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Keep Your Teeth Healthy

DENTAL BLOG

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If you have a missing tooth and are looking to restore your smile, then look no further than dental bridges from Weddington Family Dentistry for one of the best restorative solutions. A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for your teeth that are placed on either side of your gap, with a false tooth in between. A dental bridge is inserted by one of our dental experts and supported by your natural teeth surrounding it (or by dental implants if you are missing those surrounding teeth, as well.)

The first step in deciding whether you are a candidate for a dental bridge is to determine the number of teeth you are missing. If you have one to three consecutive missing teeth within your mouth, bridges are most likely a great restorative solution for you. Secondly, both your oral and overall health must be in in a fairly good state. Additionally, a good candidate must be free from gum disease, and if they have gum disease, this needs to be treated before moving forward with dental bridges procedures. Moreover, in order to build a bridge, a patient must have a solid foundation on which the bridge can be built. As mentioned earlier, a bridge is supported by natural teeth or implants, which means these teeth have to be healthy and strong with a strong jawbone density supporting them, as well.

Since a bridge procedure is essentially building upon your current jawbone, having good bone density will improve your long-term oral health while also allowing the procedure to go smoothly. If a patient’s jawbone density is not ideal, they can undergo a bone grafting procedure and then have dental implants inserted to provide the bridge’s foundation.

In order to truly determine if you are a good candidate for a dental bridge, do not hesitate to contact our front desk team at Weddington Family Dentistry today! A member of our amazing staff will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have and help set up your next appointment. During your appointment we can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your oral health and immediately determine whether you are a good candidate for dental bridges. Call us at 704-782-2630 or use our easy online scheduler to book your evaluation with us.


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Ouch! Chomp on something your tooth didn’t like? Or get hit in the mouth with a hockey puck? If you think you may have a cracked tooth, or if you’re holding a piece of your tooth in your hand, follow these steps!

1. Give us a call to schedule an appointment at 704-782-2630. Let us know about your emergency and we will make our best effort to see you as soon as possible. You may also schedule an appointment HERE.

2. If there are tooth fragments that have fallen out, preserve them in a clean container with a moist solution (preferably cold milk or saliva), and bring them in to your appointment with us at Weddington Family Dentistry. You can also help to preserve your tooth by sealing it in plastic wrap. If you notice any dirt on the root, gently rinse it with your milk or saliva – do not scrub!

3. If you are feeling any pain or discomfort from your cracked tooth, try applying a cold pack to your jaw to lessen any pain and swelling.

4. If you are experiencing bleeding, bite down on a gauze pad until the bleeding stops. If your bleeding is not subsiding and it is outside of our business hours, visit our partners at Charlotte Emergency Dental on Park Road. They have extended hours on weekends to cater to emergencies just like yours.

It is possible to have a cracked tooth and not know it. If you have any pain when biting down, or when eating something hot or cold, it’s best to get it checked out by one of our dental professionals. In order to prevent further damage to the tooth or an infection, it’s very important to correct a cracked tooth immediately!


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Most people have heard of the word “plaque,” and know it’s not something you want on your teeth. Yet, they don’t know what exactly plaque is or how it contributes to dental decay and poor oral hygiene. Our team at Weddington Family Dentistry has gotten together to help give you a better explanation!

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that lives on the surface of your teeth and along your gum line. It accumulates from normal, every day activities such as eating and drinking. Plaque build up becomes especially bad if you’ve been consuming a lot of sugars and starches, such as soda, fruit, bread or crackers.

Ever had that fuzzy feeling on your teeth that goes away after you give them a good brush? Yep, that’s plaque. Plaque is what contributes to dental decay because that bacteria likes to consume the sugars in your mouth, which then excretes acids that wear away at your tooth enamel.

When you don’t regularly brush and floss away plaque, it forms tartar. Tartar is the calcified substance on your teeth that only a professional cleaning can remove. During this professional cleaning, one of our dentists or hygienists will use a scaler to scrape the bacteria from in between and at the base of each of your teeth. The more tartar that has built up on your teeth, the longer the cleaning will take, but we will always take careful care to remove every bit we can. In order to keep your teeth tartar and plaque free after our work is done, you MUST commit to a proper oral hygiene regimen.

