At our dental office in Memphis, we tend to put a lot of focus on our patients’ teeth and any concerns they have in relation to the appearance of their smiles. But there’s so much more to consider when evaluating overall oral health. The gums, for example, are one area that is commonly ignored, yet they are pretty important to talk about.
Why Do We Have Gums?
Before we dive into one of the most common concerns related to gums, let’s take a look at why we even have them to begin with. First and foremost, gums are part of a complex system that holds your teeth in place. When gums are healthy, they’re tight to the teeth and keep them securely in place. Additionally, gums cover and protect the sensitive tooth roots. If gums become unhealthy, teeth can become severely sensitive and may even fall out.
An extremely common problem with gums is gum recession. Gum recession is basically that — when the gum tissue begins to recede or pull up and away from the tooth. Gum recession can make teeth appear longer than normal and can result in some serious dental problems, including:
- Severe inflammation
- Increased susceptibility to bacteria
- Erosion of bone and supporting tissues
- Tooth pain
- Eventual tooth loss
What Causes Gum Recession?
There are so many things that can lead to gum recession, which may be why it is so common. Some of the top causes of gum recession are:
Know the Signs
Since gum recession is usually a slow process that tends to progress over time, recognizing symptoms may be difficult. However, some common early signs may include:
- Teeth that appear longer
- Sensitive teeth
- Little indentations on the teeth near the gum line
While you can catch any of the signs of gum recession at home, the best way to catch it early (which makes treatment more successful) is to maintain regular visits to your dentist in Memphis.
If you notice any signs of possible gum recession, or are experiencing pain that may be related to it, we encourage you to call our Memphis dental office to schedule an appointment.
At our dental office in Memphis, we want your smile to look its very best to help you get more satisfaction out of life both professionally and personally. We know your smile is a powerful tool that can tell the world quite a lot about who you truly are. Did you know that evolutionary scientists believe that smiling has its origins as a social signifier? Think of it like a dog wagging his tail. With this action, he can let you know that he wants attention, is happy, etc. A smile does the same thing!
Feeling Self-Conscious About Your Smile
When our smiles say so much about who we are, it’s important that they look their very best. Sometimes due to wear and tear or a dental injury, teeth become cracked, chipped or broken. This can lead to missing teeth and lowered confidence to smile proudly. It can also lead to bad habits such as slouching or poor posture and mumbling. Your smile is your best accessory, so it’s always good to make sure it’s healthy and looking brilliant. This is why it’s important to maintain regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist in Memphis. Don’t forget to brush twice and floss once daily to keep teeth looking and feeling great.
Teeth and History
Like dentists, archaeologists are big fans of teeth when it comes to discovering more information about how people of the past lived their lives. It’s easy to determine how old teeth are and the kind of person they belonged to because all teeth follow similar growth patterns. A teenage boy will have slight variations that differ from those of an adult female. These differences can tell scientists a lot about who a person is, how they lived, what they ate, and how old they are. Your teeth are also one of the very few parts of the body that can start to wear down but still function properly.
Teeth Tell Your Story
Your teeth have something known as universal signifiers, meaning characteristics that are commonly found in people of a certain age, gender, etc.
- Central incisors – When you’re younger your central incisors (your front teeth) tend to be a little bit more curvier and rounded at the edges. But the older you grow, these teeth tend to become more square in shape.
- Lateral incisors – Right next door to the front teeth are your lateral incisors. These teeth are good for chewing and are round at the ends in women and longer and more square shaped in men.
And guess what else your teeth tell us? If you grind your teeth, it’s usually evident in breaks and chips in your enamel. We can also tell if you smoke, drink coffee and alcohol, and even snore!
If your teeth are painful or making you self-conscious it’s probably a good idea to give our Memphis dental office a call. We can do a thorough exam and collect x-rays that will give us a more complete idea of what your teeth might be trying to tell you. It’s important to take the steps to have a healthy smile so that you can present your most healthy you to the world!
At my dental office in Memphis, we generally advise patients to see the dentist regularly, about every six months, to help maintain excellent oral and overall health. However, sometimes things happen in our lives and we just forget to keep up with appointments or schedule a checkup. We see and treat many patients who have not been able to see the dentist for many years because of many different reasons, but we’re always happy to welcome them!
Why Patients Don’t See The Dentist
These are common, valid reasons people tend to avoid the dentist – for a few months to a few years.
