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    Addressing Dental Anxiety in the Age of COVID

    by Saunders DDS on September 1, 2020

    People of any age can suffer from dental fear and anxiety. Almost half of American adults have moderate levels of fear related to the dentist, and about 5-10 percent of them skip dental care as a result.

    And yet, skipping the dentist can lead to negative self-esteem, as dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay can not only impact your appearance, but lead to bad breath and pain as well. Not to mention, since oral health is being increasingly linked to systemic health, neglecting your teeth and gums can lead to other, more drastic consequences. For example, gum disease has been linked to both diabetes and heart disease.

    While medication can certainly be helpful (also referred to as sedation dentistry), some professionals don’t consider medication a long-term solution to getting routine dental care, rather just to help patients make it through a specific procedure that may be more involved.

    Dental anxiety can be particularly challenging during the COVID-19 epidemic. Patients already understandably have anxiety surrounding the coronavirus, and this can make dental anxiety worse. However, even with the public health crisis going on, you shouldn’t skip routine dental care during this time.

    How can you help manage dental anxiety in the age of COVID? Here are our top tips at Saunders DDS!

    Communicate With Your Dentist

    Letting your dentist in Asheville know upfront about your fear or anxiety surrounding dental care can be immensely helpful. Simply voicing your concerns can be empowering, and more than that, being vocal about your anxiety can help you find the right dentist.

    At Saunders DDS, we work with patients of all ages who have anxiety about getting dental work, whether it’s a simple teeth cleaning or a more involved procedure. If you know what specifically bothers you—feeling out of control, being in pain, or needles, let’s talk about how we can make your appointment comfortable and safe for you.

    By communicating, we can agree on signals such as holding up your hand to let us know when you need a break, and we can let you know if you can expect any pain during your procedure and when. We can also review every specific action that will happen prior to the procedure to ensure you’re prepared. We do our absolute best to make your appointment as pain-free and stress-free as possible!

    Skip the Caffeine

    It can feel difficult (ok, maybe impossible) to skip your morning cup of coffee, but trust us when we say that it’ll help you feel less anxious for your dental appointment that day. If you enjoy caffeinated tea or soda, it’s a good idea to skip these beverages before your appointment as well.

    But why?

    Not only has caffeine consumption been linked to anxiety, but patients with existing anxiety disorders appear to have a heightened sensitivity to caffeine. This means consuming even a “normal” amount of caffeine could make you feel more anxious during your dental appointment.

    It may be helpful to eliminate caffeine totally in the hours before your appointment or potentially even the day before as well. Instead, you can enjoy herbal tea or water, and be sure to have a healthy meal for breakfast.

    Listen to Soothing Music or a Podcast

    Your favorite music can help you feel distracted and less focused on what’s going on during your dental procedure. Some people say that listening to new music they’ve never heard before can be particularly distracting. Whether you feel more distracted by an old favorite album or the newest music, go with whatever will be most helpful to you!

    Others may not be able to relax with music alone, and may need to try counting (such as counting breaths or ceiling tiles), reading an eBook (if possible during the procedure) or listening to a podcast that you really enjoy.

    Focus on Your Breathing

    Pay attention to your breathing both while waiting for your appointment and during your procedure. Don’t try to control it, just observe it. Take deep breaths, and rest your hands on your belly so you can feel your stomach rise and fall with each breath. If you find it helpful, you can count your breaths. You can inhale for five breaths, exhale for five breaths, and start again.

    Other find it helpful to do what’s called a body scan, during which you relax and check in with every part of your body, taking your time to acknowledge each part. You can start with your toes and work up towards your head, or do the reverse, focusing on releasing tension in each part of your body as you go.

    Bring Something to Hold

    Both kids and adults can benefit from having something to hold during their dental procedure. It could be a small stuffed animal, a crystal, a stress ball, or favorite object that brings you comfort. You can squeeze the object when experiencing anxiety to help ease your worry and reassure yourself that you are safe.

    Consider Your Appointment Time

    Coming in for your dental appointment during a high-anxiety time—such as the end of the day when you’re rushing home to take care of the kids, or before another appointment, or when you’re worried about traffic—isn’t going to help you relax. If you suffer from dental anxiety or just generalized anxiety, really consider your appointment time.

    Try to make your dental appointment during a time of day when you don’t have much going on and aren’t rushing off anywhere. This will help you relax a little more and allow you to take as many breaks as you need to for us to get through your appointment together!

    Do You Experience Dental Anxiety?

    Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dental anxiety. More often than not, a combination of therapies will be the most helpful when it comes to helping you feel more comfortable receiving dental treatment.

    But the good news is that people who visit the dentist regularly are less anxious about receiving care—so your hard work will pay off!

    All patients tend to have some degree of anxiety around receiving dental care during the COVID epidemic. Rest assured that Drs. Saunders and our staff are making every effort to keep both us and you safe during this time. Find out more by calling us (828) 277-6060, or to discuss your dental anxiety and how we can help you get the care you need during this difficult time!

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    Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to come in. Also known as third molars, these four teeth usually erupt through the gumline between the ages of 17 and 21, although some people will get their wisdom teeth earlier or later.

    Our ancestors had larger jaws that easily accommodated these third molars. Today, our jaws are smaller and our diets are different, so there isn’t as much of a need for these last four teeth.

    Millions of people have their wisdom teeth removed every year as the result of complications from impaction. But what exactly are impacted wisdom teeth, and what are the signs? Here’s what you should know when it comes to problems with those third molars in the back of your mouth!

    What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

    Impacted wisdom teeth are actually stuck in your jaw or gum tissue. They may be coming in the wrong way—such as horizontally—and never erupt through the gumline, or they only partially come through the gums.

    The cause of impacted wisdom teeth is usually genetics—whether your jaw is too small for the wisdom teeth to come in all the way or the wisdom teeth are growing in the wrong direction, there’s not much you can control when it comes to how your wisdom teeth grow.

    Wisdom teeth that are impacted don’t always cause problems, but for many patients, impacted wisdom teeth disrupt the health of their smile. Here are the top five signs and symptoms that your wisdom teeth could be impacted!

    1. TMJ Symptoms

    Your temporomandibular joints, commonly referred to as TMJ, are located on either side of your head close to your ears. For some people, an improper bite, genetics, or bruxism (teeth grinding) can cause pain and inflammation in the TMJ, leading to a variety of symptoms.

    Because the wisdom teeth are located back in the mouth near these joints, impacted wisdom teeth may also cause TMJ-like symptoms. These symptoms could include:

    • Jaw pain or soreness
    • Headaches
    • Jaw stiffness
    • Difficulty opening and closing your mouth

    Whether or not you’ve had your wisdom teeth out, these symptoms need to be evaluated by your Asheville dentist. Your temporomandibular joints may be the culprit, or you could have impacted wisdom teeth that are negatively affecting these complex joints in your jaw.

