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Preventive Dentistry: How to Prevent Cavities and Tooth Decay

Woman holding a large cupcake in hand and a large tooth in the other

Cavities and tooth decay affect almost everyone. In fact, tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in the United States, second only to the common cold, with cavities affecting a large percentage of U.S. children.

Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to keep your teeth and gums healthy and to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Read on to learn more about preventive dentistry and what you can do to care for your teeth and gums.

What Are Tooth Decay and Cavities?

Tooth decay occurs when your teeth are exposed to acid. The acid that can harm teeth and gums results from eating starchy or sugary foods. Even though foods may not contain a lot of acids initially, some of the normal bacteria in your mouth that help you digest those foods turn the carbohydrates into acid. The acid damages the enamel on your teeth.

If you don’t take steps to prevent tooth decay, your teeth will lose minerals and enamel, and cavities begin to form. A cavity is a hole in your tooth, caused as a result of extended tooth decay over time.

You may not experience any symptoms when tooth decay is in its early stages. Even a cavity may not make its presence known. If not stopped, however, tooth decay can result in tooth sensitivity and pain. Visible holes in the tooth or staining on teeth may occur. While our general dentist at Lexington Family Smiles can fill cavities to prevent further damage, there are steps you can take to stop tooth decay in its tracks.

Preventive Dentistry Tips to Fight Cavities and Tooth Decay

Take a look at these preventive dentistry tips that can help you prevent tooth decay and cavities.

1. Get a Dental Checkup Regularly

By visiting our dentist regularly, you get oral exams and teeth cleanings that can help spot and deal with cavities, tooth decay, and other dental issues. At your checkup, your dentist and dental hygienist will remove plaque and check for tooth decay. Ask our dentist how often you should come in.

2. Add Fluoride to Your Dental Routine

Fluoride is a powerful preventative treatment for tooth decay. You may get sufficient fluoride if the drinking water in your community is fluoridated. Your dentist can also provide you with prescription levels of fluoride, to be delivered via custom trays that fit on your teeth, if you need it.

3. Use an Antibacterial Mouth Rinse

Those who are especially susceptible to tooth decay, possibly because of other medical conditions, may want to add antibacterial treatments, such as mouth rinses, to keep harmful bacteria at bay. Ask your dentist what treatment they would recommend.

4. Brush Your Teeth Regularly (With the Right Brush)

Brushing your teeth regularly is one of the most effective steps you can take to protect your teeth against decay. Use a soft-bristled brush to protect your gums — and don’t forget to brush your gums and your tongue as well as your teeth.

Brush after every time you eat and brush again before you go to bed, using toothpaste that contains fluoride. Make sure you brush the inside surfaces of the teeth as well as the parts that are visible when you smile. You should plan on replacing your toothbrush every few months.

5. Don’t Forget to Floss

Your toothbrush can’t get to all the tiny crevices between your teeth and gums. That’s where flossing comes in. Your general dentist can demonstrate the best way to floss for protection against tooth decay and gum infections.

6. Don’t Smoke

You already know that smoking is bad for your body in so many ways — and that includes your teeth. Yes, smoking stains your teeth, but it can also play a part in gum disease and tooth decay (not to mention oral cancer). Quit the use of all tobacco products to help protect your teeth.

7. Avoid Carbohydrates (or Brush After Eating Them)

Carbohydrates — both starchy ones such as pretzels and bread and sweet carbs such as candy and cookies — can leave behind remnants on your teeth. An added danger comes from fruit juices, which are packed with sugar.

If you don’t brush away the carbohydrate particles quickly, they’ll combine with your mouth’s natural bacteria to form the acid that causes tooth decay. Take a toothbrush with you to work to make sure you can brush whenever you need to.

8. Ask Your General Dentist About Dental Sealants

Your dentist can apply sealants, which are thin plastic coatings, on your teeth to protect them against bacteria and avoid developing cavities. Sealants are particularly useful for molars, which have lots of little crevices where food can get stuck. Acting as a barrier to keep food and bacteria from becoming trapped, sealants can be especially helpful for children or teenagers.

9. Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Eating fresh veggies and fruits increases the flow of saliva, which helps wash away food particles. Drinking plenty of water and unsweetened beverages also help in this process — and if your tap water is fluoridated, you get extra protection.

10. Avoid Acidic Beverages

That morning cup of coffee, your afternoon tea, or the latte you pick up to give yourself a boost during the day are all problematic for your teeth. Coffee and tea are both filled with acid — and if you add sugar or milk to your drink, you end up compounding the problems. Don’t worry — you can still enjoy your coffee. But follow it up with a chaser of water to rinse the acid from your mouth, or brush your teeth once again after you finish your morning joe.

11. Use Mouthwash

Another way to get the fluoride that helps prevent tooth decay is to rinse your mouth each day with a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Many types of mouthwash also contain antiseptic elements, which fight the bacteria that help cause plaque and tooth decay.

12. Don’t Eat After Your Bedtime Tooth Brushing

While you sleep, your flow of saliva decreases. That means that any fragments of food or acid clinging to your teeth are unlikely to be washed away overnight. If you do end up indulging in a late-night snack or wandering into the kitchen if you can’t sleep, make sure to brush your teeth one more time before hitting the pillow again.

Visiting your general dentist, brushing and flossing regularly, and getting regular dental checkups are all key to preventing tooth decay and cavities. If you would like a dentist to examine your teeth for decay, call or schedule an appointment.

Teeth Whitening Services in Lexington, SC

Woman in dental chair after teeth whitening treatment

Over time, stains and discoloration can build up on your teeth, causing a yellowed appearance. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your teeth are unhealthy—discoloration can be a cosmetic issue rather than a sign of tooth decay. However, yellowed teeth can shake your confidence when you look in the mirror. You feel self-conscious about your teeth, leading you to avoid smiling in public or cover your mouth with your hand.

Our teeth-whitening treatments at Lexington Family Smiles give you sparkling white teeth that make you want to smile more often. After about four weeks of treatment, you’ll notice whiter teeth and increased confidence. Treatments are simple and comfortable—in fact, you can whiten your teeth at home with a little help from our professionals.

Can’t You Use Whitening Strips from the Drugstore?

