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Candy is a great way to show you care about someone, but even better is when you go a step further.Valentine's candy

Valentine’s Day sweets don’t necessarily show a lot of love for your smile. But there are ways to make taking care of your loved ones’ teeth part of the holiday fun.

Many parents celebrate the holiday by giving their kids Valentine’s candy, and though dental professional stress moderation with sugary treats, most discourage depriving kids of holiday experiences.  Treats shouldn’t be forbidden (that can create a lot of other issues)–kids just need to know that with them comes some responsibility.

So here are some tips for making Valentine candy a sweeter experience for everyone’s teeth.

1.  As you’re picking up candy, also get new toothbrushes along with their favorite tooth paste for everyone.  Brushes should be changed every 3-4 months, and having a new brush reinforces the idea that brushing is an important part of the holiday.  (If you followed the same procedure at Halloween, Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to change brushes again.)

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 sweets.  Follow up right after with brushing.

3. Remember that quality can be much better than quantity.  So instead of a big bag of candy, smaller supplies of better chocolates can limit the risk of sweets.  In fact, you can impress your sweetheart with a combination of flowers, cards, and just a couple of great sweets, because you’ve obviously put a lot of thought into choosing “just the right mix” of gifts.

Want to know more?  Use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website to get questions answered and to learn other good dental care tips.

Businessman Reading DocumentPart of our ongoing series on careers in dentistry.  Charlotte Dentistry® encourages young people to consider the dental profession, and welcomes any questions you may have.

Dentistry, like any business, continually changes.  New techniques and materials become available, and it’s important for a new dentist to stay up to date on these.  This builds your credibility—and it also puts you in a position to take advantage of new ideas faster than established practices which may have invested heavily in old techniques and are more reluctant to change.

All professions require continuing education, and that should be part of helping keep your practice fresh.  But that’s just meeting the requirements of the law.  To really make sure your practice stays on the leading edge, you typically need to do more.

So it’s good to set aside some time periodically to look at new ideas.  Don’t limit these to dental procedures.  Also look to see if there are better ways to run your business, communicate with your customers, and develop and manage your staff.

In many cases, you may find that a combination of ideas relating to different areas of your practice are what really helps you build your business.

Questions?  Use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website.

Part of our ongoing series on careers in dentistry.  Charlotte Dentistry® encourages young people to consider the dental profession, and welcomes any questions you may have.

Many dental students, as they start looking at their careers and how they want to develop them, begin weighing whether or not it would be better to have a general dentistry practice or to concentrate on a specialty.Dentist

There are advantages to each.

The demand for general dentistry continues to grow, and many new dentists will find that they can be successful in general dentistry from the moment they leave school.  Developing a practice in general dentistry is aided by the fact that virtually everyone needs general dental care, and even in cities with established dentists, there are locations where a new dentist can do well.  General dentistry requires less training than a specialty, and graduates can get through school faster and begin earning to pay off school loans more quickly.

Specialties, however, are more lucrative in the long run.  Currently, the American Dental Association recognizes nine specialty areas of practice:   Dental Public Health, Endodontics, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Pediatric Dentistry, Peridontics, Prosthodontics, and Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

There is more training involved with specialties, both in dental school and in keeping abreast of new procedures and technologies after graduation, but specialists typically have patient loads that compensation for the extra investment.  Many of their patients are referred by general dentistry practices.

Many practices may ultimately combine both, as Charlotte Dentistry® does with general dentistry, where our general practice dentists have successfully completed extensive specialized training in Orthodontics, Prosthodontics and Endodontics.  This has allowed us to continue building our practice, and given us opportunities to better serve patients who need specialized care at one familiar location.

To learn more, use the “Ask the Expert” feature of our website.  We’re glad to answer questions from people interested in dentistry as a career.

Eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia or binge eating are dangerous and very hard on your body—including your dental health.

Eating disorders disrupt nutritional intake, and that has a dramatic impact on all body systems. Without proper nutrition, a patient may experience oral problems such as gums that easily bleed or chronic dry mouth, because the saliva glands can swell and not function properly.

In disorders such as bulimia, where an individual induces vomiting to get rid of food that’s been eaten, stomach acid flowing over the teeth can cause serious problems. Tooth enamel can be compromised and lost to the point where the edges of the teeth become thin and break off. Teeth can change color, shape, and length. The teeth may become extremely sensitive to hot or cold foods.

More than 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from eating disorders, with most being teen and young adult women. Eating disorders are typical a result of other issues—social, physical, or psychological—and treatment typically requires that all pertinent issues need to be addressed to help overcome the problem. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for recovery, and dentists can sometimes help by spotting issues with teeth or oral health that have been brought on by eating disorders.

If you suspect you may have an eating disorder—or if you think someone you know has an eating disorder—please seek help. These conditions can be fatal or cause permanent problems. And if you have questions,
call us at 704-376-6470 or use the“Ask The Expert” feature of our website.

Men's healthWe’ve discussed women’s special dental health requirements, and while men don’t have the same hormone-based issues as women, they do need to know some important things about their dental health.

The first is simple: Most men need to go to their dentists more often.

Men are much more likely to neglect their teeth and gums than women, often avoiding going to the dentist for years, and ONLY going when they have a problem they can’t attempt to solve themselves. On average most men will lost 5.4 teeth by the time they’re 72. If they’re smokers, the average is 12 teeth.

And it’s not just teeth to be concerned about. Inflammation of the gums from tartar and plaque can lead to gingivitis and other periodontal health issues. Even more serious is the evidence that suggests that oral inflammation may even be a contributor to heart disease.

