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    Your Guide to Dental Emergencies

    by Saunders DDS on May 23, 2017

    Emergencies are part of life, even when it comes to your teeth.

    Not everyone has thought about what they would do in the event of a dental emergency or how the situation should be handled!

    This guide will help you not only be able to identify a dental emergency, but also to know what to do when it happens. If you have children, keeping the following tips in mind can help greatly in the event their smile should become damaged.

    Here’s how you can know what a dental emergency is as well as how to handle the incident once it happens.

    What Is a Dental Emergency?

    A dental emergency is a problem that requires immediate care in order to stop your tooth from being lost, control bleeding, or stop intense pain.

    If you have an oral health problem and think you can live with the pain, consider the following situations to see if your case may actually require immediate attention from your dentist in Asheville.

    Situations That Require Immediate Care

    When the following instances happen, it’s best to get yourself to a dentist as soon as possible. If your dentist isn’t available, go to the emergency room.

    A Knocked-Out Tooth

    If your tooth has been knocked out whether in one piece or in fragments, gather all the pieces of your tooth. Ideally, you’d want to put the tooth back in your mouth and hold it in its socket until you can see the dentist.

    If this just isn’t possible, put the tooth in a container of saliva or milk. You may also need a piece of gauze or a clean cloth to hold on the area to help slow the bleeding. Then get yourself to the dentist as soon as you’re able.

    Cracked or Fractured Teeth

    Any tooth that’s been cracked or broken as the result of an injury should be seen as soon as possible by your Asheville dentist. This is because the sooner you’re able to receive treatment, the more likely it is that your dentist will be able to save your tooth and put the pieces back. Gather all the pieces of your chipped or broken tooth to take with you.

    Injury to Teeth or Jaw

    Whether it’s from an accident or injury, any impact to your teeth or jaw should be evaluated by your dentist in Asheville. If the accident was severe enough to knock out one or several of your teeth, take the tooth with you to the dentist. Your Asheville dentist can also take x-rays to determine if your jaw has been affected by the injury.

    Severe Toothache

    Putting off a toothache is never a good idea. Toothaches rarely go away on their own and will need professional treatment to get better. Sometimes, a tooth abscess can result if there’s an infection that’s gone untreated.

    If your toothache is so severe you can’t stand the pain, this could be a life-threatening infection, so get yourself to your emergency dentist or the emergency room at your local hospital as soon as you can.

    Dental Problems That Can Wait

    There are some oral health issues that can wait until regular office hours for you to be seen by your dentist for an exam. This list includes the following issues with your smile.

    A Lost Crown or Filling

    When a crown or filling has been lost, you can wait until your dentist is open to get an appointment. Try not to put this off for too long, though. Call your Asheville dentist and see what they recommend as far as getting in to replace the crown or filling and protecting your tooth. In the meantime, try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth that’s missing the filling or crown!

    Broken or Damaged Braces

    If you or your child has broken braces, this isn’t a cause for emergency. Call your dentist or orthodontist and make an appointment to get the repairs done. You can get some orthodontic wax if there are any wires poking out to protect the gum tissue until the fix is complete.

    Mild Toothache

    When you have a toothache that’s not quite as painful as a more severe, throbbing toothache, call your dentist in Asheville to find out their recommendation for an appointment. Getting in to see your dentist in a matter of days should suffice, but if the pain worsens, insist on being seen sooner.

    What Can You Do?

    When these dental emergencies happen, it’s important to be prepared. Here are just a few things you can do in order to increase the chances that your tooth will be able to be saved when you see your dentist.

    Keep a List of Dentists

    It’s important to know where you can go for dental emergencies when they happen. Talk to your local dentist about when they’re open and available to receive emergency appointments. Have them recommend a place or a provider that’s open after hours should you need emergency care.

    Keep a list of dentists, urgent care clinics or local hospitals in your emergency kit so you can be seen as soon as possible for your broken or damaged teeth.

    Stock an Emergency Kit

    You might have a first-aid kit in your car or office, but does this include items that’ll be needed for a tooth emergency? Here’s what you should stock in a dental emergency kit.

    – Clean gauze

    – A sealable container for the lost tooth

    – Disposable cold pack for pain and swelling

    – Orthodontic wax

    – OTC temporary filling material

    You may also choose to keep gloves and additional dressings such as cotton balls in your kit. Keep it close by and include the numbers for your local dentists and hospitals.

    Know the Plan

    Out of all of your preparation, knowing what to do can help you act quickly in an emergency situation.

    This means knowing that knocked-out teeth need to be stored in saliva or milk to stay alive. It means reaching out to your dentist for advice when you need it. It also means understanding that broken teeth really shouldn’t wait until the next day to see the dentist—go there now!

    When you have a dental emergency, being prepared is half the battle. Keep these tips in mind in the event that you or someone you know has a dental problem that requires immediate care.

    Remember, you can prevent many dental health problems such as a tooth infection or a lost filling by regularly seeing your dentist. You can help save your tooth by knowing the best practices following a tooth injury. Make an appointment with us to prevent oral health issues and talk about emergency care.

    A new study published in the British Medical Journal shows that people who avoid the dentist, because of dental anxiety, tend to be unhappy and experience a poorer quality of life.

    This may be due to the fact that people who avoid the dentist tend to have more cavities. Cavities that are left untreated can grow so large that they lead to tooth loss, ultimately impacting the quality of a person’s speech, their chewing habits, and of course, their appearance.

    The study also found that people who had more cavities were also more likely to have other illnesses as well. This comes as little surprise since dental health has been linked to heart health in the past and recently, cancer.

    Here’s how skipping your dental checkup could result in more unhappiness and an unhealthy smile.

    Lack of Treatment Generates Anxiety

    The authors of the study found that dental anxiety is a vicious cycle for the people who experience it.

    For instance, those who have dental anxiety—a feeling of dread or panic when thinking about the dentist, making an appointment, or coming in for a visit—tend to avoid the dentist. The longer they go without treatment, the more dental work they anticipate needing. This, in turn, generates further anxiety about the perceived need for future treatment.

    Of course, this additional anxiety prevents them from seeking that treatment, thus leading to a cycle of anxiety and avoidance that can lead to poor dental health.

    Symptoms of the Patients

    The people who participated in the study and avoided the dentist as a result of dental anxiety had more cavities, increased plaque, and more gum bleeding than people who regularly see their dentist.

    There were, of course, other factors that led to cavities besides dental anxiety. According to the study of almost 11,000 people, the presence of cavity forming plaque was most likely found in men who brushed their teeth irregularly.

    The patients who reported dental anxiety—slightly less than 4,000 people—were also more likely to have missing teeth. Ironically, missing teeth were also associated with being female as well as being advanced in age. Furthermore, we know age is a risk factor for gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

    How Gum Disease Fits In

    Dental anxiety wasn’t connected to ligament damage that dentists often see with advanced periodontal (gum) disease. However, the study did find that not using floss was a factor in ligament damage.