    Since your jaw joints are so complex, different problems in the oral cavity can affect the joints and create symptoms that can be difficult to diagnose. An experienced dentist can help you determine the root of the problem!

    2. Ear Pain

    Did you know that ear discomfort can be related to your temporomandibular joints and may even be the result of impacted wisdom teeth? This is because your wisdom teeth and jaw joints are located so close to the ears.

    Discomfort from impacted wisdom teeth may affect your ears, causing an earache. Problems with both your jaw and ears can make it difficult to determine the origin of your pain. If you’ve had problems with your ears without successful treatment from your physician, it could be time to see your dentist in Asheville, especially if you have impacted wisdom teeth.

    3. Gum Issues

    Problems with your gum tissue are the most common symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth. When wisdom teeth only partially come through the gumline, a portion of each tooth is still covered by a flap of gum tissue. This not only makes it difficult for you to clean your teeth, but can cause bacteria and food particles to build up underneath the gum tissue, which can lead to an infection.

    Periodontal problems as the result of impacted wisdom teeth are referred to as pericoronitis. Symptoms of pericoronitis could include:

    • Swelling gums near your wisdom tooth or teeth
    • A bad taste or smell in your mouth
    • Bleeding or tender gum tissue
    • Swollen lymph nodes

    For some patients, symptoms of pericoronitis are temporary, as the wisdom teeth may be still in the process of erupting fully through the gum tissue. However, if these molars never fully come in, you may need to consider extraction or other treatment as recommended by your dentist.

     

    4. Trouble Biting or Chewing

    Some patients have trouble biting down on their wisdom teeth or chewing on the side of their mouth that has an impacted wisdom tooth. Pain when biting down on an impacted wisdom tooth is actually another symptom of pericoronitis, which could mean your gum tissue has been affected by your wisdom tooth.

    Any pain that you have when biting or chewing, including an aching tooth, could be indicative of an infection or another problem with your smile, and should always be evaluated by your Asheville dentist!

    Treatment for Impacted Wisdom Teeth

    Whether you have intermittent symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth or continuous discomfort, you’ll need to have a dental exam and x-rays to determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted and could be causing the problem.

    Every smile is unique, so your treatment options for impacted wisdom teeth may vary. However, many cases of impacted wisdom teeth will require extraction to fully solve the problem. Your dentist can let you know what your treatment options are during your appointment!

    Could Your Wisdom Teeth Be Impacted? We Can Help

    Many people can keep their wisdom teeth without any problems. For others with symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth, extraction may be necessary to help you feel better and get your smile back to normal! If you’re having any of the above symptoms, our team at Saunders DDS can help. Schedule an appointment with us by calling (828) 277-6060 or by requesting an appointment online!

    As businesses continue to reopen among cautions about the coronavirus (COVID-19), you’re likely wondering if it’s safe to venture out and do your normal activities.

    Whether you’ve skipped your last cleaning due to concerns about the virus or haven’t been to the dentist in a while, taking care of your smile is still just as important as it was before the epidemic, if not more important, as we’ve seen how oral bacteria can potentially impact the immune system.

    At Saunders DDS, our doctors and staff have always been dedicated to keeping our patients safe. Your health and safety are our priorities, and we’re continuing to serve our patients with both emergency and non-emergency appointments with enhanced protective measures.

    Not only is personal protective equipment (PPE) an essential part of our daily procedures, but regularly disinfecting all surfaces and equipment has always been a part of our regimen, and even more so now.

    Our practice follows The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for dental practices reopening during COVID-19. So is it ok to come in for your regular appointment? Here’s what you need to know.

    For Routine Dental Care

    If you don’t have a history of oral health problems and are not having any symptoms, you may be ok to skip your appointment if you have concerns about COVID-19. However, for otherwise healthy individuals, we don’t recommend skipping your appointment if you’re already overdue for an exam and a cleaning.

    Putting off your regular dental visits can lead to costly problems later. Many early stages of oral health conditions, such as cavities and gum disease, don’t have any noticeable symptoms. Without getting a professional exam with your Asheville dentist, it’s difficult to know if you have any problems that could be compromising your oral health in the long run.

    Whether or not you choose to come in for your regular dental care all depends on your unique smile. If you have a history of dental problems, getting an exam and a cleaning can be crucial to preventing issues. If you’re overdue for an exam but have concerns about COVID, rest assured that our team is doing everything in their power to keep our office a safe and healthy environment for your appointment.

    For Emergency Appointments

    Emergencies with your smile should never be put off. Whether you have a knocked-out tooth or a painful toothache, dental emergencies have the potential to be life-threatening and should always be addressed by your professional dentist in Asheville.

    At Saunders DDS, we provide emergency care for our patients so they can avoid the emergency room and get the services they need to permanently resolve the problem. You can always call us with any questions or concerns you may have about a dental emergency, including:

    • Broken or chipped teeth
    • Sports injuries
    • Trauma to the face or jaw
    • Severe jaw pain
    • Toothaches
    • Unexplained or severe bleeding or swelling

    Should you need to visit our practice for an emergency appointment, we make every effort to accommodate you and provide urgent dental care for both adults and children in the Asheville area.

    When You Should Skip Your Appointment

    Generally, you shouldn’t skip your regular dental appointment, as it can help prevent issues with your smile and catch any existing conditions early. Regular dental care is a vital part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy in addition to your routine at home!

    However, if you’re experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus or have been in contact with anyone known to have the virus, we ask that you reschedule your appointment with us.

    The CDC recommends that people who have symptoms of the virus or have been exposed to anyone with the virus self-quarantine for 14 days. Symptoms could include:

    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Difficult breathing
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches
    • Nausea
    • Fatigue
    • Congestion or runny rose
    • Sore throat
    • Diarrhea

    This list is not exhaustive, and symptoms may vary from person to person. If you believe you or someone you live with is suffering from any kind of illness or has cold-like symptoms, please call us to reschedule your appointment.

    Guidelines for Visiting Your Dentist

    When you visit your dentist, things will look a little different than they did when you were there prior to COVID-19. By taking a few simple yet important efforts, you can protect yourself, the staff, and other patients. Your dentist will likely require you to:

    • Come to your appointment alone. Refrain from bringing a guest, whether it’s a friend, your partner, or your children. To help reduce everyone’s risk, it’s best if you come to your appointment solo. If you have dental anxiety, please contact your dentist prior to your appointment to discuss your treatment options.
    • Wear a mask. While you’ll need to take your mask off to receive treatment, go ahead and wear your mask when in the office and until directed otherwise by your dentist, dental hygienist, or another staff member. The CDC still recommends wearing a face covering when out in public!
    • Not arrive too early. While arriving early is appreciated in some circumstances, COVID-19 has largely changed that. Your dentist will likely ask that you arrive no more than five minutes early to your scheduled appointment time, and may ask you to wait in your vehicle or outside before letting you in.
    • Answer some questions. Either over the phone or upon arriving at your appointment (or both), staff members may ask you questions about whether or not you’ve been experiencing any symptoms and possibly take your temperature to ensure you’re not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 before letting you in.

