29063 Dentist | 6 Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

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Oral health is important at every stage in life. Just because your children are going to lose their primary (baby) teeth eventually doesn’t mean that we can ignore the importance of dental care. Tooth decay can be painful and uncomfortable to treat. To protect your child’s smile, it is vital to understand optimal preventive care.

  1. Explain the important of routine dental care to your children and turn brushing and flossing into something fun that they look forward to each day.
  • Schedule routine appointments to our office for cleanings and dental exams. Your child should start seeing a dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. Make sure to continue visiting us twice a year for optimal oral health.
  • Include crisp and fibrous foods into your child’s diet. Fruits and vegetables high in water content help keep your child’s mouth hydrated. Foods such as apples increase saliva which inhibit bacteria from sticking to their teeth.
  • Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar. Soda, juice and candy are all treats that most children love to eat. However, these can be detrimental to your child’s teeth and overall health.
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Water flushes bacteria and acid away from teeth. Encourage your children to drink water especially after eating.
  • Ask us about dental sealants for your children. Sealants can add a layer of protection to your child’s teeth where bacteria build up to prevent damage.

Tooth decay starts out as a small problem, but left untreated can lead to serious oral health issues. By adding a few minor habits into your daily routine, your child’s oral health can change for the better. Simple changes in diet and routine can keep cavities at bay.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for your child.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

Dentist in Irmo | The Periodontal Disease – Diabetes Connection

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Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Almost 65 million Americans have periodontal disease. Recent studies have suggested that there is a two-way connection between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease. Patients with gum disease have increased risk of other diabetic complications and patients with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease.

Gum disease causes inflammation in the body, which can make controlling blood sugar more difficult for diabetic patients. Severe periodontal disease has even been shown to increase blood sugar, making it more difficult to maintain or regain good blood sugar control. In addition, when blood sugar is elevated, patients experience increased risks of additional diabetic complications.

Patients with diabetes are more prone to infections in general. This is especially true for patients whose diabetes is not well controlled. Diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control are more likely to develop gum disease than patients whose diabetes is well controlled. Less controlled diabetic patients will generally have a more severe case of gum disease and are likely to lose more teeth from gum disease, as well.

Besides blood sugar control, diabetes includes a number of other health complications. Diabetic patients are more prone to other oral health issues, such as dry mouth or thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth). Reduced saliva production or infection in the mouth can increase risks of developing periodontal disease as well.

Smoking can escalate these risks even further. Studies have shown that smokers are 5 times more likely than non-smokers to develop gum disease, overall. Diabetic smokers age 45 or older have been found to be 20 times more likely to develop severe gum disease.

Fortunately, when diabetes and blood sugar are well-controlled, the risks of periodontal disease and other oral health complications are no different than for patients without diabetes. If you are diabetic, it is important to work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible to avoid these added health complications.

Be sure to let us know if you have diabetes and how well-controlled it is. We may need to discuss your medication schedule when planning treatments or to postpone a treatment if your blood sugar is not controlled. Keep in mind that healing from treatment can take longer for diabetic patients, even when blood sugar is well-controlled.

If you have questions or concerns about your risk of periodontal disease with diabetes, contact our office for more information.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

Irmo Dentist | Digital X-Rays

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X-rays, or radiographs, have long been used in dentistry. Traditional film x-rays are a safe and effective part of your dental care, but they do require a small amount of radiation. In our office, we utilize digital x-ray technology that provides the benefits of film imaging but uses up to 80% less radiation. With our advanced digital radiographs, we can view your teeth and surrounding structures with remarkable accuracy.

Unlike traditional x-rays, digital x-rays require no wait time for film to develop. Instead, the images are available on the computer screen within seconds. These images can then be enhanced and enlarged for more accurate diagnosis. Digital x-rays can be stored, printed, or even transmitted electronically to a specialist or laboratory, if needed.