    Bleeding from the gums, another symptom of gum disease, was found to be less of an issue among the patients who reported regularly flossing their teeth.

    Quality of Life in Those with Dental Anxiety

    The study found that there was a “significant relationship” between people who reported having dental phobia and people who acknowledged a negative impact on their quality of life as a result of poor dental health.

    This is likely because people with dental anxiety are more likely to have one or more missing teeth or decayed teeth. This is unfortunate because these people avoid the dentist despite the fact that tooth decay is preventable.

    Although previous research suggests a correlation with patients who report dental anxiety and those who have gum disease, no such correlation was found in this study. This could be because some of these patients who experience dental anxiety try and care for their teeth with the hope of avoiding dental visits.

    The Impact

    Your smile affects your life in more ways than you think. Imagine if every time your reaction to smile, laugh, or speak was immediately followed by anxiety about someone seeing your missing tooth.

    From eating and drinking to socializing with others, oral disease affects our lives. The well-being of the people in the study was found to be impacted by their resistance to seeking dental treatment. This includes their physiological, psychological, social, and emotional health.

    The study hypothesizes that people who have dental anxiety may also have general anxiety, which could lead to sadness, exhaustion, and discouragement. Being embarrassed about your smile can prevent you from fully participating in social events or your life in general.

    These patients may feel isolated, embarrassed, powerless, and of course, fearful of visiting the dentist. Everything from your work life to personal relationships can be affected by these feelings, which may result in poor self-esteem and negative thoughts.

    Help for Dental Anxiety

    Dental anxiety affects an estimated 30 million people or more in the United States. This condition isn’t uncommon and is handled with care at many offices, especially at your dentist in Asheville.

    When you find yourself avoiding the dentist because you’re afraid of the treatment you’ll need, the anxiety surrounding the dental instruments or the doctor, or even just because of financial reasons, know that there is help available.

    Dentists offer sedative dentistry options for patients who need a little extra help relaxing in the dentist’s chair. These include medications that can range from mild to heavy in order to bring you to your most comfortable level of relaxation.

    Talk to your Asheville dentist about your dental anxiety. Dentists like Dr. Saunders have experience in working with people who either haven’t been to the dentist in a long time or are afraid to let anyone work in their mouth.

    The more time you go without a dental exam, the more you risk compromising your smile with conditions that could be easily prevented or treated.

    How to Take the Best Care of Your Teeth

    Scheduling a professional teeth cleaning every six months is easy and can help prevent many dental problems that dentists commonly see today.

    If you have dental anxiety and find that you just can’t make it to the dentist as often as you should, take the best possible care of your teeth at home. This will ensure your smile is healthy, but it’ll also prevent the need for any cosmetic dentistry when you come in for your visit.

    Of course, home health habits only go so far. Find a dentist who’s local in your area who has experience treating patients with dental anxiety. Visit the office or call and ask about sedative dentistry options. You shouldn’t have to avoid the dentist and risk your beautiful smile just because you’re anxious about treatment.

    Here’s how to take care of your teeth in between cleanings:

    • Brush two times a day for at least two minutes. The quality of your brushing matters more than the force or the length of time—brush gently and pay attention to the surfaces you cover.
    • Floss once a day. This can be anytime during the day, as long as you do it! Flossing helps to cover all the surface areas of your teeth and removes plaque and food debris that could otherwise cause decay.
    • Minimize your consumption of sugar. From sodas to candy to pastries, limit how much sugar you eat. When you do eat sugar, rinse with water afterwards—it can help prevent sugar from damaging your tooth enamel.
    • Visit your dentist, even if it’s only once a year. Your Asheville dental practice is a judgement-free zone. Come in and see us, no matter how infrequently. We’re here to help you take care of your smile!

    Since skipping your checkups with your Asheville dentist could impact your quality of life in a bad way, visiting your dentist office is looking like the safer option to avoiding treatment. Even if you have dental anxiety, come in and speak with us. We’d love to help you discover your beautiful smile again!

    Oral cancer will kill almost 10,000 people in the United States this year.

    Oral cancer can be a sneaky disease. Often, people don’t notice the symptoms until cancer has already progressed in the body. This is why getting oral cancer screenings with your Asheville dentist is so important!

    Knowing your risk for oral cancer as well as the signs and symptoms can help you catch this disease early. Here’s what you don’t know about oral cancer, as well as how you can minimize your risk and seek treatment before it’s too late.

    What Is Oral Cancer?

    Oral cancer is cancer that develops in any part of the mouth, but could also include cancers in the face, neck, cheek, and tongue.

    Identifying oral cancer can be tricky, but inflammation is at the heart of this disease. Any pain, swelling, or odd-looking patches in your mouth should be evaluated by your dentist in Asheville for oral cancer.

    Oral cancer screenings are entirely painless and only take a few minutes. They can easily be conducted during your professional teeth cleaning.

    Rates of Oral Cancer in the U.S

    Nearly 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. People who receive treatment and survive the disease have a 57% survival rate after five years of being diagnosed. That’s still a large number of people who don’t survive oral cancer.

    The success of your treatment will depend on how late in its development the cancer is diagnosed. Although you may not recognize the symptoms, screening for the disease is paramount to avoid a late discovery.

    If oral cancer has metastasized to another area in the body such as the lymph nodes, this is worse than having a localized area of the disease and will be harder to treat. Get screenings so you can ensure your mouth is healthy!

    Risk Factors

    The risk factors for oral cancer are very similar to those for other types of cancers in the body. These risk factors include:

    • Smoking. More than a third of people do not realize that smoking is linked to oral cancer. The truth is that 90% of people who have oral cancer use some type of tobacco product. People who use these products are six times more likely to develop oral cancer. Smokeless tobacco raises your risk for oral cancer as well—by 50 times!
    • Alcohol. 80% of patients with oral cancer drink alcohol. This is a significant risk factor, and the combination of tobacco and alcohol is even worse.
    • Sun exposure. 30% of oral cancer patients have experienced prolonged exposure to sunlight.
    • Age. Your risk for cancer increases as you age. The vast majority of people (86%) are diagnosed at age 50 or above.
    • Being male. Oral cancers are twice as common in men as they are in women.
    • Not eating well. The fewer fruits and vegetables you eat, the higher your risk for developing oral cancer.

    It’s important to note that 90% of mouth cancers are linked to lifestyle or environmental factors. This could include your exposure to certain chemicals as well as lifestyle factors like drinking and smoking.

    It’s also worth noting that while not all of these risk factors are controllable, many of them are. Drinking and smoking are lifestyle choices. Sun exposure can be controlled or at least managed with a quality sunscreen.

    Although age and sex are genetic, you can make healthier eating choices to help reduce your risk for oral cancer!

    Screenings and Symptoms

    Receiving annual screenings for oral cancer with your Asheville dental practice can help to catch oral cancer early. As a routine part of your exam, this screening is painless and easy. Your dentist will simply check for any lumps in your neck, cheeks, or face.

    Your Asheville dentist will also look for any white or red patches in your mouth. It’s important that you talk to your dentist about any sores you have that won’t heal or other symptoms you experience.

