Posts for: August, 2014

By Smart Family Dental Care
August 29, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures

In his decades long career, pop-music chameleon David Bowie has gone through a dizzying series of transformations. And as he morphed from alien-inspired space oddity to fashion-forward international superstar, his smile benefited from some very dramatic ch-ch-ch-changes. While Bowie hasn't talked much about his dental treatments, a comparison of pictures from the mid 1970s to the mid '90s (not to mention a much-viewed youtube video on the subject) makes it clear: his tooth staining, misalignment and gum recession have been left behind like polyester bellbottoms.

But tooth makeovers aren't just for pop stars! Cosmetic dentistry can benefit anyone who's interested in improving their appearance, at any age. Often, treatment starts with a “smile analysis” — a review of the current aesthetics of your mouth, including the shape, spacing, color and alignment of the teeth, the appearance and general health of the gums, and the way the lips and gums frame the smile.

This analysis can help pinpoint some places where the overall look of your smile may need improvement, and it can also identify some specific treatments to make it better. It's even possible to see a simulation of what you'd look like after the treatments are complete, to help ensure that your goals are realistic and attainable. What are some of the most common cosmetic procedures?

For stained teeth, you can try in-office whitening with concentrated bleaching solutions, or professionally-supervised at-home treatments using plastic trays that are custom-made to fit your teeth. The major difference between the two is the amount of time you need — with in-office treatments, you'll see results right away, while at-home gels may require weeks.

Tooth bonding and restoration with composite resin is a relatively fast and easy way to fix minor to moderate chips, flaws and discoloration. Because the composite material bonds directly to the tooth itself, this method requires only minor tooth preparation, and is often completed in just one office visit.

If your teeth, like Bowie's, need more extensive restoration, dental veneers or crowns may be required. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that fit over the front surface of your teeth. Besides giving you that “Hollywood white” smile, they can also lengthen teeth that are too small, correct misalignment and close gaps in your smile. To correct even more extensive problems, crowns (also called caps) can replace the entire visible portion of one or more teeth — or, if teeth are missing, a permanent, long-lasting dental implant can be placed.

Many adults are choosing orthodontics to correct problems of tooth position, alignment or spacing — in fact, some 20% of all orthodontic patients today are grown-ups! It's never too late to start treatment, and with less-noticeable appliances like clear aligners and tooth-colored braces, it's easier than ever to make those ch-ch-ch-changes.

If you would like more information about the options available in cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Orthodontics For The Older Adult” and “Cosmetic Dentistry.”

By Smart Family Dental Care
August 26, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Gum Pain   Gum Disease  

What your gum pain is saying about the health of your mouth.

Of course you spend a lot of time taking care of your teeth, but it might not seem as routine to give your gums the same TLC. However, once you’re faced with gum pain, it can be rather alarmingly. It’s one thing if your pain is due to a stubbed toe or a cut. After all, the cause seems rather obvious and easier to diagnose than gum pain. However, if you’re dealing with this symptom, one of these common culprits might be the cause. Gum Pain


Gingivitis or Periodontitis

If your gum pain is accompanied by redness and inflammation, it could be a sign of gingivitis, or even periodontitis. Gingivitis is a milder form of gum disease, while periodontitis is a more serious infection. If left untreated, both of these conditions can lead to gum disease, which can cause receding gum lines, tooth loss and jawbone damage. Talk to your Norcross dentist right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are small, painful mouth ulcers that can come and go a few times a year. While the exact cause is unknown, it’s believed that stress, tissue injuries, weakened immune systems, or certain acidic and citrus foods play some role in the development of canker sores. If you wear braces, they could also be rubbing against your gums, causing canker sores. If you’ve noticed mouth ulcers, it’s best to see your dentist in Norcross to diagnose whether these are indeed canker sores.


Smoking/Tobacco Products

While it’s not surprising to hear that smoking or tobacco products can cause problems for your mouth, you may not know that those who are regular smokers are more likely to develop problems like gum disease. If you partake in tobacco products and notice sensitive, bleeding or painful gums, it might be time to talk to your Norcross dentist about ditching the habit.


Some women may experience red, inflamed or more sensitive gums as their hormones rise. This could be due to menstruation, pregnancy or more rarely, menopause. However, these symptoms will most likely disappear after your menstrual cycle occurs. If you take oral birth control pills, you may also notice these same gum symptoms. Be sure to talk to your women’s health practitioner or your dentist in Norcross if you have any questions about this.

Overzealous Flossing

Flossing is an important part of any daily oral regime, and if you find yourself dealing with swollen or sore gums, you could be flossing a bit too vigorously. Next time you pull out your floss, use a more gentle hand. Slowly slide the floss up and down the curves and grooves of your teeth rather than forcing it between tight spaces.
If you’re concerned about gum pain or your persistent pain doesn’t let up, then it’s time to give your Norcross dentist a call. We can pinpoint the problem and get you feeling better again.

By Smart Family Dental Care
August 14, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

Look around and you’ll find warning labels on lots of household items: alcoholic beverages, drain uncloggers, pesticides and pool toys (not to mention cigarettes and chainsaws). Now, California lawmakers are proposing to add one more item to the list: sugary soft drinks. A bill to that effect recently passed the California state Senate, and is presently headed to the Assembly. If approved by both houses and signed by the governor, it would require sugary beverages to carry a warning label.