- A bad experience at the dentist in the past makes you nervous
- You’re afraid to find out what is wrong or what repairs you may need
- You’re feeling embarrassed because it’s been awhile since your last visit
- You just simply don’t have time to make it to an appointment or cleaning
Let’s Get Your Smile Back on Track
Your dentist in Memphis is here to help! You don’t have to feel embarrassed or nervous about coming to the office. Thanks to so many advancements in dentistry and a wealth of state-of-the-art technology, going to the dentist is a whole new experience compared to even just a few years ago. If you have an issue that needs to be addressed, we will talk about your options. You’ll never feel pressured to proceed with any treatment you don’t feel comfortable having. We definitely understand how busy your life can be. That’s why we’ve made it easy to schedule an appointment. From the moment you walk in the door, we will make sure you’re comfortable and that you feel at home. We owe it to you and your smile!
What Will Happen At The Office
When you come to see us, we will be there to help you every step of the way. First, we will make sure we have all of the necessary paperwork on file. We can also work with your previous dentist to obtain any past records or x-rays you may have on file there. If you’ve moved or that office is no longer open, it’s no big deal! We will get you set up and comfortable at the office for a thorough exam (including a new set of state-of-the-art x-rays) to get a better understanding of what’s happening with your teeth. Our team will also take a look at your gums too! This way we know if you need extra special care and treatment for gum disease. We will take the time to get to know you and your needs.
My Memphis dental office is your new home for comprehensive dental care that you can trust. Our team is educated and excited to work with you to get your smile back in the best shape possible, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve sat in the dental chair!
There are a lot of things that can cause tooth damage. We’ve seen cracked teeth from sports injuries, loose teeth caused by clenching and grinding, and there’s always the chance for us to treat someone for a simple cavity. But at our Memphis dental office, it’s also pretty common for us to have patients come in with tooth damage caused by eating. There are several types of foods that are most often responsible for these types of cases, so we’ve put together a list of some of the top culprits for you to help you avoid tooth damage from foods.
- Popcorn – Notoriously viewed as the #1 worst food for teeth, popcorn can seem harmless, but the danger tends to hide within the puffy, airy, buttery treat. We’re talking about the kernels. These sneaky, hard bits of popcorn can cause some serious damage if bitten on, so snack away carefully.
- Baguettes – When we talk about bread, we typically think about soft, easily chewable sandwich bread. But there’s another type out there that isn’t so easy to nibble. Baguettes have a hard, crispy texture that’s hard to rip and difficult to chew and it can cause some problems for teeth and dental restorations.
- Olive Pits – Any type of food that naturally contains a pit or a seed, like olives, is dangerous to your teeth. While oftentimes the pit is removed, there are occasions when it’s not. Since we may not know when the pit is gone, we recommend eating these types of foods with caution as to not quickly bite down and crack a tooth.
- Candy – It’s pretty well known that candy isn’t great for teeth, but some types of candy are worse than others. Sticky candy like caramels aren’t only tough to chew, they can loosen fillings and other dental restorations. Hard candy isn’t much better. Although it’s meant to be sucked down and softened to a manageable size, sometimes we become impatient and start chewing right away. This can break teeth.
- Ice Cubes – Ice cubes are hard by nature and can be useful when helping to cool down a drink. But we should never chew on them. Eating ice can cause teeth to chip or even to sustain tiny cracks. These cracks may remain unnoticeable, but over time, they’re a great place for bacteria to hide and eat away at enamel creating cavities.
We want our patients to enjoy what they eat, so we’re not asking you to avoid these foods altogether. We’d just encourage you to use caution when eating them to reduce your risk of damage. If you do happen to crack a tooth with a popcorn kernel or lose a filling thanks to a caramel, give our dental office in Memphis a call. We’ll be glad to help.
Dental x-rays are a vital diagnostic tool used to properly identify any underlying conditions that may not yet be visible on the surface. At our dental office in Memphis, we perform dental x-rays only as often as necessary, which can vary from patient to patient depending on their oral needs and health history. We also understand our patients may have questions regarding dental x-rays, and we’d like to answer them so you can make the best informed decisions about your health.
Intraoral & Extraoral
Dental x-rays, or radiographs, are usually separated into two categories — intraoral and extraoral. Intraoral x-rays mainly focus on the details of the teeth themselves. While extraoral x-rays still showcase the teeth, the aim of these photos is to look at the bigger picture of the teeth within the jaw and skull.
A Closer Look at Intraoral X-Rays
We already know that intraoral x-rays focus on teeth. They’re also the most common types of x-rays and can help:
Bitewing x-rays are the most frequently used intraoral x-rays. They allow your dentist in Memphis to see cavities in between teeth that aren’t yet visible on the surface. The images produced from bitewing x-rays also help keep an eye on the wear and tear of any dental restorations, such as a filling or an implant.
Explore Extraoral X-Rays
Extraoral x-rays are less detailed than intraoral images, but still serve a helpful purpose when it comes to looking at:
- Impacted teeth
- The jaw and teeth relationship
- Growth and development
The most common extraoral x-rays are panoramic x-rays. These images show the entire set of teeth as well the jaws in one photo. Panoramic x-rays are great when looking at tooth development or wisdom teeth eruption and can help identify problems with the jaw (TMJ).
