The Benefits of Replacing a Tooth with a Dental Implant

Dental Implant Benefits in GreenvilleIf one or more of your teeth are missing or at risk of falling out, dental implants can provide you with a natural-looking and hassle-free smile. According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, over 3 million people in the United States have chosen to replace missing teeth with dental implants, and that number is rising steadily.

Read on as Dr. Matthew Warner of Willoughby Dental explains why so many people with missing teeth opt for implants. Continue reading

The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

Greenville DentistIt seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that teeth whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with Dr. Warner for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact Willoughby Dental of Greenville.

7 Ways to Combat Bad Breath

Greenville DentistHalitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.

Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:

Practice good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush your tongue.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.

Keep well-hydrated.

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.

Avoid bad breath triggers.

Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum.

By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.

Improve your diet.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.

See your dentist.

Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.

For more information about the potential causes and treatments for halitosis, contact our office.

Digital X-Rays

Dentist Greenville

Greenville Dentist

X-rays, or radiographs, have long been used in dentistry. Traditional film x-rays are a safe and effective part of your dental care, but they do require a small amount of radiation. In our office, we utilize digital x-ray technology that provides the benefits of film imaging but uses up to 80% less radiation. With our advanced digital radiographs, we can view your teeth and surrounding structures with remarkable accuracy.

Unlike traditional x-rays, digital x-rays require no wait time for film to develop. Instead, the images are available on the computer screen within seconds. These images can then be enhanced and enlarged for more accurate diagnosis. Digital x-rays can be stored, printed, or even transmitted electronically to a specialist or laboratory, if needed.

Intraoral x-rays create an image of the teeth, bone, and tissues inside the mouth. This image can be used for prevention, diagnosis, and/or treatment planning, depending on the need. X-ray images can be used to identify or diagnose potential oral health issues that may not be fully visible to the naked eye. Some of these may include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Cracks or fractures
  • Impacted teeth
  • Tooth root infection
  • Bone loss
  • Cysts, tumors, or other abnormal growths

How often you need dental x-rays will change over your lifetime. Healthy adults may only need radiographs taken every 2-3 years. Children and teens often need more frequent imaging to monitor the growth and alignment of their teeth. However, there are several additional factors that can influence how often digital x-rays are recommended. Some of these include:

  • Multiple dental restorations
  • Periodontal disease
  • Dry mouth
  • Tobacco use
  • Orthodontics
  • Root canal therapy

Your safety is our primary concern. Before having a digital x-ray taken in our office, let us know if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have had a dental x-ray in another office within the past year
  • You are or may be pregnant
  • You have any questions or concerns about x-rays

For more information on how our digital x-rays benefit you, contact our office.

Root Canal Treatment: Common Myths Busted

Dentist in Greenville

Dentist Greenville

According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are three major misconceptions many people have regarding root canal therapy. Unfortunately, these patients may make decisions about their health care based on this incomplete or inaccurate information. Take a look at these myths and truths behind this important treatment option.

Myth 1: Root canal treatment causes pain.

This commonly held perception predates modern dentistry. Patients who have actually experienced root canal therapy are 6 times more likely to describe the procedure as painless than those who have never had the treatment.

Truth 1: Root canal treatment relieves pain.

In reality, the only pain that is generally associated with root canal therapy is caused by the underlying reason for the treatment – tooth decay or infected or diseased tissue. The root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, relieving the pain in the process.

Myth 2: Root canal treatment causes further illness or infection in the body.

This unfortunate belief stems from a long-discredited report from nearly 100 years ago that still turns up during internet searches. This report by Dr. Weston Price was highly criticized in its own time for the sub-standard research methods he used, and his conclusions were being debunked as early as the 1930s. 

Truth 2: There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that suggests root canal treatment may cause other illness or infection in the body.

In fact, root canal therapy has been proven to have a much lower incidence of bacteria entering the blood stream than tooth extraction and causes much less trauma to the patient. Recent research has also found that patients who have had multiple root canal treatments have a 45% lower risk of cancer than patients who have not. 

Myth 3: Tooth extraction is always a better option than root canal treatment.

Sometimes a tooth cannot be saved. When that happens, extraction is far better than leaving a diseased tooth in place. However, there is no perfect replacement for a natural tooth. Even the best tooth replacement options may leave you needing to avoid certain foods. Additionally, missing teeth can lead to jaw bone resorption over time. 

Truth 3: Saving natural teeth, when possible, may be the best option for overall health.

By saving the natural tooth whenever possible, doctors and patients avoid the need for further, more costly restoration treatment. Root canal treatment has a very high success rate and can often allow the natural tooth to last a lifetime. 

Our doctor makes every effort to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible. We will review your oral health needs carefully before recommending any treatment. 

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office.

Say Cheese!

Dentist in Greenville, SC

Dentist GreenvilleIt has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on your teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I eat?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If you enjoy aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If you prefer softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to enjoy a snack that makes you smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for those who have a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider eating cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our dental office.

What to Expect at Your Child’s Dental Appointment

Dentist in GreenvilleThe American Dental Association recommends all patients to schedule routine six-month check-up exams. This is particularly important for growing children.

At your visit, we will screen your child’s mouth for tooth decay and gum disease. Regular professional dental cleanings are essential for a healthy mouth. During your child’s dental cleaning, we will gently remove any buildup of plaque or tartar to help prevent tooth decay.