    Other symptoms of oral cancer your dentist will ask about and look for include:

    • Persistent pain in the mouth
    • A lump in your cheek or neck
    • Patches of red or white on your gums or tongue
    • A persistent or unexplained sore throat
    • Trouble chewing and swallowing
    • Numbness or swelling in your mouth or face
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Loose teeth or bad breath, which are also symptoms of gum disease

    If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Simply being aware of the symptoms can help you know when you need a checkup.

    Annual or bi-annual checkups can help assess if oral cancer is present and your dentist in Asheville can give you more tips on reducing your oral cancer risk!

    Reduce Your Risk and Get Checkups

    Reducing your risk for oral cancer is easier than you think.

    Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and avoiding sugary foods such as sodas and sweets is paramount. Incorporate fruits and vegetables with every meal to get your servings in!

    Sugar can also promote inflammation, which is a risk factor for both cancer and heart disease. Eat more whole foods and less processed foods that contain sugar to promote wellness in your body and mouth.

    Visiting your dentist for professional teeth cleanings and an oral exam can routinely remove plaque and help improve your oral care routine. Your Asheville dentist can advise you on better brushing tips and get you motivated to floss!

    If you drink and smoke regularly, consider making changes to your lifestyle routines. Find resources for quitting the tobacco habit, and limit alcohol as much as possible. Alcohol is also extremely erosive to your tooth enamel.

    When you spend more than 10-20 minutes outside in direct sunlight, it’s a good idea to use sunscreen.

    Getting diagnosed with oral cancer is not a death sentence. Seeking treatment early is paramount to your success, but getting treatment can’t happen without a diagnosis. Be on top of your oral care and get regular screenings to ensure you don’t have oral cancer.

    Checkups are simple and can help you stay on track and reduce your risk! You can keep your mouth healthy through brushing and flossing, but remember that oral health is a comprehensive routine. Taking care of your mouth can ensure a healthy body and a healthy heart.

    Schedule a visit with us today to get an oral cancer screening with your dental exam and cleaning!

    Most of us are so busy in our daily lives that taking care of our oral health tends to be an afterthought.

    Our bodies have ways of telling us when something is wrong—the same is true for our mouth. Your mouth will let you know if something is amiss. It’s your job to notice the signs and take action before it’s too late.

    While many oral health problems can be avoided through regular brushing and flossing, some signs are obscure enough that they don’t let you know there’s a problem until it’s almost too late.

    This is why it’s imperative to visit your Asheville dentist so that you can identify and treat problems before they even have a chance to produce symptoms.

    Here are six signs that your mouth is trying to tell you something and what they might mean for your oral health.

    1. Sore, Swollen, or Red Gums

    If your gums are tender to the touch or you experience pain when brushing, you could be experiencing the beginning stages of gum disease, also known as gingivitis.

    Nearly half of all Americans have gum disease according to the Centers for Disease Control. This is a huge number of people that are experiencing symptoms such as red, swollen, or bleeding gums and compromising their oral health by ignoring these signs and symptoms.

    The good news is that gum disease can be treated by your dentist in Asheville and reversed easily in its early stages. Gum disease may not be initially painful, but it’s actually one of the most common reasons that older Americans lose their teeth.

    Another symptom of gum disease is chronic bad breath that won’t go away even after brushing and flossing. By having your mouth examined at your Asheville dental practice, you can diagnose and treat gum disease before it’s too late.

    2. Tooth Sensitivity to Temperature or Sweets

    Tooth sensitivity, like gum disease, is pretty common. It’s estimated that the number of Americans with sensitive teeth rivals that of those with gum disease.

    Your mouth is trying to tell you something through your tooth sensitivity—it could mean a number of things. Tooth sensitivity to temperature or sweets could be the result of the following oral health problems:

    • Tooth decay
    • A fractured tooth
    • Worn away tooth enamel
    • An exposed root from recessed gums

    Temperature sensitivity is usually not a problem in people with healthy enamel. However, when the enamel is damaged from one of the above problems, people tend to feel the temperature in the pulp of your tooth.

    If you don’t have your tooth sensitivity examined, you could be setting yourself up for future problems. For instance, a cavity that’s left to progress could easily lead to the need for root canal therapy.

    You may be wearing away your enamel by grinding your teeth, which could be indicative of a jaw problem. Loss of enamel can cause all types of oral health problems, from tooth sensitivity to cavities to discoloration of the teeth.

    Sensitive teeth that are the result of recessed gums could be a symptom of gum disease. When you seek treatment with your Asheville dentist, you can stop these problems before they progress!

    3. Bleeding While Brushing

    While some patients might consider bleeding during their oral care routine normal, this is actually a sign of an underlying oral health problem.

    You could have tender gums that hurt when brushing or flossing, which may be indicative of gum disease. However, if you haven’t flossed in a long time, a bit of bleeding at first is normal.

    If you’re too aggressive with brushing or flossing, bleeding may happen. Aggressive brushing can be damaging to your enamel, especially if it’s done right after a meal or after consuming sugar. Gentle brushing with a soft-bristled brush head is ideal.

    If you’re brushing with an old toothbrush with frayed bristles, you could even be cutting your gums. This means it’s time to replace your toothbrush!

    Regardless of what you may think your bleeding while brushing means, visit your dentist in Asheville to determine the true cause and seek treatment if necessary.

    4. If You Have Jaw Pain

    Persistent jaw pain is never a good thing. Your jaw pain could mean a couple different things.

    First, you may have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. This means the joint that connects your jaw to your skull is not functioning as it should. You may be limited in your jaw movements or have an aching pain that’s persistent or intermittent.

    Getting treatment can help alleviate your pain. You may need orthodontics to correct your bite or perhaps you just need physical therapy and to learn relaxation techniques through your doctor. Knowing what’s causing your TMJ disorder will be imperative to getting the right treatment.

    Jaw pain could also be the symptom of a tooth abscess or tooth infection. The pain from these infections—which go deep into the root of the tooth and may need root canal therapy—may range from mild to severe.

    Your Asheville dentist can examine your jaw and help determine what’s causing your pain. You should never ignore pain, as this important symptom means your body is trying to tell you something!

    5. Changes in Color or Lumps

    White or red patches, lumps, or vague oral pain could be indicative of oral cancer. Any pain or lumps around the face or neck should be evaluated by your dentist or doctor.

    If you have unexplained bleeding, trouble swallowing, changes in taste, numbness, or any changes in texture and color in your mouth, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible.

    Your dentist in Asheville can perform an oral cancer screening during your regular checkups. If you’ve haven’t been to the dentist in a while and are experiencing symptoms of oral cancer, schedule an appointment with us.

    Dr. Saunders can talk with you about your symptoms after a thorough exam and provide a diagnosis for your problems. The sooner you seek the advice of a professional, the better!

    You can limit your risk for oral cancer by avoiding tobacco products and limiting your consumption of alcohol to protect your teeth.

