Posts for: August, 2020
"The Dog Days of summer" once referred to the rise of Sirius (the "Dog Star") with the morning sun during the month of August. Today, however, the term has more of a meteorological than astronomical meaning: It's the muggy point of summer best suited for sipping a cold beverage and doing as little as possible by the pool. A little lethargy can be forgiven during these humid days, but don't let it keep you from the daily necessities—like cleaning your teeth.
Brushing and flossing might seem an unwelcome interruption to your “dog day” pursuits (or lack thereof), but they're still necessary regardless of the season. Together, these twin tasks remove dental plaque, a bacterial buildup of food particles and the primary cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
Daily oral hygiene is one of the most important ways you can ensure your present and future dental health. It also reduces stain buildup to keep your teeth looking their shiny best and helps freshen your breath.
If that's not enough to overcome your summer doldrums, here are a few more reasons why performing these two vital teeth-cleaning tasks is less toilsome than you think.
Just 5 minutes a day. Brushing and flossing take only a fraction of your time each day. You can perform either task thoroughly in two to three minutes. Before you know it, you'll be back poolside.
No “elbow grease” required. Oral hygiene doesn't require a lot of physical exertion, especially brushing. In fact, aggressive brushing could damage your gums. All you really need is a gentle, circular motion, and the mild abrasives in your toothpaste will do the rest.
Flossing help is available. A lot of people find flossing difficult compared to brushing and may skip it altogether. But flossing is necessary to remove plaque between teeth that brushing can't reach. Usually, it's a matter of getting over the initial awkwardness of maneuvering the floss. The major mistake is that people tend to tighten their cheek muscles when trying to get their hands in their mouth. Relax your facial muscles and you can easily get the floss positioned in the mouth for proper technique. But if you don't have the manual dexterity to hold floss between your fingers, you can try pre-loaded floss threaders or a water flosser.
Relax—we have your back. Achieving the lofty goal of great dental health isn't all on your shoulders—we support your personal efforts through regular dental visits. Every six months, we remove hard-to-reach plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) and check for any emerging problems to keep your dental health on track.
A small investment of time and effort each day can help keep your mouth healthy and avoid costly dental treatment down the road. Don't worry: The pool will still be there waiting, so go brush and floss those teeth!
Basketball isn't a contact sport—right? Maybe once upon a time that was true… but today, not so much. Just ask New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. While scrambling for a loose ball in a recent game, Smith's mouth took a hit from an opposing player's elbow—and he came up missing a big part of his front tooth. It's a type of injury that has become common in this fast-paced game.
Research shows that when it comes to dental damage, basketball is a leader in the field. In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) found that intercollegiate athletes who play basketball suffered a rate of dental injuries several times higher than those who played baseball, volleyball or track—even football!
Part of the problem is the nature of the game: With ten fast-moving players competing for space on a small court, collisions are bound to occur. Yet football requires even closer and more aggressive contact. Why don't football players suffer as many orofacial (mouth and face) injuries?
The answer is protective gear. While football players are generally required to wear helmets and mouth guards, hoopsters are not. And, with a few notable exceptions (like Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry), most don't—which is an unfortunate choice.
Yes, modern dentistry offers many different options for a great-looking, long lasting tooth restoration or replacement. Based on each individual's situation, it's certainly possible to restore a damaged tooth via cosmetic bonding, veneers, bridgework, crowns, or dental implants. But depending on what's needed, these treatments may involve considerable time and expense. It's better to prevent dental injuries before they happen—and the best way to do that is with a custom-made mouthguard.
Here at the dental office we can provide a high-quality mouthguard that's fabricated from an exact model of your mouth, so it fits perfectly. Custom-made mouthguards offer effective protection against injury and are the most comfortable to wear; that's vital, because if you don't wear a mouthguard, it's not helping. Those "off-the-rack" or "boil-and-bite" mouthguards just can't offer the same level of comfort and protection as one that's designed and made just for you.
Do mouthguards really work? The same JADA study mentioned above found that when basketball players were required to wear mouthguards, the injury rate was cut by more than half! So if you (or your children) love to play basketball—or baseball—or any sport where there's a danger of orofacial injury—a custom-made mouthguard is a good investment in your smile's future.
If you would like more information about custom-made athletic mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Athletic Mouthguards” and “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry.”
How a dental crown from your dentists in Charlotte, North Carolina can strengthen your smile.