When you go to the drugstore, you see boxes of whitening strips on the shelf. These products might look convenient, but they’re not necessarily the best option for your teeth. Whitening strips bleach your teeth to remove the discoloration. If your whitening strips contain harmful ingredients, they could strip the enamel from your teeth. This puts you at a higher risk for infections and tooth decay.

Whitening strips can also irritate your gums and increase tooth sensitivity. If you accidentally use the strips more than the recommended number of times, you could wear away your enamel and damage your teeth. Ultimately, it’s best to talk to a professional about whitening your teeth.

How Does the Whitening Process Work?

To start, call our office or set up an appointment online. You can get in touch with us if you have any questions before you jump in. Once you arrive, Dr. Moultin will examine your teeth and talk to you about what you can expect. You’ll get the chance to ask questions about the treatment so you know what you’re getting into before you get started.

Afterward, Dr. Moultin will fit you for the whitening tray. You’ll get a custom whitening tray made specifically for your teeth. While whitening strips from the store might sit awkwardly on your teeth, whitening trays fit perfectly and allows the treatment to get between the teeth. The whitening strip just touches the front surface of your teeth leaving discoloration between your teeth.

Dr. Moultin will give you specific instructions on how to use your whitening tray. According to directions, you’ll slide the tray over your teeth and leave it there for the recommended amount of time. Make sure you follow the directions exactly for the best results.

Over the next 2-4 weeks, you’ll start noticing whiter teeth when you look in the mirror. As the stains start to fade, you’ll beam with newfound confidence and look for reasons to smile wherever you go. Generally, your newly whitened teeth will last anywhere from several months to a few years.

Is Teeth Whitening Right for Everyone?

Before you get started, you’ll talk to our professionals about your teeth whitening options. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that makes your teeth look clean and white without treating any underlying issues. If you simply have discolored teeth, our treatments will give you a brilliantly white smile. However, we might recommend a different treatment if you have a condition that causes your stained teeth.

Can You Come Back for Touch-Ups?

Our treatments keep your teeth white and sparkling as long as possible. However, you might want to come back after several months for touch-ups or another whitening session. Our custom-fitted trays allow you to touch up your teeth without going through the entire process all over again. We’ll send you home with more gel so you can whiten your teeth at home and keep enjoying a breathtaking smile.

What Causes Teeth Discoloration?

If you have stains on your teeth, it might be from one or more of the following factors:

  • Tobacco use. People who smoke or chew tobacco suffer from stained teeth, bad breath and other dental hygiene issues.
  • Diet. Drinking a lot of coffee, soda and tea could leave stains on your teeth. Certain foods like berries and vinegar can also stain your teeth.
  • Disease. Even if they’re not specifically related to dental hygiene, some conditions like liver disease can cause tooth discoloration.
  • Medication. Certain medications and treatments like chemotherapy might discolor your teeth.
  • Trauma. In particular, children’s teeth are susceptible to permanent damage. Adult teeth can also change colors if the trauma damaged the teeth or nerves.
  • Genetics. Some people simply have genes that result in whiter teeth. Others are more susceptible to discoloration, especially as they get older.
  • Aging. As you get older, your teeth might start to look increasingly aged and discolored.

How Effective Are Teeth Whitening Services?

If you follow through with the treatment, teeth whitening services can make your teeth look bright, white, and healthy. Cosmetic dentistry is much more effective than store-bought whitening strips because we use a specialized treatment. Our treatments can also whiten your teeth more quickly than products from the drugstore. Plus, you’ll get advice and guidance from a team of professionals with years of experience in the industry.

Get Started Today

At Lexington Family Smiles, our services go well beyond cosmetic dentistry. We offer regular cleanings to keep your teeth healthy as well as bridges, crowns, implants, X-rays, exams, and screenings. If you have children, we offer pediatric services that take care of your child’s teeth in a safe, comfortable environment. We also offer dentures, mouth guards, and full mouth reconstructions. To take your teeth whitening a step further, talk to us about porcelain veneers.

Many patients have anxiety about visiting the dentist. That’s why we provide a calm, relaxing environment with professional staff and a state-of-the-art facility. We’ll talk to you about every procedure so you know exactly what to expect. We’re also here to answer your questions about teeth whitening, dental hygiene, tooth repair, cancer screenings, and other dental-related topics. Check out our patient testimonials to see what we can do for you.

Want to set up an appointment? We accept appointments from both new and returning patients. Request an appointment online, or call us to schedule your visit. You can also call the office to talk more about our treatments, cleanings, and screenings for children and adults. Get in touch with us today—we can’t wait to see you smile again.

Do You Need Emergency Dental Care?

3D vector of a dental emergency symbol

When you suffer from pain, bleeding or severe toothaches, you might be tempted to “tough it out” until your next dental visit. However, pain and inflammation can be a sign of a dental emergency that needs immediate treatment. If you don’t address the problem now, the condition could worsen or cause a bacterial infection. You might end up with a much more severe condition that could have been prevented with early intervention.

Lexington Family Smiles offers emergency dental care for patients who need to see a dentist as soon as possible. If you’re not sure if you have a dental emergency, here’s a guide to help you evaluate your symptoms.

What Are Signs of a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies are usually characterized by severe pain or bleeding that interferes with your regular life. You might need emergency dental care if you’re suffering from one or more of these symptoms:

  • Swelling in your cheek, jaw or gums
  • Severe headaches or jaw pain
  • Frequent bleeding from your gums
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A bitter or unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Severe tooth pain
  • Loose or dislodged teeth
  • Broken teeth with sharp edges that could cause mouth trauma
  • Cuts or lacerations in your gums
  • Loss of a tooth

If you’re in doubt, call Lexington Family Smiles to see if you need to see an emergency dentist. You can call the office or send a text message with information about your situation.

What Are Some Common Dental Emergencies?

Dental emergencies can happen to just about anyone. Here’s a look at some of the common dental emergencies that we see at Lexington Family Smiles.

Missing Teeth

Blunt force trauma could knock a tooth right out of its socket. When that happens, don’t waste any time—contact us immediately so we can perform an emergency restoration. We might be able to save the tooth if you reach our office quickly enough. If possible, try to keep it in the socket or place it in a cup of milk to preserve the tooth.