To regularly remove plaque:

1. Brush thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste (that has been given the American Dental Association’s seal of approval) at least twice a day.

2. Floss at least once a day to remove plaque that the bristles in your toothbrush cannot reach on their own.

3. Try to maintain a healthy diet and avoid snacking throughout the day as much as possible! If you do feel the need to reach for a snack, always use water to rinse if you do not have a toothbrush available.

3. Visit us for your regular dental cleanings and examinations every 6 months!

Are you behind on your appointments? Call us today at 704-782-2630 or use our easy, online scheduler to book your next visit HERE.


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If there were a quick and painless way to identify pre-cancerous cells in the mouth of someone you loved, would you want them to try it? What if that person were you? The truth is, as uncomfortable as it may be to even think of the word “cancer,” thinking about it, and thus detecting it early, is key. That’s why, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you should schedule a visit, because while the oral exam that accompanies your cleaning may not be noticeable to you, it’s often your earliest line of defense in the detection of oral cancer.

Lets take a quick look at a few of the risk factors and symptoms, and consider a few options you may have to help reduce risk. Keep in mind that no list is exhaustive, and to always share with each of your health care providers your concerns and strategies regarding your oral health.

Those at Risk for Oral Cancer

Passing certain age thresholds and engaging in certain lifestyle habits can place you at increased risk for oral cancer. For example, men tend to have higher rates of oral cancers than women.

Here is the short list:

  • Patients age 40 and older (95% of all oral cancer cases)
  • Patients age 18-39 who use tobacco, are heavy drinkers, or may have a previously diagnosed oral HPV infection

Warning Signs

If you experience any of the below symptoms lasting more than 7-10 days, please seek the advice of your doctor. Also, keep in mind that aside from an obviously sore throat, the below symptoms can present themselves in the absence of pain. Look out for changes that can be detected on the lips, inside the cheeks, palate, and gum tissue surrounding your teeth and tongue. At Weddington Family Dentistry, we do run across such concerns a few times a year, and are able to recognize warning signs in our patients to help them get treatment early because they are keeping up with regular dental visits.

Here are a few signs you may able to recognize yourself:

  • Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

Reducing Risk

If you do not visit the dentist regularly, you could be missing out on the benefits of early cancer detection. Currently, just over half of all those diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years – a statistic driven by late diagnosis – so please visit your dentist and get an oral exam at least once a year. If you are considered “high risk,” (see list above) you should be receiving an oral exam at least every six months, if not more frequently.

Below is a short list of healthy habits you can start doing now, which may reduce your risk.

  • Avoid all tobacco products
  • Avoid or reduce your consumption of alcohol
  • Consume more fruits and vegetables (good for everything, of course)
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure that can result in cancer of the lip (using lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 can be helpful) Avoid exposure to environmental hazards (wood dust, formaldehyde, printing chemicals)

Conduct a self-exam monthly so you can catch any of the symptoms listed above. Use a small hand-held mirror so you can see the back of your mouth and tongue Dr. Graichen is a great person to ask for instructions on this sort of home exam. If you haven’t been in for an appointment with us in a while, give us a ring at 704-782-2630, and we can help explain how to perform this exam in between visits. Click HERE to schedule your next appointment in just seconds!


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Ever look at a photo of yourself that was only taken a few years ago and ask yourself, “Huh, how did my smile look so much brighter back then?” We definitely do. Coffee and red wine are usually the first to get blamed for tooth discoloration, but there are many other causes  that could be the culprit.

Common Reasons for Tooth Discoloration

  • Spotty Dental Routine: We’re definitely a little biased at Weddington Family Dentistry. But if you don’t brush and floss regularly (twice a day everyday!), plaque can harden into tartar, leaving a yellow-brown color along your gums that is impossible to remove without professional help.
  • Diet: Some of the foods we hold dearest to our heart, or even depend on daily in the case of many of our team members — like a big cup of dark coffee every Monday morning — can badly stain our teeth. Besides coffee and red wine, a few of the other top offenders include soda, dark juices, and white wine. Even tea, berries, grapes, tomato and soy sauces can leave dark stains or streaks on your teeth, which most people are not quick to think about.
  • Tobacco Use: Smoking and chewing tobacco cause a slew of terrible health issues, the least worrisome of which is yellow teeth. That said, it’s one of the most common aesthetic complaints among tobacco users.
  • Too Much Fluoride: Fluoride is a good thing, but like all good things, too much can be too much, and it isn’t recommended be oral hygiene professionals. Consuming too much of it, like in tap water or through dental care products (like mouthwash), can leave streaks across the surface of your teeth or a brown outline around the base of each tooth.
  • Enamel Decay: Enamel is that hard shell that protects the inside of your tooth. But if it decays or doesn’t fully develop, you may see a variety of stains and changes, including pits, white spots, or yellow-brown streaks. If you suspect decay, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. You can do that in just seconds HERE!

