Get The Most From Tooth Brushing

Twice daily tooth brushing and daily flossing has long set the standard for maintaining good oral hygiene. While American adults are gaining greater understanding of the importance of good oral health, many still place a low priority on their oral care at home. Only 57% of women brush their teeth twice a day and only 49% of men do so.

The oral health-whole health connection is getting better (and more deserved) press these days. For decades, research has revealed significant connections between the oral bacteria of periodontal disease and serious health problems. This infectious bacteria have shown links to heart disease, arthritis, some cancers and even preterm babies.

When it comes to our oral health, there are a number of misconceptions. One is that losing teeth is a normal part of the aging process. Yet, the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. is periodontal disease, which is not only preventable, it is one of the easiest of all diseases to prevent. It takes only minutes per day.

What much of the general public has yet to learn has to do with the damage of gum disease that extends far beyond the confines of the mouth. Through tears in weakened gum tissues, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and trigger chronic inflammatory reactions.

As you keep your teeth healthy, having healthy gums can help lower your risk for systemic inflammation. So, while you enjoy a healthy smile, your whole body benefits with lowered risks for inflammation.

In addition to 6-month check-ups and cleanings, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily are quick, easy and cheap ways to prevent cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.

Yet, like most of the actions we take, there is a right way to brush your teeth. Just wetting a tooth brush and running it over your teeth fails to get much accomplished. So, let’s review the steps that will give you the most from your time at the sink:

Brush twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime with a medium or soft bristle toothbrush using a fluoridated toothpaste. Brush in a swirling motion on all sides of teeth, spending at least 2 minutes per brushing. Avoid pressing down so the bristles do not splay out. This makes brushing less effective and can wear down tender gum tissues around teeth. toothbrush

• For those who have manual dexterity problems, such as arthritis sufferers, an electronic toothbrush can make it easier to reach awkward angles. Some models have a built-in signal that indicates when you’ve spend sufficient time on each ‘quadrant.’ This is each one-fourth section of your teeth — divided into two upper halves and two lower halves.

• Use several back-to-front swipes of a tongue scraper or use your toothbrush to go over your tongue thoroughly after brushing. Swish with water several times. Performed daily, this removes millions of bacteria embedded in the tongue.

Floss your teeth daily. Don’t hesitate to ask us for a flossing lesson. Or, you may wish to try a water flosser. These are effective and easy to use. Once you are in the habit of daily flossing, the process, start to finish, will only require a minute or so of your time.

• Throughout the day, take measures to keep your mouth moist. Saliva is a natural rinsing agent. Insufficient amounts due to age or drying medications make you more susceptible to bacterial accumulation. If you take medications that have oral dryness as a side effect, drink lots of water, limit caffeine and alcohol, and use an oral rinse to supplement the moisture needed (available over-the-counter).

The minutes you spend each day to minimize oral bacteria levels in the mouth can help you save time and money by preventing problems from occurring in the first place. Too, you’ll be supporting your whole health!

Call 910-254-4555 if you’re due for a dental check-up. Once your mouth is healthy, it will be easy to maintain between visits.

Posted in Arthritis, cavities, Cavity repair, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Diabetes, dry mouth, Gum Disease, Heart Disease, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, Systemic Inflammation, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Get The Most From Tooth Brushing

Beautiful Artwork Where Beautiful Smiles Occur!

When your days are surrounded with smiles, you can’t help but notice how a beautiful smile just seems to light up a room! People who feel confident with the appearance of their smiles tend to smile more fully AND more often!

A beautiful smile is like beautiful artwork. To surround our patients with beauty, we began a commitment a couple of years ago to a very unique organization that provides our office with artwork by international talents.

No Boundaries International Art Colony is a gathering of talented artists from all different walks of life. Each year, No Boundaries brings approximately 12 artists together from as far away as Denmark, Ghana, Rwanda and Australia for a 2-week retreat.

Based on a similar colony in Macedonia, No Boundaries International Art Colony was formed in 1998 by several Wilmington artists. This Wilmington-based non-profit organization sponsors the art colony each November at a Bald Head Island retreat.

Open House - You're Invited!

Open House – You’re Invited!

On Wednesday, September 20th, we will celebrate our 2017 display of No Boundaries International Art Colony works with an Open House. From 6:00 – 8:00pm, visitors can view selected pieces while enjoying refreshments. Some artists and others affiliated with No Boundaries will be on hand to answer questions. Artwork is also available for purchase.

Riverside Dental Arts has a proud history of supporting the arts. From Thalian Hall to the Carolina Ballet, we are commitment to this type of involvement that is a “beautiful” part of North Carolina (in addition to its smiles)!

Learn more about No Boundaries International Art Colony at:

Also, plan to attend our Open House at: Riverside Dental Arts, 124 Walnut Street, Suite 101 in Wilmington (parking is free). RSVP to: or call: 910-254-4555.

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What Happens To Facial Bone Structure When Teeth Are Missing.

When a natural tooth is lost, what takes place below the gum line may surprise you.

Our bodies are a miraculous assemblage of integral parts, from the skeletal system to the muscular system to the digestive system to the nervous system and so on. Each part is designed to operate properly with the support of all other parts.

The health of your upper and lower jaw rely on the presence of natural tooth roots. These tooth roots provide stimulation to the jaw bone in order to maintain a healthy mass.

Without your tooth roots, the jaw bone is lacking the nourishment needed to keep blood flow active. This, in time, leads to a decline in bone height and width.Healthy Jaw Bone vs Resorbed Bone From Missing Tooth Roots

The ‘shrinking’ process of bone due to missing tooth roots is known as resorption. Losing bone mass is what causes the ‘ridge’ that once held tooth roots to flatten over time. For those who wear dentures, a denture’s pressure on this upper or lower ridge actually speeds the rate of resorption. For those who sleep in their dentures, the rate of resorption accelerates even more from this round-the-clock pressure.