    6. White Spots on Your Teeth

    If your teeth have white spots, your mouth could be experiencing a few different things.

    First, white spots on the teeth could mean you’ve been getting too much fluoride. This is especially true in children, when excessive fluoride intake before teeth are matured could lead to the formation of these spots.

    A simple dental exam for your child can tell you how healthy your child’s teeth are and how much fluoride they should be getting.

    White spots on your teeth could mean you may have experienced mineral loss in these areas.  This can cause weakened enamel and put you at a higher risk for cavities.

    Getting your teeth checked out by your Asheville dentist can identify the likely cause of your white spots and what you can do to strengthen and protect your teeth.

     

    If you’re experiencing any of these six symptoms, schedule an appointment with us. Dr. Saunders can effectively examine your mouth and determine what the problem is. Putting off your dental health care is never a good idea—you want to seek treatment while you still can.

    Consider what your mouth is trying to tell you with these symptoms!

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    5 Myths about Root Canal Therapy

    by Saunders DDS on March 8, 2017

    Root canal therapy has gotten a bad reputation throughout the years. You may have heard your parents talk about how terrible their root canal treatment was. Perhaps you even need a root canal but are dreading having one done, and are therefore putting off the procedure.

    Forget everything you know about root canal therapy. This form of treatment has come a long way since its inception. Experienced dentists like your dentist in Asheville can perform the procedure and help save your tooth, therefore avoiding an extraction.

    Why would you get root canal therapy as opposed to an extraction? Here are some of the top myths about root canal therapy so you can overcome your misconceptions about this treatment.

    Myth #1: Root Canals Are Extremely Painful

    Root canals are designed to treat your pain, not cause you more pain.

    During a root canal procedure, your Asheville dentist removes the infected, or inflamed, pulpal tissue (which consists of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue) that’s inside your tooth. The pulp tissue could be infected, or inflamed, for a variety of reasons, among them include:

    • A cavity that’s been left to progress.
    • A fractured or cracked tooth that allows bacteria to invade the inner portions of the tooth.
    • An injured tooth, which may lead to bacteria in the pulp, therefore causing an infection.

    Infected pulp tissue is usually painful.  However, some people remain symptomless because the nerve tissue dies during the infection.

    For patients who experience pain and for those who don’t, a root canal is designed to save your tooth.

    Finally, for many patients the procedure can be completed painlessly with modern anesthetics and mild anxiolytic medications.

    Myth #2: Getting a Tooth Pulled Is Better

    Saving your natural tooth is almost always the preferred option.

    This is because there’s nothing quite like your natural teeth. Even the best tooth replacement options available do not have all the advantages your teeth do. Your teeth can last a lifetime; they’re strong, resilient, and look natural in your mouth.

    Having a tooth removed is usually not a better option than a root canal. Replacing a missing tooth is often more expensive, takes longer to complete and may not last as long.  Finally, by saving your natural tooth you’ll also maintain your natural appearance.

    Many people don’t realize that root canal therapy can save your tooth. Talk to your Asheville dental practice about this option. Although there are situations where an extraction is unavoidable, in many cases, root canal therapy is the better choice for treatment.

    Myth #3: I Don’t Need a Root Canal

    For those who don’t experience pain as a result of dead or infected tooth pulp, they may think they don’t need a root canal.

    This is a myth. Once the pulp has died, the infection can spread into other tissues and may eventually create a painful abscess in your mouth. People who have diseased pulpal tissue can treat the tooth by removing the infected pulp and sealing the canal to prevent future infections.  Furthermore, a positive outcome from a root canal procedure is predictable.

    Skipping your root canal appointment and leaving an abscess untreated, could even lead bacteria to entering your bloodstream and affecting your heart.

    Finally, you can also miss the chance to save your tooth and instead end up needing an extraction if you avoid root canal therapy long enough. This is because the tooth may become so infected or damaged that the root canal treatment outcome becomes significantly less predictable.

    Myth #4: A Follow-Up Visit Is Unnecessary

    While root canal therapy with your Asheville dentist likely won’t take several dental visits, you can and should schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure your root canal procedure was effective.

    You’ll also need to receive a restoration on your tooth (to seal the outside) after the inside has been sealed to protect the tooth from bacterial invasion.  Your follow-up visit can ensure your tooth is healing from the procedure as well as fit you with a permanent restoration on your tooth to complete the process.

    Getting a root canal procedure doesn’t take much more time than a filling these days, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid the dentist after your root canal therapy. Scheduling an appointment along with regular cleanings can help you prevent needing any future root canals and protect the ones you currently have.

    Talk with your dentist in Asheville about scheduling your follow-up appointment when you talk about root canal therapy.

    Myth #5: Root Canals Cause Illness

    The myth that root canals can cause illness and disease originated decades ago, but there is no conclusive evidence to back up these claims.

    These old ideas centered on the fact that any bacteria from the infected pulp would become trapped once the canal was sealed and could cause illness in the body. The literature says this just isn’t true. Technology has enabled dentists to have better, more precise tools to effectively remove diseased tissue inside your tooth.

    The risks of avoiding a root canal far outweigh those for getting root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is a safe and effective procedure. In fact, certain root canal treatments have a 95% success rate in patients.

    The Truth about Root Canal Therapy

    The truth is that root canal therapy is often a painless, successful procedure for the vast majority of patients. Schedule an exam with Dr. Saunders at our Asheville dental practice. He can conduct a thorough exam and determine if a root canal is needed.

    Even if you don’t suspect root canal therapy is necessary, come in and see us. Regular checkups and cleanings can help remove the bacteria and plaque that cause cavities and gum disease that could lead to infected tooth pulp in the first place.

    Consider that root canals aren’t meant to harm your tooth, but to heal it. When or if you need root canal therapy, keep these five myths in mind when you visit your dentist for a consultation!

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    Headaches? Might Be Time to See the Dentist

    by Saunders DDS on February 28, 2017

    Having a headache is an awful experience.

    From a mild headache to a tension migraine, headaches can be intense and traumatic. If you frequently have headaches, you know that they impact your daily life.

    Trying to find out the cause of your headaches can often be an ineffective and frustrating search. This is because headaches can be caused by many things, and too commonly, the cause is misdiagnosed.

    This is where getting regular checkups with your dentist in Asheville can help. Your Asheville dentist is an expert in evaluating your mouth, jaw, and teeth. Dr. Saunders can help identify problem areas that could be causing headaches.

    But how does your mouth and jaw relate to a pounding headache? Here are the top causes of headaches that your dentist can help identify and treat.

    Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

    Did you know that 80% of all headaches result from muscle tension?

    Your jaw consists of your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is one of the most complex joints in your body. This gives your jaw the ability to open and close as well as to move from side to side, making you adept at chewing food.

    However, this also means that your TMJ is more susceptible to problems. TMJ disorders are usually caused by other problems, some of which include:

    • Arthritis of the joint
    • Injury to the face, jaw, or mouth
    • Misalignment of the teeth
    • Teeth grinding (bruxism)

    All of these are potential causes of TMJ disorders, which can be very frustrating. Their symptoms include a popping or clicking jaw, difficulty opening your mouth wide, or jaw pain.

