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Lexington Family Dentist | Are Dental Veneers Right for Me?

Dentist in LexingtonWe often have visitors to our office ask about solutions for fixing stained teeth or filling in gaps between teeth. We sometimes suggest veneers. Veneers are one cosmetic option available for correcting your smile. Here’s what you should know about veneers, and whether they are right for you and your smile.

What Are Veneers?

A Veneer is a thin cover placed over the front of the tooth. Typically, they are made of dental porcelain and designed to cover your existing tooth, not replace it.

What They Do

Veneers are used to fix a broken or chipped tooth, shrink the noticeable gaps in between teeth, or reduce the visible stains on teeth. Our office specially sizes them to fit your teeth. Generally, the structure of your teeth is not altered since the veneers are placed over your teeth.

What You Need to Know

Those who get veneers sometimes experience a minor increase in sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold food and drinks. Veneers are typically nonreversible, as they often require a small amount of tooth enamel to be removed. After getting them, it is advisable to avoid drinks such as wine, coffee, or tea that are often culprits of causing staining. Taking care of them still requires you to brush twice each day and floss regularly as well. Your teeth are not invincible to staining or decay so be sure to continue to take care of them.

It is important to know that veneers are a solution to minor tooth issues such as discoloration, gaps, or misaligned teeth. They are not a substitute for braces, bridges, or other dental work. Schedule a visit to our office to meet with our dentist. Together our team can work with you to develop a plan to reach the goals and look you are hoping to achieve.

For more information on how to achieve the smile you have dreamed of, contact our office. We look forward to seeing you during your next visit with us!

Dentist Lexington, SC | Dry Mouth – Not Just a Nuisance

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Normal flow of saliva provides lubrication for swallowing and begins the process of digestion while you chew. Saliva also protects your teeth by neutralizing and washing away acids, sugars, and other particles left behind after eating. From time to time, we all experience some amount of dry mouth. Hot weather, exercise, and dehydration can all cause a temporary decrease in saliva production. However, if you have chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, you could be at risk of serious oral health complications.

Some of the oral health issues commonly associated with dry mouth include:

 

 

 

• Much higher rates of tooth decay
• Oral yeast infection
• Bad breath (halitosis)
• Periodontal (gum) disease
• Constant sore throat
• Soft tissue infections
• Difficulty swallowing
• Denture discomfort

The most common cause of chronic dry mouth is medication. More than 400 over-the-counter and prescription medications include dry mouth as a frequent side effect. Dry mouth is also associated with stress, autoimmune and other systemic diseases, hormonal changes, radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancers, and salivary gland disease.

You may find relief from dry mouth through a variety of methods. Some easy options to help alleviate your dry mouth include:

• Increased water intake
• Sugar-free candies or gum
• Artificial saliva, as recommended by doctor or dentist
• Alcohol-free mouthwash
• Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks
• Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home
• Change in medication, only as directed by doctor

Brush and floss regularly to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other complications.

If you are experiencing dry mouth, make an appointment and be sure to tell our team. We will review your medications and perform a thorough dental exam to check for any potential underlying oral health issues.

For more information about dry mouth, contact our office.

Lexington Family Smiles
2001 Augusta Highway, Suite A
Lexington, SC 29072
(803) 951-0991

Dentist Near Me | 3 Health Issues Linked to Your Oral Health

Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. Bacteria of all kinds are present in your mouth. While some are benign, others may pose a threat to your health. Maintaining a daily oral hygiene routine and visiting our dental office for regular appointments can help keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria. Below are 3 common ailments that have been shown to be negatively impacted by poor oral health. Read the information below if you suffer from any of these conditions and are worried that your oral health might be a contributing factor.

Diabetes

Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, and the disease can have many complications associated with it. A connection has been shown between diabetes and gum disease in many patients. Oral health problems often increase in frequency for patients with diabetes. Gingivitis and periodontitis are more common because these patents are at a higher risk of bacterial infection and are less able to combat harmful bacteria. Blood glucose levels can also be affected by gum disease, potentially putting a patient with diabetes at a higher risk for additional health problems.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA is an autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million people in the US alone. This chronic inflammatory disorder affects joints and is caused by the body’s immune system attacking its own tissues. Patients with RA are more likely to suffer from gum disease and periodontitis. Likewise, patients with periodontal issues have been shown to have nearly twice the risk of developing RA according to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Lung Conditions

Once bacteria enters your blood stream through your mouth, it can travel through your body and affect other areas. Conditions like bronchitis and pneumonia can be caused by malignant bacteria settling into a patient’s lungs. Other existing issues such as emphysema and pulmonary disease can be exacerbated by invading bacteria.

If you suffer from any of these conditions or are concerned that poor oral health might be putting you at risk, please contact our office today. Our dedicated team will be happy to provide you with a treatment plan and prevention tips based on your current health.