As the gum ridge flattens, the contours a denture was initially made to fit are different.  While denture adhesives or pastes may help, this shrinking foundation is what causes a denture to move while eating or slip when laughing or speaking.

The process of bone loss actually begins rather quickly. For example, one year after natural teeth have been extracted, denture wearers experience a 25% bone loss, on average. After three years, nearly 60% of the bone has resorbed.

A loose-fitting denture is a common complaint of  long-time denture wearers. As the jaw bone shrinks, eating becomes more difficult. Natural teeth have a biting force of 250 lbs. while the average denture wearer has about 5 lbs. of force.

To recontour a denture for a better fit, relines may be performed to reshape the denture or partial to your existing ridge height. However, these will give a better fit only temporarily and will last at less frequent intervals each time.

To see the extent of resorption you may have experienced, remove your denture and look in the mirror. Common signs of bone loss include deep wrinkles around the mouth, the corners of the mouth turning down and jowls that form as facial muscles detach from a declining bone structure. Your mouth may also seem more sunken in with your chin more pointed than before tooth loss. 

Dental implants solve many of the challenges associated with missing teeth and wearing dentures. There are many types of implants that are designed to accommodate various needs. For example, some are able to be placed even when severe bone loss has occurred.

Systems such as All-On-4 can be positioned in minimal bone on just four strategically-placed implants. Using specific angles, All-On-4 can support a full, non-removable denture in minimal bone without requiring bone-rebuilding procedures prior to placement.

In addition to restoring biting and chewing stability, dental implants halt the process of bone loss. They do not need the support of neighboring teeth and are designed to last a lifetime. Also, dental implants have an exceptional success rate and are a wise investment.

Begin with a free, no obligation consultation by calling 910-254-4555.

Posted in Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Implants, Full Dentures, New patients, Partials, Tooth Loss, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on What Happens To Facial Bone Structure When Teeth Are Missing.

Straighten Teeth Without Wires & Brackets

For those who desire an appealing, healthy smile, many adults are choosing to straighten the natural teeth they have rather than alter them through cosmetic dentistry. There are a number of reasons this is advantageous.

In some cases, it is also more economical to straighten teeth. Plus, once teeth are crowned or porcelain veneers are placed, they will always need these restorations. Additionally, properly-aligned teeth are an asset to your oral health.

For example, teeth that are crowded and crooked are more difficult to clean. The tight angles and nooks they form create havens for bacteria accumulation, which can lead to cavities and gum disease.

Misaligned teeth can also transfer stress and strain on the TMJ (jaw joints). This can contribute to jaw joint tenderness, frequent headaches, migraines, chipped and worn teeth, night-time grinding or clenching, ear ringing and dizziness.

While moving natural teeth into their proper positions is beneficial for oral health and appearance, a deterrent for many is treatment itself. Adults, especially, dread the thoughts of months of uncomfortable wires and brackets. This is why we offer Invisalign as an alternative to traditional braces.

Invisalign is an FDA-approved system designed to straighten teeth at a pace similar to that of traditional braces (or faster, in some cases). Using 3-D computer imaging technology, a custom-made mold is created for various stages of treatment.The Clear way to Straighten Up

These molds are made of a clear, medical grade polymer and generally undetectable when worn. Adults like that they can avoid the awkward appearance of traditional braces. They also like that Invisalign can be removed to eat and clean teeth.

Invisalign is appropriate for adults as well as teens who prefer the comfort and convenience. Teens who are active in sports also feel less susceptible to the damage possible through brackets and wires against gum tissues.

If you’re considering tooth realignment, call 910-254-4555 for a free consultation to discuss Invisalign. I’ll explain the process and discuss costs during this time. If desired, I can have our Financial Coordinator explain payment options. Some are interest-free and require no down payment.

Have a healthy smile with your natural teeth! Invisalign provides a clear, comfortable way to achieve an appealing, healthy smile.

Posted in Beautiful Smiles, clenching & grinding teeth, Cosmetic Dentistry, crooked teeth, crowded, Crowns, Dental Care in Wilmington, Financial Plans, headaches, Invisalign, migraines, mouth sore, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Payment Plans, Sore, TMJ & Bite Realignment, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Straighten Teeth Without Wires & Brackets

Lessen Damage From Sugar For A Healthier Smile

While Americans struggle with obesity (now over one-third of adults), diabetes and an ever-increasing list of inflammatory diseases, they are finding it harder and harder to avoid sugar consumption. It seems to be an unavoidable part of our diets, added to everything from catsup to salad dressing.

Roughly, the average American consumes an average of 22 teaspoons a day. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends less than 6. Yet, it’s not just Americans who are over-consumers. As a matter of fact, the more developed a nation is, the higher the intake per person.

Germany is one of the highest consumers, averaging around 25 teaspoons a day. With increasing health costs to treat related diseases and conditions (including dental decay and periodontal disease), countries are starting to sit up and take steps to lessen the burden.

For example, Mexico began charging a sugar tax in 2014. The higher price tab got results. One year after it took effect, consumption of sugar-laden beverages decreased by 5 percent. Two years later, there was a 10 percent decrease. (

Yet, nations agree that it will take more than imposing a tax. Our population needs to be educated.

Like our weight and the proper function of our bodies, sugar is also damaging to the health of your smile. Keep in mind that anything you eat triggers an acid attack in the mouth. This acid, which is a normal part of the digestive process, is potent enough to soften tooth enamel for up to 30 minutes after eating. When it mixes with the acids produced from sugar, the potential for damage spikes to an even higher level.

