Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, a time when healthcare professionals come together to raise awareness of this sometimes deadly condition. Oral cancer isn’t necessarily a death sentence and can often be treated successfully when it’s caught early. Of course, your dentist in Asheboro wants to do everything we can to help the cause, so we’re listing out a few things to look out for when it comes to oral cancer. 

Visible Signs of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can be tricky to detect because it can often look like other things that aren’t so serious. However, any one of these particular signs could be a cause for concern. If you see any of these common signs of oral cancer, you should call your dentist in Asheboro as soon as possible, especially if they don’t go away on their own after two or three weeks. 

  • Chronic cough
  • Changes in voice 
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • An earache on one side 
  • A hard lump in the soft tissues
  • Swollen tonsil on one side without pain
  • A painless lump on the outside of the neck
  • Any sore that doesn’t heal itself within 2-weeks
  • Discoloration in the mouth, including a red, white, or black appearance

Early Detection is Key

Yes, oral cancer can be deadly. However, it can often be treated very successfully. But the key to successful treatment is to catch it early. During your regular visits to your dentist in Asheboro, your dental team will look for any concerning areas and monitor any changes that may require more evaluation. You should also keep an eye on your oral health at home to monitor changes in your mouth. Check Your Mouth has some great resources that you can, and should, use to periodically check your mouth for problems. 

Why Does Oral Cancer Occur? 

The truth is that anyone can get oral cancer. But there are certain things that increase the risk. Some of them are controllable, others are not. 

  • Age: People over 50 years old are more likely to get oral cancer 
  • Tobacco Use: 80% of people who get oral cancer are those who use tobacco products
  • Drinking Alcohol: Almost 70% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are heavy drinkers
  • Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women

Oral cancer is a serious condition that results in nearly 11,600 deaths in America every year. It can affect the tongue, tonsils, gums, and other parts of the mouth. For this reason, and many others, we recommend seeing your dentist in Asheboro every six months for regular exams. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

What we put into our bodies can certainly affect how we feel and how healthy we are overall. But eating the right foods can not only fuel your body, but it can also enhance your oral health. During this National Nutrition Month, your dentist in Asheboro dentist wants to help all of our patients know just how important proper nutrition is to oral health. 

What is Proper Nutrition? 

The basics of eating right include reducing fat and sugar intake while increasing the amount of nutrient-rich foods. But how much of what things should your child be eating? That’s where things aren’t so simple. Ever since the original Food Pyramid Guide was published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992, nutritional recommendations have shifted. The current standards are reflected in MyPlate and vary depending on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. However, most of the common rules of thumb remain the same including focusing on eating plenty of: 

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Proteins
  • Dairy

How Are Nutrition and Oral Health Related? 

The body’s response to eating “bad” foods and drinks increases the likelihood of someone experiencing oral health issues and diseases. Let’s look at foods that are high in sugar, for example. Sweets and beverages like soda and even juices packed with sugar attack tooth enamel. If the sugar is not rinsed away or is left exposed to the teeth for long periods of time, it will work away at and erode the protective tooth layer called the enamel. Without this barrier, teeth are more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity. Although almost every food contains some amount of sugar, even the good foods we’re supposed to eat, try your best to stay away from items that have added sugars and remember to read nutritional labels. 

Beware of Hidden Sugars

The sugar content in the sweeter-tasting foods that you choose for you and your family isn’t the only thing your dentist in Asheboro is wary of. There are hidden sugars everywhere, even in things that don’t taste sweet. Foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates can actually raise blood glucose levels and affect the body the very same way actual sugar does. Since these carbs end up breaking down into simple sugars, they put teeth at the same risk for decay as eating a sweet treat. 

Eat Well, Protect Smiles 

The main goal for your dentist in Asheboro is to keep patients healthy by being a key member of their healthcare team. Encouraging a healthy, well-balanced diet is a great way to ensure not only a healthy body but also a healthy mouth.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

Some of the most common ways people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day are by wearing a bunch of green, maybe going to a parade, and oftentimes, drinking beer. It’s also likely that you’ll be able to find many bars and restaurants serving green beer, after all, this is one of the biggest drinking holidays all year. However, this green beer, and alcohol in general, can affect your teeth. While your dentist in Asheboro supports celebrating St. Paddy’s Day as you wish, we do encourage enjoying the day responsibly and reducing your risk of the negative oral health side effects of drinking. 

