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Lexington Dentist

 

4 Signs You Need Emergency Dental Care

Young woman has a dental emergency
Experiencing a toothache. Exhausted young secretary sitting at the workplace while touching her cheek and suffering from a toothache.

Even if you visit us regularly for a dental checkup and cleaning, there are times when an urgent situation could require more immediate care. There are some telltale signs that an oral problem can’t wait weeks or months before receiving care from our trained dental team. It may not be causing you any discomfort yet, but left unchecked it can turn into a more serious issue. Here are 4 signs you need emergency dental care…

1. A Tooth Feels Loose

Adult teeth should be well-anchored, not moving around when you eat and speak. There are a few reasons you might end up with a tooth that’s loose: one of them could be a direct injury. It may be an injury that is caused by impact, or perhaps something you bit into that has caused damage. However, this can also point to signs of an infection. Periodontal disease (gum disease) is one possible cause, as it affects the gum tissues responsible for holding your teeth in place. Our dentist Dr. Michael Moulton can examine your teeth and gums using imaging to get a clear picture of what is causing the tooth to feel loose.

2. You Have a Dental Abscess

A dental abscess is a painful condition that can be caused by an unchecked cavity or gum disease. It can also be the result of an injury (such as a chipped tooth) that allows harmful bacteria to accumulate. An abscess is not always localized to the affected tooth or gums. It can also cause a fever, noticeably swollen glands, and even a bad taste in your mouth from the infection.

Our dental team can quickly assess the issue and treat an abscess, which may require draining. A root canal is another possible solution.

3. You Have Jaw Pain or Recurring Headaches

Constant headaches that have no apparent cause may be signs you are grinding your teeth. This is a condition called bruxism, and it can put a strain on teeth that can wear them down. If this happens, a dental crown or another procedure may be needed to repair them. The grinding of teeth can also lead to a painful condition known either as TMJ or TMD, which affects the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. While emergency dental care may be necessary to address the symptoms, there are ways to help avoid issues from grinding including using a mouthguard that we can custom fit to your mouth.

4. You Have a Severe Toothache

If your tooth is hurting constantly, then it’s likely a sign you need to see us as soon as possible. Our team can provide relief as well as diagnosing the underlying cause for your severe toothache, whether it’s an infection or another problem. While some people may experience mild toothaches and sensitivity, prolonged or severe pain likely means there’s something more serious happening that needs a professional.

Don’t Put Off Emergency Dental Care

Pain, swelling, and loose teeth are all signs you should make an appointment with us as soon as possible. Left unchecked, these issues could increase in severity. Our dental team effectively assesses the problem and recommends the best course of action, as well as outlining prevention techniques for the future. To find out more or make an appointment for emergency dental care, contact us today.

Lexington SC Dentist | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

Image of ancestors:dental health can be affected by genetics
A collage of old photos.

Most serious oral health issues can be prevented by maintaining an effective routine of dental hygiene and in-office care. However, you could be at higher risk for some oral illnesses due to hereditary factors. Awareness and proper treatment can help minimize these risks. Here are a few of the most common oral health concerns that are affected by genetics.

Tooth Decay

One of the most common oral issues, some tooth decay has been linked to a genetic deficiency of a protein called DEFB1. If your parents experienced an unusually high rate of tooth decay, then you may want to be more vigilant regarding your own dental care.

Oral Cancer

Certain genetic factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Our Lexington family dentist recommends annual oral cancer screening for early identification and treatment. In addition, certain lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, can help reduce your risk of oral cancer.

Periodontal Disease

Recent research has found that some forms of gum disease may be linked to mutations in genes that affect immunity and inflammatory response.

Misaligned or Supernumerary (extra) Teeth

Genetics can play a role in having misaligned or even extra teeth. The size of your jaw is determined mostly through heredity and is the most common reason for an overbite, underbite, or dental crowding.

Canker Sores

In most cases, canker sores are an isolated reaction to fatigue, stress, or menstrual cycles. However, there are certain inherited diseases that count canker sores among their symptoms. Crohn’s disease and Celiac sprue are two such conditions.

While you may not be able to avoid hereditary oral health issues entirely, we can help minimize or even reverse their effects with proper treatment and care. If you suffer from any of these inherited conditions, contact Lexington Family Smiles for an oral health evaluation. We can help.

 

Lexington SC Dentist | 3 Ways to Fix a Chipped Tooth

Cosmetic dentistry allows woman to smile as she gets picture taken in the woods.
Woman smiles outside with perfect white teeth.

Chipping a tooth could be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to fix a chipped tooth through cosmetic dentistry. Our Lexington dentist will recommend a solution based on your particular needs. Here are three cosmetic dental options we may provide you that have great results.

