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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 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 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.


    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!


    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.


    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!

    dentist in Asheville

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

    by Saunders DDS on December 11, 2016

    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 family and friends while still looking your best this holiday season.

    Here are five essential tips to protect your smile and emerge from the holidays looking brighter and younger than ever with your beautiful teeth!

    1. Prevent Staining from Coffee and Wine

    Wine is undoubtedly a popular beverage during the holidays, but if you’re sipping on red wine, you could be staining your teeth! The same goes for coffee. The longer your exposure time to the beverage, the greater the chances of staining your pearly whites are.


    To help reduce the chances of staining your teeth, there a few things you can do. The first is to always sip water while consuming either wine or coffee over an extended period of time. The water will help prevent staining and also help keep your mouth hydrated.

    The second is to eat food while drinking these beverages. Again, having a buffer helps prevent staining from occurring in your porous enamel. Eating a meal while drinking a glass of wine is generally a safe and healthy way to prevent staining from red wine.

    You can also avoid staining by reducing the time your mouth is exposed to the beverage. For example, sipping coffee for hours every morning greatly increases your chances of enamel staining. Alternatively, sipping wine for several hours has the same staining risk. Avoid sipping these beverages for long periods of time!

    2. Prepare for Travel

    If you plan on traveling this holiday season, be prepared for a change in your routine. Keeping a travel toothbrush in your bag in case you forget yours at home can be very helpful. Floss is easily transported, so keep an extra one in your travel bag. Flossing once a day might feel like a chore, but keeping the spaces in-between your teeth clean can help prevent bad oral bacteria and cavities!

    Sticking to a routine as much as possible along with your extra care items can help you to maintain excellent oral health even while away from home for the holidays. If you’re without a toothbrush, rinsing with mouthwash or brushing with your finger can work in a pinch, but never rely on this method consistently for brushing. Never borrow a friend or family member’s toothbrush, as sharing oral bacteria can be detrimental to your oral health!

    3. Be Mindful about Sweets

    It’s the time of year when it seems like sweets are showing up everywhere! From family gatherings to your child’s school Christmas play, it seems like cookies and punch just don’t quit during the holidays.


    Indulging in sweets is fine, but there are a few practices you can do to ensure that that acidic sugar doesn’t ruin your beautiful smile!

    The first is to rinse your mouth with water after consuming sugar, if possible. This will help prevent the sugar from turning your oral bacteria acidic and eating away at your tooth enamel.

    It might feel like brushing your teeth is the right thing to do after eating sweets, but the opposite is true: due to the sugar’s damaging effect on your enamel, it’s best to wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. Bushing immediately afterwards could increase your risk for enamel erosion!

    It’s also crucial to eat well during the holidays. Consuming sweets in excess and neglecting to nourish your body with whole foods this holiday doesn’t only increase your chances for weight gain, but it also takes a toll on your oral health! Balancing sugar consumption by eating healthy meals can make all the difference for your smile.

    1. Get a Consultation for Restorative Dental Work

    Have you been putting off dental work to restore your smile? Now’s the time to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Asheville. Whether you need full or partial dentures, dental implants, teeth whitening, or just a checkup, there’s never a better time to look your best for family and friends (and for yourself) this holiday.

    Your Asheville dentist can help you determine if financing is an option for your restorative dental work or if your insurance will cover some of the cost. Getting the smile of your dreams is more than just about your appearance—having a fully functioning smile can enable you to eat the foods you love and have the confidence to smile and speak.

    Scheduling a consultation for restorative or cosmetic dentistry options can change your life. Your Asheville dental practice can help you decide what treatment options are right for you to fully restore your smile for the holidays!

    1. Beware of Teeth Grinding

    The holidays are often a stressful time for many people, and patients often don’t realize that teeth grinding can be a symptom of stress.