In dentistry, we advise chewing sugarless gum to keep the mouth moist and encourage saliva flow after eating. Saliva is your mouth’s natural rinsing agent that flushes food particles and oral bacteria out of the mouth before they can create damage.

American diets have changed drastically over the years, however. Rather than adhere to the “3 squares” each day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), Americans have become frequent snackers. Snacks are often full of sugar or are simple carbs, such as pretzels, chips or crackers.

Decades ago, Americans began seeing artificial sweeteners as a way to satisfy their sweet cravings while avoiding the calories. Today,, research on the negative effects of artificial sweeteners is causing people to turn back to sugar as a more “natural” sweetener.

Although artificial sweeteners have been one of the most studied of all substances with nearly 100 studies on Splenda (sucralose) alone, they are not risk-free. Nor are the latest findings showing they are helpful to weight loss. ( Still, when it comes to your smile, we advise artificial sweeteners over sugar whenever it’s practical. Like sugar, of course, moderation is key.

To lessen the affects of an acid attack in the mouth, we recommend waiting 30 minutes afterwards to brush your teeth. By allowing the acid to dissipate, you’ll avoid wearing down precious tooth enamel from abrasive tooth brush bristles and tooth paste.

Also, remember that sugar, in any form, is not kind to your teeth.
You may also be interested in an article published by Scientific American (

“It turns out that extremely sweet or fatty foods captivate the brain’s reward circuit in much the same way that cocaine and gambling do. For much of our evolutionary past, such calorie-dense foods were rare treats that would have provided much needed sustenance, especially in dire times. Back then, gorging on sweets and fats whenever they were available was a matter of survival. In contemporary society—replete with inexpensive, high-calorie grub—this instinct works against us.”

Our goal is to help you enjoy a smile that looks good, feels good and functions properly. By helping you prevent problems such as cavities and gum disease, we can also save you time and money needed for dental repairs.

Be committed to a thorough oral care regimen at home as well as keeping your 6-month check-ups. And, eat wisely. If it’s said “you are what you eat,” having a “sweet smile” should be a complement to your overall health.

Posted in cavities, Cavity repair, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Diabetes, dry mouth, Gum Disease, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, tooth ache, Tooth Repair, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Lessen Damage From Sugar For A Healthier Smile

As Marijuana Use More Mainstream, Users Should Be Familiar With Oral Repercussions

As a dentist, I have a commitment to the health and well-being of each patient’s smile. Whether my patient has healthy natural teeth or has experienced tooth loss and/or other problems, I respect the need and choices of each individual. After all, once in our office, we have the potential to work together so they can achieve healthy smiles for a lifetime.

Our patients are very familiar with how carefully we update their medical and dental histories with each visit. It’s very important to know a person’s ‘whole health’ so we can ensure their oral health is supporting overall health. That’s why we urge patients to update us on their medications and dosages, any new health issues and medical treatments that may effect dental treatment.

One example of this is for people who take blood thinners. Because this can also create more bleeding of the gums during dental procedures, knowing this in advance helps us to keep bleeding to a minimum while taking steps for better healing afterward.

We are also careful to keep up with issues that may be sensitive to patients when it comes to their oral wellness, even some they feel are unrelated. For example, Marijuana use.

Marijuana (or cannabis) delivers an ingredient known as THC (tetrahydro-cannabinol). There is a wide range of THC potency between different cannabis products. Over recent years, a growing number of states have legalized Marijuana for personal use as well as for medicinal purposes.cannibis

The most beneficial use of marijuana is its effectiveness on nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy as well as easing intra-ocular pressure associated with glaucoma. Other uses are for:

• Muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis
• Poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness (from HIV, nerve pain, etc.)
• Seizure disorders
• Crohn’s disease

Yet, although gaining wider acceptance, Marijuana is not without risks. Heavy marijuana use has been related to respiratory and bronchial problems, abdominal cramps, rapid heart beat, diarrhea, panic, paranoia, loss of short-term memory and motor skill impairment.

As a dentist, I am also witness to how Marijuana use can lead to oral problems. In addition to contributing to ‘dry mouth’ (which increases the risk of developing gum disease), it can  lead to a higher number of cavities as well as cause gum irritation, swelling and inflammation of the oral tissues.

To date, a some studies have shown a correlation between marijuana use and greater risks for periodontal disease. In October 2016, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) published a report on “Relationship Between Frequent Recreational Cannabis (Marijuana and Hashish) Use & Periodontitis in Adults in the U.S.”

As part of the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey (2011-2012), this study was administered by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the AAP. Data on adults between ages 30 – 59 was assessed with measurements of gum ‘pocket depths’ to show levels of gum disease. As a result, frequent users (at least once a month for a year) showed measurably higher levels of gum disease than non-frequent users. (

Although some marijuana users do so for at-home, personal relaxation and others use for medicinal purposes, it is not my place to judge but to help patients keep their teeth and gums healthy. When there are green stains on teeth, calculus buildup, gingival overgrowth and gum tissues that have an orange peel appearance, it may reveal regular marijuana use.

However, it may not. If so, it’s up to the patient to feel comfortable with us to share this so we can help them be proactive when it comes to their smile. Once the conversation is started, it allows us to tailor individual dental care to meet the challenges that compromise oral health that supports your overall health.

I had a friend who had toe nail fungus but spent years in loafers, too embarrassed to tell his doctor to get medication to resolve the problem. Once he finally had the conversation, however, the problem was soon taken care of and he was back in flip flops!

Never be shy about sharing anything you feel may be related to your health status since your oral health may very well be affected. Let’s work together for a terrific smile that is worry-free and makes a positive impression on others.

Call 910-254-4555 for an appointment.

