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By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
June 01, 2020
Category: Oral Health

If you’re about to undergo orthodontic treatment, you’re going to face a challenge keeping your teeth and gums clean wearing braces. That in turn could increase your chances for tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, which could diminish your future dental health and disrupt your current orthodontic treatment.

The main hygiene tasks of brushing and flossing are more difficult with braces because of the fixed hardware on the teeth. Your toothbrush or floss can’t always easily maneuver around the wires and brackets, increasing the chances you’ll miss some areas. These neglected areas can then accumulate dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that’s most responsible for disease.

But although difficult, effective oral hygiene isn’t impossible.  First and foremost, you’ll need to take more time to be thorough with brushing and flossing than you might normally without braces.

Second, there are some specialized hygiene tools to make the job easier. Instead of a regular toothbrush try an interproximal brush. This special brush has a long and thin bristled head (resembling a pipe cleaner) that can maneuver in and around orthodontic hardware much easier than a regular brush.

For flossing, use a floss threader, a device through which you thread floss on one end and then pass the other sharper end between your teeth. Once through, you release the floss from it and floss as usual, repeating the process with the threader for each tooth. Another option is an oral irrigator, a device that emits a pressurized spray of water between teeth to loosen plaque and flush it away. Many orthodontic patients have found this latter option to be quite effective.

Finally, continue seeing your regular dentist for regular appointments in addition to your orthodontist. Besides cleaning those hard to reach areas, your dentist can also provide other preventive measures like topical fluoride for strengthening enamel and prescription mouth rinses that inhibit bacterial growth. You should also see your dentist immediately if you notice signs of disease like spots on the teeth or swollen or bleeding gums.

Keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces is a top priority. Doing so will help ensure your new smile after braces is both an attractive and healthy one.

If you would like more information on dental care during orthodontics, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth during Orthodontic Treatment.”

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
May 22, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

As the host of America's Funniest Home Videos on ABC TV, Alfonso Ribeiro has witnessed plenty of unintentional physical comedy…or, as he puts it in an interview with Dear Doctor–Dentistry & Oral Health magazine, "When people do stuff and you're like, 'Dude, you just hurt yourself for no reason!'" So when he had his own dental dilemma, Alfonso was determined not to let it turn onto an "epic fail."

The television personality was in his thirties when a painful tooth infection flared up. Instead of ignoring the problem, he took care of it by visiting his dentist, who recommended a root canal procedure. "It's not like you wake up and go, 'Yay, I'm going to have my root canal today!'" he joked. "But once it's done, you couldn't be happier because the pain is gone and you're just smiling because you're no longer in pain!"

Alfonso's experience echoes that of many other people. The root canal procedure is designed to save an infected tooth that otherwise would probably be lost. The infection may start when harmful bacteria from the mouth create a small hole (called a cavity) in the tooth's surface. If left untreated, the decay bacteria continue to eat away at the tooth's structure. Eventually, they can reach the soft pulp tissue, which extends through branching spaces deep inside the tooth called root canals.

Once infection gets a foothold there, it's time for root canal treatment! In this procedure, the area is first numbed; next, a small hole is made in the tooth to give access to the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The diseased tissue is then carefully removed with tiny instruments, and the canals are disinfected to prevent bacteria from spreading. Finally, the tooth is sealed up to prevent re-infection. Following treatment, a crown (cap) is usually required to restore the tooth's full function and appearance.

Root canal treatment sometimes gets a bad rap from people who are unfamiliar with it, or have come across misinformation on the internet. The truth is, a root canal doesn't cause pain: It relieves pain! The alternatives—having the tooth pulled or leaving the infection untreated—are often much worse.

Having a tooth extracted and replaced can be costly and time consuming…yet a missing tooth that isn't replaced can cause problems for your oral health, nutrition and self-esteem. And an untreated infection doesn't just go away on its own—it continues to smolder in your body, potentially causing serious problems. So if you need a root canal, don't delay!

If you would like additional information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
May 13, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental implants  

If you’re scheduled for a tooth extraction or are already missing one or a couple of your real teeth, you might be weighing your tooth replacement options. One of the tooth restoration options to consider is dental implants. They are the most popular and sought after option due to the unparalleled benefits they offer when it comes to comfort, aesthetics, and functionality. Here at Heritage Dental Associates in Fayetteville, GA, Dr. Jeff Kendrick frequently uses dental implants to restore lost teeth.

How Can I Benefit From Dental Implants?

