Posts for: April, 2016
Your regular dental checkups should periodically include an important screening for oral cancer, especially as you grow older. Although oral cancers make up less than 3% of all other types, they’re among the most deadly with a 58% survival rate after five years.
Besides hereditary factors, oral cancer is strongly linked to tobacco use, alcohol abuse or diets low in fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s also a greater concern as we age: 90% of new cases of oral cancer occur in people over the age of 40, heightening the need for regular screenings. These screenings become all the more important because many early sores or lesions can mimic other conditions like canker sores — without early detection, the disease could already be in advanced stages when it’s diagnosed.
An oral screening for cancer involves both sight and touch. We’ll first look for any suspicious lesions and red or white patches in the soft tissues of the face, neck, lips and mouth. We’ll then feel for any abnormal lumps on the mouth floor, the sides of the neck and in gland locations. We’ll also examine all sides of the tongue including underneath, as well as the tissues lining the back of your throat.
If we notice anything that’s concerning we may then perform a biopsy by removing a small bit of the suspicious tissue and have it examined microscopically for the presence of cancer cells. We may also remove any lesions deemed pre-cancerous as an added precaution against possible cancer development.
The American Cancer Society recommends an oral cancer screening annually for people forty years or older and every three years for people between the ages of 20 and 39. Even better, we recommend all adults undergo a screening every year. This, along with ending tobacco use and other lifestyle and dietary changes, will greatly improve your chances of remaining free of oral cancer.
If you would like more information on detecting and treating oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”
It may surprise you to learn the truth about root canals.
Root canals have an unfortunate spot at the top of the list of "most feared dental procedures." This fear is largely unsubstantiated; in fact, a recent dental industry survey found that people who feared root canals the most had never actually had them done. At 1st Choice Dental Care in Marietta, Kennesaw and Woodstock, GA, our dentists and staff educate our patients on the most up-to-date information about dental procedures, and we believe it's time to help root canals earn a better reputation: they are a therapeutic way of relieving pain and preventing infection. Here are the facts.
What does a root canal fix?
A cavity starts on the outer surface of a tooth, called the enamel. If it's caught early, a filling to remove the decay and stop its spread is often enough. However, if decay is allowed to continue, however, it can enter the deeper layers of a tooth and begin to cause pain due to its proximity to the nerves connecting the tooth to the blood supply. When this happens, your Marietta, Kennesaw and Woodstock dentist will likely suggest a root canal. This procedure, also called endodontic therapy, removes the infection from the inner portions of a tooth and strengthens the tooth from the inside out. A crown is usually placed over the topmost portion of the tooth to protect it further.
Why do root canals have a bad reputation?
Like many dental procedures, root canals used to be performed without the use of anesthesia. But as the dental industry began to develop better methods of treatment, dental procedures became easier to tolerate. Unfortunately, root canals haven't been able to shake their outdated attributes. The truth is, as your Marietta, Kennesaw and Woodstock dentist will tell you, root canals exist to alleviate pain. With anesthesia in place and the infection is eradicated, there should be no pain during the procedure and very little afterwards.
If you'd like to learn more about how root canals can help improve your dental health, contact 1st Choice Dental Care in Marietta, Kennesaw and Woodstock, GA. We'd be happy to set you up with a consultation with one of our skilled dentists!
Maybe your adult teeth have always had some problems - discolorations, odd shapes or sizes. Perhaps you used to have nice teeth and they've become chipped, cracked or stained from years of bad habits like tobacco use. Whatever the reason, the dentists at 1st Choice Dental Care in Kennesaw, Woodstock, and Marietta, GA, can help make your smile beautiful again with porcelain veneers. Learn about the benefits of veneers here:
What are veneers?
Dental veneers are a cosmetic dental restoration offered by your dentist. They are made from wafer-thin sections of porcelain and fit over the front of the natural teeth to improve their overall appearance. Each veneer is crafted separately in a dental laboratory to fit the corresponding tooth perfectly and is attached using a strong bonding agent. How many veneers you will need will depend on how many teeth are visible when you smile; some people will only require six veneers, while others need as many as twelve.
What do veneers fix?
Veneers are perhaps the most versatile of all cosmetic dental restorations available today. They improve or cover a variety of problems associated with the natural teeth, including whitening-resistant stains, gaps between the teeth, overlapping, uneven shape and cracks or chips. Your Kennesaw, Woodstock, and Marietta, GA dentist will do a thorough evaluation prior to starting the process of placing your veneers to determine if they're right for your situation.
How long do veneers last?
The dental industry continues to improve upon the form and function of veneers, making them stronger and more realistic than ever before. Their surfaces are much more stain-resistant than natural teeth and the cement used to keep them in place is very strong. Depending on a person's dental care and habits, veneers can last as long as twenty years before needing replacement.