Lost Crowns

When you have a damaged tooth, a dentist places a crown over the tooth to restore the shape and protect your tooth from further damage. A lost crown exposes the damaged tooth, potentially leading to more damage or bacterial infection. The tooth could even cut the inside of your mouth if it has sharp edges. Get in touch with us right away so we can reapply the crown, and bring the original crown, if possible.

Toothaches

A toothache might seem like a common ailment, but they’re actually a sign of a serious issue that we need to correct as soon as possible. Toothaches are a potential sign of numerous problems, including the following:

  • Gum disease. When your gums pull away from your teeth, it can expose the roots, causing tooth pain. Gum disease can also cause bleeding, inflammation and other sources of pain in your mouth.
  • Loss of enamel. Not brushing your teeth regularly can cause a loss of enamel. As your enamel wears away, your teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold foods.
  • Tooth decay. Acid creeps into the enamel if you don’t brush your teeth after you eat, which leads to cavities and tooth decay. The decay can reach all the way to the pulp if you don’t see a dentist in time.
  • Wisdom teeth. If you didn’t get your wisdom teeth removed, they’ll cause pain when they start to push through your gums. You might have to get your wisdom teeth extracted to stop the pain.
  • Teeth grinding. Your teeth could crack if you grind your teeth in your sleep.

The signs of toothaches include swelling, jaw pain, headaches, fever, sensitivity, bleeding, and discharge. Sign up for an appointment so we can determine the cause of your toothache and figure out a treatment plan.

Chipped Teeth

You could chip a tooth by chewing a hard piece of food, grinding your teeth in your sleep, or suffering from blunt force trauma. Chipped teeth usually don’t ache constantly, but you could experience pain and sensitivity whenever you eat. A chipped tooth could develop an infection, so visit an emergency dentist as soon as possible. The dentist might give you a filling to restructure the tooth.

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding, sore and inflamed gums are often a sign of periodontal disease. You’ve probably heard the term “gingivitis,” which refers to the earlier stages. If you don’t visit the dentist for treatment, you could suffer from gum disease that’s much harder to treat. The gums could pull away from the teeth, increasing sensitivity and causing tooth loss. Gum disease also makes it painful to eat and chew solid foods.

Lost Filling

Like a dental crown, fillings reshape your teeth and reduce the risk of infection. This allows you to go about your life as if the damage never happened. If you lose a filling, your teeth are more likely to contract a bacterial infection. You could also suffer from more tooth damage that could expose the pulp, causing severe pain. It might seem like a minor issue but call our office right away if you lose a filling.

Abscesses

A dental abscess is a painful infection caused by pus developing at the root. You could suffer from a fever, severe pain, swollen lymph nodes, difficulty swallowing, or shortness of breath. The abscess could also rupture in your mouth. To treat the abscess, the dentist will drain the pus to clear out the function. If the infection is severe enough, the dentist might perform a root canal or extract the tooth altogether.

Where Can You Go for Emergency Dental Care?

Lexington Family Smiles offers emergency dental care for people who need immediate treatment. This includes replacement crowns and fillings, gum disease treatment, mouth reconstruction, tooth extraction, and much more. Call us any time if you think you have a dental emergency on your hands. If you do, we’ll see you as soon as possible — and if not, you can still set up an appointment for a cleaning and treatment. We offer services for both children and adults, including new and existing patients.

Other services include cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, sealants, cancer screenings, sleep apnea treatment, dental bridges, and fluoride treatments. We also offer regular cleanings for people who want to stay on top of their dental hygiene. Regular cleanings can prevent dental emergencies before they happen, so set up an appointment if you want to start taking care of your teeth. You can contact us online, over the phone, or through text messages. To learn more, check out the Testimonials page to see what other patients in the area think about us.

Why Tooth-Colored Fillings Are Best

Young man smiling at dental office

A recent study showed that over 90 percent of Americans over age 20 have had a cavity at some point in their lives. The majority of cavities are treated with fillings. Once upon a time, a filling meant putting in a piece of metal to seal off your tooth. Now, there is a new option: tooth-colored fillings.

This guide to tooth-colored fillings will tell you everything you need to know about resin fillings, and why they are an improvement over the older metal type. 

What’s in a Tooth-Colored Filling?

Since the 1830s, dentists have had the option to use metal for tooth fillings. The mixture, often called an amalgam filling because it’s a mix of metals, usually includes mercury, silver, tin, and copper.

3D rendering of teeth with different dental fillings.
3d render of teeth with gold, amalgam and composite inlay dental filling over white background

This style of filling started losing popularity in the 1990s when a new type of filling arrived: resin. These new resin fillings are made of tiny particles of glass and bio-compatible plastics. 

Dr. Moulton can customize the color for resin fillings to exactly match your tooth color using water. All of the components of a tooth-colored filling are body-safe.

Most new fillings are done with tooth-colored fillings, but metal amalgam fillings are still FDA approved. However, there are risks and problems associated with metal fillings that resin fillings don’t have. 

Health Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings

The biggest health risk for amalgam fillings is mercury. Over time, the mercury in the filling will vaporize. Your body can absorb these vapors and breath them in through your mouth. If you absorb enough, it can harm your organs, especially the kidneys and the brain. 

Aside from the mercury, amalgam fillings can also crack your teeth accidentally. Extreme temperatures can make the metal expand or contract. Cold foods might shrink the filling a tiny amount, but hot foods will make it expand slightly. 

Gradually, this back and forth puts pressure on your tooth. This pressure can lead to cracks or breaks. Once that happens, a filling won’t work anymore and you’ll have to get a crown or implant in its place. 

Finally, amalgam fillings are difficult to fit sometimes. Often, the dentist will need to shape the tooth to the filling, not the other way around. This can lead to losing some of your healthy tooth enamel, and not just the decaying portion. 

One of the best things about tooth-colored fillings is that none of these issues happen with them. The material isn’t a health risk for your body and you won’t inhale anything harmful. 

The resin also won’t change shape; once it dries in your tooth, that’s the shape that it will stay in. Dr. Moulton won’t even need to remove any of your healthy tooth enamel to fit it in. He can fit the resin into the space left after he takes out the decay. A better fit means a longer-lasting filling and a better seal. 