Pardon our sounding like a broken record, but generally, the one great way to prevent teeth discoloration is to take exquisite care of your teeth and your health. Stay up to date with your regular dental visits at Weddington Family Dentistry and always remember to brush and floss everyday.

Here are some of our favorite measures you can take right away to keep your teeth bright:

  • Brush after eating or drinking
  • Floss daily
  • Pass on the sugary foods and drinks
  • Add calcium to your diet
  • Nix any tobacco use

We can help, too! If you’re worried about tooth discoloration and need some help adding more sparkle to your smile, we’re here for you. We offer a number of professional whitening services in our office and for you to take home after your visit, including Zoom! Whitening. Give us a call today at (704) 782-2630 to learn more or to schedule your appointment!


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Let’s say you sprained an ankle. What are your first steps? Most of us probably would say something along the lines of plop down on the nearest couch, ice the ankle, elevate it, add some compression, and see a doctor if it’s a bad sprain. But what about a dental emergency, like a broken tooth? What’s your first step? Don’t be surprised if you don’t know. Most of us aren’t that familiar with the recommendations. But after this post, you’ll be the go-to source if it happens.

So What, Exactly, is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is any event that warrants immediate care to save a tooth, stop bleeding from the mouth, or relieve tooth or mouth pain. Some of the most common examples we see at include a cracked or knocked-out tooth or a toothache.

Tips for Treating Common Dental Emergencies

We see our fair share of dental emergencies here in Concord, NC and we’re equipped to handle them all. If you or a family member experience any of the emergencies below, call us as soon as possible, and we will let you know how to move forward and, if necessary, schedule you an emergency appointment.

  • Knocked-out tooth: For adults, place the tooth in the socket without touching the root; if that’s not possible, place the tooth between your check and gums or in a glass of milk. It’s crucial to keep the tooth wet, but potential outside materials found in water could damage the tooth further. For children with baby teeth, come to our office as soon as possible; do not try to place the tooth in the socket.
  • Cracked tooth: Rinse your mouth, and place an ice pack on your face to reduce the swelling. Wrap the tooth up in wet gauze or a towel, and bring it to the office.
  • Toothache Use warm water to rinse your mouth, and gently floss to remove any food. If you note any facial swelling (which may signal infection), schedule an appointment with our Concord dentists or with your primary healthcare provider as soon as possible.
  • Bitten Tongue or Lip: Clean the area with a cloth, or rinse your mouth with water. Apply an ice pack to the area. If the bleeding doesn’t slow, come to our office or go to the ER.

Tips for Preventing Emergencies

Taking the right measures can keep your teeth safe. Here are a few easy precautions you and your family can take each day:

• Use scissors or a tool, rather than your teeth, to open or cut items

• Wear a mouthguard when playing high-impact sports, like football, basketball, and soccer

• Wear a helmet when using a bike, scooter, or skateboard

• Never chew hard foods, like ice and hard candy

• Help young children keep toys and small items out of their mouths

Need More Information?

Give us a call today at 704-782-2630. Everyone here at Weddington Family Dentistry is happy to answer any questions you have! Have a dental emergency outside of our office hours? Our partners at Charlotte Emergency Dental Clinic have extended hours 7 days a week for all of your emergency needs! Check them out HERE or call at 704-525-3939


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Got a Cold Sore? Here’s How to Treat It Quickly Ugh. A cold sore appears a couple days before a party where you’ll be photographed as much as the Royal Couple. That smile that we’ve been working on together just went from hero to zero, right? Not necessarily. Finding which cold sore treatment works best for you can help speed along its healing. And that’s why we’re here. Maybe It Isn’t a Cold Sore, Right? Let’s clear the air about what a cold sore is and isn’t.