1.      Dental Bonding

Bonding is a quick and easy solution for most small, cosmetic chips. In the bonding process, the remaining enamel on the tooth is first roughened in order for composite to better adhere to the tooth’s surface. Composite is then shaped to replace the chip and hardened with a dental curing light, instantly solidifying the material. Typically, bonding can last up to ten years with proper care.

2.     Porcelain Veneers

If the tooth was fully cracked or there was significant damage to the tooth, veneers may be recommended. Also, if you have chipped a tooth several times or wish to repair the tooth’s color, getting veneers may be the best option.

A veneer uses porcelain material that covers the front surface of your teeth, giving them a natural look while also providing strength comparable to natural tooth enamel. In order to apply a veneer, a small amount of existing tooth structure is removed to make room around the affected area. Then, we will take an impression of the tooth to use in making the permanent veneer and place a temporary veneer.

Once the permanent, porcelain veneer arrives, the temporary veneer is removed and the area around the tooth is cleaned. We will then place the adhesive and set in the new veneer for exact fit. Finally, the veneer is light cured and you will have a natural, beautiful smile.

3.     Dental Crowns.

Dental crowns are a “cap” that covers your tooth. A crown restores a tooth back to its normal shape, size, and function. Crowns are best-suited when a large portion of the original tooth is missing, or when the tooth is significantly damaged, causing pain when chewing or drinking. They are an effective solution to repair the shape and look of your tooth quickly, preventing further damage from tooth decay or exposed nerves.

If you have a chipped tooth, contact Lexington Family Smiles as soon as possible. We have a number of solutions to fix any oral health issues that arise from chipping or cracking a tooth. We will provide a customized plan for you based on your needs.

 

Lexington SC Dentist | Don’t Miss Your Screening

Don't miss your scheduled dental appointment
A man and women smile with clean white teeth

Oral cancer does not discriminate. It affects those of all ages, genders, and races. Smokers do develop oral cancers at higher rates than non-smokers. However, this does not absolve the rest of the population from being at risk, as well. Preventative dentistry is a great way to fight against dental issues that may arise otherwise.

Why Preventative Dentistry Is Important

It’s incredibly important to keep to your recommended schedule of oral health examinations. By visiting your general dentist at least twice per year, it is much more likely that our dental team will be able to identify potentially cancerous lesions in the early stages. Preventative dentistry can catch early signs of cancer or other dental problems. As you may know, the key to the survival of most forms of cancer is early detection. Oral cancers are treatable, especially if caught before displaying obvious signs. The best results occur when oral cancer is identified and treated during the early stages.

What If A Lesion Is Found?

If your general dentist identifies a lesion that appears to be irregular, he or she may refer you to our team. We’ll recommend the next steps. Once pathology has been identified, we can proceed with treatment if necessary.

We will complete a biopsy to confirm whether a lesion is cancerous. It is not possible to confirm an oral cancer diagnosis without a biopsy. For this reason, try to refrain from making assumptions until we have confirmed your diagnosis. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last appointment or if you have noticed a lesion, bump or irregular patch of skin that doesn’t heal within a few days, consider an oral cancer screening by your general dentist. Know that your dentist will provide you with advice and may refer you to our team for a closer look.

If you have considered skipping the recommended dental visits that provide your first line of defense against oral cancers, please reconsider. It could save your life.

Lexington SC Dentist Preventing Enamel Erosion

Prevent enamel erosion through preventative dentistry
A woman smiles with healthy white teeth.

Do 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. Preventative dentistry can help by spotting these issues in the early stages and prevent further damage.

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 that are preventable. Some of these factors 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 transform starches and sugars in foods such as bread into damaging acid.

Other factors that cause enamel erosion 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.

There are options to restore your smile through cosmetic dentistry, but it can be costly. The best option is to take advantage of preventative dentistry by visiting your dentist regularly.

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. Cosmetic dentistry may be an option, but preventative dentistry is the best option. So don’t miss your appointment.

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

Lexington SC Dentist | Oral Hygiene at Work

Do you brush your teeth after lunch? If you’re one of the millions of people who work outside the home, chances are you don’t have the time or resources to brush during the day. However, not being able to brush doesn’t mean you can’t protect your teeth at work.

Grab a drink of water. When you finish eating, get a drink of water. Swish the water around in your mouth, then spit or swallow it. Water helps to remove small particles of food that can remain on your teeth after your meal or snack.

Chew sugarless gum. There are certain types of sugarless gum that are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) as good for your oral health. The reason for this is that chewing stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth. That saliva washes away food particles and helps to neutralize acids on your teeth.