Aesthetic Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings

Even if a metal filling isn’t causing a patient any physical harm, they may want to replace it anyway. While metal fillings are more common on back teeth like molars, the dark silver color is still visible when you talk or laugh. This might bother some patients.

Aside from the numerous health benefits of tooth-colored fillings, they also have aesthetic benefits. Unlike metal fillings, tooth-colored fillings will blend in seamlessly with the rest of your teeth. 

Dr. Moulton can customize a resin filling to match the exact color of your teeth. Right in the office, Dr. Moulton can mix the resin composite with water until it matches your natural teeth. By the time you’re done, you won’t know you have a filling just by looking!

The fillings will be invisible, whether they are in the front or back of your mouth. You can talk, laugh, and eat all without anyone ever noticing your fillings. 

What to Expect at Your Appointment

When you get tooth-colored fillings or other restorative dentistry, knowing what to expect from the appointment can help it go smoothly. Most importantly, know that your dental team is working hard to make sure you have a good experience.

If you’re getting an amalgam filling replaced with a tooth-colored filling, then the first step will be for Dr. Moulton to remove the old filling. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to minimize your discomfort. 

Once the old filling is out, Dr. Moulton will prepare your tooth for the new filling. If this is a first-time filling, this is where your Dr. Moulton will start. He’ll remove any tooth decay and fill the cavity with the tooth-colored filling resin.

The whole process should only need one visit, especially if it is only one filling. For patients who may need multiple fillings or multiple replacements, then Dr. Moulton might recommend multiple visits. Your personal tolerance for dental work will be a factor in the decision.

Once all of your fillings are in place, they should last for at least ten years. Proper dental hygiene, including twice-daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental check-ups, will help extend the life of your fillings. 

Get Tooth-Colored Fillings at Lexington Family Smiles

If you think you might need tooth-colored fillings, we can help! Request an appointment at Lexington Family Smiles today. Our team will gladly help you find the right dental solutions for you and your entire family. 

Whether you’re interested in replacing old fillings, or think it’s time for a first filling, we’ll make sure to keep you smiling for years to come!

Why You Should Visit A Family Dentist Regularly

a family dentist talks with a mother and her daughter.

When was the last time you and your family had a dentist’s checkup? Has it been months? Maybe even stretching into years?

There is a reason that family dentistry exists to make sure you and your family are maintaining happy and healthy smiles. Not sure if it’s worth it? Read on for a complete guide on why you should visit your family dentist. 

What Is a Family Dentist? 

A family dentist ensures that your teeth are on the right track to a perfect smile. They can alert you to any concerns that you might be unaware of, or recommend procedures that you might be interested in. They can serve all of your family members for check-ups, teeth cleanings, fillings, and more.

A family dentist is a necessity for a healthy family. Because of this, you should visit your dentist regularly.

Not convinced yet? 

Let’s discuss some of the benefits of a family dentist.

Benefits of a Family Dentist

Having a family dentist is so much more than an occasional visit when something pops up. You will have a professional individual ready to dedicate their care to help you. 

Routine Check-Ups

dental appointment scheduled on a calendar

Many people only ever visit the dentist when they start to have a toothache or a problem.

The truth is, you should be visiting the dentist at least every six months, whether you are having a problem or not.

These routine dental check-ups can ensure that no problems are arising. This way, you can fix the problem before it becomes painful or an issue.

Many times a dentist can see an issue with your teeth and you may not be experiencing any pain at all. Because of the lack of pain, you believe your teeth are fine. You believe you don’t have to go to the dentist.

When we start experiencing dental pain it is because a problem is progressively getting worse. With routine check-ups, you can spot issues before they become painful. When they are caught early on, fixing the problem will be less of a hassle too. 

Routine dental check-ups are an essential part of your dental health. 

Dental Cleaning

Just like having a check-up, you should also be having your teeth cleaned every six months too. 

This isn’t just a simple brushing that lasts a couple of minutes; it is a deep clean that removes plaque build-up and polishes your teeth. 

The recommended time for brushing your teeth is at least two minutes. The average American, however, only spends about 45 seconds brushing their teeth. 

This is over a minute less than what we are supposed to be brushing. Because of this, seeing a dentist regularly for a tooth cleaning helps get rid of the plaque and dirt that you aren’t brushing away. 

That said, even though a dental cleaning can help your teeth, you should still spend at least two minutes twice a day brushing your teeth for good oral health.

Promote Oral Health in Your Family

It is important to establish good oral health in your family early on. Your children should understand at a young age how important it is to take care of their teeth and how to do so. 13% of children ages 5-19 are reported to have untreated tooth decay. 

When a family dentist does a check-up, they can also recommend to you and your family how to keep up proper health. They could spot possible issues in your teeth cleaning routine and help you understand what you should be doing.

Having a professional give your kids the tips and advice they need can push them towards making an effort with their oral health. 

If your children understand how to properly take care of their teeth, this will also prevent dental issues in the future. If your child develops a cavity or other issue due to poor oral health, this will be more costly to fix in the long run and an unpleasant experience for your child.

Besides your children, maybe you yourself also need some help understanding how you should be better at taking care of your teeth. Our dentist can push you in the right direction and even offer you the different services available for your care.

Having good oral health is important for both you and your family. 

Develop a Relationship

Having a family dentist isn’t a one-and-done experience. Our family dentistry will stick with you as your family ages. 

Your dentist can develop a relationship with you and know exactly how to care for your needs and the needs of your family. Having this relationship is helpful because your dentist will automatically know how to help your child when they need it. 

Being able to have a stable and regular dentist will help the dentist serve your family properly and maintain their health for the years to come. 

What To Look For In a Family Dentist? 

You shouldn’t just choose any family dentist. While having one is important, choosing the right one is just as important. 

Testimonials

Searching for the testimonials of a family dentist is important to see the experiences of other people.

Everyone was so friendly, Dena did a awesome job on cleaning my teeth. You can tell she loves her job and takes pride in it. Dr Moulton took the time to explain all my options and get a game plan going for my parcel. Would recommend

Geraldine Ricard
5-stars review

Was the customer service good? Were the people friendly? Did they feel properly cared for? Was it worth the pricing?