We recommend visiting our Memphis dental office at least every six months. We may not perform x-rays at every appointment unless it’s necessary, but visits twice a year are recommended so we’re able to catch problems early, making them easier, and often less costly to treat.
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and our dental office in Memphis thought we should dedicate a blog this month to help educate our patients and community on the prevalence of oral cancer in America, what increases someone’s likelihood of developing the disease, and how to spot signs of oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Statistics
Like any other cancer, oral cancer is a complicated disease that takes the lives of many individuals. While scientists continue researching cures and treatments are always improving, the data surrounding the oral cancer epidemic is still scary.
- According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 Americans will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017.
- Of those, only a little over half are expected to live longer than 5 years.
- This year alone, oral cancer will kill one person every hour of every day.
- Across the globe, an estimated 450,000 oral cancer diagnoses are made each year.
Oral Cancer Risks
While anyone can develop oral cancer, there are several factors that increase the likelihood of diagnosis. Of these, there are few we can control and others we can’t.
- The top risk factor is tobacco use. An estimated 80% of oral cancer patients are, or have been, tobacco users.
- As we get older, our risk of oral cancer increases. The majority of oral cancer patients are over the age of 55.
- Gender can also play a role. Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
- Drinking alcohol heavily also increases your risk.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
- Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
- Changes in voice
- A sore or discoloration that doesn’t go away after two weeks
- A lump inside the mouth or neck
- Chronic bad breath
Signs of oral cancer can be similar to other non-serious oral health issues. If you notice any of the symptoms above, we strongly encourage you to call your dentist in Memphis as soon as you can. Early detection of oral cancer greatly increases the chance for successful treatment. This is also one reason why you should see your dentist at least every six months.
At our Memphis dental office, we care about keeping our neighbors healthy. If there are any questions we can answer, or if you’re looking for advice on oral cancer treatment, give us a call.
Welcoming new patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and the surrounding areas.
At our dental office in Memphis, we always want to ensure our patients’ comfort. One of the ways we do that is by numbing the area we need to work on before we begin treatment. But sometimes we encounter someone who has difficulty getting numb. Why is that? We have some possible explanations.
Having a ‘hot tooth’ is a dentist’s way of saying your struggle to get numb may be caused by a particularly painful tooth. When a tooth is causing you a lot of pain, your nerves change. They can either become overactive, therefore needing more anesthetic to calm it down, or they can actually develop additional pain receptors. More nerves means the need for more numbing agent.
Movement During Administration
We understand the thought of getting a shot of anything isn’t very pleasant, especially when that injection is going into your gums. But it’s really important that you try really hard to stay really still. If you squirm or jerk away suddenly, your dentist in Memphis can miss the nerve, requiring additional injections to get properly numb.
While we all like to think we hit the bullseye 100% of the time, the truth is, we’re human. Unfortunately, sometimes that means we miss the target. Most dentist are trained so well that they hit their mark the majority of the time. But if you aren’t getting numb, we may recommend taking another try.
Everyone is different, and just like how some people react differently to medications, anesthetics can do the same thing. Sometimes your body removes the numbing agent from your system too quickly, making the numbness wear off faster than we’d like. Other times, your body’s removal process is lightning fast, meaning you may not get numb at all.
If you have a history of being unable to get numb prior to a dental procedure, try to relax before your visit to our Memphis dental office. We’re here to help ease any concerns you may have and we’ll do whatever we can to help keep you comfortable throughout your visit.
Welcoming new patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and beyond.
The last thing anyone ever wants to deal with is a dental emergency. Dental emergencies, like any type of unexpected issue, can be scary, painful, and even confusing as to how to handle them. At our dental office in Memphis, we want to help our patients and neighbors understand different types of dental emergencies and what to do if any happen to them.
Common Dental Emergencies & What to Do
Before we talk about what you can do at home in case of a dental emergency, there’s one thing you should always do first. If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, call your dentist in Memphis as soon as you can.
If you can’t get in to see your dentist immediately, try some of the tips to relieve some of the most common dental emergencies:
- Knocked Out Tooth – A knocked out tooth has a higher chance of being saved if it’s put back into the socket within an hour, so it’s important to act as quickly as you can. After you find the tooth, only touch the crown (the white part). Contact with the roots can cause even more damage. Try putting it back into the socket without using too much force. If you can’t, put the tooth in milk or store it under your tongue with some spit and get to a dentist.
- Lost Filling – Losing a filling can be painful and the best thing you can do is get something into the hole. Head to a drugstore to buy over-the-counter dental cement and pack the area where the filling used to be. If you can’t find dental cement, sugarless gum is another temporary option. Whatever you do, don’t use anything with sugar, it’ll make the pain worse.