Limit time drinking coffee or soda. Coffee, soda, tea, and many other beverages contain high levels of sugars and acids. The more time you spend sipping your drink, the longer your teeth are exposed to these sources of decay. Instead of spending an hour taking small swallows, drink quickly to limit exposure, then rinse your mouth or switch to water to help counteract the effects.

Brush and floss when you can. Try to keep to a regular routine of good oral hygiene practices when you are at home. Brush at least twice daily, for two full minutes each time. Floss or use an interdental cleaner of your choice once a day. Keep your recommended appointments to have your teeth cleaned and evaluated by our team.

Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to interrupt your workday. Keeping these simple tips in mind can help protect your mouth from tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other oral health issues.

To learn more ways to preserve your oral health, talk to our team during your visit. Contact our office to schedule your next appointment today.

Lexington SC Dentist | Do I Really Need an Exam?

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It’s highly likely that after visiting our practice, you understand the value of a thorough, professional dental cleaning. It’s also likely that you may not fully understand the importance of a complete exam and radiographs. 

There are many reasons the exam is an important part of your oral health routine. 

1. Exams allow the doctor to evaluate for signs of health conditions. Many health conditions present early signs and symptoms in the mouth, including: Crohn’s, Addison’s, Leukemia, Diabetes, Lupus, Anemia and many others. Skipping an exam could prevent your dentist from screening for oral manifestations of systemic disease. 

2. According to research, one American dies every hour from oral cancer. A thorough complete examination can catch early signs of oral cancer, allowing for early treatment, which can be key to survival. 

3. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and is related to serious systemic health conditions such as heart disease and stroke, among many others. Evaluating your soft tissue and bone health allows our team to identify early signs of periodontal disease, which can allow for prevention and early treatment. This is vital for your oral and overall health. 

4. Radiographs provide valuable insight. Decay and other oral health issues are often hidden from the human eye. Radiographs (X-Rays) allow us to find what we could not otherwise see, allowing for early treatment and less invasive solutions. 

Whether it has been 6 months or 6 years since your last appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you and your heath and comfort are our main concerns.

Lexington SC Dentist | 4 Ways to Achieve Optimal Oral Health

Keeping up optimal oral health takes more than brushing and flossing. Maintaining oral hygiene demands a bit of work, but it is worth it in the long run. Here are four ways you can improve your dental health right now.

  1. Replace your toothbrush more often. When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? A month ago? Six months? Most people don’t swap out a new brush often enough, which can lead to reduced brush effectiveness. Change your brush at least every three months. Be sure to switch after having an infection like the cold or flu to prevent reinfection.
  2. Lay off the fizzy drinks. The acids present in soda wear away enamel, weakening your teeth and leaving them vulnerable to decay. In fact, people who drink three or more glasses of soda per day experience about 62% more tooth decay than those who choose another beverage like water.
  3. Opt for chocolate. Everyone loves a sweet treat now and then, but did you know that certain candies are better for your teeth than others? The American Dental Association reports dark chocolate is the healthiest option, as it is soft and washes off your teeth easier than other candies. Hard, sticky, and sour goodies should be avoided, because they can stick to your teeth and even cause chips or cracks if you bite down too hard.
  4. Visit your dentist. Trips to our office should occur at least twice a year—not just when you have a toothache. We offer preventative care, vital education, and important cleanings, which are all part of maintaining excellent oral health.

We are pleased to offer a variety of solutions to keep your smile healthy. We are also able to customize a health plan tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment today.

Lexington SC Dentist | An Important Reminder About Your Next Dental Appointment

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At times, life can seem to move quickly. Between work, school, sports, and social events, it can seem there is little time left for you and your health. It’s imperative for a healthy mouth and body to always have your next dental appointment scheduled and to prioritize this care. Our team will work with you to find the most convenient day and time for you. If you need to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you. Advanced notice of a change is greatly appreciated, whenever possible. Missed appointments without notice are harmful to our practice, as we’ve reserved your appointment time exclusively for you. 

Missed dental appointments can lead to worsened oral and overall health. Whether receiving preventive or restorative care, if left without professional treatment, plaque and decay will progress and the state of your oral health will likely decline. Some of our patients are predisposed to more frequent oral health issues. Many times, these guests prefer more frequent office visits. Please know this is an option for you as well. Investing in one extra cleaning each year can often prevent more costly concerns.

We know it can be tempting to skip your dental appointment. Perhaps you’d rather be relaxing at home or you’ve had a last-minute obligation arise. Please make every effort to prioritize your healthy smile, as it significantly contributes to your overall health. 

Please know we’re here for you. If you have any questions about our care or practice philosophy, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Lexington SC Dentist | Dry Mouth – Not Just a Nuisance

Lexington SC Dentist | Dry Mouth – Not Just a Nuisance

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.