    Otherwise known as bruxism, teeth grinding can be incredibly damaging to your smile. It causes immense pressure on your teeth (up to 10 times the pressure exerted when chewing food) and can lead to cracked or chipped teeth in addition to gum inflammation. Grinding your teeth could even put you at risk for tooth loss!

    Symptoms of teeth grinding could include jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, even headaches and painful teeth. Your Asheville dentist can examine your mouth for physical signs of teeth grinding and advise a recommended treatment. Often just reducing stress in your life can help!

    This holiday season, you can look your best and smile your biggest by taking care of your smile. Reduce teeth staining simply by eating while drinking or rinsing with water and choose sweets carefully. Be prepared for hectic travel season by keeping a spare toothbrush and floss in your travel bag. Schedule a consultation for restorative dental work to get the smile of your dreams—and remember, teeth grinding is extremely damaging to your smile!


    Happy Holidays!

    Dentist in Asheville

    5 Facts to Get You Motivated about Flossing

    by Saunders DDS on December 11, 2016

    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 regularly.

    In fact, 20% of Americans never floss their teeth.

    What if your dentist in Asheville told you that flossing could protect your teeth, stop bad breath, save you money, and even help prevent heart disease? These five facts about flossing will make you think twice about that two-minute activity that could help you have a healthier smile!

    1.  Flossing Helps Stop Bad Breath

    Do you experience bad breath even after brushing in the morning? This could be the result of plaque that’s accumulated between your teeth that hasn’t been removed for quite some time.

    According to the American Dental Association, there are more than 500 different species of bacteria found in plaque. Granted, not all of these bacteria are bad, but that number certainly makes you think about the importance of flossing to help get rid of the plaque brushing alone cannot.

    In addition to removing plaque, daily flossing also helps to remove food particles that get trapped in those tight spaces between your teeth. Imagine if you leave food sitting out—now imagine that food is stuck in a tiny space and constantly bathed in saliva. It’s no surprise that trapped food and bacteria lead to bad breath!

    1. Flossing Saves You Money by Saving Your Teeth

    Since unremoved bacteria can turn into plaque and plaque can turn into tartar, the space between your teeth is susceptible to breeding bacteria that can lead to oral disease (including gum disease), cavities, infections, and even tooth loss. All of these will require treatment at your Asheville dental practice—whether you need a cavity filled or a dental implant.

    You can save money and save your teeth simply by flossing. Flossing completes the practice of daily brushing to create a clean mouth and minimizing the need for treatment or dental work at your next visit with your dentist in Asheville. A healthy smile during your checkup means a simple cleaning and you’re done!

    Floss is relatively cheap—only a couple dollars (come in for a cleaning and we will give it away) and lasts for a long time. Why not spend a few dollars now and save thousands of dollars in cosmetic dentistry work later? Flossing is well worth its small investment in time and money for your teeth and gums. 

    1. Flossing Can Help Prevent Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease

    Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common consequences of skipping flossing. This is because the bacteria left under your gums between your teeth is impossible to remove through brushing, so the bacteria is left to grow and irritate the gums. This can cause inflammation of the gums, red and sore gums, and even bleeding when brushing your teeth.

    Another one of the symptoms of gum disease is bad breath, which can be prevented through flossing. The best news is that when you help prevent gum disease, you may also help to prevent heart disease!

    Gum disease increases your risk of heart disease—although research hasn’t proven which one causes the other, the bacteria and inflammation involved in gum disease could lead to an inflammation of the arteries that lead to the heart. This is because the bacteria present in gum disease have been found in plaque in the arteries.

    Gum disease may also be a risk factor for stroke—even more of a reason to reach for your floss!

    1. The Spaces Between Your Teeth Make Up about 40% of Your Teeth

    When you brush your teeth, you’re not cleaning all the surfaces of your teeth. It’s simply impossible. Your toothbrush can’t fit into the spaces in-between your teeth, which account for about 40% of your tooth’s surfaces—nearly half.