Posted in cavities, Cavity repair, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, dry mouth, Gum Disease, New patients, Oral Health & Wellness, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on As Marijuana Use More Mainstream, Users Should Be Familiar With Oral Repercussions

Alzheimer’s Disease Research Focuses On Periodontal Disease In Aging Patients

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms appear, but survival can range from four to 20 years depending on age and other health conditions.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 – 80% of dementia cases. ( Risk factors include aging, with the majority with Alzheimer’s ages 65 and older.

While the memory seems to slow somewhat as we age, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. Nor is Alzheimer’s just a disease of old age. Nearly 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 suffer with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s progresses over time, with symptoms that worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s although treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. There is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and even prevent it from developing.

In one study in the United Kingdom, poor oral hygiene, a common problem among elderly patients, was shown to be a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. Through a joint effort of scientists at the University of Southampton and King’s College London, evidence  was revealed that periodontal disease may be associated with increased dementia and a more rapid progression in Alzheimer’s patients.

In this research, 59 patients with an average age of 77 were evaluated, each having mild to moderate dementia and at least 10 remaining teeth. None of the participants were smokers and none had received treatment for gum disease in the six months preceding the study.

Each patient received a dental examination by a dental hygienist at beginning of the study and at the six-month point. Additionally, blood samples were taken to measure inflammatory markers in their blood.

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease of the gum tissues in the mouth. Because the infectious oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through diseased gum tissues, gum disease is believed to spur inflammation elsewhere in the body.

Prior research has already shown that oral bacteria from gum disease may travel to the liver and increase C-reactive protein levels, which are indicators of inflammation involved in a number of conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

For decades now, researchers have been monitoring how the bacteria of gum disease can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Coming to light in recent years have been the microbiome. In an article published in 2016 by The Washington Post ( a microbiome is described as a combination of bacteria, viruses and fungi in a given site, including the warm, moist, dark environment your mouth provides.

Apparently, the microbiome warrants a significant amount of attention, with much known and still much to be found. According to the article, “Between 700 and 1,000 bacteria have been identified in human mouths, roughly double that known in the 1980s. About 30 organisms are identified with gum disease, a number that has more than doubled over the past decade.”

A microbiome from gum disease is suspected to travel through the bloodstream as bacteria seek places to grow elsewhere in the body. The quest for researchers is to learn how they they arrive at the heart, pancreas, and other areas.

As a result of the King’s College London and Southampton University study, the presence of periodontal disease at baseline was associated with six times higher rate of cognitive decline in participants over the study period. Thus, researchers were able to conclude that periodontal disease may increase cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease due to how the body responds to inflammatory triggers.

Although this latest study only evaluated a limited number of participants, researchers were motivated to suggest a larger scale study. To date, the precise mechanisms by which gum disease bacteria may be connected to cognitive decline are not fully understood. However, there is sufficient evidence to explore how periodontal treatment may benefit the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

As higher levels of antibodies to periodontal bacteria are associated with an increase in levels of inflammatory molecules elsewhere in the body, studies continue to show links to increased rates of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease.

Sadly, gum disease is common problem for older people. The condition can be more common in Alzheimer’s sufferers because of a reduced ability to tend to oral hygiene as the disease progresses.

As more is known on the connections between gum disease and how oral bacteria can impact your overall health, I’ll relay it through periodic updates. In the meantime, there is clear evidence that your oral health is an important part of a healthy body AND healthy mind!

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, please don’t delay being treated. Common symptoms include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, gums that darken in color and bad breath. Remember, though, gum disease can have no obvious symptoms at all.

Your 6-month checkups are an important part of achieving and maintaining good oral health throughout the year. Call 910-254-4555 for an appointment.

Posted in Bad Breath, Bleeding Gums, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Diabetes, Gum Disease, Heart Disease, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, Systemic Inflammation, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Alzheimer’s Disease Research Focuses On Periodontal Disease In Aging Patients

Replace Missing Tooth ASAP!

Losing an adult tooth is always a difficult issue. A tooth can be lost due to an injury, decay, gum disease or conditions that compromise the structure of the tooth’s roots or the foundation (jaw, tendons, tissues)  that supports them.

Statistics show that when a natural tooth is lost, the next to be lost is one next to it. Therefore, it is very important to replace it as soon as possible, ideally at the time of removal.

When a tooth is removed, the open space it leaves allows for movement of neighboring teeth. For example, let’s say you lose a lower tooth on one side. The tooth above, that once met the now-missing lower tooth, will grow longer. The teeth on each side of the now-open space will begin tilt.

When other teeth do not have their ‘mate’ to help hold them in their proper positions, they shift. This shifting and elongated growth make other teeth susceptible to chips, breaks and fractures. It can also impact the movement of the TMJ (jaw joints).

Your TMJ is a hinge of sorts that connects your lower jaw to the skull. Every time you bite, chew, speak, laugh or yawn, these joints move. When teeth are in their proper positions, the joints move harmoniously. However, bite misalignment can create strain on these joints, leading to a long list of problems.

The jaw joints, located just in front of each ear, are connected and integral with so many structural components. For instance, TMJ disorders can cause ear ringing, dizziness, headaches, migraines, and lead to night-time clenching and grinding.

Grinding teeth can lead to teeth that are worn down or broken. As a matter of fact, bruxism (teeth grinding) is one of the leading contributors to dental implant failure. The force of some clenching has been compared to that as hard enough to crack a walnut!

Another advantage of replacing teeth immediately upon removal is to preserve the gum tissues in their natural arches and points. If you look at the gums that

Notice the natural arches of gum tissues and tissue points between teeth.

Notice the natural arches of gum tissues and tissue points between teeth.

frame your natural teeth, there are arches over each tooth with slight dips of gum tissue between them. When a natural tooth is removed, these curvatures begin to dry up and flatten out.

Although gum re-contouring procedures can be preformed to restore these arches and points, immediate replacement can help you avoid this added expense and treatment time.