If a dentist has bad reviews, chances are it’s not the dentist for you. You want to make sure you choose a dentist that is reliable and recommendable. 

Insurance

Before choosing your family dentist, you will want to call ahead and check to see if they accept your insurance. If they don’t accept your insurance, it can be much more costly in the long run.

There are other options to pay for your dental visit outside of your insurance, such as an HSA or financing options. A good and caring dentist will be flexible so you can receive the dental care you need.

Credentials

In the United States, all licensed dentists must have three basic requirements. They must have an education requirement, a writen exam requirement, and a clinical exam requirement. Dentists will also proudly display their licenses on the wall.

Who Are They?

Lastly, you should consider who your dentist is as a person. What are they like? Are they polite? Caring? Happy? 

Your experience with your dentist could depend on how this person interacts with you. Schedule an appointment for a consultation to get to know your dentist.

Services of a Family Dentist

A family dentist offers much more than just routine check-ups and teeth cleaning. 

Depending on what you are looking for, your dentist can offer you a vast array of services to fit your needs. 

Dental Implants

dental implant 3d illustration

Maybe you have a missing tooth that needs to be replaced. Not all family dentists can handle this for you. But Lexington Family Smiles can perform dental implants.

Dental implants are a perfect way of fixing up your smile and blend the implant in with the rest of your teeth. 

The dental implant is placed into your jaw bone by the dentist. It naturally infuses with the rest of the bone over time.

If you need a fix for your smile, dental implants could be the solution, and a family dentist can help you. 

Porcelain Dental Veneers

Is your smile a little crooked? Are your teeth chipped in certain places?

Porcelain veneers could be the solution you are looking for. 

These veneers create the natural look of teeth and blend in perfectly. Each set is crafted specifically for the individual to make sure it looks natural and authentic. 

The best part is, dental veneers require the same care as your normal teeth, so you won’t need to switch up your routine. 

Teeth Whitening

Maybe your smile is discolored from aging or products that stained your teeth. 

You can brighten your smile with our teeth whitening service. Teeth whitening is a simple way to get the smile you want so it can be as bright as ever. 

Rather than having the treatment done in the office, you can even do a take-home treatment for your convenience. 

There’s no excuse for you to keep living with a smile you might not love.

Now What?

This is only the beginning of the services that Lexington Family Smiles offers. 

You now know the importance and benefits of having a family dentist, so what’s stopping you? 

Contact us today to get started on your healthy smile!

Pediatric Dentistry: Caring for Children’s Dental Health

Young boy having dental work done by female dentist.

Your child begins to get teeth during the first few months of their life. As they grow, you’ll learn to care for the incoming teeth and their dental hygiene. Just when you get used to the routine, their teeth will start to fall out, around 6-7 years.

Even baby teeth need proper dental care. Dental problems don’t go away when baby teeth fall out, so it’s important to learn how to care for your child’s teeth at the beginning.

We’ve put together some tips about when to start and what to know about pediatric dentistry below. Take a look!

When to Start

Caring for children’s teeth and gums start early. In fact, as soon as their first tooth comes in, you should begin caring for their oral hygiene.

You can begin brushing their one tooth as soon as they have it. This will help your child get used to how a toothbrush feels in their mouth and used to the routine of brushing after breakfast and before bedtime.

Choose a fun soft bristle toothbrush that fits their mouth to help make it an enjoyable activity for them. You can involve your child by taking them to the store to help pick out their toothbrush with a favorite character on it. Be sure to replace your child’s toothbrush every 3 months to prevent bacteria buildup.

Children’s dentistry is an important part of their oral hygiene as well. You can schedule your infant or toddler’s first dental appointment as early as 12 months of age.

At their first appointment, our dentist will examine your child’s existing teeth and help you understand how to care for their oral health. Dr. Moulton is focused on family care, and he has a family of his own. Even the smallest patients are important.

Getting Started with Pediatric Dentistry

After their first appointment, you may wonder when you would need to return with your child. How often children should visit a pediatric dentist is a question in many parents’ minds, but the answer is the same as for adult patients.

You should schedule a dentist visit for your child every 6 months to monitor their oral health and catch any possible problems as early as possible. Having the help of a dental professional can help you navigate the ins and outs of your children cutting teeth, losing teeth, and keeping teeth healthy. They can tell you what signs and symptoms to watch out for, like those below.

Signs of a Problem

Being involved in your child’s dental care is one of the best ways for you to detect possible issues. Help them brush and floss, and watch carefully as they practice on their own. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that there may be a dental problem.

Look for alignment issues with their teeth, along with white or brown spots on their teeth.

It’s a red flag if you have any indications of pain associated with their teeth. Check for sensitivity to hot or cold and irritated gums. Swelling can show you where potential pain spots might be. 

If you detect one of the problems above, or another one that you’re worried about it, reach out to us. We can help you schedule an appointment with the dentist to examine the child’s teeth and recommend treatment.

In the event that your child needs fillings, there are tooth-colored options so they are less noticeable. They’re also less invasive than people think, and they provide a long-lasting solution.

Best Ways to Care for Teeth and Gums

What can you do at home to care for your child’s oral health? In between dental visits, there are plenty of steps you can take to take care of their teeth and gums.

One of the best ways to care for your child’s teeth and gums is to limit their sugar intake. This can be in the form of candy and sweet treats, as well as drinks like juice or soft drinks. Even electrolyte drinks can have lots of sugar in them, which isn’t good for infants’ and toddlers’ teeth.

Another step to take is making dental care a priority. Children who start early at the dentist will learn that this is a regular part of their routine and that the dentist isn’t scary. They won’t mind being a patient when they become a patient at a young age.

Help them with their brushing. Set a timer for them so they know when they have brushed for long enough. Watch closely to make sure they are getting all the corners.

Go over their teeth a second time if necessary. You can brush their teeth for them after they’ve had a chance to try, so they still feel involved but you’re sure they’re clean. This is an important step for preventing periodontal disease.

Teach them to floss early. Even if the gaps between their teeth haven’t closed yet, you can still help them learn to floss. Show them the right way, and demonstrate with your own teeth.

If flossing is part of their tooth care routine and they have the skills to do it, it will be easy to incorporate as their gaps shrink and flossing becomes vital to their oral health.