If you think you might benefit from veneers, give us a call at 1st Choice Dental Care in in Kennesaw, Woodstock, and Marietta, GA. We'd be happy to set up an evaluation for you!
The idea of braces probably brings to mind twisted pieces of wire anchored by large, clunky metal brackets. This common image is why so many of our patients at 1st Choice Dental Care in Kennesaw, Woodstock and Marietta, GA, are surprised when they learn about Invisalign, a completely different and revolutionary way to straighten teeth. Learn about how you can work with our dentists to achieve a beautiful new smile, both comfortably and attractively, through Invisalign's unique treatment plan.
What is Invisalign?
Although traditional braces still function as a way to move crooked teeth into the proper position, the dental industry wanted to improve upon the appearance, especially for their adult patients who didn't want the stigma associated with having a "metal mouth." In May of 2000, Invisalign premiered after several years of development and the process of wearing braces was revolutionized. Although they look like whitening trays, Invisalign's patented aligners work very much the same way as traditional braces: they place gentle pressure on the teeth to guide them into position. But not only does Invisalign offer the unique experience of wearing virtually "invisible" braces, the clear, plastic aligners that fit snugly against the teeth can be removed from the mouth for eating and cleaning. Braces-wearers are no longer restricted on their diet and they can comfortably brush and floss their teeth during their treatment period.
Is Invisalign right for me?
If you're interested in Invisalign to straighten your teeth, our Kennesaw, Woodstock and Marietta, GA dentists - Dr. Kelly Vaughn, Dr. Nalini Kataria, Dr. Emil Orza and Dr. David Wang - will thoroughly evaluate your teeth and determine if Invisalign can help. Certain types of misalignment may be better suited to a different treatment plan. We typically find that older teens and adults make the best candidates for Invisalign - because the aligners are removable, they can be misplaced easily. They also require a certain amount of commitment on the part of the patient. The best and quickest results are seen from patients who wear the aligners at least 20 to 22 hours each day.
You can learn more about Invisalign by contacting 1st Choice Dental Care, in Kennesaw, Woodstock and Marietta, GA, and requesting a consultation. With Invisalign, you can wear braces confidently, eat comfortably and finish the process with a beautiful new smile!
For major-league slugger Giancarlo Stanton, 2014 was a record-breaking year. After the baseball season ended, he signed a 13-year, $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins — the biggest deal in sports history. But earlier that same year, Stanton suffered one of the worst accidents in baseball: He was hit in the face by an 88-mph fastball, sustaining multiple fractures, lacerations, and extensive dental damage.
After the accident, Stanton didn’t play for the remainder of the season. But now he’s back in Spring Training… and he’s got a not-so-secret weapon to help protect him against another injury: A custom-made face guard designed to absorb impacts and keep him from suffering further trauma.
As sports fans, we’re glad that Stanton was able to overcome his injury and get back in the game. As dentists, we’d like to remind you that you don’t have to be a major-league player to feel the harmful effects of a sports injury — and you don’t have to look far to find a way to protect yourself. In fact, you can get a custom-made mouthguard right here at the dental office.
Mouthguards have a long tradition in sports like football, boxing, and hockey. But did you know that far more Americans are injured every year playing “non-collision” sports like basketball, baseball — and even bicycling? And it doesn’t take a major-league fastball to cause a dental injury: The highest incidence of sports-related dental injuries occurs in 15-to-18-year-old males. In fact, about one-third of all dental injuries among children stem from various types of sports activities. These injuries may result in countless hours being lost from school and work, and cost significant sums for treatment and restoration.
Mouthguards have a proven track record in reducing dental and facial injuries: They are capable of absorbing the energy of a blow to the mouth, and dissipating it in a way that prevents damage to facial structures and teeth. But not all mouthguards are created equal: Custom-fabricated mouthguards, which are produced from an exact model of your mouth made right here in the dental office, offer by far the best protection. They fit better and safeguard the teeth more fully than any off-the-shelf or “boil-and-bite” type can. Plus, they’re more comfortable to wear. And let’s face it: No mouth guard can protect your teeth if you don’t wear it.
What’s more, some recent studies indicate that custom-made mouthguards may offer significant protection against concussion. An increasing awareness of the dangers that concussion may pose to athletes is one more reason why we recommend custom-made mouthguards to active people and their families.
To get his face guard, Giancarlo Stanton reportedly went to a specialist sporting-goods manufacturer in Illinois, and paid around $1,000. But you can get a custom-made mouthguard for yourself or your loved ones right at our office for a fraction of that price. And the peace of mind it can give you is… priceless.
If you have questions about custom-made mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry” and “Athletic Mouthguards.”