Intraoral x-rays create an image of the teeth, bone, and tissues inside the mouth. This image can be used for prevention, diagnosis, and/or treatment planning, depending on the need. X-ray images can be used to identify or diagnose potential oral health issues that may not be fully visible to the naked eye. Some of these may include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Cracks or fractures
  • Impacted teeth
  • Tooth root infection
  • Bone loss
  • Cysts, tumors, or other abnormal growths

How often you need dental x-rays will change over your lifetime. Healthy adults may only need radiographs taken every 2-3 years. Children and teens often need more frequent imaging to monitor the growth and alignment of their teeth. However, there are several additional factors that can influence how often digital x-rays are recommended. Some of these include:

  • Multiple dental restorations
  • Periodontal disease
  • Dry mouth
  • Tobacco use
  • Orthodontics
  • Root canal therapy

Your safety is our primary concern. Before having a digital x-ray taken in our office, let us know if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have had a dental x-ray in another office within the past year
  • You are or may be pregnant
  • You have any questions or concerns about x-rays

For more information on how our digital x-rays benefit you, contact our office.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

Dentist in Irmo | Managing TMD Discomfort

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Discomfort and pain in your jaw, clicking while you talk or chew, and swelling on the sides of your face can be caused by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). TMD can make talking and eating both painful and uncomfortable. Our team understands how TMD can make your day a challenge. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for managing TMD discomfort, but also encourage you to schedule a visit to see us for a full evaluation.

Finding Relief at Home

If your jaw is swollen, try applying a cold compress to your face. We recommend holding the compress in place for about 10 minutes. If you are able, try a few gentle jaw stretches. After the cold compress, apply warm, moist heat to the same area. You can keep this warm compress in place for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

If your discomfort is particularly noticeable, try over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or ibuprofen. If you find yourself taking pain relieving medications daily, please contact us immediately.

The “Don’ts” of TMD

Applying excess pressure to your jaw can make your TMD discomfort worse. Don’t use your hand as a rest for your chin, as doing so increases the amount of pressure and strain placed on your jaw. If you talk on the phone frequently, avoid holding the phone on your shoulder while bending your neck to keep it in place.

Clenching your jaw and keeping your teeth tightly closed can also lead to a build-up of pressure in the jaw. During the day, try to keep your teeth from touching. By create a little space between your teeth, you will be relieving pressure from your jaw.

Contact Us

Our team is here to help you. Schedule a consultation with our dentist to learn more about the solutions available for people just like you dealing with TMD discomfort. We will provide a thorough examination to determine the best course of treatment for your TMD. Relief may be closer than you think. Contact our dental team to learn more today.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

29063 Dentist | Connected Health – Gum Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease

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Your gum health may have an impact on your cognitive function. A recent study found a correlation between gum disease and increased cognitive decline for people living with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While more studies are needed to make a definitive connection, the study is important in keeping the conversation going about oral health and its impact on your entire body.

Details of the Study

The study was administered by King’s College London and the University of Southampton. It observed 59 patients with early stages of Alzheimer’s. Blood tests were utilized to examine inflammatory markers present in the bloodstream, while patients’ dental health was examined by dental hygienists.

What it Found

The study found that patients with gum disease experienced cognitive decline at a rate 6 times faster than those without gum disease. The study suggested that the body’s reaction to inflammation may be responsible for causing the rapid decrease in brain function.

Importance of Healthy Gums

Previous studies have determined that gum disease can increase your risk of developing complications such as heart disease and stroke. Maintaining healthy gums is essential to staying healthy overall. You can keep your gums healthy by following good daily oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing twice each day for two minutes, as well as flossing regularly.

For those living with Alzheimer’s disease, it is imperative that they maintain their oral health. If you are a caregiver of someone with the disease, make sure they are keeping up with their daily oral hygiene routine, as well as visiting our office for regular examinations. Keeping your gums healthy may be one key to keeping your body and brain healthy too.

For more information about gum health, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

Email: distinctivedmd@yahoo.com

Irmo Dentist | Silence Isn’t Always Golden

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Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive inflammation of the gum tissues. It is most frequently caused by bacterial infection. Left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health.  However, one of the biggest challenges for early detection and treatment of gum disease is its silence. Gum disease can often begin and progress with few or no symptoms until reaching an advanced stage.