During this visit, our team will spend time discussing proper brushing technique and oral hygiene with your child. Depending on your child’s age, we may also teach them about the correct use of floss and mouthwash. Our team members are friendly, patient, and great with kids, and will answer every question.

We may recommend fluoride be applied to the teeth as part of your child’s treatment. Topical fluoride is used to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.

Sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities on your molars and premolars. These areas are the most susceptible to cavities due to the anatomized grooves.

Typically, children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. These sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

The process of applying sealants is easy and fast. The application steps are as follows:

  • Your child’s teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • The teeth are dried
  • A liquid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • The solution is cured using a special curing light

Sealants act as a barrier and protect the enamel from plaque and acids. They may last for several years before a reapplication is needed. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.

Sealants are not a substitute for brushing your teeth. It is important to maintain proper oral hygiene and keep up with professional dental cleanings. Also, sealants do not protect between the teeth, so it is essential to continue to floss daily.

Without proper dental care, children are susceptible to oral decay. Healthy smiles should not stop at our dental office. Our experienced and caring team will educate you and your child on how to make good food choices and how to properly brush and floss at home.

Our expert dentist and knowledgeable team have the experience and qualifications to care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout various stages of childhood. For more information or to request an appointment, contact our office today.

7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

Greenville Dentist

Greenville DentistCalcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose past infancy.

If you have difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.

  1. Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or other dish.
  2. Calcium-fortified juices are available in both orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure it is a calcium-fortified juice.
  3. Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
  4. Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
  5. Green vegetables are a good source of natural calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
  6. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
  7. Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal adds calcium to your breakfast as well.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

For more information, contact us.

The Periodontal Disease – Diabetes Connection

Greenville SC DentistNearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Almost 65 million Americans have periodontal disease. Recent studies have suggested that there is a two-way connection between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease. Patients with gum disease have increased risk of other diabetic complications and patients with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease.

Gum disease causes inflammation in the body, which can make controlling blood sugar more difficult for diabetic patients. Severe periodontal disease has even been shown to increase blood sugar, making it more difficult to maintain or regain good blood sugar control. In addition, when blood sugar is elevated, patients experience increased risks of additional diabetic complications.

Patients with diabetes are more prone to infections in general. This is especially true for patients whose diabetes is not well controlled. Diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control are more likely to develop gum disease than patients whose diabetes is well controlled. Less controlled diabetic patients will generally have a more severe case of gum disease and are likely to lose more teeth from gum disease, as well.

Besides blood sugar control, diabetes includes a number of other health complications. Diabetic patients are more prone to other oral health issues, such as dry mouth or thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth). Reduced saliva production or infection in the mouth can increase risks of developing periodontal disease as well.

Smoking can escalate these risks even further. Studies have shown that smokers are 5 times more likely than non-smokers to develop gum disease, overall. Diabetic smokers age 45 or older have been found to be 20 times more likely to develop severe gum disease.

Fortunately, when diabetes and blood sugar are well-controlled, the risks of periodontal disease and other oral health complications are no different than for patients without diabetes. If you are diabetic, it is important to work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible to avoid these added health complications.

Be sure to let us know if you have diabetes and how well-controlled it is. We may need to discuss your medication schedule when planning treatments or to postpone a treatment if your blood sugar is not controlled. Keep in mind that healing from treatment can take longer for diabetic patients, even when blood sugar is well-controlled.

If you have questions or concerns about your risk of periodontal disease with diabetes, contact our office for more information.

Oral Cancer Screening Can Save Your Life

Dentist Greenville SCOur expert dentist wants to remind patients that our office offers thorough oral cancer screenings as part of our comprehensive dental health services. Like with every form of cancer, early diagnosis can have a profound impact on the success of your treatment. Regular screenings are your first line of defense against oral cancer and our doctor is here to help.

In your screening, our doctor will check your lips, tongue, gums, mouth, and throat for any abnormalities that could be or become cancerous. We will give careful consideration to any symptoms you may be experiencing. If you have experienced any oral cancer symptoms for more than a week without improvement, schedule an appointment and tell your dentist immediately. Symptoms that could indicate oral cancer include:

  • Ear pain
  • Unexplained mouth bleeding
  • Mouth sores that don’t heal
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Lumps or swellings in or around your mouth
  • Sore throat without other sinus symptoms
  • Sensation of something caught in the back of your throat
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue

One adult American dies of oral cancer every hour. Though anyone can develop oral cancer, some factors can increase your risks. Some of the most common risk factors include: genetic predisposition, prolonged sun exposure, unhealthy diet, and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. Oral cancer is more common in men than women. Patients with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) are at increased risk. Users of tobacco in any form are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-users.

Whatever the cause, the success of treatment depends on the size, type, and stage of the cancer. Early detection can play a critical role in your successful recovery. When found in early stages, oral cancers have an 80 – 90% survival rate. The primary reason for this is that early detection leads to earlier treatment. Oral cancers that are found in early or precancerous stages can often be removed and require less invasive procedures to treat. Later stages of cancer are likely to be larger and more complex and often have spread far beyond your mouth.

We are accepting new patients. If you would like more information about oral cancers and oral cancer screenings, call our office for a consultation.