North Point Dental Associates

Manual, Electric, and Sonic Toothbrushes

With the many options of toothbrushes available today, we understand that choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming. If you are considering changing your brush style, read more information below about manual, electric and sonic toothbrushes.

Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes are the most common type of toothbrushes, available at your local convenience store. Many people choose to opt for the manual toothbrush because it is a much cheaper option compared to the electric and sonic toothbrushes. Studies have shown that there is not a huge difference in using a manual toothbrush vs. an electric/sonic toothbrush, as manually brushing still cleans the surface of your teeth of food debris and plaque. However, manual toothbrushes clean your teeth at a rate of around 300 brush strokes per minute, while electric and sonic toothbrushes operate much faster (see below).

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric brushes operate at a much higher brush stroke rate than manual toothbrushes, with around 3,000 – 6,000 brush strokes per minute. A brush stroke from an electric toothbrush differs from that of a manual toothbrush because it moves much faster in a smaller surface area, using either oscillating or vibrating motions.

Sonic Toothbrushes

Sonic brushes differ from electric brushes slightly in that they vibrate at a much higher frequency, about 30,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute. Sonic toothbrushes have been found to have a slighter higher cleaning rate because they clean harder to reach areas, such as under the gums and in between the teeth. However, while this may be true – nothing compares to flossing in between the teeth. The ADA recommends for adults with arthritis or who have a hard time manually brushing to change to electric or sonic toothbrushes, which increases stability for your hand while brushing.

Whatever option you chose, as long as you are brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once, you will be able to effectively keep your teeth clean and healthy! If you have any further questions about the toothbrush for you, give us a call at High Point Office Phone Number 336-886-1747!

New Trends in Dental Implants

dental implantsA trending topic right now seems to be the decision to opt for “mini-dental implants” instead of more traditional ones. Below we are going to take a look inside the trend, and lay out some of the benefits and drawbacks so that you can get a better understanding of this exciting trend in dentistry.

Benefits

  • Mini dental implants are usually less expensive than traditional ones, sometimes costing only 1/3 that of regular implants. They take less time to place and are smaller and less invasive, and can be used in small spaces or for those with inadequate bone mass.
  • With mini dentures, smaller dentures can be used, leading to a better tasting experience for the palate than a traditional denture would provide.
  • Mini implants can be placed with minimal recovery time, and usually require very little to no bone grafting.

Drawbacks

Because this is still a fairly new procedure, there are a few downsides. For one, there aren’t enough studies out there on the longevity of these implants, so we don’t know how they hold up over time. A study published in the International Journal of Implant Dentistry in 2016 revealed that traditional dental implant placement has a proven survival rate of 95% or greater. The analysis collected data from over 10,000 implants from 3,095 patients, across three separate private practices over the course of 20 years. For mini dental implants, there isn’t yet enough data to conclude a proper survival rate.

Another concern is that because this is such a new trend there is not as much information or regulation out there. Some practices with claims such as “Dentures-in-a-day” might not do a proper consultation, skipping important steps such as a 3D scan to make sure that you are a good candidate for the procedure.

While it may be some time before this method is perfected and adopted, it is also exciting to see the advancements changing people’s lives in the dental industry every day. Check in with North Point Dental Associates to find out what tooth replacement options may be right for you!

Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist

'child getting checked for cavities'Sometimes we’re not sure when our baby’s first visit to the dentist should be or what to expect once we get there. Here are some important things to know:

Why should I bring my child to the dentist if their teeth are just going to fall out?

What you may not know is that baby teeth, or “primary teeth”, are just as important as adult teeth, or “permanent teeth”. Healthy and strong baby teeth not only help your child chew, but they also help your child talk. In addition to that, baby teeth hold spaces in your child’s jaw for their permanent teeth, which are busy growing under their gums.

When should I bring my child to the dentist for the first time?

We want to see your child when his or her first tooth erupts, but no later than your child’s first birthday. Typically, the front two and lower teeth begin to come in when your child is between 6 months and a year old. In addition to that, we hope to meet with you for the first time for a simple check up rather than an emergency. If you wait until there is a dental emergency, your child may then associate anxiety with dental visits.