Other Issues

Dr. Moulton’s expertise will help if your child encounters other dental problems, too. Sometimes there can be genetic issues or oral conditions associated with other health problems. Sometimes children have accidents, and you may have a dental emergency.

Because of his experience, Dr. Moulton can work with you and your child to have a great dental visit. Children aren’t always capable of sitting still or being patient through an exam. This is why our team has an office designed with children in mind, and special tools to help them get through their appointment.

Incredible Care

It’s our goal at Lexington Family Smiles to help you experience a different kind of dentistry. We want to provide individual care and support as you seek pediatric dentistry for your children. 

Reach out with any questions you have about the care we provide or request an appointment today.

6 Restorative Dentistry Procedures Explained

Close up of a woman's teeth with dental tools.

Many patients fear going to their dentist, but going in for oral checkups is as important as any doctor visit.

About 80% of adults receive one or more types of restorative dentistry in their lifetime. Most Americans suffer from complications like tooth decay and not aware of it. Fear of the dentist turns into relief, trust, and comfort when you visit Lexington Family Smiles dental office.

We offer a few restorative dentistry services and make sure you are comfortable throughout the whole procedure. Keep reading to learn about each of these restorative procedures that we offer in Lexington, SC.

1. Root Canal

Root canals are probably one of the most dreaded forms of dental restorative treatments for patients. But root canals are not as bad as they sound, even though the doctor must drill inside of the tooth to help get rid of any debris and decay that is within the roots. Your doctor will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area so there is little to no pain.

In order to see the degree of damage and decay to the tooth, doctors will take X-rays of your teeth. X-rays are a safe way to check the condition of your teeth under the gums and helps the dentist put together a better treatment plan. 

Getting a root canal is the best option for those with tooth decay deep inside the tooth but have a chance to save the tooth before the decay spreads too far. We have experienced doctors on our team, like Dr. Moulton, who can make the experience something patients will not have to get anxious about. 

2. Inlays/Onlays

Patients can receive inlays and onlays as a type of dental restorative procedure. Both are made to fit each patient, so customization is often something that happens in a dental lab. Inlays and onlays are the most appropriate for patients who have extensive damage that fillings or dental crowns are not appropriate for. 

At our dental office, you can get a dental inlay if the tooth cusp remains intact. Those who have damage to their tooth cusp will require an onlay instead. 

3. Crowns

Dr. Moulton will use crowns for patients dealing with significant structural impairment with their teeth. Crowns maintain the strength and overall look of a tooth. This may be due to a weak or cracked tooth, broken tooth, or large filling. 

Others may know dental crowns as “tooth caps” since they cover a tooth in its entirety up to the lining of the gum. You can also get a crown to cover discolored teeth. In order for dental crowns to fit the best, Dr. Moulton will trim down the tooth needing the crown. 

When you visit a dental office, you will need two appointments to complete a dental crown. However, it’s also possible to get a dental crown in one day. 

4. Dental Implants

Dental implants are a type of dental restoration that gives patients that natural tooth look and feel. The implant takes the place of the tooth root and a crown attaches to the implant. Dental implants are the most natural-looking and functional tooth replacement option. You can use dental implants to restore one or several teeth. They also help to prevent bone loss in the upper or lower jaw.

The implants go into the bone socket similar to the root of a tooth. An attachment (called an abutment) screws into the implant and holds the crown. Taking care of the implants is as simple as brushing and flossing the same as you would with your natural teeth. 

5. Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are connected crowns, often 3 or 4, that fill gaps of missing teeth. A bridge is secured in place by healthy teeth on either side.

Dental bridges are useful because they prevent the teeth from misaligning, which can cause overbites or underbites, TMD, and other issues. In untreated cases, you may notice oral structural changes which will make it hard to talk or eat. A dental bridge is a great preventive measure that also improves the appearance of your smile.

A bridge is permanent as Dr. Moulton places a crown over healthy teeth on either side of the bridge to securely hold it in place. There are some removable dental bridges. This is possible if it clasps onto the natural teeth on either side of the bridge. 

6. Dentures

Dentures are false teeth that look real and take the place of real teeth. They are one type of prosthesis for patients missing many or all teeth.

Dentures allow patients to regain the ability to speak and eat. They also improve the appearance of their smile which can improve self-confidence. 

There are two main types of dentures: partial dentures and complete dentures.

Partial dentures replace a few missing teeth. They are held in place with metal clasps that attach to your natural teeth. Sometimes a slot in the middle of a tooth secures the denture in place.

Complete dentures are a full set of false teeth. In this case all teeth have either been removed or fallen out. Complete dentures can can include dental implants

Lexington Family Smiles Offers Restorative Dentistry in Lexington, SC

You can regain your smile with restorative dentistry by visiting our Lexington, SC, dental office. Contact us to request an appointment. We provide a variety of restorative services for patients of all ages.

General Dentistry: Oral Treatments and Prevention

Mother and son a general dentist office

Lexington Family Smiles provides general dentistry in Lexington, SC, for those seeking oral treatments, prevention, and more. 

What Is a General Dentist?

A general dentist is also known as a family dentist. Just as you have a primary care physician, you may also have a general dentist as your go-to provider for all your dental care needs. Services a general dentist may provide for patients are routine preventative care, such as regular teeth cleanings, X-rays, exams, and fillings.

Some key roles of a general dentist are to guide patients in proper dental care, help them build healthier habits, and identify potential problems before they get worse, and if need be, refer patients to dental specialists. However, at Lexington Family Smiles in Lexington, SC, we also provide other dental services such as cosmetic dentistry, restorative solutions, and more.

About Dr. Michael Moulton

When it comes to finding a general dentist in Lexington, SC, you want a practitioner you can trust with a well-established reputation for good services and a comprehensive selection of general dentistry procedures.  

Dr. Michael Moulton is all that and more. He has established a reputation of being a trusted and reliable provider of quality dental care in Lexington, SC. He and his team at Lexington Family Smiles work together closely to create an environment that’s warm, friendly, and inviting, so patients can feel comfortable and enjoy their visits with us. Dr. Moulton’s mission is to provide patients with individualized service and excellent care, at affordable prices.