Gum disease is caused when the bacteria found in plaque builds up between the teeth and the gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When gum disease is not treated promptly, it can worsen, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. In addition, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Gum disease also impacts other aspects of your overall health. Research has found links between gum disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory illnesses. To help prevent gum disease, ensure you are practicing strong oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, and regular dental examinations. Be aware of your risk factors for developing gum disease, such as age, tobacco use, genetics, stress, medications, grinding, obesity, or other inflammatory diseases, among others. Consider having an annual periodontal evaluation.

While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Mouth pain
  • Bleeding gums caused by brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between gums or teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums receding or pulling away from teeth
  • Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures

Gum disease can start silently, but may cause great damage if left untreated. Once gum disease has started, it can be effectively treated, but not fully cured. Protect your oral and overall health with preventive care and regular periodontal screenings. For more information about gum disease or to schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

Dentist in Irmo | Seniors and Oral Health

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Your teeth age with you. It’s important to keep them strong and healthy even as you grow older. Seniors are at a higher risk for developing periodontal disease. In addition to getting a regular dental examination, here are some other tips to keep your teeth healthy.

Keep a Routine

Regardless of age, we cannot stress the importance of keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine. Make sure you are brushing twice-daily and flossing at least once per day. For seniors with dentures, it is important that you remove them for at least four hours each day. We recommend removing them at night. Dentures need to be cleaned daily so make it part of your routine as well. We also suggest staying hydrated by drinking water. Not only does water help keep you producing enamel building saliva, but if it contains fluoride, it can help keep your teeth strong. Make a regular visit to our office part of your routine as well.

Tips for Caregivers

If you are the primary caregiver of someone elderly, working with them to keep their teeth healthy can be a challenge. It is up to you to remind them to brush and floss regularly. Help them by establishing a routine and set times for brushing their teeth. We ask that you assist them in making an appointment to visit our dental office. If keeping up with daily dental health seems to be too difficult, please contact our office. We can work with you to offer some advice and solutions.

Financial Assistance

For seniors in a nursing home that are enrolled in state or national financial programs, the American Dental Association (ADA) suggests considering the Incurred Medical Expense regulation. This works to assist in paying for care that is deemed a necessity. If our dentist finds that treatment must be done, consider this as an option to lessen the financial burden. Talk to your nursing home or care facility’s caseworker for more information.

Don’t Forget About Gums

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can be brought on by certain medications. When you visit our office, be sure to update us on any changes to your medications. At times, early periodontal disease is painless which makes it even more important that you keep a regular routine of visiting our office for a thorough exam and evaluation. According to the ADA, more than 47% of adults over the age of 30 have chronic periodontitis.

Keeping your teeth healthy as you age can be difficult. We suggest sticking to a daily routine in terms of brushing and flossing, and keeping up with regular visits to our office. If you are the caregiver of an elderly spouse, parent, or loved one, do not overlook their oral health. Make sure they are receiving the needed attention and are sticking to a daily oral healthy routine.

For more tips on keeping your teeth health or to set up your next appointment, please contact our office.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

29063 Dentist | Plaque: Your Teeth’s Number One Enemy

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When buying a toothbrush, toothpaste, or coming in to our office, you often hear the word “plaque” associated with the health of your teeth. Plaque is one of the main reasons why it is so important to keep up with a daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing two times each day for at least two minutes, and flossing regularly as well. Here’s what you need to know about plaque and what it can do to your smile.

What is Plaque?

If you haven’t brushed your teeth in a while, you might feel a film-like, sticky buildup on your teeth. This is plaque, a bacteria layer that grips onto your teeth. There isn’t anything you can do to stop plaque from forming, but brushing and flossing as well as keeping up with regular dental visits are your best defenses for cleaning plaque off your teeth.