Why do we have to visit the dentist at such a young age?

Even if there is no dental emergency, it is important to bring your child in before their first birthday for preventative care. We will show you how to properly clean your child’s teeth, discuss with you their dietary and fluoride needs, and also recommend dental hygiene products. Another great reason to bring your child in at such a young age is so that you can form a good relationship with us and we can learn your family’s needs early on.

Here are some tips for a positive experience:

• Schedule an appointment in the morning, when children tend to be more rested and cooperative.
• Don’t let your child know you’re feeling anxious about their first visit too. Always stay positive!
• Don’t ever bribe your child to go to the dentist or use it at punishment. This will lead them to associate the dentist with a negative feeling.
• Make it an enjoyable outing!

Any questions about your first visit? Please give us a call at High Point Office Phone Number 336-886-1747!

Where Do Dental Implants Come From?

'children playing in dirt'Dental implants have a surprisingly rich and interesting history. Across centuries and throughout cultures around the world there is evidence of attempts at replacing missing teeth with various objects and materials.

The oldest dental implants can be traced back to 2000 BC in China, where missing teeth were substituted with bamboo pegs.

Fast forward a bit to around 1000 BC and you’ll find an ancient Egyptian King whose tomb was recently discovered along with his mummified remains; a copper peg hammered into place where a tooth once lived. This may have been the first time in history that we know of when metal implants were used.

Across the globe some time around 300 BC, an iron tooth was found in a French grave thought to be Celtic in origin. It is possible this implant may have been a post-mortem placement to honor the dead, as an attempt to perform the surgery using a live patient would have been an excruciatingly painful process.

Just 2000 years ago missing teeth were being substituted for animal teeth, and the poor were even selling their teeth to the wealthy, just to make ends meet! The body often rejected these surrogate teeth, causing infection.

More recently in 1931 in Honduras, Dr. Wilson Monroe and his wife found a jawbone amongst other artifacts, with teeth fashioned from shells and attached to the jawbone of an ancient man.

Today we are lucky enough to have dental implants that not only look and feel like real teeth, and anesthesia for the pain is also a plus. Thanks to studies conducted by Per-Ingvar Brånemark of Sweden in the 1950’s, oral surgeons have been able to perfect the process over the years to create today’s implants, which have a 98% success rate! Through a process known as osseointegration, metals and other implant materials are able to be skillfully placed so that your jaw bone actually attaches itself to the implant creating a seamless support system.

Missing a tooth or two? Give us a call at High Point Office Phone Number 336-886-1747 to discuss your dental implant options today!

Bad Breath, Bad News

'woman with fresh breath'Bad breath is bad news. Don’t let bad breath be a part of your day! In our office, we are asked on an almost daily basis “How can I get rid of my bad breath?”

Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep your breath fresh and clean:

1. Brush and Floss Regularly:
It’s basic advice, but foolproof. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing and tongue scraping once is the best way to combat bad breath. When the bacteria in your mouth have bits of food and debris to feed on, they create the odors that cause bad breath. Keeping your mouth clean will keep your breath clean at the same time!

2. Drink Water:
You don’t always have access to a toothbrush. As it turns out though, water can be an effective way to freshen your breath until you can get home and brush. Water helps clean out your mouth and prevents dryness, another major cause of bad breath.

3. Eat Good Foods:
A good way to prevent bad breath is to stay away from foods that make your breath smell bad, and eat foods those that will help your breath smell good! Melons and citrus fruit are high in Vitamin C, and help kill bacteria in your mouth. Fibrous foods like apples and celery can help remove food stuck in your teeth, reducing smells caused by bacteria feeding on them.

4. Choose gum and mints with Xylitol:
Sugary gum and breath mints are often used to tackle bad breath. However, the stinky bacteria in your mouth love sugar, and giving them more tends to produce acid that can make your breath smell worse AND lead to tooth decay. Xylitol is a sugar alternative that bacteria cannot break down, which makes it a perfect method for keeping your breath fresh and clean.

If you are troubled by your bad breath, ask us for more tips on staying fresh and clean!

