A lot of us have heardMann mit starken Zahnschmerzen that once you’re past your teens, you don’t have to worry about tooth decay. Your teeth have matured and the enamel is hard and sturdy, so your days of cavities are over, right? Actually, they’re not!

Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. Adults can get cavities, too. In fact, most people over the age of 50 have some form of tooth decay.

And once you’re an adult, you should worry more about cavities. For grownups, decay can have greater, more serious consequences.

The problem for adults is that cavities can occur along the gum line, as gums recede from age. Cavities are caused when the sticky film of bacteria, plaque that coats our teeth is fed by sugars and starches in the food we eat. The bacteria generate acids that break down tooth enamel, causing decay.

When gums recede, tooth roots can become exposed. These roots are covered with cementum, a softer tissue than enamel, and therefore more susceptible to decay. Adults can also find that they have problems with cavities around the edges of fillings, where crevasses can form and trap plaque. Wear and tear on teeth as you age also can create crack or damaged areas on the surfaces of your teeth that can weaken and ultimately be susceptible to cavities.

So as you get older, it’s just as important–if not more so–to brush properly, floss, and have regular cleanings and checkups. Also, it’s important to be aware of changes in your mouth, and to address them promptly so problems don’t get worse. If you notice any sensitivity in your teeth, it’s a good idea to have a dentist check it—even minor discomfort can signal that there’s a problem that should be addressed.

If you chip a tooth, it may not seem too serious, but the broken area may indicate a tooth that’s structurally weak and could become more damaged. Or the broken surface may begin to decay.

The best defense against cavities as an adult? Simple: regular checkups with your dentist, who can spot problems before they become serious, and proper oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, to prevent plaque from occurring at the gum line and causing gums to recede.

Eating right is also important of course, and being aware of other medical conditions that might affect your teeth. These can include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and HIV. Medications may also affect your dental health; ask your doctor or dentist if you think a medication may be having an impact.

With proper care, your teeth should last your lifetime. Charlotte Dentistry® carefully tailors its care to patients of all ages, and we can help you–and everyone in your family–have the proper, ongoing care necessary. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call us, or use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our website to get answers or schedule your next cleaning.

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Halloween is a horror movie for dental healthThumbs Up, as kids (and adults) are assailed with all sorts of sweet treats. But there are ways to protect your little goblins and ghouls by making taking care of your teeth part of the holiday fun. And in doing so, you can teach your kids an important message about their teeth.

First off, it’s important to keep Halloween a fun event, and not be too strict on activities. In fact, most dentists discourage depriving kids of the Halloween experience, which could lead to other issues later on. Treats shouldn’t be forbidden, but kids need to know that if they’re allowed to indulge in treats, then they must also accept the responsibility for taking care of their teeth afterward.

This is the critical lesson from Halloween: It’s OK to have fun and enjoy candy from time to time. But when you do, you must also protect yourself from its dangers—damage to your teeth that could last a lifetime.

So here are some tips for making Halloween manageable for your family’s teeth:

1. As you’re stocking up on trick or treat candy, also get new toothbrushes for everyone. You should changes brushes every 3-4 months, and having a new brush (picked out by each family member) reinforces the idea that brushing is an important part of Halloween. In fact, you can time brush changes to other sweet-related seasons: Valentine’s Day, summer parties when kids are out of school, for example. That way, you can remind your kids about the importance of brushing at times when they’re thinking of treats. You can reinforce the responsibility that goes with them.

2. Designate times for treats, followed immediately by brushing. No one should nosh on candy all day long (or too close to meals or bedtime), so pick times for kids to enjoy their spooky loot. Then, once everyone’s had his or her fill, burn off some of that sugar energy with 2-3 minutes of teeth brushing. Treats could take the place of dinner desserts for several days, along with afternoon snacks. Then you could get everyone to brush an extra time each day.