Cold sores are contagious blisters that usually appear on your lips or around your mouth. Caused by a virus, cold sores usually start with a tingling sensation, evolve into numerous tiny, painful blisters, and later crust over. Canker sores, on the other hand, aren’t contagious, but they still sting. Unlike cold sores, they usually appear as white oval lesions inside your mouth, especially near or on your gums.

Remedies for Cold Sores

The key to treating a cold sore is acting fast. As soon as the first symptom appears, consider these steps to move the healing process along quickly:

  • Apply Ice to the Cold Sore At the first sign, grab an ice cube, wrap it in a paper towel, place it where you feel the cold sore coming on, and let it melt. Back-to-back applications can reduce the pain.
  • Switch to a Cold-Sore-Fighting Diet You can boost your immune system’s fight against this viral nuisance with the right foods. Fill your plate with cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, and avoid foods with arginine, a cold-sore-triggering amino acid found in nuts, chocolate, and oats.
  • Dial Down the Stress One of the most common causes of cold sores is, surprise, surprise, stress. Minimizing stress these days can get so complicated that it causes more stress, right? But try giving yourself some time for the restorative, restful activities that drop your heart rate and raise your smile.
  • Reach for Aloe Vera or Even an Over-The-Counter Cream Both natural and medicinal creams have shown promise as cold sore remedies. Some studies suggest that aloe vera can help the fever blister heal, and over-the-counter creams, like docosanol, also tout their ability to knock the sore out of cold sores. Prefer the medicinal route? Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before using it.
  • Relieve Pain with Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen Some cold sores can get really painful. For those intense ones, acetaminophen or iburprofen may provide well-needed relief. Just be sure that your healthcare provider’s on-board with that type of over-the-counter med.

There you have it. You’re on the fast track to treating that cold sore quickly and living your best life at the party. If you are experiencing regular cold sores or are unable to get your sores under control on your own, call our front desk to make an appointment so we can help with an individualized plan to treat cold sores!


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Typically, when a parent brings a young child to the dentist, the last discussion they’re expecting to have is one centered on braces and orthodontic appliances. Yet, even at ages three and four, a talk about braces, expanders, and retainers can indeed be front and center when a child is diagnosed with a crossbite. The question then is what to do about it, how soon should intervention take place, and what complications can arise if nothing is done at all. Let’s get some answers.

 

What Exactly Is a Crossbite?

Imagine for a moment you’re sitting in front of a nice soup bowl with a wide flat brim, and inside that bowl is hearty chowder you’d like to keep warm until you’re ready to devour it. So, you grab another bowl designed exactly like the first, and hover it upside-down over the bowl containing the soup. As you slowly lower it, you try to line up the brims so when they rest together they form a nice even seal. Unfortunately, given the soup is hot, you don’t quite get the brims to line up perfectly, and the edge of the top bowl ends up resting just slightly to the left of the lip on the bottom bowl. The way these two bowls now rest unevenly atop one another is exactly what you would see in a person with a crossbite. A crossbite can affect several teeth, or a single tooth, and can occur on either one side of the mouth or both. Simply put, if any one tooth (or several teeth) lies nearer to the tongue or cheek instead of coming together evenly, you’re likely dealing with a crossbite.

 

So, What To Do About It And When?

The dental community is split on when to initiate treatment for a crossbite, with some suggesting treatment should begin as soon as it is noticed (sometimes as early as age three), while others suggest parents should wait until a child’s sixth year molars have arrived. At Weddington Family Dentistry we believe early diagnosis and earlier treatment is important to overall health, but we understand your concerns surrounding crossbite treatment for your younger children. We will always work with you to determine the best individualized solution for your child. Despite the difference of opinion as to when treatment should begin, dentists and orthodontist are in agreement that the condition cannot be left untreated. Doing so presents a host of complications for the child later in life including gum and tooth wear, uneven jaw development that can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and facial asymmetry – something no parent or child wants.

 

What Does Crossbite Treatment Look Like?