    Think about it: you brush the top and sides of your teeth with your toothbrush. How are the rest of the surfaces of your teeth getting cleaned? The short answer is that they’re not. This is where flossing plays an instrumental role in cleaning your mouth.

    Flossing before you brush can also help the fluoride in your toothpaste to better reach the spaces between your teeth, making them more protected against cavities, enamel erosion, and bad bacteria than they would be if they were still packed with plaque and food particles.

    Although it doesn’t really matter when you floss, you may choose to floss before you brush before bed. This removes all the trapped food particles and plaque, allowing you a cleaner mouth for the next day!

    1. Once a Day Is All That’s Needed

    Brushing twice a day is recommended by the American Dental Association. However, you only need to floss once a day! When you spend the time to brush your teeth every morning and every evening, why not take an extra two minutes to floss your teeth and ensure your smile is healthy for your next <a href="https://www.ashevillefamilydentist doxycycline tablets”>checkup with your Asheville dentist?

    The great thing about flossing is that it’s very customizable compared to brushing. With brushing, you have two options—a manual toothbrush or an electric one. With flossing, you have numerous options to help you properly clean your teeth with ease! These include:

    • Regular floss
    • Waterpick flossing
    • Dental tape (wider floss) for people with bridgework or wider gaps between their teeth
    • Waxed floss to easily get between tight teeth
    • Interdental cleaners such as flossing instruments to help older adults and children floss
    • Flavored floss for kids 

    Although waterpick flossers have not been proven to be as good as standard floss when it comes to cleaning your teeth, they can be easier for people who have braces.

    How to Floss

    Flossing is simple once you have enough practice at it. At first, your gums may be sore and unused to the new cleaning procedure. This soreness should not last and soon you’ll be flossing like a pro!

    The steps to flossing are simple:

    1. Use about 18 inches of floss wrapped around your fingers (pointer or middle are most common).
    2. Hold the floss tight and work a small section of clean floss between your teeth. Never be too forceful with floss—just like brushing, gentle is better!
    3. Curve the floss around the tooth and work it up and down, not back and forth.
    4. Work the floss upwards and use a clean section for the next tooth. Don’t introduce dirty floss to the next set of teeth!

    Flossing is an easy, cost-effective way to protect your dental health for just two minutes once a day. Floss is easy to carry with you and while it takes some adjusting to get into a flossing routine, soon you’ll be impressing your Asheville dentist with your clean and shiny smile. Get motivated to floss with these five fun facts—it’s never too late to start!

    Steven and Michael Saunders - Asheville DentistsThe 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 yearly amount your insurance will pay for preventive care) you may not be getting the most bang for your buck. Most dental insurance plans cover 100% of preventative care costs. This includes:

    These treatments will make sure that you do not require any major dental overhauls such as:

    Compared to other health insurance, dental insurance, is pretty straight forward with a few differences when compared to other types of insurance. For example, car insurance provides protection for anything that could go wrong. Say your car is parked in front of your home and a drunk driver hits it in the middle of the night, your car insurance will help you pay for that. Car insurance pays for the unexpected. Dental insurance is put in place to provide for the expected. Its “protection plan” is your annual preventative dental health care check ups. Dental insurance is made to keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent you from getting any major dental work done. If you do require major dental work the insurance will help you with some of it, but most of the time – depending on your insurance provider- you will pay more out of pocket than you were planning to.

    Dental InsuranceNot all dental insurances are created equal but they all have a maximum amount of money they will spend on your dental health. If you go above this amount you will be required to pay 100% of the rest of your dental bill. From January 1st till the end of the year you are able to use this Maximum for preventative dental health care. However, if you do not use this money within that calendar year, it will not roll over into the next year. You have paid the monthly insurance premium all year long, so you deserve to use this money on your dental health. Not only will your preventive treatments keep you from having to pay more of your own money if dental surgery or the like is required, your gums and teeth will thank you for the annual check up. If you do not use your dental insurance’s maximum, you will lose out on that money and starting January 1st of the next year, you will need to reach your deductible yet again.

