doing so safely for over 60 years.  The American Dental Association even cites the CDC as naming it “one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.”

These days, not all tap water is convenient to drink (or has the best flavor depending on where you live).  No worries there either.  Many bottling companies have joined the fluoride wave by adding it to their bottled water as well.  Just check the label—most of them will advertise it right on the front because they want you to know they’ve taken that extra step.

Alternative Toothpastes

If you are concerned at all about your children ingesting too much fluoride, there are other toothpaste options readily available than the fruity, bubblegum ones with cute cartoon characters on the outside.  Feel free to ask your dentist for a good suggestion.  Some alternatives, like xylitol-based toothpastes, can also help prevent other health issues like ear infections.  Toothpastes like these are either sold at your dentist’s office, your local health food store, or easily found through an online retailer.

Dr. Giesler on Atlanta and Company

In case you missed it, Dr. Giesler recently appeared on 11 Alive’s “Atlanta and Company” to talk about cosmetic dentistry and to show some real-life examples of cosmetic dentistry done right!

Dr. Giesler explains how listening to her patients is the first thing she does to help them improve their smiles.  As a successful cosmetic dentistry practice, Atlanta Smiles utilizes many options to fix common issues like teeth grinding that plague so many people.  One of these includes porcelain veneers, which can be read about in more detail on one of our previous Smile Blog posts here.  Dr. Giesler’s main goal when it comes to smile transformations is to make it look natural.  You want people to admire your smile, she explains, NOT your veneers.

If there are things you don’t like about your smile, there’s no reason to hide anymore.  As Christine Pullara, host of “Atlanta and Company” said on the show, “If you aren’t cheesing, make an appointment with Dr. Dina today!”

We All Have TMJ

TMJ Pain

What is TMJ?

You’ve probably heard someone say “I have TMJ.”  Well, so do I.  And you do, too.  In fact, without TMJ, you wouldn’t be able to open your mouth to smile, talk, or move it around to chew.  The acronym TMJ actually refers to the temporomandibular joint, the joint that controls your jaw and allows it to move.  A TMJ Disorder, however, is not something everyone has.  And for those of us who do, we know how unpleasant and disruptive it can be.

So what’s the proper way to refer to a disorder relating to the TMJ?  According to Dr. Marianna Kovitch, TMJD (the Temporomandibular Joint Disorder), or the umbrella term TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder), covers pain and dysfunction associated with the TMJ and muscles of mastication.  It can be very painful, and when left alone, extremely damaging to your teeth, head and way of life.

Side Effects of a TMJ Disorder

A disorder of the jaw or TMJ can cause daily disruptions to your life including difficulty sleeping, sore teeth and jaw, and chronic headaches or migraines.  TMJD is commonly attributed to bruxism, involuntary or habitual clenching or grinding of your teeth (usually while you sleep), which can also lead to unnecessary wear and tear on the premolars and molars and eventually even causing holes.  When left untreated, a jaw disorder can be extremely detrimental to your dental health and overall wellbeing.

Treatment Options

If you have a disorder of the jaw or joint, don’t despair.  There are several treatment options available depending on the diagnosis, including splint therapy, occlusal adjustments, guards and medication.  Only your dentist can help determine which option may be best for you.

These treatments may are successful in protecting your teeth and minimizing the other side effects; however, the pain and discomfort is not always erased completely.  In these cases, there are additional treatment options available that some people have found helpful.  Some of these include chiropractic adjustments to the jaw, head and neck, massage therapy inside the mouth that helps to ease the muscle tension from clenching and grinding, and Botox© injections to the specific areas of facial tension to relax the muscles.

If none of the above completely eliminates the issues caused by the TMJD or TMD, then at times, it may be necessary to obtain a referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) for analysis.  Types of surgery an OMS may suggest to treat a jaw disorder include Arthrocentesis, Arthroscopy or Arthrotomy, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (www.AAOMS.org).  During Arthrocentesis, fluid is flushed from the joint and the joint is then gently stretched.  Arthroscopy involves the use of a miniature telescoping tool inserted near the bottom of the ear to repair the joint.  And Arthrotomy is an open joint surgery used to reset the joint for the most complex issues.  However, as with most forms of surgery, it should never be entered into lightly as it cannot guarantee to fix the problem and could possibly even present additional issues.

Get Help Today

As with any other daily concern that causes chronic pain or discomfort, the sooner you obtain a diagnosis, the sooner you can find relief.  Do you clench or grind your teeth?  If you have frequent headaches and tooth or jaw pain, there’s a good chance you might have some form of TMJD/TMD.  But the good news is that surgery is rarely necessary, since so many other attractive and successful treatment options are available today.  Mention it to us at your next cleaning appointment to discuss your questions and concerns in more detail with your dentist.  Chances are, she can tell just by looking at your bite and grinding patterns which option will be best for you.

Ask the Dentists

We want to hear from you! 

We get lots of questions from our patients when we see them for appointments, and we are always happy to answer them and help you stay informed about your dental health and wellbeing.

But what about those questions or issues that may arise between your regular visits?  Instead of waiting for your next appointment to get an answer, why not ask us now?

This forum was created as an outlet for you, the patient (and your friends and family), to ask us whatever dental or mouth health related question you desire whenever you want!  Simply visit our facebook page at www.facebook.com/atlantasmilesandwellness or click on the image below to post your comment.  Feel free to share with your friends and family, too.  Chances are, somebody else is wondering the same thing.

Visit our Facebook page to post your comment!

Visit our Facebook page to post your comment!