What Plaque Does to Your Teeth & Mouth

Without regular brushing and cleaning, plaque builds up and multiplies. As plaque is left untreated, it hardens to form tartar (also known as calculus). Plaque also leads to decay, as it produces an acid that damages your teeth. When you come into our office for a dental examination, we thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure that any buildup is taken care of. Tartar can cause staining on your teeth if left untreated. Plaque is the leading cause of gingivitis, causing your gums to swell and become red or bloody.

What You Can Do

The most important steps of keeping plaque in check is to stick to a daily brushing routine. This means brushing twice each day, for two minutes each time, and flossing at least once daily. Plaque occurs naturally, and when you come into our office for a complete examination, we work with you to clean off any buildup. Maintaining regular visits to our office is one way to ensure tartar buildup is minimized and managed. It is particularly important that you are brushing your teeth all the way to the gum, because the gum line is an area that is prone to plaque buildup. Brush gently, as vigorous brushing will only do more damage than good, especially to your gums.

Sticking to your daily brushing and flossing routine will help keep your teeth free of plaque buildup. Make sure you are brushing in the morning and before bed. If you don’t brush before bed, bacteria and plaque will build up throughout the night. Schedule a visit to our office so our experienced, professional dental team can clean your teeth, giving you a smile you can be proud of.

For more tips on keeping your teeth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

Irmo Dentist | Coffee and Your Teeth

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Coffee is well-known as hazardous to teeth, but there are things you can do besides cut it out completely. Here are some things to know about coffee’s effects on your oral health and diet, as well as how to mitigate them.

Contrary to popular belief, the pigments that give coffee its color can stain your teeth regardless of whether you take your coffee black or with cream. These pigments embed themselves in microscopic crevices and pits in your tooth enamel and are difficult to remove. To counteract this, don’t give the pigments time to set. When drinking coffee, drink quickly instead of sipping over a long period. Enjoy, then rinse your mouth with water to help neutralize the acid. In addition, following your recommended schedule of dental cleanings can help prevent stains. Whitening can improve the color of your teeth if mild staining has started. Ask our doctor how best to keep your smile bright.

Coffee can have minor benefits for your nutrition, but there are also things to beware. Drinks that are high in dairy fat or sugar can add substantial calories, as well as contributing to the chance of tooth decay. Try making your own coffee at home, where you can control the ingredients used. Minimize your use of creamer and sugar, or try using non-fat or sugar-free substitutes.

Coffee can still be a healthy party of your life if you take some care to protect your teeth. For more tips or to schedule a professional cleaning, contact our office.

11107 Broad River Road, Suite L
Irmo, SC 29063

Phone: (803) 749-3980

29063 Dentist | Dental Radiographs (X-Rays) and Your Oral Health

Radiographs, or x-rays, provide important diagnostic information for your dentist, allowing for proper and accurate treatment. The technology behind radiographs has improved rapidly over the last few decades, becoming safer, more accurate, and easier to use. Read our guide on what makes dental radiographs an important step to protecting your oral health.

What exactly are dental radiographs?

Radiographs are a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to visible light or radio waves that can be used to map out the inside of your body. Soft tissue such as skin or muscle allow most rays to pass through, creating a darker image, while denser materials like your teeth and bone tissue cause a brighter image. These radiographs can be used to help diagnose and examine anything from tooth decay to broken bones.

Are they safe?

Radiographs are completely safe, exposing you to even less radiation than the average exposure you receive from your typical environment. In addition, digital x-rays require even less radiation than traditional film x-ray technology.

Why do I need them?

Using radiographs allows us to observe your oral health in ways that we cannot examine with the naked eye. Our team can check for tooth decay, bone damage, or endodontic issues in your mouth. We can observe the position of your teeth to determine if any are impacted or experiencing crowding. Deeper concerns that are difficult to otherwise notice such as cysts, tumors, or abscesses show up easily on radiographs. By seeing the internal state of your mouth, we can plan treatment that will ensure your oral health is optimal.

Radiographs are important tools to give us insight into your oral health, screen for oral cancer, and help us to recommend treatment plans. They allow us to serve you with accuracy and confidence in our work. To schedule your next dental visit with our team, contact our office today.