    Problems with your TMJ can cause tension in the muscles that support the joint. When there’s a reoccurring problem, over time you can begin to develop tension headaches. Unless the root cause of this problem is addressed, the headaches generally continue or may even get worse in frequency or severity.

    TMJ disorders can be treated with the help of your Asheville dental practice to properly alleviate your headaches!

    Bruxism

    Bruxism is another name for teeth grinding, which is a damaging habit for your smile.

    Teeth grinding puts immense pressure on your teeth, which leads to tense muscles. This, in turn, can lead to tension headaches. However, bruxism also causes a wide range of other problems in the mouth, especially if this is a practice that’s continued over time.

    Grinding your teeth can lead to broken or chipped teeth, visually impacting your smile. As bruxism continues, the pressure eventually causes inflammation of the tooth’s roots which can lead to sore teeth.

    Bruxism can be treated by your dentist with mouthguards as well as with stress-relieving techniques. Your bruxism may be caused by issues other then stress, such as an incorrect bite.  In some patients an incorrect bite causes muscle disharmony which manifests as bruxism and potentially pain.

    Incorrect Bite

    An incorrect bite can create many problems in the mouth. These include problems chewing food properly, pronouncing words, and creating jaw pain and tension.

    When our bite isn’t properly aligned, it can create uneven wear among our teeth which can lead to enamel erosion. Once enamel is gone, it can’t be replaced and may eventually lead to tooth sensitivity and possibly cavities, further damaging teeth.

    Incorrect bites may be the result of genes passed down from parents and can usually be corrected with orthodontics. If left untreated, these bites can cause muscles to strain as your body continually works to correct the problem. This leaves you with tense muscles and often, headaches.

    Correcting misaligned bites is usually a simple process that can greatly help when it comes to correcting your jaw. If a misaligned bite is determined to be the cause of your headaches, fixing this problem will help alleviate your pain!

    Stress

    Stress takes a huge toll on our bodies in ways we often don’t realize.

    Stress is often responsible for the increased risk of chronic diseases, unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking, and yes, even headaches.

    If you experience a lot of stress at work or at home, you could be creating tense muscles in your face, neck, or jaw. All of these muscles have important jobs to do. When these muscles are tense and strained frequently, they could be causing tension headaches.

    Stress can also be a contributing factor in TMJ disorders, and will often make the disorder worse. Learning relaxation techniques as well as properly managing your stress can help alleviate tension headaches.

    Getting an exam with your Asheville dentist can also help identify any existing problems in your jaw or if you’re grinding your teeth due to stress!

    What Can You Do?

    As you can see, all of these problems are related in one way or another and they can work to cause headaches.

    It’s not always easy to determine the cause of a headache, but don’t overlook the dentist as someone who can help you figure out this problem.

    Dentists are trained to notice abnormalities in your neck, jaw, and even face. Signs of bruxism are often evident through enamel loss and sore teeth.  Odd jaw noises or jaw pain can be indicative of TMJ disorders, which your dentist can help identify and treat.

    Improper bites are often apparent in early childhood and can be corrected with orthodontics as your child gets older. By identifying problems early, you minimize the chances that you or your child will experience problems later on.

    Aren’t your tension headaches overdue for a checkup with your dentist? Talk to your dentist in Asheville about the symptoms you’re experiencing and where you’re feeling pain. Dr. Saunders can talk with you about any jaw problems you may have and help provide a solution.

    Don’t live with tension headaches any longer. Schedule an appointment with us to see if your jaw could be the cause of the problem!

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    6 Oral Health Hacks You Didn’t Know About

    by Saunders DDS on February 9, 2017

    Taking care of your oral health is something that can feel easy to do—brush, floss, and visit your dentist in Asheville. Easy, right?

    Not so fast. While taking care of your teeth can be as easy as 1, 2, 3, there are some oral health hacks you should know about to make your oral care easier. These are things many people don’t think to do when taking care of their smile.

    Can you think of six things to do to better care for your smile? Next time you’re reaching for your toothbrush, keep the following six oral health hacks in mind!

    Consider an Electric Toothbrush

    Although brushing your teeth is a great regardless of what type of toothbrush you use, many people benefit from using an electric toothbrush.

    Why?

    The brush head is small, therefore it makes getting every angle of your tooth easier. It also spins on its own accord, so all you need to do is aim the brush. This means you can see better results with less effort on your part.

    Electric toothbrushes are known to clean your teeth better than a manual toothbrush for many people. In fact, studies show that electric brushes remove 21% more plaque than regular brushes.

    Not everyone will love electric toothbrushes—brushing your teeth is important regardless of what brush you use. Also, replacing your toothbrush (brush head for electric toothbrushes) every three months is essential! Always choose a soft-bristled brush to avoid enamel damage from hard or aggressive brushing.

    Clean Your Tongue

    Your mouth is full of bacteria.

    Don’t panic! Many of these species of bacteria are beneficial for your mouth. This is especially true if you take proper care of your oral health.

    However, your mouth can contain 1,000—1 million different bacteria, depending on your unique oral composition and cleanliness. Some of these species of bacteria only exist on your tongue!

    This means you could be brushing your teeth every day and still experience bad breath. The answer is simple: start cleaning your tongue every time you brush.

    With your toothbrush or with a tongue scraper, simply brush your tongue back to front and side to side before rinsing with water. This can help get rid of bacteria that’ll affect your teeth. If you don’t want to use a tongue scraper, simply choose a brush with an attached tongue cleaner.

    Be sure not to brush or scrape too hard, as this can damage the tongue. Just as when brushing your teeth, be gentle!

    Cleaning your tongue is one of the easiest oral health hacks, but one that not everyone does! Brush your teeth and tongue before breakfast for even more benefits.

    Drink Water

    Drinking water is not only vital to your body but has some great benefits for your oral cavity as well.

    Here’s a snapshot of how drinking more water can help improve your teeth and gum health:

    • Sipping water hydrates you, therefore combating dry mouth. Dry mouth can cause bad breath, overgrowth of bad bacteria, and eventually, tooth decay.
    • Water helps to neutralize extremely acidic foods, like sugar or alcohol. This can prevent these substances from attacking your tooth enamel, therefore protecting your teeth!

    Water essentially helps to clean your mouth throughout the day when you’re unable to brush between meals. This clear, calorie-free liquid acts as a buffer between food and your smile visit the website.

    Bonus: drinking water with fluoride can actually strengthen teeth and further protect them from cavities!

    Staying hydrated is a must, particularly if you’re on any medications that can cause dry mouth. Keep water with you throughout the day and don’t be afraid to sip away!

    Choose Xylitol Gum

    Chewing gum can actually be beneficial for your smile! Gum that contains xylitol instead of sugar can help create a healthier mouth during your day.

    Xylitol is a compound that’s used as a sweetener, but it can actually help re-mineralize teeth, therefore strengthening enamel and reducing chances for cavities. Chewing gum with xylitol can also increase your saliva flow, which in turn helps to neutralize bad bacteria and protect teeth.