Ideally, a natural tooth is replaced with a dental implant. Because the implanted portion is placed in the bone, it recreates the presence of a natural tooth root. This helps preserve the jaw bone and provides a dependable anchor to support a replacement tooth.

Additionally, a dental implant does not need the support of neighboring teeth, as in a crown-&-bridge. When natural teeth must be crowned for the sole purpose of supporting a replacement tooth in-between, they will always require a crown.

Dental implants are also designed for a lifetime. They are the closest thing to natural teeth in the way they look, feel and function. With proper care, they will never need replacing or other maintenance and your surrounding teeth will not be affected by their presence.

As a comprehensive dental practice, we are proud to provide complete dental services and all phases of every tooth replacement option. If you’re facing tooth replacement, we’ll explain your options and answer your questions so you can determine which is best for you, personally.

Ideally, however, we want you to keep your natural teeth for a lifetime of confident smiles! If you wish to learn more about how to achieve and maintain a terrific smile you’ll love to share, call 910-254-4555 to schedule a no-charge consultation.


Posted in Beautiful Smiles, cavities, Cavity repair, clenching & grinding teeth, Cosmetic Dentistry, crooked teeth, crowded, Crown & Bridge, Crowns, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Emergency, Dental Implants, Gum Disease, headaches, migraines, New patients, Smile Makeovers, TMJ & Bite Realignment, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Replace Missing Tooth ASAP!

Filling A Gap Between Front Teeth

Think of model Lauren Hutton, former football star and current celebrity Michael Strahan, and singer/songwriter Elton John. What do they have in common? A diastema, which is the professional term for a gap between the two front, upper teeth.

Michael Strahan's Famous Smile

Michael Strahan’s Famous Smile

The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that up to 25% of American adults have some level of this trait, with Blacks having a higher percentage and males being more prone to the inherited trait than females.

Although this mostly genetic trait can be awkward for some adults, it is becoming less of an issue largely based on the celebrities who smile proudly with their diastema center-stage! In Ghana, Namibia and Nigeria, gapped teeth are perceived as attractive and a sign of fertility. In France, they are even referred to as “lucky teeth”.

Because a diastema is “front and center” between the two front teeth, even a slight gap is noticeable in most smiles. For some people, these gaps make them uncomfortable when smiling. Resolving this can be done in several ways.

Keep in mind that the method best for you may be based on the width of the gap to be filled. The key is to fill in the gap without creating teeth that are too wide, resulting in “bunny teeth.” To avoid this, it may be necessary to involve more than just the two gapped teeth.

Bonding is a cosmetic dental treatment where a tooth-colored composite resin is painted onto natural teeth. The material is carefully molded to create an appropriate shape and size to lessen the width between the two teeth.

Typically, bonding can be done in one visit with minimal numbing required. We begin by carefully matching the composite resin to the shade of your teeth. The surface of the teeth involved in treatment will be prepared and a conditioning material is applied so the bonding will adheres easily.

When the bonding is applied, the putty-like material is shaped and molded. An ultraviolet light is used to harden the bonding in place. Once your bite alignment is checked, it is then polished to give a natural sheen.

For front teeth, bonding is an affordable option that can quickly repair flaws. It does have its limits, though. Bonding material isn’t as strong as your natural teeth. If you bite your fingernails or chew on pens you risk chipping bonded front teeth. Too, if you smoke or drink coffee regularly, bonding more easily stains and may yellow over time.

An alternative is porcelain. Nothing in esthetic dentistry has the durability or longevity of porcelain. Porcelain veneers and crowns are also more resistant to staining and reflect light naturally with a tooth-like opalescence. Often, using four or six veneers can even out a gap while creating a more beautiful smile, which is the best option for a wide gap.

For some gaps between teeth, moving natural teeth into proper alignment through Invisalign is the best option. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a number of patients with diastemas cannot be treated with bonding alone. Before treatment of any kind, you should be evaluated for dental problems in addition to your gap such as crooked or crowded teeth or a misaligned bite.

Moving your teeth may not only close the gap, but allow you to have a healthier smile. Teeth that are in proper alignment are easier to keep clean and help you avoid problems associated with bite misalignment, including chips, broken teeth, jaw joint pain, ear ringing, worn teeth, dizziness, headaches, migraines, night-time clenching and grinding and sore jaw joints.

Because many adults dread the discomfort and awkward appearance of brackets-&-wires orthodontics, we offer Invisalign. These clear molds are removable for eating and brushing and are virtually undetectable when worn.

Begin by scheduling a no-cost consultation to discuss your options and what will work best. During this time, we can also discuss payment plans that can break treatment fees into affordable monthly payments. Call 910-254-4555 to schedule.

Posted in Beautiful Smiles, Bonding, clenching & grinding teeth, Cosmetic Dentistry, crooked teeth, crowded, Crowns, Dental Care in Wilmington, Financial Plans, headaches, Invisalign, migraines, New patients, Payment Plans, Porcelain Veneers, Smile Makeovers, TMJ & Bite Realignment, Tooth Repair, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Filling A Gap Between Front Teeth

Is Dental Fear Causing High Percentage Of Adults With Gum Disease?

According to data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 46 percent of American adults over the age of 30 have some level of gum disease with nearly 9 percent having severe periodontitis (chronic bacterial inflammation of the gums). (

In a separate study, 473 dental patients of varying ages, education levels, frequency of dental visits, reasons for irregular attendance and existence of past traumatic experiences were analyzed. Based upon questionnaires and testing protocols, they were categorized into three segments relating to dental fear and anxiety. As with the number of those who have gum disease, I found it equally concerning that the prevalence of dental anxiety among those in the study was almost 59 percent. (

This leaves us with over half an adult population who are fearful or anxious about going to a dentist AND nearly half of adults who have developed gum disease. Those are huge numbers! Coincidence?