So, if you’re a male and you’re coming to the realization that maybe you should take better care of your teeth, here’s what you should do:

  1. Schedule a checkup, even if you haven’t gone to the dentist in years. Your dentist knows the statistics and probably won’t give you a lecture. He or she will just be glad to see you.
  2. Brush. And floss. Or think about spending a little more time on them.
  3. Don’t wait until that funny feeling in your tooth feels more like a jackhammer that’s on fire. We know you’re tough. We’d just prefer you be tough with teeth.

Call Charlotte Dentistry® today to schedule a checkup, or you can do it online at www.charlottedentistry.com. You can also use the “Ask The Expert” feature on our website to get answers to your questions.

Dealing with dry SocketWhen most people have a tooth pulled, they experience a little discomfort for a couple of days. But if the pain persists and becomes more intense, then the individual might be suffering from a condition called dry socket or alveolar osteitis.

What is a dry socket? Dry socket is rare—only about two to five percent of people experience it. When a tooth is pulled, a blood clot forms at the extraction site (in the socket or hole in the bone). The blood clot protects the bone and the nerves underneath. If the clot becomes dislodged, or if it dissolves early, the bone can become exposed to air, food, and fluids. This can cause infection and severe pain.

How do you get dry sockets? You are more likely to get dry socket if you smoke, use birth control pills, or have poor oral hygiene. It’s also more common in people who undergo wisdom teeth removal or who experience greater than usual trauma having a tooth extracted.

Dry socket can be treated fairly easily. Treatment for symptoms include controlling the pain with an over-the-counter medication like aspirin or ibuprofen can be used or your dentist can prescribe something stronger if necessary. Your dentist will clean the socket area, and fill it with a medicated dressing or paste to promote healing. You may need to return to the dentist’s office to have the dressing replaced periodically. An antibiotic may also be prescribed.

Once treated, a dry socket will usually heal within a couple of weeks.

Want to learn more? Use the Ask The Expert feature of our website, or call Charlotte Dentistry®. We’re happy to help.

Oral cancer strikes about 35,000 Americans each year, and 25% of these people will die of the disease.  Smoking and alcohol use greatly increase the risk of oral cancer, especially the use of “smokeless” tobacco products.  Oral cancer is more likely to occur after the age of 40.Dentist Checkup

Like with most cancers, early detection is critical.  And your dentist can help.

Oral cancer typically starts as a small sore or white/red spot anywhere in the mouth, including the gums, cheek, lips, or palate.  Other symptoms can include:

 

  • A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
  • A color change of the oral tissues
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.

The initial cancer can be so small that you may not notice it until it becomes a bigger problem.  That’s where your dentist comes in.

At Charlotte Dentistry®, every procedure, even routine cleanings, includes a screening for oral cancer and other abnormalities.  This early detection can mean much simpler treatment and faster recovery, and it could even save your life.

We have better tools than ever for detecting and treating oral cancer in its early stages.  If you notice any changes in your mouth that don’t seem normal, call us at 704.376.6470 for a checkup, or use the “Ask The Expert” feature on our website.  It may be something that doesn’t merit concern, but if not, we can help you catch it early.

Click HERE to schedule your appointment today.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects more than one million Americans, many of them undiagnosed.  The clinical definition of CFS is severe fatigue lasting six or more months with other causes excluded by diagnosis.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from CFS, only a medical professional can make an accurate diagnosis, typically after ruling out a number of other potential Fatiguecauses.  The disease can be quite debilitating and adversely affect the patient’s quality of life, so a proper diagnosis is essential.

CFS can create a variety of dental issues, including jaw pain and dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay.  In addition, the medications used to treat CFS can contribute to other oral conditions.  It is especially important for people diagnosed with CFS to take good care of their teeth.

Dentists accommodate patients with CFS by making sure checkups are scheduled when the patient’s energy level is high enough to manage the treatment, and the dentist will consult closely with the patient’s physician on treatments such as oral surgery that require extra recovery time and care.

Have further questions about CFS and dental health?  Use the “Ask The Expert” feature of our website to get answers.

If you’ve ever experienced an ongoing burning sensation around the inside of your mouth, tongue, gums, or palate? You might have Burning Mouth Syndrome, or BMS.Mouth on Fire

BMS is a complex problem that typically affects adults middle age or older, though it can occur at any age.  The sensation can be mild or intense, with some people even likening it to being in contact with scalding water.  For other people BMS can cause mouth soreness or a metallic taste.

The cause of BMS is undetermined, but possible factors include nutrition, anemia, nerve damage, oral infections, or hormonal changes.

BMS is treatable in many cases and your dentist or doctor can help by diagnosing the cause and administering the proper course of care, which can be medication, vitamin supplements, or other options.

Brushing and proper oral hygiene can also help BMS, although alcohol-based mouth rinses can aggravate the condition.

If you’re experiencing problems that may be related to BMS, call us at 704.376.6470 for an appointment, and see if our dentists can help provide relief.  Or click HERE to schedule an appointment through our website.

If you’ve ever experienced an ongoing burning sensation around the inside of your mouth, tongue, gums, or palate? You might have Burning Mouth Syndrome, or BMS.

BMS is a complex problem that typically affects adults middle age or older, though it can occur at any age. The sensation can be mild or intense, with some people even likening it to being in contact with scalding water. For other people BMS can cause mouth soreness or a metallic taste.

The cause of BMS is undetermined, but possible factors include nutrition, anemia, nerve damage, oral infections, or hormonal changes.

BMS is treatable in many cases and your dentist or doctor can help by diagnosing the cause and administering the proper course of care, which can be medication, vitamin supplements, or other options.

Brushing and proper oral hygiene can also help BMS, although alcohol-based mouth rinses can aggravate the condition.

If you’re experiencing problems that may be related to BMS, call us at 704.376.6470 for an appointment, and see if our dentists can help provide relief. Or click HERE to schedule an appointment through our website.

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