  • Functionality: The titanium dental implant tooth root will effortlessly fuse to your jawbone, preventing its deterioration, and creating a durable foundation for chewing.
  • Aesthetics: Dental implants look undeniably similar to your real teeth, especially when topped with porcelain dental crowns that will be customized to fit with and look like your other teeth.
  • Durability and Easy Maintenance: Implants need the exact same oral hygiene routine you do for your real teeth. This means that you just have to brush them and floss them thoroughly every single day and get them professionally cleaned and examined by your dentist in Fayetteville, GA, regularly. While dental implants won’t develop tooth decay, the gum tissues surrounding them could get infected or inflamed if you fail to care for them properly. When cared for properly, however, they could last for the rest of your life.
  • Comfort: Some people are not comfortable or just can’t wear other teeth replacement options due to gum soreness and other sensitivities. With dental implants, comfort won’t ever be an issue once the surgery site has healed.

When Should I Get Implants?

The longer you delay to replace a missing tooth, the faster the bone and gums below where your tooth was will deteriorate. Left unaddressed for a long time, you may have to undergo periodontal surgery or a bone graft surgery before having implants installed.

 If you still need to heal from another dental treatment or tooth extraction, you’ll have to wait until you’re fully healed to have the implants installed but if the gum tissue and bone in the site where the implant will be placed are generally healthy, then the procedure can be performed. 

Interested in Dental Implants? Talk to Us

Dial (770) 460-9795 to arrange an assessment of your case with Dr. Jeff Kendrick of Heritage Dental Associates here in Fayetteville, GA.

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
May 12, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: porcelain veneers  

Porcelain veneers have been used for several decades to enhance a dental patient's smile. These thin wafers of color-matched dental porcelain are bonded to the visible surface of teeth to mask chips, disfigurements, discoloring or slight misalignments and gaps. Thanks to the artistry of dentists and dental lab technicians, the average observer often can't distinguish a veneered tooth from a natural one.

Veneers are great—but they're even more life-like and versatile thanks to recent technological advances. Here are a few of these high tech means that can help make your veneers as attractive as possible.

Digital photography. There's a lot that goes into making sure an individual's veneers seamlessly blend in with other teeth. Photographs in digital form that can be transferred electronically to dental labs are invaluable, especially for accurate color matching. A high resolution photograph can also relay an enormous amount of information about a patient's existing teeth including shape, size, length and position.

Computer imaging. We want you to be satisfied with your final veneer appearance. The best way to ensure that—and to relax any jitters you may have over the process—is to enable you to “see” your new smile before your veneers are even made. We can do that with computer imaging software that modifies a current photo of your smile to look as it will be with veneers. It's also a great tool for making changes to the veneer plan based on what you see in the model.

Tryout veneers. We can even take it a step further, by letting you see how your proposed veneers will look like on your own teeth. We do this by creating provisional veneers made of composite materials that we temporarily bond to your teeth. You can try them out for a while (and get others' impressions) until your permanent veneers are ready. And as with computer imaging, tryout veneers can guide updates to your veneer schematics before they're made.

Using these and other advanced techniques can help fine-tune the design of your new veneers to make sure they're the best they can be. They're great tools in achieving our ultimate goal with your veneers—a beautiful smile that everyone thinks is natural.

If you would like more information on the smile-transforming power of dental veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers: Your Smile—Better Than Ever.”

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
May 11, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  

Wisdom teeth usually appear in the later teen years. Unfortunately, wisdom teeth sometimes grow and cause pain and other problems in the mouth. The longer a patient holds on to wisdom teeth, the harder they can be to extract later. Dr. Jeffrey A. Kendrick, DMD performs wisdom tooth extraction at Heritage Dental Associates in Fayetteville, GA.

Is tooth extraction painful?

Dentists use either general or local anesthesia to sedate the patient. You don't feel the procedure, but you will need someone to help you afterward while you recover.

Several signs could mean you need your wisdom teeth pulled. Do you experience any of the following?

Congestion of the sinus areas

Sometimes wisdom teeth rub against the soft tissues of the sinuses, making it hard to breathe.

Need for straightening of the teeth

If your wisdom teeth do not fit in your mouth, they can cause crowding of the other teeth. Removing the wisdom teeth give your other teeth more room.


Wisdom teeth grow in the back of your mouth. Because of this, it is sometimes hard to brush and remove all the food that may be stuck. This can lead to cavities in the wisdom tooth and the teeth surrounding it.

Pain and inflammation

It can be hard to chew or brush your teeth because of the discomfort. There may also be irritation of the gums and swelling. You may also experience pain in the jawbone.

If your answer is "yes" to one or more of these, you may need to have your wisdom teeth extracted. Check with your Fayetteville, GA dentist to see if wisdom teeth extraction can bring relief from any of these conditions.

Maybe you have been looking for a dentist and are thinking about getting your wisdom teeth removed. If so, reach out to Heritage Dental Associates in Fayetteville, GA. Call 770-460-9795 to make an appointment.

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