Tooth Staining

Green beer can certainly stain your teeth as well as your lips and tongue. But this staining is only temporary and should easily disappear after you brush your teeth, ideally with a slightly abrasive whitening toothpaste. However, drinking beer and other types of alcohol, even if they’re not a bright vibrant green, can still cause tooth discoloration. Consuming alcohol regularly can make teeth look yellow or even brown. Darker drinks such as stouts and porters are more likely to lead to discoloration. Now, tooth discoloration that occurs from drinking alcohol over a long period of time probably won’t be removed by brushing your teeth. In this case, you may want to consider talking to your dentist in Asheboro about your cosmetic dentistry options including veneers or professional smile whitening.

Damage to Enamel 

Sugar is often labeled as the worst thing for teeth, but acidic foods and drinks can also cause damage. When acid is introduced into the mouth, it can wear away tooth enamel. Without this protective barrier, teeth may become increasingly sensitive and can even appear discolored or thin. So what’s this have to do with drinking beer? Well, beer is quite acidic, and drinking too much of it can wear down enamel. 

Gum Disease

While enjoying a drink or two during St. Patrick’s Day probably won’t cause gum disease, drinking alcohol excessively could. Many types of alcohol contain a lot of sugar, and as we know, sugar is one of the worst things for teeth. Sugar found in drinks and food feeds bacteria in the mouth and can form plaque. Plaque is a super sticky film that can be removed by simply brushing your teeth, but if you don’t remove plaque by brushing, it will harden into tartar. Tartar can’t be removed at home, and only your hygienist can clear it away with a professional dental cleaning. Tartar buildup also leaves bacteria free to infect the gum tissue and cause gum disease.   

Reduce The Risk

There are different things you can do to enjoy your St. Paddy’s celebration and protect your teeth at the same time. Drinking alcohol in moderation and alternating a cup of beer with a glass of water will help wash away sugars and acid and reduce the risk of tooth staining, enamel erosion, and gum disease. Of course, we also recommend seeing your dentist in Asheboro twice a year and brushing and flossing every day. 

Posted by & filed under Dental Implants, General Dental Articles, oral health.

One of the best ways to replace a missing tooth, or even several missing teeth, is by getting dental implants. A surgical procedure that requires several steps, dental implants are permanent tooth replacement options that not only restore the appearance of a full smile but also the function of tooth roots in the jaw. As with any surgery, it’s only natural to wonder just how painful it is to get a dental implant. Your dentist in Asheboro is here to help ease your concerns. 

What is Dental Implant Surgery? 

Before we can discuss the pain levels involved with getting a dental implant, it’s important to look at the entire process as well as the benefits. Let’s start at the beginning. 

  • Preparation

The first phase of having an implant placed depends on each patient’s situation. Many times there is already a missing tooth, but other times a tooth needs to be extracted first. In some cases, the jawbone will need to be reinforced with a bone graft to support the implant. Once the area is sufficiently strong, the rest of the procedure can begin. 

  • Post Placement

In this stage, the actual implant procedure begins. Your dentist in Asheboro will insert a metal screw-like post into the jaw bone to serve as an artificial root. After it’s placed, there will be a waiting period to allow the bone to fuse to the post. This can take a few months but is a crucial step. 

  • Abutment Placement

Once the implant post is stable and strong, your dentist will attach an abutment, which is where the crown will be attached. After confirming that the implant has integrated into the jaw successfully and the abutment is added, your dentist will craft a custom crown that looks exactly like a natural tooth. 

Managing Pain Expectations During Dental Implant Treatment

There will be some pain associated with dental implant surgery, but this should only occur during recovery. Patients should not feel any discomfort during the actual procedure as they are either asleep or the area is thoroughly numbed. Many times patients will receive pain medication following surgery and they should expect to experience pain for around 10 days after treatment. If pain persists after 10 days, it’s important to contact your dentist in Asheboro as soon as possible for a checkup. 

Thanks to advancements in dental technology, dental implants are giving patients another relatively easy choice to replace missing teeth. As a result, many patients are opting for dental implants as opposed to removable tooth replacements like dentures. 

If you have a missing tooth or two, or are at risk for losing teeth, talk to your dentist about dental implants to see if it may be right for you.

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, oral health.