3. Supervise the brushing. This is a good idea until children are about eight years old. And it helps kids to know that brushing is part of the treat routine. Make it relaxed. One way to keep kids from thinking brushing is punishment or a chore is to brush along with them. This makes the event a family event rather than something that should be dreaded.

Halloween can be lots of fun. But it can also be a great teaching tool for dental hygiene. It’s important for everyone in the family to remember that it’s pretty easy to take care of your teeth as you’re celebrating ghosts and vampires. And in doing so, you’ll make sure you have the ability to bite into those great treats for years to come.

Have questions about how to encourage kids to brush? Use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our website, or call us at 704-376-6470.

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Ever since I was a teenager I never felt comfortable with my smile and didn’t like to share it with everyone. I had always been a very outgoing person and loved to be around other people to have a good time. While doing that laughing and smiling are kind of a necessity unless you want to be the “Debbie Downer” of the group. I never wanted to be that person so I, well, grinned and bared it.Maddison

My journey from my crooked past to the, not so far away, straight future started at the 91.9 Faith, Family, and Freedom Fourth of July concert. I had just gotten back from a youth concert in Florida and some friends invited me to go along. Even though I was tired, I said yes because it sounded like a lot of fun. When I got there it was hot and crowded but the air seemed different. I felt extremely happy to be there and the people around me where from all ages and races but we all felt a distant family. I had gotten my red velvet funnel cake, sat in my seat and began to watch the multiple extremely talented singers do what they were called to do. In between the change of performers they played some commercials and the Charlotte Dentistry® commercial came on and I got to hear the wonderful story of Dr. Armstrong and his 15 adopted children. I was so moved by his love for children and most of all his love for God. I just had to go see the booth that was set up just behind the bleachers. I walked up to the table and a woman asked me if I would like to enter the free Invisalign contest. I thought, “How cool would it be if I won?” I had dreamed of Invisalign for years but being from such a large family on a single income, there was not much room for pretty teeth. I entered the contest and walked away thinking not much about it because I didn’t think I had much of a shot to win. A few weeks later I was checking my emails on my phone and opened the email from Charlotte Dentistry thinking they had just emailed me to let me know I had not won. Once I read the email I almost threw the phone across the room in excitement! I flew down the stairs yelling “MOM! MOM! WHERE ARE YOU? MOM!!” (Of course she thought that I was having a heart attack and yelled at me later for that), but after asking me what was wrong I handed her the phone and told her to read it for herself. She and I both stood there looking at each other and she asked me if this was real. I told her I had no clue what was going on. After taking a few breaths I decided to call number in the email and see if what I just read was at all true. I think its safe to say that once I heard the receptionists on the phone know who I was just by my name, I might have blown her eardrums. I screamed and shout and pretty much let it all out. My once crooked path was looking straighter and straighter by the second.

The first visit I had with Charlotte Dentistry was what I’d like to call an “adventure”. I could not find my car keys and after 15 minutes of searching I took my brother’s keys to his car and took that instead. This was my first visit, which I was so excited about, and desperately wanted to be on time. Well the plans change in life don’t they? I had no idea how to get there and was following directions on my phone trying to weave in and out of the awful traffic. Classic Charlotte traffic is all that I can say about that. So I pulled into the parking lot an hour late practically running in to the building. I sat down for only a few moments before they whisked me down the hallway where I planned to beg for their forgiveness for being late. I apologized for about the first 15 minutes until she brought out a machine with a magic wand attached to it. She used this wand to take pictures of every single tooth that would later be used to build my trays off of. I was blown away by the technology but mostly by the pretty colors that came out of the wand to take the 3D images. After the photos were taken I finally got to meet Dr. Armstrong. I was initially very nervous about meeting the Dr. after hearing some many wonderful things about him I was unsure how to act, so I settled on myself and eternally grateful. After meeting with Dr. Armstrong and one of his children, we took photos and I was released back into the wild for three weeks but asked to return to get my new trays.