    Don’t hesitate to ask your dentist what efforts their practice or staff is making to prevent the spread of the virus and protect their patients. While receiving dental care is still essential, you want to be sure that your dentist is taking your health seriously and doing their part to keep their practice clean and their patients safe.

    Have Questions? Contact Us!

    Saunders DDS remains open for both regular and emergency appointments to support our patients. From pediatric dentistry to adult care, we’re here to serve you and your family in the Asheville area. Have questions or concerns about visiting our practice during the epidemic? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling us at (828) 277-6060!

    No one wants to chip or crack a tooth. While sometimes it’s obvious when a chip or crack happens, for others, they may notice a problem later but are not sure when or how it happened.

    Chips in your teeth are usually visible, but cracks may not always be noticeable, especially on a back tooth. Getting a regular exam with your dentist in Asheville can help identify any problems before they turn into the need for more intensive therapies.

    If you know that you’ve injured a tooth and can see a visible crack or chip, what are your treatment options? Here’s how chips and cracks can happen and what you can do about them!

    How Do Chips and Cracks Happen?

    For many people, an accident is likely to chip or crack a tooth. However, chips and cracks can also happen because:

    • You have a cavity that’s weakened the tooth’s structure and has resulted in a crack.
    • Misaligned teeth or an improper bite has put pressure on your teeth in unusual places, leading to chipped teeth.
    • Oral piercings such as tongue rings have cracked or chipped your teeth.
    • Bruxism—teeth grinding—has put immense pressure on your teeth, leading to fractures.

    So what can you do about your chipped or cracked teeth? You should always seek treatment if you’ve injured a tooth or feel that something’s not quite right. Here are some restorative options that can help repair your smile!

    Some Cases May Not Need Treatment

    Not every case of chipped or cracked teeth will need treatment. If you have a chip that’s very small and not causing any problems, your dentist in Asheville may simply polish the tooth to create a more even appearance.

    Some people have what are called craze lines in their teeth, which are tiny superficial fractures. They usually aren’t noticeable unless you look very closely. While they can make teeth stain more easily, many cases don’t require treatment.

    If your craze lines are of cosmetic concern, you can talk with your dentist about treatment options. However, if you don’t notice them and they aren’t causing any problems, they may be fine to leave alone. Your dentist will let you know what your options are during your appointment!

    Dental Bonding or Filling

    Dental bonding is a cosmetic procedure that uses the same material as composite resin fillings (also called tooth-colored fillings). Dental bonding is a common procedure for chipped teeth that only pose a cosmetic concern.

    Since the material used in dental bonding is designed to match your natural teeth, you can effectively restore the appearance of your smile. Dental bonding doesn’t usually require local anesthesia and is a low-risk process.

    In some cases, cracked teeth may be able to be repaired with a filling. There are several ways to crack a tooth, so whether or not your cracked tooth can be repaired with a filling will all depend on the nature of the fracture.

    Root Canal Therapy 

    While chipped teeth don’t normally need root canal therapy, there are cases where an untreated chip can turn into a crack. If the crack has affected the inner chamber of your tooth, you may need root canal therapy.

    In a root canal procedure, your dentist will remove the pulp, or nerve tissue, of your tooth and fill and seal the chamber to prevent the possibility of future infection. Your tooth will be protected with a dental crown following the restoration.

    Dental Veneers

    Dental veneers can treat teeth that have been affected by chips or cracks. Patients who have extensive chipping may opt for dental veneers, which can be a long-term solution instead of dental bonding, which will need to be touched-up or replaced every few years.

    Patients who have other issues with their smile such as chips, misaligned teeth, or deeply stained teeth can benefit from dental veneers as an all-in-one treatment. Dental veneers may also be able to repair certain cases of fractured or broken teeth.

    Dental Crowns

    A dental crown is a replica of your natural tooth that acts as a cap to fit over the tooth. Teeth that have chips typically don’t need dental crowns to repair the issue, but teeth that are cracked often do. Whether you’ve received root canal therapy or not, a dental crown may be able to help repair your cracked tooth.

    Porcelain dental crowns typically last for years with the right care, and will help keep your tooth protected from sensitivity and further trauma!

    Extraction

    Teeth that have extensive chipping can almost always be repaired with cosmetic procedures. However, not all cases of cracked teeth can be fixed. If you have a deep crack in your tooth that extends below the gumline, extraction may be your only option.

    Your Asheville dentist will do everything they can to save your tooth, but in some cases, it makes more sense to remove a deeply cracked tooth than attempt to repair it. Your dentist will conduct a complete exam of your smile to help you determine what your best option is for treatment!

    What Are the Symptoms of a Chipped or Cracked Tooth?

    Some chipped or cracked teeth will be asymptomatic, meaning you won’t experience any symptoms from them. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need treatment.

    Since chips can turn into cracks and cracks can lead to extraction, it’s always a good idea to get your injured tooth evaluated by your professional dentist.

    If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, you may experience symptoms such as:

    • Sudden pain when biting or chewing.
    • Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold or sweet and spicy foods.
    • A toothache that doesn’t go away.
    • Intermittent pain, whether from chewing or from temperature.
    • Swelling in the gum tissue around the tooth.

    Letting a cracked or chipped tooth go without treatment is never a good idea. Whether or not you’re experiencing symptoms, get your smile evaluated to be safe and protect your teeth!

    Let Us Safely Repair Your Teeth!

    At Saunders DDS, our team is here to support your smile in the Asheville area. Whether you have symptoms of a cracked or chipped tooth or you’re overdue for an exam, we invite you to make an appointment with us. Call us at (828) 277-6060 today, or reach out to our team through our contact form!

    Despite high rates of tooth decay and gum disease, just over 50 percent of people report visiting the dentist every six months.

    Getting bi-annual dental exams with your dentist in Asheville can help spot common problems that could lead to extensive restorative procedures later on. During your appointment, you’ll also receive a professional teeth cleaning with a dental hygienist, which will help remove surface stains and keep your smile bright.

    Even though visiting the dentist can feel like a chore for some, taking care of your teeth is an investment that will last a lifetime, and visiting your oral healthcare professional is part of a comprehensive care plan.

    Here, we answer some of your most frequently asked questions about your dental exam! 