Dentist in Lexington, SC | 3 Simple Ways to Reduce Tooth Decay

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A happy smile is a healthy smile! There are a number of steps you can take to keep your smile healthy by reducing your risk of developing tooth decay. Here are a few suggestions from our team.

Eat a Tooth Friendly Diet

Reduce the amount of sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. Decay-causing bacteria in the mouth feed on these substances.

We suggest you reduce grains, beans, seeds, and nuts in your diet when possible. These foods can lead to demineralization of your teeth and bones due to their acidic content. Consider adding foods high in minerals and vitamins to your diet such as apples, leafy greens, celery, or carrots.

Brush, Floss, Rinse, Repeat

Routine brushing at least twice a day followed by flossing and a mouth rinse is the optimal at home dental care routine. Brush for at least two minutes in the morning and at night. Use a soft bristle toothbrush that is small enough to reach every tooth.

Dental Sealants

Children often get dental sealants to protect the hard-to-reach teeth in the back of their mouths. However, dental sealants can benefit adults and those who have a higher risk of decay. Dental sealants are a layer of plastic-like material that coats the top surface of the tooth. Sealants protect the crevices in the tooth where bacteria reside and minimizes exposure of the tooth to harmful acids and sugars that wear down enamel.

When left untreated, tooth decay can cause discomfort and spread to other healthy teeth. You can combat tooth decay by reducing sugars and acids in your diet and brushing and flossing regularly. For some patients, dental sealants might be a solution.

Don’t forget to schedule your next visit to our office. Our team can provide a professional cleaning and check for signs of tooth decay.

2001 Augusta Highway, Suite A
Lexington, SC 29072
(803) 951-0991

Lexington Dentist | 6 Ways to Get Your Calcium

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Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth. Not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy, which is often a prime source for calcium. There are a wide variety of options available to get the calcium you need. Here are six options rich in calcium:

Canned Seafood

Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be an excellent source of calcium. These inexpensive options contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood has small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or another dish.

Alternative Milk Products

Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute in many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.

Green Vegetables

Green vegetables are a prime source of calcium. Collard greens, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.

Milk

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium. One cup of cow’s milk can potentially contain a quarter of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Cow’s milk is also a cheap option, as it is generally priced below alternative options like almond milk. Additional benefits provided are good source of protein, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Yogurt

Most yogurts are high in calcium. The highest source of calcium from yogurt comes from the low-fat variety, while Greek yogurt has a lower amount of calcium than regular yogurt.

 Cheese

A lot of cheeses are excellent sources of calcium. Parmesan cheese has the highest amount of calcium among cheeses. Softer varieties of cheese generally have less calcium than others. Aged and hard cheeses typically contain less lactose, making them easier to eat for people with dairy restrictions.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble digesting dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

Contact our office to schedule your visit today.

Dentist in Lexington | Biting Off More than You Can Chew?

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It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.

Why This Is a Problem

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.

What You Can Do

If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth!

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

Dentist in Lexington, SC | 4 Ways to Make Oral Hygiene Fun

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It can be difficult to get your child to practice proper oral care unsupervised. However, the long-term benefits of an early start to optimal oral hygiene are worth the effort. Below are some tips to help you make oral health a fun part of your child’s daily routine.

  1. Brush with a Buddy.

Your child will be much more excited to floss and brush their teeth if it’s a family activity. Brush your teeth with your child, or if they have siblings, have the kids brush together. This will help make the time more fun and help your child to subconsciously accept oral hygiene as a normal part of a daily routine.

  1. Choose the Right Supplies.

Let you child pick out their own toothbrush. This will help them feel like they have a say in their oral care routine.

  1. Reward Good Behavior.

A little incentive can go a long way. When trying to get your child to floss and brush on their own, it might be helpful to implement a simple reward system. For example, your child could track their own brushing on a calendar and trade it in for a small gift or prize after a month of twice daily brushing.

  1. Educate to Empower.

It’s important that your child understands why practicing good oral hygiene is so important. Use this as an opportunity to teach them about the dangers associated with poor oral health.

There are a lot of strategies you can use to make brushing a fun part of your child’s day, rather than a chore. You know your child better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to come up with some additional techniques that will work better for them!

Regular professional dental cleanings are an essential part of any good oral hygiene routine, so contact our dental team to schedule your child’s next appointment today.

Dentist in Lexington | Can Kissing Be Hazardous to Your Health?

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Dentist in Lexington SCWhen you are close to someone you can often be overly comfortable in sharing.  This is especially true with kissing. In one kiss, more than 500 germs can be shared between two people. Sharing a kiss can have an impact on your oral health. Here are some of the dangers of kissing.

Colds & Flus

When you feel like you might be coming down with a cold or flu, it is best to avoid kissing. You certainly don’t want to transmit any diseases. Colds and flus are easily passed on through saliva and nasal fluids.

Cold Sores

If you see a cold sore near your mouth and lips, you should avoid kissing someone. Cold sores will look like small, clear blisters usually close to your lips. Cold sores are a viral infection, but are extremely contagious. Cold sores that are leaking fluids are especially contagious, however even a sore without any fluid can spread to others in contact. Avoid contact if you see cold sores!

