Please wait...



Keep Your Teeth Healthy

DENTAL BLOG

AdobeStock_94210146.jpeg

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!


AdobeStock_223704382.jpeg

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!


ambulance-architecture-building-263402-1-1200x795.jpg

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


applying-blurred-background-close-up-374622-1.jpg

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!


AdobeStock_202944753-1200x800.jpeg

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.


benjamin-wong-485320-unsplash-1200x800.jpg

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!


pexels-photo-216729.jpeg

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.



While we all hear and know the importance of brushing and flossing for maintaining proper dental hygiene. But a lot of people are still confused on what to do first, brushing or flossing. While some claim flossing after brushing your teeth is the right way, others claim that flossing before brushing your teeth is more effective. Let us know which process is the most efficient in ensuring proper dental hygiene.

Brushing and flossing are both important part of the teeth and gum cleaning process as they help to remove food particles from the teeth, which are the breeding point for bacteria and other pathogens. Brushing also removes and prevents plaque from building up on the surface of the tooth while flossing removes the stuck food particles from the corners and hard to reach places of the tooth. To ensure the most effective cleaning, both brushing and flossing must be done simultaneously, as any one of them are not sufficient to ensure total cleaning of the mouth. These simple activities performed for at least two times a day, can go a long way in preventing a host of dental problems and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.

Coming to the crux of the matter of whether brushing done first is better than flossing done first is better or not, then answer to the question is  a no. But this does not mean that flossing done first is better, it just means that irrespective of whatever is done earlier, it does not matter that much. It all depends on individual preferences, on what is one comfortable with, whether it be flossing before brushing or flossing after brushing. There are no scientific studies to prove that the former is better than the latter or vice versa, and there is general consensus among dentists that the order of the dental cleaning process does not matter. But they do agree on patients doing both processes together at the same time for at least two times in a span of 24 hours to ensure proper oral hygiene. If you feel that brushing before flossing is more suitable for you, then you can follow that regimen. On the other hand, if you feel that flossing before brushing helps you maintain better oral hygiene, then you should follow that regimen.

No matter whatever way of dental cleaning and caring you choose for yourself, the following tips would help you in your pursuit of making sure your mouth and teeth are clean and free of pathogens.

  •         Making sure to brush and floss your teeth at least two times per day, one after waking up in the morning and the other before going to sleep at night.
  •         Cleaning your tongue at least once per day in addition to brushing and flossing to remove any harmful germs thriving there.
  •         Replacing toothbrush every three months.
  •         Using waxed floss to ensure smoother cleaning.
  •         Usage of an electric toothbrush for more effective cleaning.
  •         Taking the time to clean your teeth thoroughly using your toothbrush.


In recent times, dentists have started recommending the use of mouthwashes in addition to brushing and flossing in order to ensure complete oral hygiene. But still, a large part of Americans do not know about the benefits offered by mouthwashes. We discuss about the benefits of using mouthwash and how it can help to prevent and protect us from dental diseases.

Mouthwashes offer a plethora of benefits, the most important being that it kills the pathogens and bacteria present in the mouth. These bacteria are responsible for causing cavities in the teeth as well as for other dental ailments including gingivitis and bad breath. Mouthwashes also have minerals which help rebuild the enamel of the tooth, which makes it stronger and more resistant to attacks from pathogens and acids from food items. Mouthwashes also help in disinfecting the mouth as well as getting rid of sores and other infections that may have formed due to bacterial and fungal attacks. In addition, mouthwashes are lightly scented, which helps them to reduce and get rid of bad breath or halitosis, thereby giving one more confidence in expressing themselves freely without being judged or given weird looks.

 

While mouthwashes offer a plethora of benefits they have some side effects too. For example, the chemicals used in mouthwashes can lead to the increase in canker sores in the mouth for some people, while for some others it could lead to tissue damage and even bleeding. Some critics also argue against mouthwashes by saying that they act as a blanket against halitosis and do not act against the root cause of bad breath. Some people also claim that the chemicals used in mouthwashes can lead to a variety of diseases, a claim which has not yet been proven. Nevertheless, the ADA, or the American Dental Association, calls mouthwashes to be safe for use.

The open market means that there are several types of mouthwash available in the market today, all made by different companies, which makes one spoilt for choice in choosing the best mouthwash. The mouthwashes available in the market can be categorized in the following types.

Fluoridated: As the name implies, these mouthwashes contain fluoride, which makes them act as a restorative force and helps them to strengthen and restore the outer layer of our teeth.

Antiseptic: These mouthwashes are highly efficient in getting rid of the bacteria and other germs thriving in our mouth and can also prevent gum diseases or cavities from causing more pain and discomfort.

Total Care: These mouthwashes have the good points of all other kinds of mouthwashes and they help in the all-around protection of the teeth, gums and surrounding tissues.

Natural: These mouthwashes are made from natural ingredients and are suitable for those who are generally sensitive to chemicals.

Cosmetic: These mouthwashes are generally used to cover up bad breath and have no other major function.

Mouthwashes can act as a great supplement to protect the teeth and fight against germs and other pathogens present in the mouth and can help us maintain healthier oral lifestyle. The professionals at Weddington Dental can also help one maintain a superior oral lifestyle free of dental issues and ailments.



When we talk about oral and dental health, we generally think about the teeth and the gums. But there is another important yet overlooked organ which is an extremely vital part of our oral system. That’s right, the tongue is generally overlooked and not cared for that well by many people, but they are an extremely important part of the oral system as well as the digestive system. Hence, it becomes imperative to practise proper tongue hygiene and we will discuss about the ways and methods by which we can practise proper tongue hygiene for a superior oral health.

A clean tongue can go a long way in preventing bad breath as well as help maintain proper dental health. Cleaning your tongue also means that plaque as well as other materials causing damage to the teeth and the gums are removed as well as the pathogens thriving on these particles are removed from the mouth for good, giving them no chance to attack the teeth.

Tongue cleaning is simple and no special tools are needed in order to clean your tongue. You just need your toothbrush with the tongue cleaner attachment built in it to clean your tongue. You should start the cleaning process from the back of your tongue and then move forward and side to side in a circular fashion to get the debris and other particles off the tongue. The circular motions would help to get the rigid and textured surface of the tongue be clear of particles. Care must be taken to ensure that you clean your tongue gently, as rough brushing can lead to tearing of taste buds. After clearing your tongue with the toothbrush for a few seconds, you can wash it off using water. A tongue cleaner can also help to clean the tongue as they are custom designed keeping in mind the contours as well as the general texture of the tongue. Cleaning the tongue also provides a therapeutic effect in addition to the freshness that is experienced. Toothpaste can be used to coat the tongue before the cleaning process as it helps to neutralize the bacteria and other germs as well as allows for easy removal of debris from the tongue.

You should also avoid eating food items that tend to stain the tongue, as these staining agents attract bacteria and other pathogens, which in turn, release acids that can affect the teeth and gums. They also lead to bad breath and poor oral health. White patches on your tongue can be removed by cleaning your tongue, but if they persist even after cleaning, it may be a sign of fungal infection which can be treated using ointments and medicines. Drinking lots of water also helps the tongue stay hydrated and clean.

The team at Weddington Dental can help you devise ways and methods to ensure proper dental and oral hygiene. They can also help you in the treatment of your dental and oral ailments while ensuring the best levels of care and professionalism. Their clinic is open to people of all age groups.


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.