After three very anticipated weeks, I arrived (on time I might add) to my appointment to receive my trays. I was so excited and couldn’t wait. I sat in the chair and talked with the nicest woman I had ever met in a doctor’s office. We talked and laughed for a while looking at pictures of her little dogs. I got my trays and she showed me how to put them in and take them out. I was so pumped to get home and start my straight path leaving crooked teeth in the past. The next few days were not my best memories. The trays were an unexpected pain that I had not prepared myself for. For some reason, I assumed they would be comfortable and not at all painful. The trays were not completely smoothed down in certain spots and gave me some trouble the next few days. I went back that Friday and they fixed everything for me and only treated me with the type of kindness that is very seldom found. The trays continued to push and pull my teeth but I remembered that this would only be for a few days and there was such a thing as Advil. It became my best friend. The trays took some getting used to but now I feel incomplete when I take them off. My last visit was to get my new set of trays. I got in there and had a few minor things done to my teeth to make room for them and in walks another wonderful lady who asked me to write a blog about my experience. Well here I am, writing a blog and playing with my Invisalign, which I do most of the time. I also got to speak to Dr. Armstrong and had wonderful conversation. There are only wonderful things to say about this office and cant wait until my next visit. My journey hasn’t been long, only about 14 weeks but it has been something I will never forget and something I can only call a blessing.

Until next time,

Maddie

 

 

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Charlotte Dentistry has Health insurance.begun accepting AETNA Insurance, along with Ameritus Dental Insurance and United Health Care Dental PPO. We have accepted the traditional United Health Care plan in the past but now have added the PPO plan.

This is a move that will benefit a number of our patients, and make it possible for many new patients to take advantage of Charlotte Dentistry’s professional expertise and experience.

Charlotte Dentistry accepts a spectrum of insurance plans and also offers financing thru programs like CareCredit to help patients who do not have dental insurance.

Charlotte Dentistry also welcomes patients (and potential patients) to inquire about the benefits available on their dental health plans. We find that often, people don’t take full advantage of care offered (especially preventative care) that is covered. Charlotte Dentistry even participates in employer health fair events and provides counsel to employees on how to get maximum value from dental plans.

Have questions about the coverage in your dental plan? Call us at 704-376-6470 or use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our website to learn more. We are happy to help.

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AT Proud SupporterIf you’d like to get your kids involved in a fun activity that can mean better smiles, check out this link to the ToothFairy Club: www.ncohf.org/our-programs/americas-toothfairy-kids-club. It’s free to join, and your kids will get a variety of activities—songs, games, puzzles, and videos, for example—that teach them better dental health and can help them avoid dental problems. Parents can get involved, too, so the whole family can benefit.

Charlotte Dentistry® is proud to be associated National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy® (NCOHF). This organization is dedicated to eliminating children’s preventable suffering from pediatric dental disease by providing programs and comprehensive resources to deliver community-based critical preventive, educational and treatment services.

Drs. Tom Armstrong and Jonathan Eshleman of Charlotte Dentistry are recognized as Dentists of Distinction in the NCOHF program for their contributions.

Formed in the U.S. in 2006 as a collaborative effort of clinicians, academicians, corporate leaders and caring individuals, NCOHF supports the delivery of oral health education and care at the prenatal level. NCOHF has extended its services through new programs in Canada, so it reaches children throughout North America.

Pediatric dental disease can have devastating social and economic consequences for vulnerable children and families. America’s ToothFairy / Canada’s ToothFairy serves as educator about the importance of oral health, preventer of disease and protector of children. NCOHF provides materials for community outreach activities, oral health screenings and treatment for at-risk children, xylitol, fluoride and sealant products to prevent tooth decay and vital oral health education for all children and their families.

NCOHF, through its America’s ToothFairy/Canada’s ToothFairy programs, brings together corporate and civic leaders, allied health professionals, educators and other caring individuals in a collaborative community-based approach, to effectively break the cycle of this disease. It delivers help to millions of underserved children and the promise of a happy, healthy future.

NCOHF programs help children from infants to teens. And NCOHF and the work of its volunteers change lives.