    This is one oral health hack that can help reduce bad breath, inhibit tooth decay, and help create stronger teeth. If you’re a gum chewer, switch to xylitol gum for some of these added benefits!

    Use a Straw

    At first glance, it would seem like using a straw has nothing to do with your pearly whites.

    Not so!

    Using a straw is an excellent oral health hack for two reasons.

    First, using a straw helps to prevent staining of the teeth. This is because it allows liquids to effectively bypass your teeth, therefore leaving your enamel untouched. Since our tooth enamel is porous, it can become stained over time, which is why many people opt for a professional teeth whitening procedure.

    Using a straw for beverages such as coffee and tea can help to minimize tooth staining. Drink these liquids cold when using this hack, as plastic straws don’t mix well with piping hot beverages!

    The second benefit of using a straw comes when consuming sugary drinks. We know that sugary beverages such as soda and energy drinks are hugely damaging to our smiles. If you must consume these drinks, do so with a straw. The liquids will bypass your teeth and minimize enamel damage when you drink them with a straw.

    Get the straws out for your favorite drinks—it’s time to protect your smile from staining and tooth decay!

    Wait to Brush

    Many people think any time is a great time to brush. This includes right after meals or after consuming something sweet. In fact, the opposite is true!

    When we first eat acidic or sweet foods, our enamel is weakened. This means that if we attempt to brush our teeth directly after this, we have a higher chance of removing some of our enamel in the process. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and cavities.

    It’s never a good idea to brush directly after a meal. If you’re in the habit of brushing after eating, make it a rule to wait 30 minutes before doing so. Brushing your teeth when your mouth has just been introduced to acidic agents can damage your smile more than you think!

    These oral health hacks are simple, but incorporating them into your oral care routine can make a world of difference. Consider giving an electric toothbrush a try for enhanced plaque removal. Clean your tongue when you brush your teeth. Drink plenty of water to help your oral bacteria remain in balance and neutralize your mouth.

    Consider using a straw when consuming coffee and soda, and choose xylitol gum to chew. Always wait 30 minutes after a meal to brush, and visit your dentist in Asheville. By getting regular checkups with your Asheville dental practice, you can prevent tooth decay and gum disease for a healthy smile!

    Let’s face it—getting your child to brush is like pulling teeth at times!

    Tooth decay is not uncommon among children, making it imperative that your child brush and floss from an early age. Even as an infant, it’s recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) that you wipe gums with a clean cloth or gauze after feedings. Decay can happen as soon as teeth are present!

    As your child grows, he or she can take on the task of brushing and flossing themselves. Teaching your child to brush and floss properly is often a progressive lesson that occurs over time. You can monitor your child’s oral care habits to ensure teeth and gums are properly cleaned.

    Once your child is doing their own brushing, however, encouraging them to brush can feel like a chore for both you and them. Here are five tips to get your child invested in brushing his or her teeth!

    1. Start Early

    Getting your child accustomed to brushing and flossing their teeth at an early age  is the key to success!

    Although you’ll need to help brush your toddler’s teeth, children at this age are old enough to begin trying by themselves.

    Exposing your child to floss, a toothbrush, and toothpaste can familiarize him or her with these items in addition to a routine.  This is the foundation to creating a habit of good oral healthcare that will last your child’s life!

    The same is true for starting your child early at the dentist. The ADA recommends that children see a dentist around the time their first tooth erupts, which is about six months old. Your child may be older than this before they get their first tooth, but regardless, schedule a visit with your dentist in Asheville when you see that first baby tooth!

    The earlier your child visits the dentist, the less afraid and more comfortable they become with dental visits. Missing dental  checkups and cleanings has other consequences besides making your child anxious, so schedule a check-up and start early to support your child’s oral health care!

    1. Use a Special Toothbrush

    Getting your child excited about tooth brushing time is easy when you let them choose a special toothbrush to use.

    Allowing your child to have their own brightly-colored or cartoon character toothbrush helps them feel like brushing is a time to use their new special item and have some fun!

    You can also have your child pick out a toothpaste and even floss that is just for them. Keeping their “tooth time” items together and separate from your own can create a unique experience that encourages them to use their new toothbrush and toothpaste.

    No matter how sweet, colorful, or sparkly your child’s toothpaste is, it’s imperative to encourage them not to swallow the toothpaste. Tell them it’s a special paste just for their teeth, not for their tummies!

    During your child’s dental exam, your dentist in Asheville can let you know how your child is doing with their brushing based on plaque buildup. Dr. Saunders can identify any problem areas or spots that your child is consistently missing with each checkup!

    You may also talk with Dr. Saunders about getting dental sealants once your child has permanent molars. These plastic-like protectors keep back molars safe from tooth decay while your child is still mastering their brushing skills.

    1. Make a Routine

    Having a routine in which brushing and flossing are consistently a part of can help keep your child on track when it comes to oral care.

    For example, you and your child can brush your teeth at the same time—children often learn by example. When you brush your teeth, your child can brush his or her teeth too! Encourage your child to brush before breakfast to remove plaque and bacteria from the night before. Plus, it gets this task out of the way before the busy day starts!

    Help your child make a habit of brushing every morning and evening regardless of events, vacations, or sleepovers. Let your child know that skipping brushing can be bad for our teeth. Consistency is key and keeping your child motivated to brush and floss can help them make it a part of their daily routine.

    Two minutes two times a day—that’s all that’s needed for brushing to be effective at preventing cavities and gum disease. Flossing is only needed once a day and can happen at the time of your child’s choosing!

    1. Have Fun!

    Making brushing and flossing fun is the easiest way to encourage your child to get involved in their oral care try this out. In addition to having a special toothbrush and toothpaste, you can read books about brushing teeth to learn more teeth and gums as well as listen to songs.

    Listening to songs that are two minutes long can help your child to know exactly how long they should brush their teeth for. Check out this list of seven songs from the ADA to listen to while brushing to have some fun and keep going for the full two minutes!

    You can also have your child teach his or her younger sibling how to brush. Children love to show younger children how to do things. Have them brush the sibling’s teeth if they’re old enough and experienced enough, or have them help you teach the child if he or she is ready!

    1. Create a Reward System

    If all else fails when trying to encourage your children to brush or floss, you can create a reward system that will get your child excited about brushing their teeth.

    A motivational chart that has stickers on it or even potential rewards can help your child to track their progress with brushing and see whether or not they flossed that day.

    You can also have your child learn about healthy snacks that will help their teeth rather than hurt them. Create a chart so your child can see which foods and drinks they’re eating that’ll help their teeth and give points or stickers for healthy foods!

    Creating a reward system is a positive way to get your child to stick to a routine of brushing and flossing.

    Brushing and flossing are crucial daily habits for your child to acquire. Get your child motivated about taking care of their smile by sticking to a routine, making brushing time fun, and letting them choose their own toothpaste and toothbrush. Use a rewards system if needed and always visit your dentist in Asheville for checkups. Your child should always be encouraged to have a healthy, beautiful smile!