    Why Is Getting an Exam Every Six Months Standard? 

    Six months has long been the standard for receiving an exam with your dentist, but new guidelines by the American Dental Association suggest that visits be scheduled as determined by your dentist based on your unique oral health.

    For example, a patient that’s recovering from periodontal disease or is at high risk for tooth decay may benefit from coming in more frequently than every six months, while patients with low risk and healthy smiles may be able to go the full six months without seeing their dentist.

    The point is that your smile is unique, and based on your individual oral health and your risk for oral health problems, you and your Asheville dentist can discuss how frequently you should be seen to keep your smile healthy.

    While twice a year may sound like a lot to some people, these exams go a long way towards preventing tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can cause significant problems for your smile. By having a professional evaluate your teeth and gums and getting a cleaning, you can prevent many common problems and keep your smile bright and beautiful for life.

    What Exactly Will Happen During My Exam? 

    During your dental exam, we’ll first discuss any concerns you have about your smile, including whether you’re experiencing pain, bleeding, or sensitivity.

    Dr. Saunders will carefully examine your teeth and gums, looking for gum irritation, early signs of tooth decay, plaque and tartar buildup, and any unusual sores in the mouth.

    You’ll also receive an oral cancer screening, during which Dr. Saunders will feel your face and neck for any lumps and ask a few questions to see if you’re experiencing any symptoms that could indicate oral cancer is present.

    If you need them, you’ll also receive x-rays to identify any tooth decay that may be occurring between your teeth that we can’t see with our eyes alone. X-rays can also help identify a misaligned bite, shifting teeth, and other abnormalities that may be of concern.

    Finally, an experienced dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth. They’ll begin by using a tool to gently scrape out any tartar that may have built up on your teeth. A polishing substance will be applied to your teeth before your hygienist uses an electric brush to clean and polish the teeth. They’ll finish with a thorough flossing and rinsing for a truly clean smile!

    Your hygienist will also review proper brushing and flossing techniques with you to be sure you’re empowered to maintain a bright smile at home until your next appointment! 

    Do I Really Need X-Rays?

    We recommend x-rays at intervals determined based on your unique oral health. While some patients will need x-rays every year, others may not. The American Dental Association recommends x-ray use based on your risk for cavities and any symptoms you’re experiencing.

    If you prefer to not have x-rays, you can simply opt out of this part of your exam, but know that we can’t see or diagnose any tooth decay that may be forming between your teeth without x-ray technology.

    You will also need to have x-rays if you’re having any type of procedure done such as dental implants, wisdom tooth removal, or other procedures. We use modern x-ray technology to keep your exposure to radiation as low as possible. If you have any concerns, we’re always here to answer your questions! 

    Can I Get Treatment for Cavities and Gum Disease During My Exam?

    Generally, you’ll need to schedule a separate appointment to receive treatment outside of your regular exam and cleaning.

    In some cases, such as for patients who have gingivitis, the beginning stage of gum disease, we are usually able to conduct a deep cleaning during your appointment to help reverse the problem.

    However, for patients with cavities, advancing gum disease, or tooth extraction needs—among other procedures—a separate appointment will need to be made to address these problems with the necessary treatment. 

    Will My Teeth Look Brighter After My Cleaning? 

    Yes! For the majority of patients, a professional cleaning at the dentist’s office will result in a brighter smile. Your hygienist will remove surface stains by polishing your teeth, which can lead to an overall brighter smile. However, if you’re looking for an even whiter smile, we do offer professional teeth whitening services and can talk more with you about the procedure during your appointment with us.

    What Happens If I Don’t Have Dental Insurance?

    We do accept dental insurance at our practice, but if you don’t have dental insurance and are paying out of pocket, we can discuss a payment plan for your services prior to your appointment. We’re dedicated to helping our patients receive the care they need whether or not they have insurance, so simply give us a call or fill out our contact form to get in touch and speak with our friendly staff about your options! 

    I Don’t Have Any Symptoms—Is It Ok to Skip My Exam? 

    Early tooth decay and gum disease usually don’t have any noticeable symptoms. By the time you have sensitivity or pain from a cavity, the decay has likely progressed significantly and may even compromise your tooth.

    Some patients may notice signs of gum disease such as bleeding during brushing or bad breath, but others won’t experience any symptoms until the condition had advanced.

    Even if you don’t have any symptoms, getting your regular dental exam can identify problems early on before they require advanced treatment. If your Asheville dentist doesn’t spot any problems, then you’ll receive the care you need to continue to remain symptom-free! 

    Schedule Your Dental Exam With Us Today! 

    Dental exams are a pivotal part of your oral care that can prevent many problems with your smile. Schedule your regular exam and cleaning with us at Saunders DDS today by calling us at (828) 277-6060 or completing our contact form to request an appointment!

    Asheville dentist

    What Could These Dental Signs and Symptoms Mean?

    by Saunders DDS on June 1, 2020

    Experiencing any type of problem with your smile—including pain, inflammation, or discoloration—can be alarming.

    While some symptoms aren’t strictly dental emergencies, most still require professional attention from your dentist. Letting any type of issue with your teeth and gums go unaddressed can lead to more involved treatments down the line.

    But how can you know what certain dental signs and symptoms mean, or how soon you should get in to see your Asheville dentist for an exam? Here, we detail some common dental problems and what they could mean for your smile.

    Sudden, Sharp Pain in Your Tooth

    Any type of pain that comes on suddenly shouldn’t wait to be addressed, even if the pain is intermittent. If you have a sharp pain in your tooth that comes on suddenly, you could have acute tooth sensitivity resulting from:

    • A fracture in your tooth
    • Tooth decay
    • A chipped tooth
    • Tooth infection

    Pain almost always means that some type of damage is present, whether it’s a tooth abscess resulting from an infection or tooth sensitivity as the result of enamel damage.

    How soon should you be seen? Always call your dentist in Asheville to let them know what your symptoms are and to see if it’s recommended that you come in sooner rather than later.

    Gum Inflammation or Bleeding That Comes and Goes

    If you see blood when brushing your teeth every once in a while, or your gums look tender and puffy on occasion, you may be seeing signs of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.

    Even if you don’t have all the symptoms of full-blown gum disease, it’s always best to get any concerns evaluated by your dentist. While gingivitis is relatively simple to reverse, advanced stages of gum disease rarely are.

    In addition, should you be an expecting mom, you may be experiencing hormonal changes that could cause gum inflammation during your pregnancy. These problems should always be evaluated for treatment by your dentist, as gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight in babies.

    How soon should you be seen? While gum problems aren’t generally considered an emergency, you should get in to see your dentist for a regular appointment as soon as you are able!

    One Tooth Begins to Discolor

    If a single tooth begins to appear darker than the rest of your teeth, even with your regular oral care habits, it’s likely that the tooth’s inner tissue–sometimes called the pulp–has died.