Crossbite treatment generally involves adjusting the spread of a child’s teeth with dental appliances so the bite pattern matches evenly on all sides. Depending on the type of crossbite a child has, this can be done with dental expanders that resemble orthodontic retainers, and include a screw that is tightened nightly to “spread” a child’s bite to the prescribed width. Additionally, dental facemasks, braces and clear aligners may be used – particularly when a single tooth is out of alignment. Crossbites are generally regarded as genetic in nature, and they’re not overly common. It is, however, a condition that needs to be treated before permanent damage to a child’s facial and oral development occurs. So, if you find yourself at the other end of a discussion about having your little one wear a dental expander, be sure you listen and get however many opinions regarding that advice as you require. Your child, and your wallet, will thank you long into the future.


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People have been asserting that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” since the 19th century. While it may not necessarily be true that those who eat apples never have to see a doctor, apples certainly have great health benefits for our bodies! Did you know they can even be good for our teeth? Let’s take a look at what the research says …

It’s widely thought that chewing a crisp, fresh apple can help brush away plaque on our teeth. We’re not too sure on this one, as some studies show a higher plaque content on teeth after eating an apple. At the same time, there is evidence to suggest some polyphenols in apples can lower the ability of cavity-causing bacteria to adhere to teeth. Further, some studies have shown that the antioxidants in apples can help prevent periodontal disease.

Apples even contain a (very) small amount of fluoride. This is worth noting, as fluoride is so important in helping prevent cavities. Lastly, the act of chewing an apple stimulates saliva production. Saliva helps wash away food debris and bacteria. Remember, though, apples contain sugar and acid so it’s best not to go overboard with them. You can even swish with water after eating one to wash away some of the sugar left behind.

As the science continues to look into how apples affect our teeth, one thing we know is true: regular dental visits, along with daily tooth brushing and flossing, is your best defense against tooth decay!


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When asked about oral health and having a healthy mouth and smile, most people would think or talk about the brushing and flossing of their teeth. However, the majority of the oral surfaces in our mouth aren’t even our teeth! Most forget about the gums, cheeks, and tongue which actually make up the majority of our mouths.

 

Did you know that our mouths are actually home to over 700 different bacteria strains? These strains of bacteria are the culprits behind bad breath and they love to stick on all surfaces of your mouth both soft and hard. This includes your cheeks, your gums and yes even your tongue. Not only cannot cleaning your tongue surface result in you having some seriously bad breath but it can also lead to a white discoloration of your tongue. Both of these problems are caused by a coat of bacteria along with other debris that is trapped on your tongue. The surface of your tongue is covered in these tiny little bumps that are called papillae. Within the small grooves of the papillae, bacteria, dead skin cells, and other food particles are collected. This layer of debris and bacteria will remain where it is causing bad breath and leading to white discoloration of your tongue until it is cleaned off. The problem with only brushing your teeth and not cleaning your tongue is that the bacteria on your tongue will also redeposit itself onto your teeth and gums after you have already cleaned them. This not only increases the probability of plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth, but it also increases your chance of developing tooth decay and or gum disease.

 

Your overall oral health depends on you cleaning all parts and surfaces of your mouth and not just your teeth. Your tongue health is that of the same importance of your teeth, and keeping your tongue clean and bacteria free is essential in trying to prevent all serious oral health problems.

 

Many people use mouthwash to help with their bad breath and they think that mouthwash is the best way to combat unpleasant breath. Unfortunately for them, this is not true, in most cases bad breath is caused by a group of bacteria that is covering the tongue. Swishing mouthwash around will help remove the outer bacteria layer on your tongue but the cells underneath will still be present and causing bad breath. In order to fully remove bad breath from your mouth, you must physically remove the layers of bacteria coating your tongue. This can be done using a special tongue brush or scraper which are commonly found in the dental hygienic section of any store. This may also possibly be completed through the use of the back of your own toothbrush. Many toothbrushes nowadays are designed and made with a built-in tongue cleaner right on the back side.

 

If you start brushing and cleaning your tongue as well as brushing your teeth and you may notice a major difference. If however you have tried these solutions and are still experiencing bad breath there could be another dental problem at hand, consult your dental hygienist as soon as possible.


Weddington Family Dentistry

We are honored that you have chosen Weddington Family Dentistry and we appreciate the trust you have placed in us.

We are committed to being your partner in good oral health. We believe in establishing a long term relationship so we can get to know your unique needs and design a customized treatment program that will help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile for life.

© Weddington Family Dentistry 2017.