Missing Teeth: More than Just a Gap in Your Smile

'man smiling'While it is true that the most obvious effect of missing teeth is a gap in your smile, missing teeth can cause other problems that you might not be immediately aware of. For example, did you know that for every missing tooth you have you lose 10 percent of your chewing ability? Read on to get a better idea of how a missing tooth can affect your life.

Surrounding Teeth

A missing tooth usually means more stress for the remaining teeth. In addition to that, if you are missing a tooth on the lower jaw, the opposing tooth on the top can grow longer to fill the gap in a process known as superuption or extrusion. This could lead to teeth tilting and move out of place by drifting into the space that was left by your missing tooth – a disaster for your beautiful smile!

Digestive Health

If you are missing teeth, you can’t enjoy all of the foods that you are used to eating – bad for your health and bad for your mood! Say goodbye to caramel apples, saltwater taffy, crunchy carrots and even gum. And because the variety in your diet is reduced when a tooth is missing, digestive problems are unfortunate yet common.

Decay and Hygiene Problems

The shifting of your teeth may cause new hygiene issues as it may be difficult to brush and floss like you normally would. This leaves your mouth more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.

Facial Aesthetics

People with more than one missing tooth may also have issues with a collapsed bite which causes a loss of vertical dimension. This could make your face appear shorter, as the distance between the tip of your nose and your chin would decrease.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer anymore! Dental implants can help you avoid all of the problems listed above and let you live your life normally again. It’s never too late for a dental implant, give us a call at High Point Office Phone Number 336-886-1747 to find out about this life-changing procedure.

The Source of Your Tooth Pain

'woman holding mouth with tooth pain'Most people, at some point in their life, will experience tooth pain or another discomfort in the mouth. If you are experiencing pain right now, you are probably wondering “Why does my tooth hurt?” and, more importantly, “How do I make it stop?”

As endodontists, we are specialists in stopping tooth pain in its tracks. That’s right! Root canal therapy is one of the most dependable and permanent ways to make tooth pain stop. It also happens to be the healthier choice when compared to extraction.

As experts in pain-relief, we offer you this quick guide to the top three sources of tooth pain (can you guess what number one is?) The good news is that each of these conditions is both preventable and treatable.

  1. Cavities – Yep! You guessed it! Dental caries are the number one cause of tooth pain. While a general dentist can take care of early-stage caries with a filling, more serious decay that has gone past the crown and entered the roots requires a visit to the endodontist for root canal treatment. Prevent cavities in just 6 minutes a day by brushing twice and flossing once!
  2. Broken Fillings – If you have an old silver filling in your mouth, there is a good chance it will crack at some point during your life. The important thing to do if you suspect you have a broken or cracked filling is to visit your dentist ASAP for a replacement. Otherwise, bacteria will find its way into the crack and infect the root, which will then require more aggressive treatment such as root canal therapy.
  3. Cracked Teeth – If you feel a sharp pain when biting down on food, you probably have a cracked or chipped tooth. Tooth fractures are usually the result of biting down on something hard such as ice, nuts or hard candy, so those items should be avoided when possible.

Now that you know the source of your pain, we want you to know that we are here to help you determine the best remedy. We aim to get you in and out quickly, safely and comfortably. Don’t wait any longer to resolve your pain, give us a call at High Point Office Phone Number 336-886-1747.

Preserving your Jaw after Extraction: Socket Preservation

'x-ray of man with jaw pain'If you come to see us for an extraction, you may hear us talking about “socket preservation” or ”ridge augmentation”, and you might be wondering, what is that?

Socket preservation is a procedure we will sometimes recommend when you are having a tooth extracted. The bones that hold your teeth require frequent use to maintain their size and shape, otherwise they start to recede as they are no longer needed.

When a tooth is extracted, it leaves behind a hole (or “socket”) in the alveolar ridge bone, making it vulnerable to shrinkage. In fact, some studies show that bone loss can be 50% in the first 12 months after extraction.