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    Why January Is an Excellent Month to See Your Dentist

    by Saunders DDS on January 8, 2017

    Happy 2017! It’s the New Year and this is the perfect time to start things off positively. The holidays are over and your year is settling in to a more normal routine. In addition to signing up for a new gym membership, taking down decorations, and putting away gifts, have you had time to schedule an appointment with your Asheville dentist?

    January is an excellent month to check in with your dentist in Asheville. It’s the beginning of a new year and you can start by ensuring your smile is as healthy as it can be. Even if it’s been some time since you’ve gotten your teeth looked at, take this opportunity to get your mouth evaluated by a professional dentist!

    Why is January the perfect time to visit your dentist?

    Discuss Visits for the Coming Year

    The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that you visit your dentist regularly, with the length of time between each visit decided by you and your dentist. Why is this?

    The reason for this statement by the ADA is that not everyone has the same mouth. You and your smile are unique—some people may need to visit the dentist once a year while others may need a checkup every six months or even every three months based on your oral health.

    When you visit your dentist in Asheville in January, you can talk with Dr. Saunders about how often you should get an exam and a professional cleaning. Based on your oral health history, an annual visit may be all that’s needed. However, if you have a history of oral health problems including cavities, gum disease, or even oral cancer, you’ll likely need to visit your Asheville dental practice more often.

    Talk about your visits for the upcoming year when you visit your Asheville dentist this January. By putting them on the calendar now, you can know your appointments far in advance and arrange your schedule to accommodate them!

    Start the Year off Right with a Professional Cleaning

    When was the last time you got your teeth cleaned? While regular brushing in the morning and evening is great, you can’t be totally sure about the spots you’re missing or what’s hiding in-between your teeth when you forget to floss.

    Getting a professional teeth cleaning with your dentist not only cleans your smile, but it also allows your dentist the opportunity to identify problem areas. Perhaps the back of your front teeth have more plaque than the rest of your mouth, indicating that you’re missing brushing there. Or maybe you’re having trouble flossing between your back molars. During a professional cleaning, you can address these problems and Dr. Saunders can help you become a better brusher!

    Starting the New Year off with a squeaky clean smile removes surface stains, missed plaque from your daily brushing, and evaluates your risk for cavities. Smile wide this January!

    Address Teeth, Gum, and Jaw Concerns

    Having a problem with one of your teeth, your gums, or even your jaw requires a professional’s input rather than just searching the Internet. When you talk to a professional dentist in Asheville about your concerns, you get a concrete answer about what’s going on and what you can do about it.

    While gum recession, tooth pain, and a popping jaw aren’t pleasant symptoms, your dentist can help you to correct them. Gum recession is a common sign of gum disease and is often present with other symptoms such as tooth sensitivity. Talking with your dentist about these symptoms can lead to a proper diagnosis and treatment to provide you with some relief!

    A clicking or popping jaw is often a result of a problem with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). You may know these disorders by their more common name, TMJ disorders. Your Asheville dentist can perform an exam on your jaw and look at your bite to determine if you may have a problem with this complex joint in your body.

    Whether it’s an emergency toothache, the occasional pain of tooth sensitivity, or just chronic bad breath, address these problems with Dr. Saunders during your checkup this month!

    Talk about Cosmetic Dentistry

    If your smile is anything less than you want it to be, January is the time to schedule an appointment with your dentist to talk about cosmetic dentistry.

    Your smile is a one-of-a-kind beauty. If you’re embarrassed about your smile for any reason whether it’s from stains, missing teeth, or a crooked bite, you can restore your smile with cosmetic dentistry. Talking to your dentist about your options can happen during a consultation and a dental exam that is totally pain-free and comfortable.

    No matter how unhappy you are with your smile or what you’d like to correct about it, you have options when it comes to cosmetic dentistry. Porcelain crowns and veneers, dental implants, and teeth whitening can all transform your smile to reflect your inner shine.

    Schedule an appointment with your dentist in January to talk about your cosmetic dentistry options to get you the smile of your dreams!

    Ensure a Healthy Smile with an Oral Cancer Screening

    Several things happen during a dental exam. In addition to checking your teeth and gums for problems, your dentist in Asheville also checks your bite to ensure no jaw problems are present. You may also choose to get your teeth cleaned during your dental exam to ensure an even healthier smile!

    One of the things that takes place during your exam is an oral cancer screening. An oral cancer screening involves a simple exam of your mouth including gums, tongue, lips, and even your cheeks. Signs of oral cancer include lesions in your mouth that may be red or white in color, unexplained lumps in your face or neck area, and sores that resist healing.

    If oral cancer is caught early, patients have an 80-90% survival rate. You can catch oral cancer early simply by visiting your dentist in Asheville for a checkup. Dr. Saunders is trained and experienced in identifying signs of oral cancer during your dental examination.

    This January, take the time to schedule a visit to your local Asheville dental practice. There have never been more reasons than there are this month to take excellent care of your oral health. Get a fresh start this year by getting a professional cleaning, talking about any symptoms you’re experiencing, and set up visits for the coming year!

    Don’t forget to talk to your dentist about cosmetic dentistry options and an oral cancer screening this January—it’s never too late to take great care of your oral health!

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    Your Top New Year’s Oral Health Resolutions for 2017

    by Saunders DDS on December 21, 2016

    2017 is just around the corner! What’s on your list for New Year’s Resolutions this year?

    Whether you’d like to lose weight or stop smoking, your oral health is impacted by the choices you’ll make in the upcoming year. By incorporating a few dental health goals into your list, you can have a healthy body and smile in the New Year!

    What are the top New Year’s oral health resolutions for you in 2017?

     

    1. Quit Smoking

    If you’re still smoking, now is a great time to quit!

    Did you know that smoking significantly increases your chances of getting gum disease? In fact, you’re twice as likely to get gum disease as a person who doesn’t smoke. The same is true if you use other tobacco products—even chewing tobacco contains 28 different chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer, especially oral cancer.

    You can decrease your risk for gum disease and oral cancer simply by ceasing the use of tobacco products. Since smoking also causes dry mouth and chronic bad breath, these problems will also improve when you quit. You can also decrease your chances of having yellow teeth and tooth loss when you stop smoking.

    Talk to your doctor for more help and resources when you set a date to quit. Your Asheville dentist can help restore your smile as your body and mouth heal!

     

    1. Eat Less Sugar

    Sugar is present in many different foods and drinks, but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re bad for your oral health. Whether it’s in the form of sodas, cookies, or even alcohol, sugar is consumed by oral bacteria that secrete acids that eat away your protective tooth enamel.

    Eating less sugar can not only decrease your risk for cavities but can have a positive effect on your entire body. Sugar is essentially empty calories, meaning you’re consuming more calories without getting any added nutrients. Sugar also increases your risk for high cholesterol and diabetes in addition to cavities!