Here’s an example: Savannah, a talented teen and aspiring singer, had endured teasing and bullying because of her teeth. Fearing ridicule, she would hide her smile and even learned to sing without showing her teeth. Her family wanted to help their daughter, but with five children to feed and clothe, there was never enough money to get Savannah the dental treatment she needed.

A Director of her local Boys & Girls Club recommended Savannah for Tomorrow’s Smiles, another NCOHF program. Savannah has gotten life-changing care from a volunteer dentist, and she is now teaching younger children at her Boys & Girls Club how to prevent tooth decay and maintain a healthy smile.

And her new-found confidence has let Savannah take her music far and wide. She’s a YouTube sensation, and was featured on the Ellen show. She is also a dedicated volunteer in the anti-bullying campaign at her Boys & Girls Club.

If you’d like to know more about the services of NCOHF simply visit their website. OR visit the “Ask The Expert” feature of our website for answers to your dental health questions.

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Dental braces example

Braces (in some form) have been used for centuries to help correct tooth misalignment and other mouth issues. Archaeologists have found mummies with metal bands wrapped around their teeth. The practice of orthodontics was formalized in the 19th century, and many dental practices devote the majority of their time to helping straighten patients’ smiles.

Braces work by applying force to teeth to move them to new positions within the mouth. As the tooth moves, gaps form between it and the bone holding it in place. The bone then remodels itself to support the tooth, giving it the “anchor” it needs to remain in its new position.

The two primary types of braces currently in use; traditional metal and new clear braces (Invisalign®) both have numerous applications. Metal braces can be more affordable for some patients, and they can also provide more controllable repositioning power for situations where teeth require significant movement. And compliance is always a concern with younger patients.

Invisalign clear braces have grown in popularity because of both cosmetic and comfort advantages. Since Invisalign trays can be removed by the user, they allow the patient to brush and floss easier, and they can provide “breaks” from mouth tension and discomfort periodically. They can also be removed for meals or special occasions.

And because they are clear, they are virtually invisible even when being worn, which appeals to many patients who may feel self-conscious wearing metal braces.

Practices that can offer patients both metal and Invisalign choices can be much more competitive in today’s marketplace and some offer them for the same fee; however, it is very important to make sure that patients understand the advantages -and disadvantages- of each type. At Charlotte Dentistry, we have had cases where a patient would prefer Invisalign but in actuality needed the more precise control of metal braces. We counsel these patients to choose the type that provides the best outcome.

Would you like to know more? Use the Ask the Expert feature on our website.

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Back to school time is a challenge even little girl promotes a healthy lifestylefor the most organized family. Everybody has too much to do, and it can take a month or so before everyone is used to new times for getting up, getting going, and getting in the groove with new after-school activities.

With all the furor, something important can get left out—dental checkups. It’s easy to postpone a checkup for a child—or an adult—and try to make it up later. Too, often, that doesn’t happen.

So it can be very wise to look at getting routine checkups BEFORE school starts and everyone’s lives become crazier. There are a number of advantages to this:

1. You have more flexibility with choosing appointment times. After school begins, every parent begins asking for appointments in those afternoon hours just after school, so it can be difficult to get an opening. If you schedule before school begins, you can pick times that are more convenient for you and the kids.

2. You can schedule follow-up appointments easier. Suppose a family member needs another appointment to get a procedure done. You’ll have more options if you schedule now rather than after time slots start filling up.

And, if someone in the family needs extra dental care, now is a good time to plan for it during the course of the year. If significant work is needed, you still have time to get it scheduled and completed before the end of the calendar year—which is when many dental insurance plans re-set your deductibles.

3. You can use the dental appointment as a way to break lazy summer dental hygiene habits. It’s easy for kids to slack off on brushing and flossing during the summer, because days are more unstructured. A dental appointment before the end of summer helps everyone “snap to,” and start paying attention to better habits. (Remember, The American Dental Association recommends spending at least three minutes a day brushing your teeth. That’s not much time, but many people spend less than one minute a day on brushing.)