Nearly everyone strives to have a white smile. In fact, according to research published in the National Library of Medicine, 80% of Americans between the ages 18 and 49 wish that they had whiter teeth. While there are plenty of different ways to whiten teeth, not all of them show results in the same amount of time. So what do you do when you want to get a whiter smile fast? You turn to your dentist in Asheboro

Smile Whitening in Asheboro

If you’re looking to whiten your teeth quickly, turn to your dentist. Professional smile whitening treatments can brighten teeth several shades in as little as an hour. This procedure is done in the comfort of a dental office and is monitored by a member of the dental team to make sure each tooth is treated and the results are working as expected. Additionally, professional whitening can help keep whitening solution off of the gums and eliminate the chance of a reaction and steps can be taken to reduce unwanted side effects such as tooth sensitivity. 

Whitening Strips

While whitening strips are cheaper than professional in-office whitening treatments, they do take time to work, and some products are better than others. Whitening strips, and even most over-the-counter whitening trays, can start to show changes in 3-4 days but can take up to 12 days for them to show their final result. 

Gel & UV Lights

A fairly new product to hit the smile whitening market is a combination product consisting of a whitening gel solution which is activated by a UV light. This tooth whitening treatment is pretty comparable to whitening strips or trays in terms of cost and effectiveness. Teeth should start to brighten in about 10-14 days if used as directed. 

Remember, it’s important to follow all directions when using any type of smile whitening product to reduce the risk of side effects such as tooth sensitivity. 

Cosmetic Dentistry

Not all types of tooth staining can be removed through smile whitening. It’s important to talk with your dentist in Asheboro prior to starting any whitening treatments to make sure your teeth are healthy enough and that the product you choose will work. If you find out that your tooth discoloration can’t be transformed by whitening products, cosmetic dentistry can help. One of the most common forms of cosmetic dentistry used to whiten teeth are dental veneers which can essentially cover up any imperfections you don’t like, including color. 

Everyone deserves to have a smile they’re proud of. So if you’re considering whitening your teeth, schedule a visit with your dentist today to begin your journey to a brighter, whiter smile.  

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

When life’s busy, it’s easy to overlook your dental health. But the truth is, seeing your dentist in Asheboro regularly can help catch and treat small concerns before they have a chance to develop into more serious problems. Maintaining dental visits every six months should be an important part of your routine. Here are five reasons why to see your dentist regularly. 

  • Professional Cleanings

Even if you take excellent care of your teeth at home by brushing and flossing every day, drinking plenty of water, and enjoying sugary sweets in moderation, you can still develop plaque and tartar buildup, especially in the hard-to-reach areas like the molars. Professional cleanings every six months will remove any plaque and tartar to help protect your teeth from decay. 

  • Early Cavity Treatment

Nearly every adult will experience at least one cavity in their lifetime. While cavities can have symptoms such as toothache or sensitivity, in their earlier stages, they may not show any signs of a problem. But during this early stage is when cavities are easier to treat. Regular dental checkups can help catch small cavities before they have a chance to grow bigger, deeper, and cause pain or problems. 

  • Oral Cancer Exam

Over 50,000 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer were diagnosed in 2022. There were also over 11,000 deaths. Oral cancer is a serious health condition that can be treated in its early stages, but the longer it goes undetected, treatment gets harder and less successful. Preventive dental exams with your dentist every six months can help catch cancer in its tracks so you can get fast treatment. 

  • Gum Disease Detection

Another serious oral health problem that can develop is gum disease. Like oral cancer, gum disease is best treated in the early stages. If it progresses too far, it can’t be reversed. Gum disease can be caused by any number of things from poor oral hygiene to smoking and even some medications. Skipping out on dental checkups may allow gum disease to develop without the necessary quick intervention to treat it. Advanced gum disease can cause tooth loss and other whole-health problems such as heart disease, dementia, and diabetes. 

We always recommend that patients see their dentist in Asheboro at least every six months, and for a good reason. These preventive checkups can help diagnose and treat several serious oral health conditions early before they develop into something more serious that can affect oral health and overall health.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental checkup, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health, Wisdom Teeth.

Your wisdom teeth are the molars farthest back in your mouth, and they are the last ones to erupt. Usually, wisdom teeth show up between the age of 17 and 21, but they can pop up sooner, later, or not at all. Many times your dentist in Asheboro will recommend having wisdom teeth removed to allow more space in the mouth and make it easier to properly clean your teeth. This procedure is very common. However, going into surgery, it’s wise to know what your recovery after wisdom teeth removal will look like.