You may be wondering, “Why does bone loss matter if I don’t have a tooth there anyway?” Unfortunately, without teeth and adequate bone structure, several unwanted oral health problems may occur:

  • Aesthetics: Without adequate bone structure and teeth, your smile starts to cave in in that area, causing undesirable aesthetic consequences. Your skin may begin to look shriveled over time and your smile will be unbalanced and unnatural.
  • Alignment Issues: Your teeth are always moving, particularly into open spaces. A hole on one side of your smile can lead to a severe shift of your teeth over time, affecting your smile and subsequently requiring orthodontic treatment.
  • Implant Complications: The damaged and recessed bone often ensures complications if you plan on getting a dental implant to replace the extracted tooth in the future.

This is where socket preservation comes in. Typically done at the end of your extraction procedure, we place bone-grafting material into the socket and a collagen membrane on top to encourage bone growth in the area. Because the procedure can be done at the same time as your extraction, no additional anesthesia or appointments are necessary.

If you are facing extraction, call us at High Point Office Phone Number 336-886-1747 to see if socket preservation is an option for you – it could save your smile!

Oral Health Spotlight: Dental Visits

'calendar marked with dentist'

Visiting your dentist is very important to your overall health. Even if you brush and floss regularly, you should still see your dental professional team for regular checkups and cleaning.

Your mouth is full of bacteria that forms “plaque”, if this is not removed it can harden into ”tartar” that cannot be removed by brushing alone. A visit to your dental hygienist or dentist is required to fully remove plaque. Good oral hygiene at home is very important but your dental professional can diagnose any underlying problems you may have missed. Your dental health professional can take x-rays as well as use a deep cleaning method called “scaling and root planing.” This procedure can result in less bleeding, swelling and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods.

Tartar that isn’t removed can lead to gingivitis. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, the only stage that is reversible. If not treated, this can lead to periodontitis. Gingivitis, which comes from the buildup of plaque bacteria, is a very common oral disease. It causes bad breath, inflammation, and sometimes even bleeding of the gums. These side effects can lead to more serious issues such as tooth loss, swollen glands, or gum and jawbone infections.

Those with diabetes need to be extra cautious; Diabetic patients are more likely to get periodontal disease, which in turn can lead to an increase in blood sugar and other complications. Gum disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions.

It is possible to have gum disease and no warning signs. This is why regular check ups with your dentist as well as periodontal exams with your dental professional are very important.

Brush twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

It’s not worth risking your health! Call North Point Dental Associates on 336-886-1747 to book your routine check-up to stay happy and healthy!

Orange Juice and Toothpaste

'orange and toothpaste'

Everybody’s day starts a little differently, but we can agree brushing your teeth should always be a part of your morning routine!

Are you a before-breakfast brusher? If so, you know the dreaded orange-juice-and-toothpaste taste that can follow! Orange juice is bitter and cereal with milk tastes strange! It’s only temporary, but it can really put you off your breakfast!

Why does food taste so bad right after you brush your teeth?

The reason for this bad taste is sodium lauryl ether sulfate, known as SLES or SLS (sodium laureth sulfate), which makes toothpaste foamy and disperses it around the teeth. However, sodium laureth sulfate is not as helpful when it comes to the tongue. Although completely harmless, sodium laureth sulfate suppresses the taste bud receptors for sweetness, and amplifies the taste bud receptors for bitterness. This heightened sensitivity to bitterness and dulling of sweetness is what makes your breakfast taste so strange.

Your tongue is covered with taste-sensitive cells spotted with proteins. If a particle of food you have eaten hits one of these cells, it sends a message to your brain signaling which taste sensation it is; sweet, bitter, sour, salty or umami.

Sodium laureth sulfate is a “detergent” molecule, which disperse fat molecules. This works in soaps for your body, hair or dishes. However, SLS affects the membranes of our tongue cells, blocking our sweet taste buds and enhancing our bitter taste. This results in the unpleasant flavor you get drinking orange juice after the SLS in your toothpaste has dulled your taste buds!

It is only temporary, but if it bothers you, try purchasing a toothpaste made without sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). However, keep in mind that some of these natural toothpastes may also be made without fluoride. Fluoride is absolutely essential in strengthening tooth enamel and preventing cavities. If you have concerns about SLS or fluoride, call us on 336-886-1747 here at North Point Dental Associates!