    The inner tissue of your tooth is what keeps it alive and healthy. If the tooth’s pulp is affected, you could have:

    • Experienced trauma to the tooth that caused the nerve tissue inside to die
    • A deep cavity that has destroyed the tooth’s pulp
    • An infection that could have compromised your tooth

    Once the tooth becomes discolored as a result of dead or infected tissue inside, its color unfortunately can’t be restored without removing the pulp and sealing the tooth in a procedure known as a root canal.

    How soon should you be seen? Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms of tooth infection, it’s still important to get in to see your dentist for an appointment as soon as you are able. If you’re experiencing severe pain, a bad taste in your mouth, bleeding, or swelling, you should contact your dentist in Asheville as soon as possible for further instructions.

    Muscle Tension That Leads to Headaches or Jaw Pain

    If you’re experiencing frequent headaches—especially in the morning—or jaw pain, you could be grinding your teeth at night and not know it.

    Also known as bruxism, grinding your teeth puts immense pressure on your teeth which can cause them to fracture, lead to gum inflammation, and cause jaw pain and tension, which can also lead to headaches.

    Bruxism also puts strain on your temporomandibular joints, which can lead to TMJ symptoms such as difficulty opening the jaw all the way and popping or clicking noises.

    How soon should you be seen? Bruxism and TMJ disorders are generally not considered dental emergencies, but they shouldn’t go unaddressed either. Contact your Asheville dentist to see when the next available appointment would be.

    Your Teeth Feel Like They Fit Differently (Loose or Shifting Teeth)

    Do you sometimes feel as though your teeth are actually shifting, or do they feel slightly loose in your jaw? Loose or shifting teeth could happen due to:

    • Not wearing your orthodontic retainer
    • Gum disease, which can weaken connective tissue that helps hold teeth in place
    • Bruxism, which can lead to inflamed gums and sore teeth

    While your teeth will naturally shift somewhat over your lifetime, loose or dramatically shifting teeth are not normal. If you’ve previously had orthodontic work done, you should always wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist.

    How soon should you be seen? Loose teeth combined with other symptoms such as bleeding gums or bad breath could be indicative of gum disease and shouldn’t wait to be seen. Call your dentist to see when they can get you in for an appointment based on your symptoms.

    Bad Breath That Won’t Go Away

    No one wants to hear that they have bad breath! Giving your teeth a quick brush or rinsing your mouth out with mouthwash can help improve your breath, but when bad breath returns–or never fully seems to go away–you could have a bigger problem.

    Bad breath, also called halitosis, could be indicative of gum disease or an ongoing infection in your oral cavity. If your bad breath is persistent even after brushing, it’s time to get your smile evaluated by your dentist.

    How soon should you be seen? Unless you’re experiencing symptoms of acute infection such as fever, uncontrollable swelling, or pain, you can generally wait to schedule a regular appointment with your dentist.

    Your Teeth Appear to Be Longer

    If it seems like your teeth are getting longer when you look in the mirror, it could be because your gum tissue is receding.

    There are several causes for gum recession, including gum disease and brushing your teeth too harshly. Crooked teeth can also contribute to the gums pulling back from the teeth in an unnatural way.

    How soon should you be seen? While gum recession isn’t an emergency, you should keep that regular appointment with your dentist to address the problem!

    Schedule a Dental Exam With Us at Saunders DDS

    For all your oral health signs and symptoms, Saunders DDS is there for you. Find out more about our services or contact us today to schedule an appointment through our contact form or by calling us at (828) 277-6060!

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    7 Ways to Get Kids Motivated to Brush Their Teeth

    by Saunders DDS on May 3, 2020

    If you’re one of the millions of parents home with young children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, things can feel stressful right now.

    Schools in the majority of states are closed while the national emergency continues, and families have been forced to discontinue their normal routines and adopt new ones. With so much uncertainty and schedules changing from day to day, it’s understandable that important habits that were once part of your routine are now challenging to keep up with.

    However, taking care of your teeth and gums right now is important to preventing a dental emergency and keeping your kids’ teeth healthy until their next checkup. But how can you get your children motivated to brush their teeth?

    Here are our top seven tips to help your children (and you!) stay motivated to brush your teeth and floss even while practicing self-isolation at home!

    1. Let Them Choose Their Oral Care Materials

    You can begin getting your kids excited about brushing their teeth by letting them choose their own oral care materials. Even if you’ve tried previously to get them motivated to brush without success, start fresh with a new toothbrush!

    If your child is old enough and has most of their permanent teeth (around age 10), you can let them pick an adult toothbrush and toothpaste. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a soft-bristled toothbrush for both adults and children to prevent damage to tooth enamel.

    For younger children, there are many ADA-accepted toothbrushes and toothpastes that feature fun colors and cartoon characters that your child may enjoy. By personalizing their oral care products, you can make brushing more enjoyable!

    2. Choose an Activity to Make Brushing Fun

    Brushing teeth can feel like a mundane activity for some children, which can make doing an activity during brushing time more appealing.

    Have your children pick a song they love that’s approximately two minutes long or have them brush their teeth to a video. However, make sure it’s a video related to brushing teeth or a guided brushing video, otherwise, kids may lose concentration and not pay attention to how well they’re brushing their teeth!

    Doing an activity while brushing their teeth can help children get excited about their oral care routine and make those two minutes two times a day fly right by!

    3. Make a Reward System

    If you’re having a difficult time getting your children to stick to a routine with brushing their teeth, consider creating a schedule and implement a reward system as part of the schedule.

    Here’s an example of how your kids’ oral care routine could look—have your children brush their teeth before they’re allowed to do a favorite activity. For example, you might play a game, read a book, or watch a show before bed, but they can only do the activity after they’ve brushed their teeth.

    You can also use incentives such as stickers or prizes for smaller children who brush their teeth as directed, although this may not be as sustainable as using a reward system and an activity as part of a schedule!

    4. Educate Children on Why Oral Care Is So Important

    Some children may not realize just how important brushing their teeth is to their overall oral health (and, as research is showing, the health of your entire body!).

    Although your kid-friendly dentist in Asheville can help explain the importance of brushing and flossing to your children, it’s your turn to get creative and explain the benefits to them while COVID-19 prevents you from visiting your Asheville dental practice except for emergencies.

    Explain to your children with an age-appropriate story that brushing their teeth helps remove plaque. Plaque is a sticky combination of bacteria and food particles that coat the teeth the longer you go without brushing, and the more plaque you have, the higher risk you have for tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

    There’s no need to alarm children, but explain to them that by brushing two times every day, we can keep plaque away! You can also explain that tooth decay can be sneaky and the symptoms may not be noticeable until the cavity has gotten bigger, making preventative care super important to defeating cavities and gum disease.