In & Out Procedure

Wisdom teeth removal is done in a dental or oral surgeon’s office and you will get to go home the same day. The level of anesthesia will depend on your individual needs and your doctor’s recommendation. Using local anesthesia over general anesthesia typically means you’ll get to go home sooner as general anesthesia takes longer to wear off. Make sure you have someone available to drive you home and keep an eye on you for 24 hours. 

Care At Home

Once you get home from your procedure, you may still feel tired. You may also experience some pain, swelling, bleeding, and discomfort. To help with these symptoms, apply ice to your cheeks using a thin cloth in between your skin and the ice pack and take medications including antibiotics and pain medicine as recommended. 

Recovery Time

The typical recovery time from wisdom teeth surgery is about three to four days. However, if your wisdom teeth were impacted, recovery could take a week or two. Keep in mind, complete healing of the gums can take longer, up to a few months. Taking precautions and keeping an eye out for any signs of a problem can help speed up recovery. 

Signs of Complications

Call your dentist in Asheboro if you suspect any concerning complications, such as: 

  • Trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Fever
  • Numbness
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Pus coming out of your gums or nose

Tips for Recovery

Following these easy tips during your recovery can help prevent infections, dry mouth, and complications. 

  • Avoid smoking and drinking from straws
  • Don’t eat crunchy or sticky foods
  • Rest and don’t do any strenuous activities for at least three days
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Enjoy soft foods like mashed potatoes, applesauce, and yogurt
  • Gently rinse with any doctor-recommended products

Knowing what to expect before any surgery can help you feel calm, relaxed, and prepared. If your dentist in Asheboro recommends having your wisdom teeth removed, find relief in knowing that this procedure is only recommended if necessary and will help set you up for a lifetime of good oral health. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

Mouth ulcers can pop up for any number of reasons, and most of the time, they’re nothing to be worried about. But that doesn’t change the fact that they can be annoying and painful, causing you to want to find the best way to get rid of mouth ulcers quickly. Check out some of the things your dentist in Asheboro may recommend to ease ulcer discomfort and make them disappear. 

How to Treat an Ulcer at Home

Thankfully, there are several at-home remedies you can use to treat a mouth ulcer and alleviate pain. 

  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater several times a day
  • Don’t eat spicy foods
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Buy an over-the-counter topical anesthetic
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth every day

Should You See Your Dentist When You Have an Ulcer?

While most ulcers will heal on their own in about 10-14 days, if an ulcer lasts longer than three weeks, contact your dentist in Asheboro as soon as possible. They may recommend antiseptic treatments, steroids, or immunosuppressants. Other signs that you should see your dentist for an ulcer include: 

  • Noticeable sores with no pain
  • Really large ulcers
  • Fever
  • Ulcers on the outside of your mouth
  • Pain that doesn’t go away with the use of medication

Could An Ulcer be Oral Cancer? 

Ulcers that don’t go away may be concerning and could actually be a sign of oral cancer. Ulcers associated with oral cancer typically form under or on the tongue, so keep an eye out for those in particular and see your dentist in Asheboro quickly. Oral cancer can be treated successfully, especially in the early stages. 

Mouth Ulcer Symptoms

When someone has an ulcer in the mouth, they typically know it because they can feel it or see it. Ulcers are usually white, gray, or yellow in the middle and red on the outside. They can appear anywhere in the mouth including on the lips, gums, cheeks, roof of the mouth, and tongue. Pain and swelling are also common and can get worse when brushing your teeth or eating spicy, acidic, or salty foods. 

Are Mouth Ulcers Common? 

Yes! Mouth ulcers are incredibly common and will affect about 20% of people at least once in their lifetime. While there is no one main cause of developing an ulcer, certain people are more likely to suffer from them such as those who have: 

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Diabetes
  • Celiac
  • Immune disorders
  • HIV

Even though ulcers are typically nothing serious, they could indicate another problem in the mouth. If you’re concerned about a new ulcer or have one that won’t go away, schedule a visit to your dentist in Asheboro

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, oral health.

From sniffles and coughs to sore throats and fevers, there are plenty of telltale signs that cold and flu season is among us. Unfortunately, December through February is typically prime time for a cold or the flu to affect your family, and we’re just now starting to enter that time frame. While it’s understandable that your sole focus is on feeling better, your dentist in Asheboro wants to encourage you to also help keep your teeth healthy and protected during any sickness. 