In the dental anxiety study, no patterns of age or education levels stood out although women showed higher anxiety or fear levels than men. Not surprisingly, past traumatic experiences were found to result in elevated anxiety and fear. There was also an inverse relationship between frequency of dental visits and anxiety.

Although there remain unknowns in this study, there is no doubt that anxiety associated with dental visits is a widespread issue. To no surprise, people who visited the dentist more regularly and individuals without previous traumatic dental experiences were less anxious.

Those of us in the dental profession who know that dental care can – and should be – administered without discomfort? When a patient perceives otherwise, it is ultimately the first domino to fall. A patient who is anxious or fearful of perceived pain may delay or avoid care. When dental cleanings and necessary repairs are delayed or avoided, the need for care can become more complex or involved. The more complicated treatment becomes, the greater the dread becomes for the patient.

Patients often relax with the help of oral sedation. For some, that gets them over the initial hump until they become relaxed and confident in our care and decide to forgo it. However, a patient who is anxious or fearful must be willing to walk in the door in the first place. Some high-fear patients have such intense fear levels, or ‘dental phobia,’ they can barely force themselves to call a dental office, let alone walk into one.

While we are sensitive to the concerns of all patients, we pride ourselves on our relationships with those who have had unfortunate experiences in dental offices in the past that have contributed to fear or anxiety associated with dentistry. For all new patients, we begin with a private consultation. This takes place in a consultation room rather than a dental chair.

If you or someone you know has delayed or avoided care due to dental fear, it is important that they understand the ramifications to their overall health in addition to their smile. Research has linked the infectious bacteria of gum disease to serious health problems that extend far beyond the mouth.

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection that can become bloodborne through weakened gum tissue. It has been found to trigger systemic inflammation and linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressures, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies, some cancers, impotency and erectile dysfunction.

We’d like to help you achieve a confident smile and enjoy the many benefits of good oral health. Start with a phone call to schedule a free, no obligation consultation so we can get to know one another in a comfortable setting.

From there, you can determine how you wish to proceed. However, if you have doubts, ask to speak to some of our patients who, like you, had dental anxiety or fear upon arriving and now smile with confidence.

Call 910-254-4555.


Posted in Arthritis, Cavity repair, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Fear, Diabetes, Gum Disease, Heart Disease, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, Systemic Inflammation, tooth ache, Tooth Repair, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Is Dental Fear Causing High Percentage Of Adults With Gum Disease?

Interesting Dental Implant Statistics

As a long time member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), I am also an Associate Fellow who has completed a great many courses through its offerings as well as some of the nation’s most premier teaching institutes.

Established in 1951, the AAID is the first organization specifically devoted to implant dentistry and the only one that offers credentials recognized as bona fide. Its membership exceeds 5,500 and includes general dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists, and prosthodontists from across the U.S. and in more than 60 other countries.

On the AAID web site, there is also helpful information for those who are considering Dental Implants:

Additionally, for those who wear dentures because they’re a better ‘bargain,’ I thought I’d share their explanation of: The Real Cost of Dentures

How much do dentures cost? Dentures are a significant investment, with a lifetime cost that could amount to thousands of dollars. However, it could be argued that the “real cost” of dentures is much greater. Consider the following:

The “Social Cost” to Dentures – Compared to natural teeth, dentures can cause awkward and embarrassing social moments. For example, dentures can slip at just the wrong time, such as when you are laughing, eating, kissing, or even talking.
TeethInGlass Color LowRez
The “Convenience Cost” of Dentures – Dentures cannot be cleaned like your natural teeth. Instead, dentures must be removed from your mouth and rinsed; your mouth cleaned; your dentures brushed; your dentures soaked overnight; and finally your dentures must be rinsed before placing them back in your mouth. And of course, you should handle your dentures carefully so you don’t drop or damage them during the cleaning process.

The “Health Cost” of Dentures – Your mouth and jaw were made for teeth, and expect teeth to remain in place. When one or more teeth are missing, the jawbone begins to lose bone. This can weaken the jawbone, and cause the shape of your face to change.  Wearing dentures is no substitute for missing teeth in that regard because they aren’t part of your jaw, they merely parallel it.

If you don’t want to pay the “real cost” of dentures – the social, hassle, and health costs – there is an option to consider: dental implants. In terms of pure financial costs, dental implants are cost competitive with dentures over the long term, making them an excellent value. When it comes to the other costs – social, hassle, and health – dental implants can be far superior to dentures.

For example, dental implants can’t slip like dentures.  Instead, dental implants become part of your facial structure, providing a strong, secure connection. Additionally, dental implants don’t require as much upkeep as dentures. Dental implants can be brushed and flossed just like your natural teeth, rather than removed from your mouth every night for cleaning and soaking.

Another advantage of dental implants is how they can help to keep your facial structure and good looks. Like natural teeth, dental implants are in direct contact with the jawbone, stimulating it, thus avoiding the loss of bone mass that can alter your appearance.

Visit the AAID web site to learn more. Or, call our office to arrange a free, private consultation to discuss your individual needs. During this time, I’ll make recommendations as to the implant system that will work best based upon your goals and answer your questions so you can determine the best ‘next step’ for you!

Call 910-254-4555.


Posted in Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Implants, Financial Plans, Full Dentures, New patients, Partials, Payment Plans, Tooth Loss, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Interesting Dental Implant Statistics

Why Growing Number Of Adults Are Choosing Dental Implants

There are a number of reasons I recommend Dental Implants when a patient needs to replace a missing tooth. However, depending on the patient’s preferences and individual situation, I also place dentures, precision-fitted partials and crown-&-bridge combinations. I believe that each patient, once fully informed of their choices along with the advantages and challenges of each, is in the best position to select the replacement option for their needs.