    You can simply and effectively tell children that brushing every day supports their oral health and prevents their teeth from experiencing decay, which can help them have a healthy and beautiful adult smile as they get older!

    5. Make Brushing a Group Activity

    If tooth brushing is a challenge in your house, don’t make it a solo activity for your child. Instead, make it a group activity. You and your partner or other family members can brush your teeth together with your children to help set a positive example and make oral care fun!

    During quarantine, you can also consider doing a video call with other kids who are brushing their teeth as well, such as cousins or friends, or even family members. You can also have your children “teach” someone how to brush their teeth to help make the process fun and rewarding!

    6. Get a Hand From Technology

    There are numerous free apps that you can access via a device such as your smartphone or tablet that help kids get motivated to brush. Consider using technology to help your children develop healthy brushing habits and even to time their brushing sessions to successfully get their two minutes two times a day.

    You can use helpful tooth-brushing apps in combination with the other tips on this list to help create a positive and rewarding experience for your child’s oral care at home!

    7. Be Encouraging

    It takes time to develop a new habit and to stick to a new routine. Be patient and positive as much as possible while encouraging your child to adopt a new brushing routine during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Children who feel like brushing their teeth is a chore or a punishment are more likely to be stubborn when it comes to consistently taking care of their smile. Stay upbeat and don’t give up when encouraging them to keep up their healthy brushing habits!

    Contact Us With Questions

    Whether you have concerns about your little one’s oral care or are experiencing a dental emergency, we’re here for you at Saunders DDS during the COVID-19 crisis. Contact us today at (828) 277-6060 to reach our team!

    With a stay-at-home order in place for the majority of states as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, healthcare professionals are restricting or rescheduling routine services for patients.

    Dentists are being encouraged by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cancel non-emergency appointments for regular care. 

    As a result of these recommendations, you won’t be able to receive your normal care think checkups, cleanings, and other elective procedures during this time. 

    So how can you keep your teeth safe and healthy during the COVID-19 epidemic? With most people self-isolating to help control the spread of the virus, you can do your part by taking excellent care of your teeth at home until you can resume your normal dental visits again!

    Keep to Your Oral Care Routine

    Many people have had their routine turned completely upside down as a result of stay-at-home orders and school and workplace closings. Whether you’re working from home or have restricted access to your office or workplace, it’s still important to continue your oral care routine.

    Stick to a schedule as much as possible, and if you need to adopt a new schedule during this time, then do so. Be sure to brush twice a day preferably first thing in the morning before breakfast and last thing at night before bed and floss once a day to keep your teeth clean and free of tooth decay and gum disease!

    Don’t Misuse Your Teeth

    You might be tempted to open a package with your teeth when getting scissors isn’t convenient or to eat the half-popped kernels of popcorn at the bottom of the bowl, but misusing your teeth can lead to an injury!

    Avoiding a dental emergency is in your best interest right now so you can eliminate the need for urgent care and wait to get any non-emergency issues with your smile addressed.

    Don’t misuse your teeth during this time of quarantining. This means don’t chew ice, crack nuts or kernels, or use your teeth for anything other than biting and chewing food. Misusing your teeth can not only lead to painful cuts on your gum tissue, but chipped or fractured teeth and damaged dental restorations as well.

    Keep You and Your Family Safe

    During this time of kids staying home from school and parents scrambling to make adjustments to their daily lives, there can be a lot of extra energy in the house. It’s challenging to adopt a new routine and follow precautions, but do your best to keep your children occupied in a safe and healthy manner.

    Keeping your children engaged will help them avoid accidents that can stem from being bored during quarantine. There are many activity ideas online that can help children keep to a routine and stay focused. For older children, you can explain to them that avoiding careless actions can help keep everyone safe and healthy during this challenging time.

    Of course, it’s a good time to encourage your children to wash their hands and avoid touching their face as much as possible even if you are staying home!

    Continue to Wear Your Retainer, Mouthguard, or Invisalign

    If you have an orthodontic retainer, mouthguard for teeth grinding, or Invisalign clear aligners, be sure to continue to wear your dental appliances as directed.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic and the many uncertainties that exist right now, people are experiencing more stress and anxiety than usual, which are two things that can influence teeth grinding. It’s important to keep wearing your retainer, mouthguard, or Invisalign as recommend.

    If you have any questions about the use of your oral appliances, or have experienced a change in your oral health and aren’t sure if you should continue to wear your device, don’t hesitate to contact us at Saunders DDS!

    Be Aware of Your Dental Health

    By paying attention to your oral health,  you can usually identify any issues early and avoid a dental emergency.

    However, some issues happen suddenly and require emergency dental attention, so don’t hesitate to call your dentist if you’re experiencing:

    • Pain anywhere in your oral cavity that doesn’t go away
    • A fever accompanying any toothaches or oral discomfort
    • Sudden or severe tooth sensitivity
    • A dental abscess (a lump in your gums or cheeks)

    You can always call your Asheville dentist with questions regarding any symptoms you’re experiencing!

    Keep to a Healthy Diet

    A healthy diet will help support your immune system as well as your smile during COVID-19. Vitamin C and vitamin D are both essential vitamins for your immune system as well as your oral health.

    Some of the worst foods and drinks for teeth include:

    • Added sugar
    • Alcohol
    • Candy
    • Refined carbohydrates
    • Carbonated drinks

    It’s important to drink plenty of water. Water can help support a healthy body, and keeps bacteria from harming your smile. While it can be challenging to eat healthy when your routine is off balance, take this opportunity of self-isolating to try some new recipes or have the kids get creative with their snacks!

    Practice Toothbrush Hygiene

    There’s never been a better time to practice excellent toothbrush hygiene. While the following will be helpful in protecting your smile and your health now, these are habits you should stick to even when there isn’t a health crisis among us!

    • Never store your toothbrush in a closed container. Yes, this includes your medicine cabinet. Always keep your toothbrush in an open-air area (but not near the toilet unless you close the lid before flushing). It’s important for your toothbrush to dry out between brushings to help hinder the growth of bacteria.
    • Replace as necessary. Aim to replace your toothbrush every few months or as recommended by your dentist in Asheville. If you’ve been sick recently, go ahead and begin using a new toothbrush as soon as you’ve recovered. (Keep an extra toothbrush on hand just in case!)
    • Consider switching to electric. Some studies suggest that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque and supporting gum health, so this could be a worthy investment during this time of not being able to see your dentist in Asheville for your regular oral care!

    Don’t Hesitate to Get in Touch With Questions!

    At Saunders DDS, we’re here for our patients during this challenging time. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions about your oral health or with a dental emergency. Call us at (828) 277-6060!