    If you are unsure if you still have benefits that need to be used before the year is up, call your dentists in Asheville, Saunders DDS at (828) 277-6060, and we will be happy to answer any of your questions regarding your health insurance. New patients will want to get in touch with their insurance provider or have us call them for you. Saunders DDS will make sure you are able to take full advantage of your dental insurance.

    Give The Gift Of A Beautiful Smile This Holiday Season!

    by Dr. Steve Saunders on November 16, 2016

    Give Cosmetic Dentistry As A Gift! - Christmas TreeLet’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 and porcelain veneers are a wonderful and thoughtful gift to show someone you care. Let the people you love shine this holiday season by giving the gift of a beautiful smile.

    Rather than using an at-home teeth whitening kit, get your loved one the gift of a professional whitening treatment. Most store bought kits will do more harm than good by stripping away tooth enamel and can take up to two weeks to even see results. At Saunders DDS we will make sure that you are given the best teeth whitening treatment in the fastest amount of time. We begin with a thorough examination of your teeth to get off any stains or buildup that may have dulled your smile. Then our dentist will do a “chairside bleaching”, which is our professional whitening treatment. During the “chairside bleaching” we use a high grade bleaching gel and a special light to give you a sparkling smile in less than an hour.
    If your loved one has chipped, crooked, poorly shaped teeth, or badly stained teeth porcelain veneers may be the better option for them. Porcelain veneers can bring back the holiday joy in their life that they may not realize they were missing. Porcelain veneers, or Lumineers, are thin shells that are crafted to fit around the bad teeth to give a natural and even looking smile. Give the gift of a beautiful smile by giving that special person a chance to see our dentists in Asheville. Saunders DDS is skilled in placing veneers on the crooked or chipped teeth that need a little extra love. Our dentists will help to make sure that porcelain veneers are the right thing for your loved one. Whether you are an existing or new patient, call our dentists in Asheville to schedule an appointment to bring the sparkle back in their smile. Usually with cosmetic dentistry there is some waiting period after your consultation and if impressions need to be made.

    Cosmetic Dentistry for the HolidaysHowever, at Saunders DDS, we offer Computer-aided Restoration or CEREC to create veneers in one day. There will be no need for your loved one to wait to get a beautiful smile as they will be able to get same day veneers.

    Having a dazzling, white smile makes anyone feel confident and joyful. Let your loved one light up the room this holiday season by giving the gift of a perfect smile. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Call your Asheville dentist at (828) 277-6060 today to speak with one of our specialists to see what option is best for your loved one. Don’t stop there either, treat yourself to a beautiful smile this year.

    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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    Why Brushing Before Breakfast Is Better

    July 21, 2016
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    Most people have a preference as to when they take care of their oral health in the morning—either before or after breakfast. Many people can’t stand the bad taste in their mouth in the morning and brush immediately after waking and before coffee or food. Others can’t stand the extra minty taste of their toothpaste […]

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    Can Oral Piercings Damage Your Teeth?

    July 21, 2016
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    Oral piercings have become very popular among teens and adults alike—from tongue barbells to lip rings to even getting the connective tissue in your mouth pierced, piercers can do just about anything these days. Although these trendy practices may seem “cool” to teens and their friends, many people don’t consider the damage that oral piercings […]

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    The Best and Worst Summer Treats for Your Smile

    July 17, 2016
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    In the heat of summer, you naturally gravitate towards cold foods and treats to help keep you cool! There are many summer treats that are healthy for your teeth and gums, but there are just as many more that are harmful. This summer, stock your fridge and freezer with some foods that help keep your […]

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    Missing Teeth and Your Smile—What You Need to Know

    July 14, 2016
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    Are you one of the millions of Americans who are missing at least one tooth? Even just one lost tooth can affect your smile more than you think. People can lose teeth because of trauma, but tooth decay and gum disease are also among the most common reasons for losing a tooth—an even better reason […]

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