4. You can also use the appointment as a way to add enthusiasm to a dental care routine. As you’re in the process of getting back-to-school supplies, a dental checkup and a new toothbrush help get kids focused on the changes in routine they’re about to go through (August is also a good month to switch brushes, so that in three months time, you’re switching again at Halloween to provide an extra boost in tooth care.)

5. Parents can get checkups now, too. Your schedule gets even more hectic when school starts if you’re juggling activities for several kids. Now is a good time to have your checkup taken care of as well.
Charlotte Dentistry® is happy to work with you to make sure your family gets the best dental care possible at the most convenient times. You can even use our website to schedule your next Dental Checkups.

Would you like to know more? Use the website’s “Ask the Expert” feature to get them answered promptly.

We’ll look forward to seeing you soon!

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Appointment CalendarThis is a question we get quite often. Why do you need regular dental visits, especially if you don’t think you have any tooth problems?

About a third of Americans—over 100 million—don’t see their dentists each year. But they’re running a significant risk. Most dental disease can be prevented with regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene.

So regular dental visits do matter. In fact, they can save you lots of time, money, and pain. Charlotte Dentistry® located in Charlotte, NC works hard to help you develop the practices that help keep your mouth healthy (and the mouths of other family members). And we take the time when you visit to show you the skills that will help you avoid dental trouble in future years.

The American Dental Association has a great website, www.MouthHealthy.org that lists 15 signs that indicate you should see a dentist:

  • Your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold
  • Your gums are puffy and/or they bleed when you brush or floss
  • You have fillings, crowns, dental implants, dentures, etc.
  • You don’t like the way your smile or teeth look
  • You have persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
  • You are pregnant
  • You have pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck
  • You have difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • You have a family history of gum disease or tooth decay
  • You have a medical condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, or are HIV positive
  • Your mouth is often dry
  • You smoke or use other tobacco products OR use social or street drugs
  • You are undergoing medical treatment such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy
  • Your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up; you have an uneven bite
  • You have a spot or sore that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth and it isn’t going away.

If you have any of these symptoms or conditions, it may be wise to schedule a dental visit sooner than later, even if you have a visit already scheduled for the future.

Here’s another reason that regular dental visits can be of great value: building a relationship with a dentist lets a professional provide you with the best possible continuity of care. A dentist who sees you regularly can often spot changes in your dental health before you’re aware of them, and can take preventative action to prevent bigger problems. Your dentist may also be able to spot changes in your mouth that can indicate other health issues, and advise you regarding care with your other physicians.

And again, these are opportunities to catch health issues early on, when they can be corrected, reversed, or otherwise successfully treated.

We understand that twice a year dental visits may not be fun (although we do our best to make them pleasant), but they are extremely important in helping you and your family stay healthy.

Also, in between visits, should you have a question or concern about your dental health, use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our website. Our professional staff monitors this regularly, and we’re happy to provide you with answers.

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Oral piercings have become A smile (thirty-two teeth) between the piercingpopular in the last few years, and they are typically performed at tattoo parlors and other body modification establishments. Oral piercings can include piercings of the tongue, lips, or cheeks.

While body modification is a personal choice, Charlotte Dentistry® wants to make sure that anyone considering a piercing knows the potential consequences to dental health, and chooses the right professionals for the piercing.

Keep in mind that while tattoos and other body modifications are regulated, in many areas the sterilization procedures that these businesses use aren’t. So get a detailed explanation about sterilization from any business where you’re considering a modification BEFORE you agree to the practice. Basic sterilization procedures include using germicidal soap to clean the hands of the piercing professional and the skin of the subject being pierced (for lips or cheeks); using latex gloves and sterilized piercing instruments as required by local codes; and keeping a sanitary work area.

In addition check to see if the studio has been properly inspected according to your local regulations (they can vary by state or city) and that it has passed. It’s also not a bad idea to check online rating services like Yelp.com or others to see other people’s experiences with the business. (Someone who’s had a piercing go bad is likely to be VERY vocal about it.)