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    Are There Ways to Keep Teeth White Naturally?

    by Saunders DDS on March 3, 2020

    It’s no secret that the majority of people would like to have whiter teeth. Your natural tooth color can dim as you age, leading to a less-than-stellar smile. Here, we take a closer look at why teeth stain and darken with age, as well as how you can keep your teeth white naturally through certain lifestyle habits, including the right oral care!

    First, What Causes Teeth to Stain?

    There are many factors that can cause teeth to stain. Typically, teeth staining is a result of multiple reasons than a singular cause.

    As we age, it’s not uncommon for tooth enamel to be worn away, which can expose more dentin, the layer beneath tooth enamel. Dentin is softer and naturally more yellow than tooth enamel, and is more subject to staining.

    Other causes of tooth enamel staining can be your diet, tobacco and alcohol use, trauma to the teeth, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, and even certain medications.

    For some people, maintaining an ultra-bright smile isn’t always possible without professional intervention. However, there are still some ways you can keep your teeth bright naturally!

    Beware of Foods That Can Stain Teeth

    Foods and drinks can cause teeth to discolor, especially over time. Many of the foods and drinks people consume that stain teeth are actually healthy for their oral health.

    One of these foods includes berries, which are high in vitamin C. A popular drink that can cause teeth staining, green tea, has been show to help support gum health.

    Other teeth-staining food culprits include coffee, wine, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and even tomato sauces or foods with turmeric, such as those that contain curry seasonings. The more you consume these items, the more stained your teeth are likely to be.

    While avoiding these foods isn’t always an option or even beneficial, in some cases there are ways you can minimize their staining effect on teeth. For starters, be sure to stay hydrated and always drink water with your meal, so that food is less likely to stick to your teeth and cause tooth enamel damage. Secondly, you can eat crunchy vegetables with your meal as well these naturally contain higher water content and can help clean your teeth!

    Consider Using a Straw

    When drinking liquids that cause teeth staining or even tooth decay (think sugary drinks), using a straw can actually help the liquid to bypass the teeth to prevent these issues.

    Although using a straw for every drink isn’t necessary or realistic you can consider using a straw for teeth-staining drinks such as iced tea or coffee, soda, and even darker fruit juices such as cherry, blueberry, or pomegranate juice.

    When using a straw, consider using a reusable one such as a metal or even a bamboo straw they can be washed and reused, making them friendlier to the planet while you minimize damage to your teeth. Just be sure to avoid using straws after a wisdom tooth extraction, as they can disrupt the healing process and lead to painful dry socket.

    Get Those Regular Dental Cleanings

    Getting regular dental cleanings not only helps spot oral health problems early, but gives you a chance to remove plaque and tartar which can damage tooth enamel from those hard-to-reach areas in your smile.

    During your dental cleaning, your dental hygienist will also polish your teeth, removing surface stains and allowing you to leave with brighter, healthier-looking teeth that same day.

    Keeping up with professional teeth cleanings, generally twice a year or as recommended by your dentist, can help keep your smile naturally bright. Of course, if you decide you want to have your teeth professionally whitened, we can safely whiten your teeth in our Asheville dental office in as little as one hour!

    Brush and Floss as Recommended

    Yes, daily brushing and flossing goes a long way towards keeping your teeth bright. There’s no need to brush harshly choose a soft-bristled toothbrush with an American Dental Association (ADA)-approved toothpaste and gently but thoroughly clean your teeth twice a day.

    To provide extra protection for your tooth enamel, always wait approximately one hour before brushing your teeth after eating. Tooth enamel can weaken when exposed to sugars to acids when we eat or drink, and brushing immediately after could contribute to tooth enamel damage and tooth sensitivity.

    Flossing will also help keep your teeth clean, especially near the gumline and where two teeth touch together, which are popular places for plaque to build up.

    Consider Using a Whitening Toothpaste

    You may consider using a whitening toothpaste approved by the ADA to help keep your smile bright in-between your dental cleanings. However, be wary of toothpastes that can be too abrasive to the teeth, such as those that contain charcoal.

    If you have any questions about which type of toothpaste is best for supporting the health and appearance of your smile, especially when it comes to whitening agents in certain products, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist in Asheville!

    Eat Healthy

    Diets high in sugar can not only contribute to tooth decay, but damage the tooth enamel as well, which could lead your teeth to have a duller or darker appearance.

    Eating healthy including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables can actually help clean your teeth and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in the mouth, whereas added sugars and processed foods can stick to teeth and cause plaque formation.

    Some great snacks to support whiter teeth include crunchy, whole foods such as apples, celery, and carrots. These foods are also fibrous and can stimulate saliva production for chewing, which can prevent dry mouth. Having healthy saliva production is another important component of preventing tooth decay and keeping your teeth healthy!

    Schedule a Teeth Cleaning With Us!

    Whether you’re interested in a teeth cleaning to keep your pearly whites bright or are interested in a more dramatic professional teeth whitening, we’re here to assist you at Saunders DDS. Give us a call at (828) 277-6060 to learn more about our professional teeth cleaning and whitening services, or request an appointment for a teeth cleaning and exam with us online!

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    Why Are Regular Dental Exams Important?

    by Saunders DDS on February 20, 2020

    If you aren’t having any adverse symptoms when it comes to your oral health, you might wonder why keeping up with those regular dental exams are so important. After all, if you brush and floss every day, your teeth should be fine, right?

    While it’s easy to make this assumption, the truth is a bit more complicated. Even with the most thorough of oral care routines, plaque and bacteria can still build up in hard-to-reach places in your oral cavity.

    In addition, dentists are trained professionals with years of experience and can spot many oral health problems that patients can’t see on their own, which can help prevent issues that can lead to more extensive restorative work down the line.

    So why exactly is getting your teeth examined by your dentist in Asheville so important to your oral health? Here are the top reasons you should never skip those regular exams!

    Prevent Tooth Decay

    Tooth decay is a problem affecting both adults and children. While getting a cavity filled is a common treatment, it’s not normal for teeth to experience decay. Ideally, you’d want to prevent your teeth from rotting if at all possible.

    Unfortunately, early tooth decay doesn’t show many symptoms. Some people might experience some tooth sensitivity, but generally, by the time there is any pain or discomfort, the cavity has progressed to the point that the tooth either needs a filling, a root canal, or an extraction.

    Regular dental visits that include teeth cleanings can help prevent tooth decay and give your Asheville dentist a chance to spot cavities early. Tooth decay happens in stages, and the very early stages may even be able to be reversed with fluoride treatments rather than more invasive routes such as a filling or root canal therapy.

    Spot Gum Disease Early

    Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease involving gum inflammation, may not show noticeable symptoms, similar to tooth decay. Some people may notice gum tenderness or bleeding, but for others, these are symptoms that won’t show themselves until the condition has progressed to full-blown periodontal disease.