We Provide a Full Range of General Dental Services in Lexington, SC

Our facility includes modern, state-of-the-art equipment that enables us to detect and treat dental issues before they get worse and compromise your health. We offer a full range of general dental services including but not limited to preventative care, prosthetic services, restorative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, regular checkups, emergency care, and other oral treatments for both men and women seeking a general dentist in Lexington, SC. 

What is Preventative Dentistry?

Preventative dentistry helps patients maintain good oral health by combining proper oral habits, such as brushing and flossing, with regular dental check-ups. This type of general dental care usually begins in your childhood and continues throughout your life to help reduce dental problems like gingivitis, gum disease, and cavities. 

Protecting your smile and your health is our number one goal here at Lexington Family Smiles. That’s why we emphasize preventative care and early detection to avoid any future problems from occurring that could compromise your oral health.

We use advanced treatment methods and a preventative care plan to help achieve optimal oral health levels and gentle dental care is one of our top priorities. Some of the more common preventative dentistry services include:

  • Teeth cleaning
  • Regular oral exams and check-ups that usually take place every 6 months
  • Routine X-rays

Most dental plans cover preventative care, to see if your plan is one of them, check with your insurance provider.

Dos and Don’ts for Proper Oral Care

Dos 

  • Brush: Brushing your teeth should be done at least twice daily; once in the morning and once at night. We recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. We can help instruct you on proper brushing techniques and recommend some of the best brands of toothpaste and toothbrushes to use.   
  • Floss: Floss every day to ensure you remove the food that gets stuck between your teeth before it becomes plaque.
  • Rinse: A good mouthwash should be used after flossing to rinse your mouth out and remove food particles.
  • Protect your teeth: If you are participating in rough sports, it is important to use a mouth guard for protection. In addition, those who grind their teeth during sleep should consider using a nighttime mouth guard to help avoid gum recession.

Don’ts

  • Don’t eat too many sweets as sugar can rot your teeth.
  • Don’t eat acidic foods as they can harm your tooth enamel.
  • Don’t eat hard foods that can chip or damage your teeth, including hard candy, seeds, foods with bones, pits, etc.
  • Don’t use tobacco products (smoke). Not only can this lead to cancer, but it can also cause other dental problems.

What Does Cosmetic Dentistry Involve?

Cosmetic dentistry is basically any dental work done to the teeth or gums to improve appearance rather than functionality. Its primary focus is on dental aesthetics, such as color, shape, position, alignment, and size of your teeth. It also involves your gums that affect your overall appearance. 

Cosmetic dentistry may involve… 

  • Adding dental substances to teeth or gums: crowns (caps), porcelain veneers (laminates), bonding, gum grafts, etc. 
  • Removing tooth or gum structure: gingivectomy or enameloplasty.
  • Straightening teeth to improve the facial appearance: orthodontics. 
  • Enhancing tooth or gum structure: teeth whitening (bleaching), gum depigmentation, or laser whitening. 

Lexington Family Smiles provides patients with excellent cosmetic dentistry in Lexington, SC. They will not only help you look fabulous, but will also help you feel great too.

Dr. Moulton combines his excellent skills in cosmetic dentistry with the latest approaches and advanced techniques to brighten up your smile. The cosmetic dental procedures he performs include dental veneers and teeth whitening methods that work so well you will be excited to show off your smile.

The Latest Techniques in Prosthetic Dental Care and Restorative Solutions

As we age the protected enamel of our teeth starts wearing out and gets thinner, causing teeth to get weaker. This can result in cracked, chipped, or missing teeth among other things. Missing or cracked teeth can hinder your appearance, impair your speech, lower your self-esteem, and impact your quality of life. Additionally, it can make it hard to chew.

Dr. Moulton takes the most advanced approaches in prosthetic dentistry. He uses cutting-edge technology to help patients regain their oral functions and improve their appearance. He can skillfully replace one or more teeth with fixed bridges, dental implants, partial dentures, or full dentures. These restorative solutions are a great way to improve your speech, enhance your appearance, and ensure you can eat right.

Make Your Smile Your Number One Priority

At Lexington Family Smiles we provide quality dental care at affordable pricing, so everyone in Lexington, SC, can get the general dental care they need. Aside from the services already mentioned, we also provide oral cancer screenings, comprehensive periodontal therapy, endodontics, and much more, using advanced treatment modalities. 

If you live in the Lexington area of South Carolina, contact us today to request an appointment. We can raise your confidence and put a smile on your face with fast, friendly gentile dentistry.

Dental Bridges: Filling the Gap for a Better Smile

According to the ACP, about 120 million people in the United States have at least one missing tooth. Do you have a missing tooth, or do you want to improve your smile? Dental bridges may be the way to give you your perfect smile!

Keep reading to learn more about how dental bridges work and if they are right for you!

What Are Dental Bridges?

Dental bridges are a type of restorative dentistry for people with a teeth gap or a missing tooth. They help fill in the space of a missing tooth or teeth. A dental bridge spans over multiple teeth but can be customized for your needs. 

The most common reasons you may need a dental bridge are missing teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, and injury to your mouth. 

Not only do dental bridges improve the function of your teeth and your bite, but they will also make your smile look better too! It will bridge the gap between missing teeth and will look great!

Dental bridges require crowns on your neighboring teeth. These crowns go on both sides of your missing tooth and will support the false tooth that will go between them. 

The crowns are cemented in place with dental bonding, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out. Dental bonding is a resin that matches the color of your tooth. You can use dental bonding for gaps, cracked or chipped teeth, and more!

Why Do You Need a Bridge?

Many people use bridges to fill gaps. One of the main reasons patients need a dental bridge is so their other teeth will not shift. If you have empty spaces in your mouth, your teeth naturally move.

Your teeth help keep each other in line. However, if you are missing a tooth, your other teeth may face issues as well. They can become crooked, they may lead to new gaps, and you might experience tooth sensitivity and other issues. 

People most often use dental bridges to keep their mouth functional, but they can also restore your confidence and create a perfect smile. 

How Are Bridges Put In?

To get a dental bridge, you need to make sure you have healthy teeth next to your missing tooth. 

In the process of placing a bridge, Dr. Moulton will secure an artificial tooth to your neighboring teeth. This is done with crowns cemented with dental bonding on both sides of your missing tooth. 