Yet, time and again, many patients choose Dental Implants to replace one, several or even all missing teeth. While most implants will cost more initially, they prove themselves to be a far better investment over time. Here are some of the reasons we’ve found Dental Implants to be superior when it comes to replacing natural teeth:

• Dental Implants preserve jaw bone structure – Your natural teeth are held by the upper and lower jaws. The presence of tooth roots provides stimulation and nourishment to these bones. When tooth roots are no longer present, the jaws undergo a process known as resorption. This is a shrinking of bone mass. Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots, halting the rate of bone loss.

• Dental Implants protect surrounding teeth – Let’s say you lose a tooth that is situated between two other teeth. As bone resorption occurs in the area of the missing tooth root, the bone supporting adjacent teeth is affected as well. It is a fact that when a tooth is lost, the next most likely to be lost is a tooth next to it.

• Dental Implants help maintain a healthy facial structure – As each natural tooth is lost, bone loss continues and even accelerates each year you are missing tooth roots. As the jaw bone shrinks, facial changes take place that are aging far beyond one’s years. These include deep wrinkles around the mouth, a collapsed mouth where the nose moves closer to the chin, the formation of jowls from detached facial muscles and a ‘granny look’ that is the result of severe bone loss.

WomanBitingApple• Dental Implants support good overall health – Having a dependable, secure way to bite and chew is important. This function supports good digestive health and provides you with the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals your body needs. Additionally, feeling confident and comfortable with others is necessary for being socially involved. A recent article in the New York Times stated that “people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.” The article went on to share the results of a study of 7,000 men and women in one county in California (begun in 1965). Researchers found that “people who were disconnected from others were roughly three times more likely to die during the nine-year study than people with strong social ties.”  (

• Dental Implants are supported by the jaw – Just as the natural tooth roots you once had, Dental Implants are held by the jaw bone. They do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, as in a crown-&-bridge combination. They do not need denture pastes or adhesives to stay in place while eating or speaking.

• Dental Implants are a one-time expense – A Dental Implant is designed to last a lifetime. They will never experience decay, need a root canal, require relines or replacement (with proper care). Dental Implants also have one of the highest success rates of all implant-in-bone types, including hips and knees. They are an excellent investment.

Our ultimate goal is to provide you with the best outcome possible so you love your smile and are confident with its function. Regardless of the tooth replacement option you select, we are here to support you with your long term goals for a terrific smile!

For a private, no charge and no obligation consultation to discuss your specific dental needs or concerns, call 910-254-4555.

Posted in Crown & Bridge, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Implants, New patients, Partials, Tooth Loss, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Why Growing Number Of Adults Are Choosing Dental Implants

What To Do When A Dental Emergency Arises

With schools letting out for the summer, outdoor activities increase for both children and adults. Trips to the beach, outings at the park, and even backyard barbeques can include activities that may put your teeth, lips and even jaw at risk for injury. Family BBQ

As a longtime team dentist to the Carolina Hurricanes Hockey team, I’ve seen a number of chipped, broken, cracked and knocked out teeth as well as cut lips and gums. Yet, the most frequent injuries I treat are typically the average dad or teen who least expect to get bonked during a basketball game or while playing water polo.

Mishaps can occur with many activities and at any age. Should the unexpected happen, here are some tips to help you lessen the impact and hopefully lead to a better outcome:


CUT OR BITTEN TONGUE, LIP OR CHEEK – Apply a cold compress to bruised areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes or cannot be controlled by simple pressure, go to a hospital emergency room without delay.

KNOCKED OUT PERMANENT TOOTH – Handle the tooth by the top portion rather than the root. Rinse the tooth, but do not clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket and hold the tooth in place by biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup of milk or water and call us immediately. Time is a critical factor in saving a tooth.

BROKEN TOOTH – Rinse dirt from injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the area of the injury. Save any broken tooth fragments and call our office immediately.

TOOTHACHE – Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm, salt water or use dental floss to gently dislodge trapped food or debris. If the face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Take acetaminophen for pain and call us as soon as possible. Do not place aspirin on the gum or the aching tooth.

BROKEN BRACES & WIRES – Fortunately, most loose or broken appliances do not require emergency room attention. If the appliance can be removed easily, take it out. If not, cover sharp or protruding portions with cotton balls, gauze or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, do not attempt to remove it. Call our office immediately.

POSSIBLE BROKEN JAW – If a fractured jaw is suspected, use a tie, towel or handkerchief to tie underneath the chin and over the top of the head. This will help to keep the jaws from moving. Go immediately to the nearest emergency room.

Should an accident occur after-hours, call our office for recorded instructions on how to contact us. We will do everything possible to assist you promptly.

By the way, a custom-fitted mouth guard can prevent many injuries. Through prevention, tey can save you tremendously in costs, treatment time, and more. Ask about mouth guards at your next visit or call us at 910-254-4555 to learn more.

Posted in Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Emergency, New patients, Sports Dentistry, Tooth Repair, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on What To Do When A Dental Emergency Arises

The Link Between Diabetes & Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone structures that support natural teeth. Even though the signs of gum disease may resemble other medical conditions, the most common symptoms include:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums

  • Seeing blood when brushing

  • Receding gums that expose sensitive tooth root areas

  • Pus pockets on gum tissues

  • Persistent bad breath

The bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased tissues. This allows the infectious bacteria to travel throughout the body, which can cause inflammatory triggers that can lead to serious health problems.

In addition to diabetes, gum disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, arthritis, some cancers, high blood pressure, preterm babies, impotency and erectile dysfunction (ED). Obviously, oral bacteria is no small matter.