    Those dental exams with your dentist can identify and remove any plaque and tartar that have accumulated around your gumline that would otherwise increase your risk for gum disease. Even when cleaning your teeth and gums at home, it’s not possible to remove every trace of plaque from every surface of your teeth like a professional teeth cleaning can do.

    Like tooth decay, gum disease can be reversed if caught early, and is generally much easier to treat in its beginning stages than it is once it’s progressed. At the early stages, a deep cleaning may be all that’s necessary to reverse the problem, but at its advanced stages, you may need antibiotic therapy or even a bone or gum tissue graft to restore your smile.

    Identify Evidence of Teeth Grinding

    Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is when you grind your teeth either while awake or asleep. Your teeth are meant to chew food, not to grind or clench against each other, and the force exerted on the teeth during bruxism can be hugely damaging to your oral health.

    When the teeth clench or grind in bruxism, it can wear away tooth enamel over time and put enormous pressure on the tooth’s roots, causing inflammation which can even lead to loose teeth and tooth loss if left untreated.

    There are many causes of teeth grinding, including misaligned teeth or an improper bite. During your dental examination with Dr. Saunders, he can identify whether or not you grind your teeth as well as work with you to identify the underlying cause and put a treatment plan in place.

    Preventing damage from bruxism can keep your smile free of the many issues it can cause, including tooth sensitivity and fractured teeth that can permanently affect your smile.

    Get an Oral Cancer Screening

    During your regular dental exam, you can also get an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer screenings are recommended annually starting at age 18. If you smoke or use tobacco, your dentist may recommend the screenings more frequently.

    Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth, tongue, and throat. Over 50,000 people are diagnosed with some type of oral cancer every year, and like many types of cancer, oral cancers have greater treatment success when caught early.

    Your Asheville dentist will conduct a simple physical exam of your oral cavity to look for any abnormalities during your oral cancer screening, including lesions, white or red patches in the mouth, or unusual lumps in your face. The screening is quick and painless, and if anything unusual is found, Dr. Saunders can refer you to a specialist for further testing and treatment.

    Keep Your Teeth Stain-Free With Professional Cleanings

    Tooth enamel, while being the toughest substance in the human body, is actually porous. As a result, the color of your teeth can be influenced by what you eat or drink, with the top offenders for teeth staining being red wine, coffee, and tea.

    While brushing your teeth regularly at home can help remove some of these stains, a professional teeth cleaning at your dentist’s office will give you a deep clean and polish your teeth, removing surface stains that can accumulate in the months between your cleanings.

    Regularly removing surface stains through the cleaning and polishing process can help keep your teeth white without a professional teeth whitening, although if you’d prefer an even brighter smile, we offer in-office whitening services to improve your smile even more.

    How Often Do You Need to See the Dentist?

    Every patient is unique and has unique oral health needs. Generally, exams and cleanings are recommended every six months. However, based on your individual oral health, Dr. Saunders may recommend that you come in more or less often to properly maintain your smile and prevent oral health issues.

    Preventative Care at Its Best

    At Saunders DDS, we focus on preventing common issues with your smile during your regular exams and cleanings with us for a beautiful and healthy smile for life. We offer family-friendly dental care in the Asheville area to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and teeth staining that can prevent you from looking and feeling your best. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (828) 277-6060, or request an appointment online!

    Benefits of Dental Implants for Your Missing Teeth

    February 7, 2020
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    If you’re missing one or more of your natural teeth, getting them replaced is important. Not only do our teeth help us chew and speak properly, but missing teeth can cause the neighboring teeth to shift and fill in the space, which can lead to crooked or gapped teeth. You have options when it comes […]

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    How Does Adolescence Affect Dental Health? Here’s What You Need to Know About Your Teen’s Teeth

    January 21, 2020
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    Raising a teenager comes with its own challenges and worries. Oral health can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list when it comes to your child’s adolescent years, especially as your teen becomes more independent and you’re no longer able to monitor their dental health like you did when they were a child. […]

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    These Are Your Top Dental Health Resolutions for 2020

    January 13, 2020
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    Keeping up with New Year’s resolutions can feel difficult once you get back into your normal routine after the holidays. That’s why it’s so important to make healthy habits a regular part of your daily routine for your best chances of success! The health of your teeth and gums is important to keep up with […]

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    Is Chewing Gum Good for Your Teeth? Here’s What Research Says

    December 17, 2019
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    When it comes to your teeth and gums, you want to do everything possible to ensure your smile remains beautiful and healthy. Of course, brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist in Asheville for checkups are essential. But have you heard that sugar-free chewing gum can have a positive effect on your smile? While we know […]

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    Is It Really a Dental Emergency? 7 Signs You Could Need Attention ASAP

    November 24, 2019
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    If you have a problem with your teeth or gums, you might be wondering if it’s safe to wait until normal business hours to get seen by a professional dentist. It can be difficult to know whether or not an issue requires emergency attention based on your symptoms. While some issues such as extreme pain, […]

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    Dentist-Approved Ways to Help Your Child’s Teething Discomfort

    October 23, 2019
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    Did you know that babies are born with all of their primary teeth just waiting to erupt through the gumline? Many children already have a few teeth by the time they turn one. However, every baby is different and some children will see teeth earlier and some later. The average age for children to begin […]

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    What Are the Best Dental Products? Here’s How to Choose

    October 13, 2019
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    It can feel overwhelming shopping for dental products at the store. From the many flavors of toothpaste to waxed and unwaxed floss, how do you know what’s best for you? And what about your toothbrush should you go for electric or a manual option? At Saunders DDS, we know patients struggle to know which products are […]

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    These Signs and Symptoms Could Mean You Have a TMJ Disorder

    September 17, 2019
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    The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located on either side of your head near your ears and connects your jaw bone to your skull. It’s a ball-and-socket joint with a disc in-between that allows the jaw to move freely without friction. The combination of joint, muscles, disc, and connective tissue allows the jaw to perform complex […]

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    Scientists Get One Step Closer to Regrowing Tooth Enamel

    September 4, 2019
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    Regenerating tooth enamel the hard, translucent, protective layer over your teeth has so far been impossible. It’s the toughest substance in the human body, and has a complicated structure that hasn’t yet been able to be replicated by modern science. In previous research from 2015, scientists came close to regrowing tooth enamel by replicating a component in […]

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    Do I Qualify for Cosmetic Dentistry?

    August 27, 2019
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    More than one-third of Americans are unhappy with their smile. People associate a healthy, beautiful smile with a better social life, a better love life, and even success. It makes sense that people would want to correct flaws in their smile to create a better self-image and confidence so they don’t have to hold back […]

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