If you are getting a dental bridge, you can expect it to take several dental visits. For example, during one appointment, your natural teeth are fitted to crowns. During another, the bridge is placed. 

Caring For a New Bridge

If you want your dental bridge to last, you need to develop good oral care!

If you don’t brush your teeth twice a day, it may lead to your abutment teeth getting cavities, decay, or plaque buildup. Abutment teeth are also known as the teeth that anchor your bridge and are located on either side of your missing tooth. 

You also want to be sure to repair any problems with your bridge promptly. This is especially important when you have noticed sensitivity on your teeth or any chips or cracks. 

With a bridge, the key to maintaining it is to take good care of your natural teeth. If you don’t, you may need additional bridges in your mouth or a replacement bridge. 

Some common reasons that bridges don’t work or fail include poor oral hygiene, tooth decay on abutment teeth, poor bone support, or even a poor choice of material. You need a durable material that can endure the wear and tear of chewing. Dr. Moulton knows all of this, uses the proper material, and will educate you on the proper care.

However, other habits can be bad for your bridge. These include chewing pens, grinding your teeth at night, and chewing on ice. 

Benefits of a Dental Bridge 

One huge benefit of dental bridges is that it is a less expensive alternative to other dental work to fix missing teeth. While you could pay for a dental implant or replacement tooth, using a bridge costs less time and money to fix your teeth. 

Another great benefit is that dental bridges will restore your smile. If you have missing teeth, it may affect your confidence. However, bridges are an easy way to bring back your confidence and help you love your smile. 

As mentioned before, dental bridges also prevent your other teeth from moving or shifting. If these teeth become crooked, it is a much more expensive process to straighten them again. Dental bridges prevent this from happening in the first place!

Finally, dental bridges restore your mouth to its proper function. It will allow you to bite and chew properly, and it will make it less uncomfortable to speak or use your mouth. 

Get Your Perfect Smile Today!

If you are missing one or more teeth and don’t want to get a dental implant, a bridge is a great option for you!

Dental bridges are a great way to get your perfect smile and to restore your confidence. If you are looking for a dentist in Lexington, South Carolina, Dr. Michael Moulton can help! Dr. Moulton and his team offer some of the best dentistry in Lexington and can help you with any of your dental needs.

If you want to learn more about our services, our team, or have any other questions about dental bridges, contact us today or request an appointment!

A Guide to Restorative Dentistry Procedures

A man smiles after receiving dental restoration at a dental office.

Going to the dentist is essential to maintain a healthy mouth and a stunning smile. When dental hygiene is neglected or a dental visit is not available for a while, tooth decay can set in and cause permanent tooth damage.

People can also suffer injury to their teeth. This kind of damage can’t be fixed with normal cleaning procedures. That’s where restorative dentistry comes in! There are many different kinds of restorative procedures, so let’s talk about them.

Root Canals

Root canals help to save teeth once they’ve succumbed to internal tooth decay. When a cavity or crack forms in a tooth, bacteria can settle into the newly created space. The bacteria begins chewing away at the soft pulp of the tooth and causes more problems.

Typically, symptoms include pain, inflammation around the mouth, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, and swollen gums. Extreme tooth decay can lead to a dental abscess, which can cause other medical problems like a tooth being pulled. Even more serious complications could occur if left untreated.

Root canals usually take 1-2 visits. To start a root canal, Dr. Moulton take x-rays of your teeth to see how much damage has been inflicted. An anesthetic helps to reduce pain during the procedure.

After the anesthesia, Dr. Moulton removes the pulp and flushes and cleans the inside of the tooth with an antimicrobial solution.

After a drying process, the pulp champers are permanently filled in with a biocompatible material. The access point is filled or a crown is placed to finish the procedure.

Dental Crowns

When a tooth is damaged, it becomes more susceptible to further damage. A sign of damage can include sensitivity to hot and cold foods. This is because enamel, the outer protective coating on your teeth, is much less effective with a hole in it. Think of it as a chink in a suit of armor. It’s much easier for bacteria to enter or the tooth to crack when its defense has been weakened.

A dental crown is a cap or protective coverings laid over a damaged tooth. Dental crowns can be porcelain, metal, or ceramic. The material in the crown depends on the location of the damage, how much healthy tooth remains, and the gum line. Dr. Moulton will go over the reasons why he recommends a specific material type.

A dental crown placement is relatively easy, and usually not anything to worry over. During this procedure, the damaged tooth is filed down to create a base for the crown. Usually, a temporary crown comes before a permanent one is ready. However, sometimes your permanent crown is ready during your first visit.

Dentures

Dentures are false teeth worn when people are missing entire sections of teeth. They allow people with missing teeth to chew food effectively, are removable, and require cleansing on a daily basis. There are partial dentures and complete dentures, which are exactly as they sound.

Partial dentures replace some missing teeth, while complete dentures replace an entire row of missing teeth.

When people need dentures, they are usually getting either conventional or immediate dentures. Conventional dentures take 8-12 weeks to make. Immediate dentures are ready-made for immediate replacement after tooth removal.

While immediate dentures mighty sound more convenient, they typically need to be adjusted a few times before they fit comfortably. Conventional dentures take so long to make because they’re made specifically for an individual’s mouth shape and size.

To make dentures, Dr. Moulton takes measurements of your jaw and the inside of your mouth. He also takes impressions of your teeth and makes various models until finding one that fits comfortably.

Dental Implants

Lastly, we will talk about dental implants. These are replacements for your teeth’ natural roots. Basically, implants are the anchor for a future crown.

Dental implants are very comfortable and hardly noticeable after the crown is in place. This is because the implant acts as the root and the crown models your natural teeth in color and shape. They look, feel, and function like natural teeth.

Dental implants have a titanium base, which is the first section put into your tooth socket. As the bone heals, your jawbone fuses to the implant and firmly cements into your dental foundation. This can take 3 to 6 months. Once the implant is ready, Dr. Moulton will install a connector post to easily connect the base to the crown.

About Us

Lexington Family Smiles is a small dental team dedicated to improving patient’s smiles and confidence in their teeth. If you have a dental problem or just haven’t been in for a cleaning in a while, feel free to schedule an appointment with us!