Diabetes, a disease that results from insufficient production of insulin in the body, means the body cannot properly process carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The most common types are Type 1 (which requires insulin control) and Type 2 (not insulin dependent).

Because of blood vessel changes that occur with diabetes, the efficiency of the flow of nutrients and removal of wastes from body tissues can be compromised. This can weaken the gums and bone, leaving them susceptible to infection.

This is where the correlation between periodontal disease and diabetes is found. When it comes to gum disease and diabetes, research has shown that one can trigger the other.Microscope

Poor blood sugar control decreases the ability of the immune system to fight infections. When glucose levels are not properly controlled, diabetics experience higher growth of oral bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease. Similarly, uncontrolled gum disease can make it more difficult to control diabetes.

Diabetes initially emerges in the form of oral problems with early Type 2 signs including bad breath and bleeding gums. These are also symptoms of periodontal disease. Studies have shown that preventing gum disease supports diabetics in properly controlling glucose levels.

For diabetics who also smoke, they have an even greater risk for gum disease than a person who does not have diabetes.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health describes diabetes as “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.” Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims diabetes has risen to a pandemic level with the number of diabetics predicted to triple over the next ten years.

If you’re diabetic, it is strongly advised to have dental checkups every 3-4 months to avoid the inflammatory reactions of gum disease, and subsequent repercussions. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.

After a thorough examination, we can determine if gum disease exists. Call 910-254-4555 to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Remember, gum disease only worsens without treatment, resulting in greater treatment time and expense.

Posted in Arthritis, Bad Breath, Bleeding Gums, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Diabetes, Gum Disease, Heart Disease, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Cancer, Oral Health & Wellness, Sore, Systemic Inflammation, Tooth Loss, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on The Link Between Diabetes & Periodontal Disease

Colas Are NOT Good For Your Smile

When I watch a commercial promoting the ‘refreshing’ and ‘thirst-quenching’ appeal of soft drinks, I can see why so many Americans add them to their daily beverage intake. However, when you know what’s really in those beverages and the havoc they create in your mouth, I hope you’ll start to limit the amount in your grocery cart.

“Soft drinks” are an absurd description for what the contents can do to teeth and gums. Colas can contribute to a number of oral health problems, including an ability to cause cavities and enamel erosion. Yet, most people are unaware of just how erosive the acids from cola can be. Even sugar-free colas can have a similar erosion level as those that are sweetened.

Let’s begin with the manner in which most colas are consumed. Many colas are consumed right from the can or bottle in small swallows that occur over a period of time. Consider that every time you eat or drink something, an acid attack begins in the mouth. This is an initial part of the digestive process and is active for 20 – 30 minutes.

While beneficial to digestion, this acid is pretty potent. So much so, it can even soften tooth enamel. This is why we advise waiting 30 minutes after eating before brushing teeth. The bristles of a tooth brush and abrasiveness of tooth paste can wear down precious tooth enamel. Without the protective covering of enamel, teeth are more vulnerable to decay.

Think about it – if you sip a cola over the course of an hour, the acid flow will last that long and 20 – 30 minutes more. As hard as that is on teeth, imagine adding the sugar and acid from a soft drink to those digestive acids. This leaves teeth in a weakened state for an extended period of time. In this state, teeth are also more likely to become stained by the caramel color in many sodas.

The high acidity of soft drinks comes from phosphoric acid, which is added for flavor. Phosphoric acid is a common ingredient in detergents, fertilizers and industrial cleaners. While most Americans are unaware, its acidity level has been compared to the levels in battery acid. Phosphoric acid is so erosive it can remove rust from aircraft carriers and ships.

With the potency of phosphoric acid mixed with digestive acids in the mouth, it’s no surprise that your teeth are at risk. When the high acid levels erode tooth enamel, you can experience sensitivity to hot and cold, transparent teeth, and teeth that crack or darken along with greater susceptibility to cavities.

Of course, we have no one to blame but ourselves. The U.S. has the highest per-capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks worldwide. The Beverage Marketing Corporation reveals that Americans drink more than 50 gallons of carbonated soft drinks per person  each year. In addition to soft drinks, the Beverage Marketing Corporation also tracks the amount of bottled water, tea, fruit drinks, milk, coffee, beer, wine and spirits we consume. Consistently, carbonated soft drinks make up the greatest segment.

What is also ‘behind the scenes’ when the colas ads appear is the fact that they are anything but ‘refreshing.’ In addition to the phosphoric acid in colas, most contain caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic that depletes moisture with some colas just as drying to oral tissues as coffee. It has been shown that drinking soft drinks in hot weather can lead to dehydration and increase the risk of heat stroke.

While many concerns about soft drinks have motivated some schools to remove sodFat Stickmana machines, it is largely because of the obesity rate in this country. In the U.S., the percentage of obese children has more than tripled since the 1970s. That’s ‘obese,’ which is beyond fat. Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) is categorized as obese. ( In conjunction with the medical profession, dentists are urging parents to closely monitor their family’s intake of colas (including their own!).

Don’t let savvy advertising be to the detriment of your smile. When you need to quench your thirst, reach for bottled water instead. Or, enjoy filtered water flavored with apple, strawberry, cucumber or orange slices.

As you prepare for outdoor gatherings and activities, take note of what is iced down in your cooler. Bottled water versus soft drinks? The wiser choice will protect your smile. You can avoid cavities, tooth erosion, stained teeth and a higher risk of gum disease with this small change to your beverage consumption. And, you’ll save money and time by avoiding dental repairs.

May your smiles this summer be many!

Posted in Beautiful Smiles, cavities, Cavity repair, Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Care in Wilmington, dry mouth, Gum Disease, New patients, Opalescence Go Whitening, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, tooth ache, Tooth Repair, Tooth Whitening, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Colas Are NOT Good For Your Smile