Wedding Ready

Getting Married?

You’ve picked out your dress and your shoes, you’ve chosen flowers and the perfect venue.  You’ve planned your hair and makeup, and vetted photographers to find the one to capture your special day.  But did you think about your smile?  Let Atlanta Smiles and Wellness help get you and your significant other smile-ready with our wedding smile renewal!

Wedding enhancement services we offer include a special cleaning and in-office Zoom® whitening to get your teeth looking their best and brightest.  We also provide esthetic boosts like Botox®, Juvederm® and Restylane® for a more smooth and relaxed appearance.

Check out photos from the wedding of one of our most recent smile renewal brides to demonstrate what a difference your BEST smile can make!





Are Porcelain Veneers Right For You?

Before 1 After 1
Before 2 After 2

What Are Dental Veneers?

Veneers are custom-designed extremely thin shells resembling natural teeth that are carefully and artistically created by your dentist and fabricated in a dental lab. The veneers are then bonded over your own teeth and can serve several purposes, the most common including straightening, whitening and lengthening. The main goal of having veneers applied is to give you a beautiful smile! This procedure is the best technique we utilize today to provide our patients with the best smile possible! Dr. Giesler has been performing smile makeovers and placing veneers for over 20 years. She has an artistic eye and works with talented ceramists. Together, their results are beautiful yet natural.

Veneers Are Not the Same as Bonding

As Dr. Giesler discussed in Best Self magazine, “many people find the idea of veneers vs. bonding a more complex decision.” So how do you know if dental bonding or veneers is the best option? The short answer is that bonding is usually recommended for more minor tooth adjustments. However, if you have teeth that are significantly discolored or have sustained heavy wear and tear, then veneers may be a better option for you. Additionally, veneers are a recommended choice for other large issues like broken teeth, substantial gaps in your teeth, or even variations in the size and shape of your teeth. Because veneers are custom-made for each patient, they look a lot more like your natural teeth. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about them becoming discolored over time, as they are created to be stain-resistant to the effects of coffee or wine drinking.

The Process of Applying Dental Veneers

It takes two to three appointments with your dentist to fully complete the dental veneer process. First, we recommend a consultative appointment in which you sit down with your doctor to discuss the procedure. At this visit, we like to provide you with the opportunity to ask any questions you may have so that you fully understand the process. During the consultation, we will also create the best treatment plan customized to you and your schedule.

At the second visit, we begin the actual physical work of your veneers. At this point, your teeth are shaved down in preparation for application, and a temporary veneer is placed on top of your teeth. These will serve as a placeholder until your permanent veneers are constructed in a lab by our trusted ceramists and sent back to our office.

On your third and final visit, your temporaries are then replaced with your permanent, custom-made veneers.

“The true art in aesthetic dentistry is designing and creating a beautiful smile in which everyone thinks that your veneers are your natural teeth.” — Dina Giesler, D.D.S. M.A.G.D.

Demonstrations of the Application of Dental Veneers

See the videos on our Veneers services page here for demonstrations for how veneers can help with the following three major dental issues: chipped teeth, malformed teeth and stained teeth.

For more images on smile transformations performed in our office like the ones above, see our gallery here.

The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

Cancer Free Mouth!

Cancer Free Mouth!

Oral Cancer Statistics

What do you know about oral cancer?  According to the CDC and Oral Cancer Foundation, the following are some prominent statistics about oral cancer.

  • 41,000 people are diagnosed yearly in the United States
  • Oral cancer is responsible for approximately 12,000 deaths per year
  • 66% of people will be diagnosed with oral cancer at a late stage of the disease—at stages three and four
  • Past risks of oral cancer include tobacco and alcohol use, and being over 40 years of age
  • Today, the face of oral cancer is changing with the fastest growing population in younger ages, ranging from 18 to 40 years of age
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a known risk factor and independent causative factor for oral cancer

How Can HPV Affect My Mouth?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) includes 130 unique types of double-stranded circular DNA viruses capable of producing epithelial tumors of the skin and mucous membrane.  HPV-16 and HPV-18 are high risk strains which are responsible for 70% of cervical carcinomas.  The molecular evidence for HPV-16 in Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), or oral cancer, is as strong as it is for cervical cancer. HPV -16 and 18 account for 92% of HPV positive OPSCC.  In the U.S., OPSCC due to HPV has climbed to 50%.  That’s a strong direct correlation between HPV and oral cancer!

Clinical studies show that HPV-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma are seen more likely in a higher socio-economic environment, and is most prevalent in the range of 40 to 59 years of age.  The ratio of males versus females affected is 3 to 1.  And sexual behavior is a high risk factor!  HPV-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma are seen mostly on the palatine tonsils and the base of the tongue, though early signs are not clinically evident.

Everyone Needs an Oral Cancer Screening

At Atlanta Smiles and Wellness, we perform an Oral Cancer Screening at every one of your cleaning appointments.  If we see anything that is not within normal limits, we will either decide to biopsy the area or will document it with digital radiographs and photographs in order to observe the area until it has cleared or been removed.  Oral cancer is commonly seen on the lateral posterior borders and the dorsal side of the tongue.  Both areas are very difficult for you to check on your own and are not areas that are seen when just looking into your mouth.  If you have any questions about oral cancer or any concerns about a particular spot or area in your mouth, be sure to schedule an appointment.  The best way to optimum health is to see trained professionals regularly, and when it comes to oral cancer, early detection is key!

Seal Off the Potential for Problems Before They Start

Healthy Mouth, Happy Smile

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.