How much do you know about dental crowns? You may already know that a crown provides the strongest protection available for a damaged tooth. What you may not know is that a dental crown can also make your smile more beautiful.
Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom in Charlotte, North Carolina offer comprehensive family dental care, including dental crowns to strengthen your smile.
These are just a few of the reasons why you might need a dental crown:
- If you have a tooth that is severely decayed
- Your tooth is badly damaged, broken, or fractured from an accident or injury
- Your tooth is missing large amounts of tooth structure
- If you have a tooth that is weakened
- Your tooth is worn down or eroded due to aging or bad habits
A dental crown can protect your tooth because it covers the entire surface of your tooth, above the gumline. This overall protection means that when you bite down on a crown, the pressure and stress of biting is spread out over the entire tooth surface, to prevent breakage.
All crowns are strong, and when you choose a porcelain crown, the crown is beautiful too! Porcelain looks just like tooth enamel, and it is light-reflective just like tooth enamel. In fact, once a full porcelain crown is placed, it is virtually indistinguishable from your other teeth.
If you need a porcelain crown for a back tooth, it is often advisable to have a metal underlay, known as a porcelain-fused-to-metal, or PFM crown. Your dentist can recommend which crown material is best for you and your tooth.
If you have a smile full of damaged, broken teeth, you deserve to enjoy the benefits of dental crowns. Find out how dental crowns can help your smile by calling Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom in Charlotte, North Carolina at (704) 553-2348. Call today.
Establishing an effective dental hygiene routine when your kids are young pays off in the long run, both financially and health-wise. However, it can be difficult to know where to start or what works best for kids. Here are a few tips from your family dentists in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom, on how to make the most out of your child's dental care at home.
Brush up on their toothbrushing
As many parents know, convincing your child to brush their teeth twice daily can be a challenge. Your Charlotte family dentist suggests playing a favorite song for the two minutes it takes to brush to help the time go by more quickly. Allowing your child to pick out a new toothbrush, perhaps in their favorite color or featuring a cartoon character they like, also helps make the daily routine easier and more fun. Just make sure that the brush your child chooses has soft bristles and isn't too large for their mouth. A fluoride-based toothpaste in a child-friendly flavor is also a good way to encourage regular brushing.
Fine-tune their flossing
Flossing tends to be at the bottom of the list when it comes to taking care of your teeth at home - that's true for your Charlotte family dentist's patients of all ages! But like brushing, parents can make the process more fun by taking advantage of the variety of products available today. Flossing picks in bright colors with flavored thread puts a new twist on the tedious process of flossing between each tooth. Kids with orthodontic appliances can use flossing threaders or interdental brushes. You can also set a great example for your kids by making flossing a daily part of your dental hygiene routine as well.
To make an appointment for yourself or a member of your family, contact Dr. Susan Hockaday Family Practice for the very best in family dentistry in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. We can be reached at (704) 553-2348.
Your child could hit a speed bump on their road to dental maturity—tooth decay. In fact, children are susceptible to an aggressive form of decay known as Early Childhood Caries (ECC) that can lead to tooth loss and possible bite issues for other teeth.
But dentists have a few weapons in their arsenal for helping children avoid tooth decay. One of these used for many years now is the application of sealants to the biting surfaces of both primary and permanent teeth. Now, two major research studies have produced evidence that sealant applications help reduce children's tooth decay.
Applying sealant is a quick and painless procedure that doesn't require drilling or anesthesia. A dentist brushes the sealant in liquid form to the nooks and crannies of a tooth's biting surfaces, which tend to accumulate decay-causing bacterial plaque. They then use a curing light to harden the sealant.
The studies previously mentioned that involved thousands of patients over a number of years, found that pediatric patients without dental sealants were more than three times likely to get cavities compared to those who had sealants applied to their teeth. The studies also found the beneficial effect of a sealant could last four years or more after its application.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend sealants for children, especially those at high risk for decay. It's common practice now for children to first get sealants when their first permanent molars erupt (teeth that are highly susceptible to decay), usually between the ages of 5 and 7, and then later as additional molars come in.
There is a modest cost for sealant applications, but far less than the potential costs for decay treatment and later bite issues. Having your child undergo sealant treatment is a worthwhile investment: It could prevent decay and tooth loss in the near-term, and also help your child avoid more extensive dental problems in the future.