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    Since the presence of sugar in the mouth is affected by many things (including saliva content, existing oral health, and eating a well-balanced diet), it’s important to balance your consumption of sugar with plenty of water and healthy foods in addition to maintaining proper oral health.

    Make eating less sugar part of your New Year’s Resolution for 2017 for a healthy smile!

     

    1. Schedule a Consultation for Restorative Dentistry

    If you’ve been putting off restorative dental work because of financial concerns or dental anxiety, 2017 is the year to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Asheville to get your beautiful smile back!

    Talk to our office about third-party financing—often at 0% interest—for your restorative dentistry needs. You might be surprised at what your dental insurance will cover, and even if you don’t have dental insurance, you can talk with us about payments or financing. Your smile is one of the most important things about you, so don’t wait any longer to use it!

    Whether you need a cavity filled or more involved work such as bridges, veneers, or dental implants, your Asheville Family Dentist can help. We meet with you during your consultation to examine your smile and learn what your options are for restoring your teeth.

    From replacing missing teeth to improving the appearance of your smile, we can help. Don’t let financial worries or dental anxiety hold you back—our friendly, comfortable office is here to make you feel at ease. We welcome all patients, regardless of how long it’s been since your last appointment!

     

    1. Visit Your Dentist

    Mark your calendar for your six-month checkup with your dentist in Asheville! Simple bi-yearly checkups are imperative for maintaining a great smile. Your Asheville dentist performs a dental exam on your teeth and gums, and can even conduct an oral cancer screening.

    In addition to identifying any cavities or signs of gum disease, your dentist in Asheville performs a thorough teeth cleaning to remove any plaque or tartar that’s built up over time. Having a professional Asheville dentist examine your teeth, gums, and even your jaw and bite for problems or signs of temporomandibular joint disorder can help immensely!

    Your dentist can even talk with you about other symptoms you’re experiencing that could point to another disorder. For instance, snoring, dry mouth, or morning headaches could be signs of sleep apnea, while migraine headaches and facial tension could point to a problem with your temporomandibular joint, or the joint that connects your jaw and your skull.

    Visiting your Asheville dentist prevents oral health problems and keeps your smile healthy, so make a point to schedule every six months in 2017. Missing your professional cleaning has more consequences than you think!

     

    1. Drink More Water

    Staying hydrated is so important for your smile. Not only does it help balance good and bad bacteria in your mouth, but it also acts as a buffer against many of the acidic foods we eat, therefore lessening the chances of enamel damage.

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    Drinking enough water throughout the day also helps to keep your mouth clean as it’s like rinsing your mouth with every sip! It can help reduce chances for cavities and even keep your breath fresh, as dry mouth can often lead to stinky breath.

    This New Year, make a resolution to drink more water throughout the day. While beverages like coffee and juice are fine in moderation, water really is the best thing for your smile—so drink up!

     

    1. Brush and Floss Regularly

    You may already do this—or maybe you skip brushing sometimes at night. Or perhaps you can’t remember the last time you’ve flossed your teeth. Regardless, it’s a New Year! So make it a habit to brush and floss regularly as part of your oral care routine in 2017.

    Simply by brushing for two minutes two times a day, you can remove plaque, bacteria, and prevent cavities and gum disease. Combined this with flossing just once a day and you’ll be a superstar at your next dentist visit!

    Brushing and flossing are simple practices, but they go a long way to help improve your oral health, which can help your heart health too! If you’ve been slacking on taking care of your mouth, now is the time to get back on track. Don’t forget to brush your teeth in the morning, and get in the habit of flossing every day at the same time—this will help you make a routine and stick to it.

    This holiday season, make plans to take better care of your oral health in the New Year. There are all things we can improve on when it comes to our oral health habits. Whether you’d like to eat less sugar and drink more water, or just commit to brushing and flossing regularly, every positive action you do can help your smile. Visit your dentist in January and smile wide all year long. Happy New Year!

    Look Your Best This Holiday: 5 Tips to Protect Your Smile!

    December 11, 2016
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    The holidays are here and it’s time to show the world your beautiful smile! Keeping your smile healthy and protected this holiday season is crucial when you’ve got so much going on. Maintaining your oral hygiene habits doesn’t have to be difficult in the face of the holiday frenzy. You can enjoy your time with […]

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    5 Facts to Get You Motivated about Flossing

    December 11, 2016
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    Flossing only takes as long as brushing your teeth—around two minutes—but millions of Americans are skipping this important oral hygiene practice that could help benefit not just their smile, but their body as well! From claiming there’s just not enough time or plain dislike, there are many excuses people make for not flossing their teeth […]

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    2017 Is Right Around The Corner: What You Need to Know About Your Dental Insurance

    November 16, 2016

    The end of the year is fast approaching, you have paid your dental insurance premium, but are you reaping all of its benefits? Saunders DDS, your dentists in Asheville want to make sure you are getting all of the insurance benefits you deserve. If you have not reached your dental insurance’s maximum (this is the […]

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    Give The Gift Of A Beautiful Smile This Holiday Season!

    November 16, 2016

    Let’s be honest, the holidays are a wonderful time to connect with family and friends but sometimes the stress of what to get people can be overwhelming. Let Saunders DDS, your dentists in Asheville, take some of this stress away from you this holiday season by giving the gift of cosmetic dentistry! Teeth whitening treatments […]

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    How Does Exercise Affect Your Smile?

    November 9, 2016
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    We all know that exercise can do wonders for our bodies. From helping us stay at a healthy weight to promoting heart health and reducing our risk of chronic disease, exercise has all around been promoted as a good thing. If exercise is great for your body, then surely it must be just as great […]

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    Don’t Scare Your Dentist This Halloween—Tips for a Healthy Smile!

    October 25, 2016
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    The Consequences of Missing Your Professional Teeth Cleaning

    October 12, 2016
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    The American Dental Association recommends professional teeth cleaning at intervals determined by your dentist. Some people will need to visit the dentist more often, some less often. It all depends on you and your unique smile! A general rule is that every six months, you should be visiting your Asheville dental practice to get your teeth […]

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    Top Reasons Why Your Kids Need a Back-to-School Dental Checkup

    September 8, 2016
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    It’s that time of year! The kids are heading back to school and you’re glad summer is finally over. The kids have their new classes, new school supplies, and have had their regular checkup at the doctor to ensure all is well for the year ahead. But did you visit your dentist in Asheville? While […]

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    The Top 6 Worst Drinks for Your Teeth

    August 18, 2016

    Food isn’t the only thing that affects your teeth—sugary treats are bad, but sugary drinks can be even more damaging to your smile! This is especially true when we drink over prolonged periods of time.  Sipping  on the wrong types of drinks throughout the day exposes our teeth and gums to acids and sugar that can lead […]

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    Your Guide to Cosmetic Dentistry Options

    August 8, 2016
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    Losing a tooth or several teeth due to decay or an injury is life-changing. Your smile is the gateway to your face—people say a smile is the first thing they notice about other people. What you love about your smile today could change tomorrow without the proper care or necessary treatment for your teeth and […]

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