The proposed label would read: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.” It would appear on drink packaging and vending machines. While some may feel it’s an infringement on personal choice, recent polling seems to show that the tide of public opinion may have turned toward recognizing the potential health dangers of sugary drinks.

How real are those dangers? The medical groups sponsoring the bill (including the California Medical Association) point to numerous scientific studies showing, among other things, that:

  • Drinking one soda per day increases an adult’s likelihood of being overweight by 27 percent — and for a child, the likelihood is doubled!
  • Drinking one or two sodas per day increases the risk of developing type II diabetes by 26 percent.
  • People who drink two to three sodas per day are 2.75 times more likely to have a heart attack.
  • Drinking sugary beverages daily for only two weeks increases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 20 percent; over a longer period, it has even worse effects.
  • Children who consume sugary beverages are much more likely to develop tooth decay.

No matter where you stand on the debate over warning labels, you should understand the potential dangers of consuming foods and beverages with added sugar. For years, dentists have been cautioning people to limit their intake of sugary treats, including sodas and other sweets. Initially, our warnings came from the standpoint of oral health. Now, we have evidence that many other health problems have the same cause. We want to share this information with you because we’re concerned about your overall health — not just your oral health. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Think Before You Drink.”

By Smart Family Dental Care
August 14, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   Toothbrush  
Have you ever been standing in the dental health aisle of your local drugstore struggling to decide which of the numerous options of toothbrushes is the best? There’s always a new design or model that promises to get your teeth the cleanest, but when each package promises the same benefits despite the fact the brushes vary in shape and size, you can’t be sure which model to trust. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, shopping for a new toothbrush can be downright confusing. Lucky for you, we’re here to help things a little simpler. Below are some of the things to keep in mind the next time you’re at Walgreen’s, stressing over which toothbrush to buy. Oral Health

Soft Bristles vs. Hard Bristles

If you’ve ever asked your dentist about what type of toothbrush is best, you’ve likely heard that soft bristles are the way to go. Here’s why: soft bristles are flexible, and therefore much more effective at cleaning the hard-to-reach places in your mouth than hard bristles. They also clean your teeth in a less invasive way; hard bristles can actually scratch the enamel of your teeth, weakening their defenses against sugary drinks and acids that you ingest.
When tooth enamel is weak, decay sets in more easily. Hard bristles also irritate the gums, causing them to bleed or even recede, which exposes the teeth roots and makes them vulnerable to disease and decay. Tooth sensitivity is often caused by improper oral hygiene practices—one of which includes brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush.

Shape and Size

When it comes to selecting the proper aesthetic of your toothbrush (i.e. handle and head size or shape), we recommend selecting whatever will be most comfortable to you. One thing to note is that the smaller the head (the end with the bristles), the less limited the maneuverability of the brush. A brush with a larger head may restrict your ability to cover all your teeth, but the general shape of the brush doesn’t tend to make a ton of difference in the long run.

Electric-powered Brushes

Electric toothbrushes are actually a great option for people who find it difficult to brush using only manual power. We recommend them for small children—who maybe just haven’t fully mastered proper brushing techniques—or for people with limited motor capabilities.
No matter what toothbrush you choose, make sure it has the ADA seal of approval, and replace it every three months (or directly after you’ve recovered from a cold). Stick by these simple rules, and your mouth should be in great shape!
To learn more about dentistry in the Norcross, GA area, call (770) 446-5700 today.

By Smart Family Dental Care
August 01, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures

What if you had orthodontic treatments to enhance your smile — and nobody knew about it until it was all done?

That (almost) happened to British singer, cover girl and television personality Cheryl Cole. Since her big break in 2002, on the British reality show Popstars: The Rivals, Cole has had a successful music career, taken turns judging both the British and American versions of The X Factor, and graced the covers of fashion magazines like Elle and Harpers Bazaar.

And somewhere along the way, Cole wore an orthodontic appliance. It very nearly went undetected… until a colleague spilled the beans. That’s when Cole was forced to divulge her secret: For a period of time, she had been wearing clear aligners on her teeth. Until her frenemy’s revelation, only a few people knew — but when you compare the before-and-after pictures, the difference in her smile is clear.

So what exactly are clear aligners? Essentially, they consist of a series of thin plastic trays that are worn over the teeth for 22 hours each day. The trays are custom-made from a computerized model of an individual’s mouth. Each tray is designed to move the teeth a small amount, and each is worn for two weeks before moving on to the next in the series. When the whole series is complete, the teeth will have shifted into their new (and better aligned) positions.

Besides being virtually unnoticeable, aligners are easy to remove. This makes it easy to keep the teeth clean — and can come in handy for important occasions (like cover-photo shoots and acceptance speeches). But don’t remove them too frequently, or they won’t work as planned. If that’s a possibility (with teens, for example), aligners are available with “compliance indicators” to ensure they’re being worn as often as they should be. They can also be made with special tabs to hold a place for teeth that haven’t fully erupted (come in) yet — another feature that’s handy for teens.

So if you need orthodontic work but prefer to stay “under the radar,” ask us whether clear aligners could be right for you. Cheryl Cole did… and the results gave her something more to smile about.

If you would like more information on clear aligners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Clear Orthodontic Aligners” and “Clear Aligners for Teenagers.”