Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Restorative Dentistry.

biscottiThere 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.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles, Preventive Dentistry.

male dentist examines dental x-ray

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.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

oral cancer risk

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.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles.

woman asking why

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.

Hot Tooth

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.

Missed Target

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.

Your Body

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. 

Posted by & filed under Preventive Dentistry.

dental emergency

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.

Posted by & filed under Dental Articles.

become a dentist

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.

The Basics

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.

The Schooling

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.

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

Love Smile

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. 

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Preventive Dentistry.

heart health

It’s not uncommon for the month of February to be full of hearts — candy hearts, heart shaped boxes of chocolate, and a whole host of other gifts given in the name of love. At our Memphis dental office, we’re all for celebrating love, but this February, we’d like our patients to pay attention to a different kind of heart — the one inside you — and ways to keep it healthy.

Fast Facts on Heart Disease

February is recognized as Heart Health Month and is used to raise awareness of the seriousness and widespread occurrence of heart disease in America. Here are some important facts you should know about heart disease.

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds
  • Every 60 seconds, someone dies from a heart disease-related event
  • You can decrease your risk of heart disease by making lifestyle changes

The Effect of Oral Health on Heart Health

Why should you take heart health advice from a dentist? Isn’t that what a cardiologist is for? Well, yes, a cardiologist is the best person to help diagnose and treat any heart problems you may have. However, your Memphis dentist can be a crucial part of your health care team.

In recent years, there have been numerous studies that show a clear link between gum health and heart health. In fact, gum disease doubles a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke. But how?

Your gums are like a portal to your bloodstream. An infection in your gums means that the infection can easily enter your bloodstream. When there is infection in your blood, your body reacts. The liver begins to produce certain proteins such as C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and these proteins lead to all kinds of problems including:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

How Can You Minimize Your Risk?

There are ways to decrease your chance of gum disease and the overall health concerns associated with it. Start with maintaining regular visits to our dental office in Memphis. In between appointments, make sure to brush your teeth twice a day, floss everyday, and avoid tobacco products. Proper dental care can, in fact, save your life.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and beyond. 

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

bad breath

At our dental office in Memphis, we’re here to help all of our patients reach their smile and oral health goals, no matter what they are. One of the more common concerns we hear is how to combat bad breath. We’re more than happy to help get breath kissably fresh, but we’d also like to educate our neighbors on what may be causing the bad breath in the first place.

Bad Breath Isn’t Just a Mouth Problem

First thing’s first: bad breath isn’t something that only affects your oral health. In fact, bad breath is linked to several serious whole-body health concerns including, gum disease, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, and respiratory tract problems. If you suffer from chronic bad breath, call your dentist in Memphis as soon as possible.

What’s Causing the Bad Breath?

Food

When bad breath isn’t a constant thing, it may be nothing to worry about. This is usually the case when you eat something particularly pungent like garlic or onions. While the smell can linger even after brushing, once the food leaves your system, the bad breath disappears.

Inadequate Oral Hygiene

Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day can do wonders for a healthy mouth and fresh breath. Proper at-home oral hygiene helps rid the mouth of any food particles that may be wedged in between teeth and kills odor causing bacteria. Without a proper hygiene routine, bad breath is almost a sure thing.

Tobacco Use

Both smoking and chewing tobacco have a host of health risks on their own — oral cancer, tooth loss, heart disease, and stroke, to list a few. Bad breath happens to be a side effect as well. If you currently use tobacco, talk with your doctor or dental team for help on how to quit.

Dry Mouth

A number of things such as medications or mouth breathing may lead to dry mouth. While this may seem like it’s no big deal, a dry mouth is an unhealthy mouth… and often a stinky one too. A mouth becomes dry when there’s not enough saliva production. Saliva normally helps wash away bacteria and neutralize acid. Without it, teeth are left exposed to decay and bacteria that cause bad breath.

You don’t have to live with the embarrassment of bad breath. Call our Memphis dental office today to schedule an appointment. We’ll review your oral health, habits, and conduct a thorough exam to get to the root of the problem. Then together, we’ll find a solution that’s best for you.

Accepting patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and beyond. 

Posted by & filed under Oral Health.

biting tongue

Many people bite their tongue while talking, chewing, or sneezing. It’s an incredibly common occurrence, although very painful. But did you know that people can bite their tongue in their sleep and not even know it until the next day? At our Memphis dental office, we want our patients to know that nighttime tongue biting is quite common, and it may actually be a sign of something serious.

Seizures at Night

The symptoms of seizures include tensing of muscles, uncontrollable twitching, and yes, tongue biting. However, seizures aren’t necessarily only experienced during the day. In fact, someone can have no symptoms of seizures while awake and only get them while sleeping. These are called nocturnal seizures, and may be a reason of nighttime tongue biting. Treatment of nocturnal seizures usually requires medication.

Rhythmic Movement Disorder

Rhythmic movement disorder is used to describe the action of head banging and body rocking in children. These movements are typically noticed before naptime or bedtime. Due to the sudden jerks in the head and neck area, it’s common for tongue biting to come along with rhythmic movement disorder. Many times children will outgrow the disorder, but medication may be recommended.

Grinding Your Teeth

Bruxism, the technical term for teeth grinding, can be a major problem. People who grind their teeth have a habit, although sometimes subconsciously, of clenching their jaw or fiercely rubbing their top teeth against their bottom teeth. When this happens at night, the tongue can get in the way. Bruxism can also be detrimental to overall dental health and increases the chance of broken or chipped teeth. To treat it, your dentist in Memphis will probably recommend a night guard.  

You shouldn’t have to live with the pain and nuisance of nighttime tongue biting. We welcome you to schedule an appointment at our dental office in Memphis. We’ll work with you to see if teeth grinding may be causing your problem. If it’s not, we strongly recommend seeing your physician.

Serving patients from Memphis, Germantown, Cordova and the surrounding areas.