- Chipped or Broken Tooth – Find any piece of the tooth that you can and rinse them with water. You should also give your mouth a good rinse as well. Stop any bleeding by applying pressure with a piece of gauze and use a cold compress to reduce pain.
Avoid a Problem
The best way to avoid a problem is to prevent a problem. How? We’re glad you asked! First, make sure you’re maintaining regular visits with your dentist in Memphis at least twice a year. Regular appointments can help catch any problems before they become an annoying, and possibly painful, emergency. Next, be aware of things that may lead to an issue. For example, popcorn, sticky foods, and hard, crunchy snacks are notorious culprits of dental emergencies. Avoiding them can reduce your risk of a dental problem.
If you’re looking for a new dentist, are experiencing a dental emergency, or are new to the area, we welcome you to make an appointment at our Memphis dental office. We’re here to keep smiles healthy and help those experiencing an emergency get relief.
Welcoming patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and the surrounding areas.
At our dental office in Memphis, it’s no secret to our patients that we really love our jobs. Dentistry isn’t only rewarding because we get to boost people’s confidence and get them smiling again after smile transformations, but also because we help keep people healthy. To us, dentistry is one of the best careers out there. But how does a dentist become a dentist? Let’s check it out.
Before someone considers a career as a dentist, they should examine some of their interests and characteristics to ensure they’re compatible with what’s necessary for the job. For instance, dentistry is highly scientific, and the required courses dentists-to-be need to take are mainly science related. Because of this, someone thinking about dentistry as a career should have an interest and excel at science. Additionally, since a dentist’s main job is to monitor oral health, and then determine and perform proper treatment if there’s ever a problem, one considering becoming a dentist should care about the health of others and have a desire to help.
Dentists complete, at a minimum, eight years of school and need to pass some exams before they can fulfill all the steps necessary to become a dentist. We’ve detailed them below.
- Finish a Bachelor’s Degree. While a Bachelor’s is usually required prior to getting into dental school, the undergraduate degree can be in anything. However, it’d be wise to explore science-related degrees or classes such as biology, physiology, and chemistry to get a head start.
- Take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Taking this exam, and scoring well on it, is required before applying to dental school.
- Complete a Dental Degree. Whether it’s a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD), a dental degree will require at least another four years of schooling.
- Pass Your Boards. All states require dentists to pass the National Board Dental Examinations before practicing dentistry. Other requirements may be necessary and vary by state.
The Job Market
Nobody wants to prepare for a career where there are no jobs available. Thankfully, dentistry isn’t one of those occupations. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 18% job growth for dentists through 2024 — more than twice the average growth rate for other jobs.
At our Memphis dental office, we would encourage anyone with an interest in our field to explore what it takes to become a dentist and what the job could look like in more detail, and if it sounds like a good fit, to take the plunge and become one.
Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and the surrounding areas.
At our dental office in Memphis, we love helping our patients get a smile they’re proud of. But visits to our office twice a year are only part of what you can do to make sure you’re showing your smile the love it needs to stay healthy. If you want to get and maintain a smile you’re happy with, check out the top 7 ways to care for your smile.
- Brush, brush, brush. This may seem like a no-brainer, but we have to say it. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush is one of the most important things you can do to keep your mouth free of decay causing bacteria.
- Floss everyday. We get asked often if flossing is really that important. The short answer: Yes! If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of each tooth. Food particles and bacteria love to hide in between teeth, and you don’t floss, it’s left there and can lead to cavities.
- Kick the tobacco habit. About 80% of those with oral cancer use tobacco. Whether it’s chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes, if you want to keep your mouth healthy, you should try to quit.
- Ease up on dark-colored drinks. We’re talking about drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine. These colorful beverages can stain teeth. Usually a professional whitening can reverse that, but other times, the staining seeps into the enamel requiring a more advanced cosmetic dentistry treatment to mask it.
- Drink more water. If we could have our patients drink only one thing, it’d be water. Not only is it free of sugars and coloring, it helps neutralize acid that contributes to cavities.
- Resolve dental problems early and quickly. If you suspect a dental problem, don’t let it go, especially if you’re in pain. Early resolution of many dental concerns can reduce the likelihood that you’ll need more advanced treatment or that a more serious issue will arise.
- See your dentist in Memphis twice a year. Ok we already covered the importance of this one, but it’s worth repeating. Getting a dental cleaning and checkup every six months is the best way to ensure no serious problems are creeping up and to remove plaque build up.
If you’re looking for a dentist, have a dental concern, or you’d like to talk about other ways to get a smile you love, schedule an appointment at our Memphis dental office today.
Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and beyond.