Mono – The Kissing Disease

Mononucleosis, or mono, is spread very rapidly through kissing. The disease can also be spread by sharing behaviors such as sharing a cup, food, or straw. We recommend avoiding sharing your food and drink with others. Someone carrying mono might appear healthy, so always play it is safe by avoiding sharing your food and your germs.

Tips for Fresh Breath

It makes sense to want to have a clean, fresh breath when kissing. It is best to avoid foods that contain strong spices and flavors, such as garlic or onion. Long after they have been consumed, it is still possible to smell these foods on someone’s breath. Make sure you follow a regular daily oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily, as well as brushing your tongue, roof of the mouth, and inside of your cheeks. We suggest using a mouthwash or sugar-free gum after eating to help diffuse strong odors. Sometimes bad breath can be caused by other factors, so if you feel these solutions are not working, make an appointment with us.

Hundreds of germs can be shared when kissing. Watch out for cold sores as well as cold or flu symptoms. Don’t forget to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing routine.

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

 

Dentist Lexington | Why Do My Gums Bleed?

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Lexington DentistWhile brushing or flossing your teeth, do you notice blood on your toothbrush or in the sink? Swollen, red, or tender gums can bleed when brushing or flossing, even if you are brushing gently. While it may seem harmless, it is important that you do not ignore these symptoms as they may be signs of a more serious issue. Here are four reasons why your gums may be bleeding, and what you can do for prevention.

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene Habits

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily is recommended. However, this routine might still cause your gums to bleed. Bleeding gums can be a consequence of flossing too hard. Use soft bristle toothbrushes for a gentler cleaning.

  1. Smoking

Inhaling smoke can leave toxins on the teeth that irritate gums and cause them to bleed. Smoking can cause your immune system to be compromised, and prevent tissues from healing correctly. Quitting cigarette use will reduce bleeding gums. If you smoke, be sure to schedule an extra oral examination with our team to evaluate your gum health.

  1. Nutritionally Poor Diet

A healthy lifestyle is beneficial to every aspect of your health.  Eating junk food high in sugar content can cause decay and lead to poor oral health. A balanced diet and proper oral hygiene can reduce the risk of bleeding gums.

  1. Gingivitis

Plaque and bacteria can build up on your teeth and become inflamed. Gingivitis is often symptom free. The one symptom that typically appears is bleeding gums, which is usually ignored because it is generally painless. Gingivitis is preventable by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and flossing regularly to reduce plaque build-up.  Schedule an appointment with us today if you suspect you have gingivitis.

If your gums regularly bleed, it is important that you contact our office. Our team can provide a complete oral examination and recommend proper treatment. Your oral health can significantly impact your overall health. For a healthy life, start by maintaining healthy gums.

To schedule your visit, please contact our office today.

Lexington, SC Dentist | Preventing Enamel Erosion

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lexington sc dentistDo you have white spots on your teeth? Are your teeth quite sensitive? Do your teeth have cracks, chips, or indentations? If yes, then you may be experiencing enamel erosion.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is the clear coating that protects your teeth. However, being the strongest substance in the body does not mean it should be neglected. Enamel can erode. Without the protection of enamel, you not only risk developing decay, but also abscesses, tooth pain, and even tooth loss.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?

There are several factors that cause tooth enamel to erode, some of which are the result of everyday actions. Sugars and acids can wear down enamel. If you regularly drink soft drinks or sugary fruit drinks, you may be damaging your teeth. To protect your teeth, limit your consumption of such drinks. Alcohol can also erode enamel, as well as a diet that is high in sugary or starchy foods. The bacteria in the mouth can transforms starches and sugars in foods such as bread into damaging acid.

Other factors include acid reflux, recurrent vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, genetically inherited conditions, grinding your teeth, even brushing too hard or not flossing properly. All of these impact the health of your enamel, and, ultimately, your teeth. Once the enamel is worn or chipped away, it cannot be replaced.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats, replace white breads with whole grains, and try eating more cheese and yogurt to bolster the calcium in your saliva to keep the acids in check.

How Can Enamel Erosion Be Prevented?

In addition to exercising moderation with soft drinks, alcohol, sugars and starches, and, of course, taking extra care with regard to medical conditions and your tooth care regimen, there are a few extra things you can do to protect your smile. Saliva can neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. By drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum, you can boost saliva production.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats and replace white breads with whole grains. Add more cheese and yogurt to your diet. Not only are both foods high in calcium, but they also help neutralize harmful acids in your mouth.

Tooth enamel is essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Enamel erosion may also be the consequence of other complications such as excessive teeth grinding or acid reflux. Regular visits to our office allow our team to provide a full examination. If we detect that your enamel is eroding, we will discuss potential causes and solutions.

To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team today.

2001 Augusta Highway, Suite A
Lexington, SC 29072
(803) 951-0991