Don’t Neglect Teeth

We always recommend that all patients brush and floss their teeth every day, even when they aren’t feeling well. In fact, brushing your teeth may be even more important when you’re under the weather. Regular brushings will help keep harmful bacteria from settling in the mouth and causing problems such as decay. 

Salt Water Can Ease Discomfort

The tried-and-true method of gargling with warm salt water to help ease a sore throat or painful swallowing still stands today. Rinsing and spitting out salt water helps to essentially pull fluids, along with germs and viruses, out of the throat and into a cup, bucket, or sink. Saltwater can also kill bacteria, ease discomfort, and help you feel better. 

Look Out For Sugary Medications

Many medications including popular cough drops and syrups contain sugar, and sugar is bad for teeth. Your dentist in Asheboro understands that you will probably use any medicine that helps you feel better, but we do encourage you to find sugar-free options. If they aren’t available, make sure to swish or drink water after taking medicine. 

Drink Water

Every doctor and dentist will agree that we should drink plenty of water when we’re sick. Water helps keep the body and the mouth hydrated and can replace any fluids that are lost through vomiting, sweating, or simply not feeling well enough to eat or drink normally. Staying hydrated during an illness has many benefits such as helping to prevent bacteria from entering the body, decreasing a painfully dry nose, and combating an uncomfortable dry mouth. Dry mouth is a particular concern for your dentist in Asheboro as a dry mouth is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, increasing the risk of decay and other oral health problems. 

Get a New Toothbrush

Even though some research suggests that getting a new toothbrush after an illness isn’t necessary, we like to err on the side of caution. Toothbrushes should be replaced at least every three or four months, but we also recommend getting a new toothbrush after you start to feel better. In between using your old toothbrush and the new one, make sure to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with hot water to help kill bacteria. 

During this cold and flu season, protect your family by disinfecting surfaces that are touched often, encouraging sneezing and coughing into the elbow, and washing hands often. While we hope you all stay healthy, if someone does get sick, try to isolate them and make sure to protect their oral health along with their overall health. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Gum Disease, oral health.

Gum disease is one of the many oral health conditions that can affect other parts of the body. It’s a potentially serious infection that can lead to anything from tooth loss to cardiovascular diseases. Gum disease can’t be reversed by your dentist in Asheboro in its more advanced stages, so it’s important to know the most common signs and symptoms so you can seek treatment early.

Bleeding Gums

A very common early-warning sign that gum disease may be brewing is if you notice blood while brushing or flossing your teeth. It’s a myth that bleeding gums are normal, and in fact, it’s usually a sign that there may be trouble. Signs of bleeding gums should be mentioned to your dentist in Asheboro sooner rather than later for early intervention. 

Red & Swollen Gums

Another typical symptom of gum disease is red, swollen gums. While this can be apparent in the earliest stages of gum disease, it can also indicate that gum disease has progressed. Swollen or red gums may also be painful, but not always. Don’t ignore puffy gums or you may just be allowing gum disease to become severe and irreversible.

Sensitivity

While some people do have sensitive teeth and experience pain or discomfort when enjoying hot or cold food, it could also be a sign of gum disease. One sign of gum disease is gum recession, which is when the gum tissue starts to pull back from the teeth, exposing the sensitive nerves. Any new sensitivity should be talked about with your dentist.

Chronic Bad Breath

Periodic bouts of bad breath are usually normal and nothing to worry about, but bad breath that lasts and doesn’t go away no matter how hard you try could also be a symptom of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria, and the bacteria release a stinky byproduct, causing bad breath. 

Levels of Gum Disease

There are varying levels of gum disease, with the symptoms and life-long risks increasing along with each stage. 

  • Gingivitis – The most common stage of gum disease and can be reversed
  • Stage 1 Periodontitis – Can’t be reversed, minor damage to the connective tissue between the teeth and the bone
  • Stage 2 Periodontitis – More noticeable, severe damage in the tooth and bone
  • Stage 3 Periodontitis – May require surgery, some tooth loss is likely
  • Stage 4 Periodontitis – Several missing with a likelihood of losing more

The best ways to protect your gums, teeth, and overall health from the risks of gum disease are to do everything you can to avoid it in the first place. Make sure you brush and floss daily, don’t use tobacco products, and see your dentist in Asheboro every six months for preventive dental checkups.