Why is this important? In most instances, a piercing done by a professional is safe and problem-free. But in the cases where a piercing is done improperly, the consequences can be permanent and possibly even life threatening.

So it pays to be very careful and do your research.

What can go wrong? Here are some examples:

1. Hemorrhage. Your tongue especially is very vascular, and there will likely be some bleeding during a piercing. But if a major vessel is punctured accidentally, bleeding can be profuse.

2. Nerve damage. The tongue contains dorsolateral and dorsoventral nerves, and if these are damaged during the piercing, your sense of taste or your tongue’s motor effects can be permanently changed.

3. Localized infection. Unless proper aftercare is taken, the piercing can become infected and be painful. NOTE: These infections can spread if not treated and attack other areas of the body. They can even be life-threatening.

4. Inflammation. Almost all piercings will become inflamed immediately afterward, but in some cases, the inflammation can last weeks.

5. Infectious diseases. If improper sterilization procedures are used, contaminated body fluids from previous people could lead to tetanus, hepatitis, or even HIV.

6. Cracked teeth and gum trauma. Piercing jewelry that isn’t placed properly can create stress on teeth that cause damage, and jewelry (particularly with lip or cheek piercings) can rub against the gums, causing them to recede.

7. Ludwig’s Angina. This infection causes the tongue to swell and the patient to have difficulty swallowing, breathing, and speaking. It can be life threatening.

8. Swallowed jewelry. If your jewelry gets loose you could swallow it or inhale it, causing stomach or respiratory distress.

9. Increased salivary flow and speech impediment. A tongue barbell can affect your speech and extra saliva can create discomfort or embarrassment.

Questions? Use the “Ask the Expert” feature on our website or give us a call.

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Researchers at BiomedicalWoman Holding Mouthwash Development Corporation recently developed a new oral rinse to fight gingivitis but their research also uncovered something surprising.

The users of the new rinse had lower LDL cholesterol levels compared to a control group using a placebo rinse.

The new rinse is based on a proprietary formula of iodine. Iodine is a critical element for good health, and it’s been estimated that as much as 40% of the world’s population is at risk of iodine deficiency. Iodine is key to proper thyroid function, which control metabolism, immunity, and other body systems. Iodine is also a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agent. It is widely used for infection control in medical facilities, as well as, an antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes.

Because of this, iodine is an ideal agent for controlling mouth infections and bacteria. BDC’s research suggests that good oral health may also go a long way towards good overall health. Recent clinical studies have identified what appears to be close links between oral health and cardiovascular health, as has been suggested by a number of studies over the years. While scientists still have not made direct connections between the two, evidence keeps piling up that show how gum disease and heart disease can be related.

Research by the American Academy of Periodontology has noted an important link: their studies suggest that people with periodontal disease (gum disease) are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease. In another study, the academy found that stroke victims were more likely, than the general population, to also have oral infections.

Which makes it all the more important to practice good oral hygiene.

While the iodine-based rinse in the study isn’t available in the marketplace yet, there are many products available that can be used to help with gingivitis or other mouth disorders and the basics still very much apply:

1. Brush at least twice a day for three minutes or more each time.

2. Floss daily.

3. Eat healthy foods, avoiding sugars and other foods that can contribute to the formation of plaque.

4. Get regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist.

5. Exercise – This boosts your immune system and helps with not only oral but overall body health.

Oral rinses like the one being developed by BDC may ultimately make oral hygiene a little simpler to manage, but developing good hygiene habits are still the most effective way to help ensure good oral health. Don’t feel like you have to figure it out all on your own. At your next dental visit, consult with the dentist or dental hygienist (they’re experts) on ideas that can help you and your loved ones develop the practices of good oral hygiene that can help ensure good health for a lifetime.

Would you like to know more before your next visit, use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website, and we’ll be delighted to respond with answers so you can put better oral hygiene practices to use today!

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