4200 Columbia Rd, Martinez, GA 30907
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Posts for: July, 2015

By Augusta Smilecare
July 21, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
TakingtheDreadOutofDentalVisits

We always look forward to seeing our patients, but not all of you look forward to seeing us! If you’re one of them, don’t worry — we don’t take it personally. Dental anxiety prevents many people from seeking the care they require to restore or maintain a healthy smile.

But if dental problems are allowed to progress, they can affect not only the beauty of your smile and health of your mouth, but your overall wellness, too. Infection can travel from the mouth to other areas of the body, and dental disease exacerbates chronic health conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

Overcoming Apprehension

Fear should never be an obstacle (in the immortal words of President Franklin Roosevelt, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”). And fortunately there are some safe options for those of us who can’t get past our anxiety when it comes to dental care:

Oral Sedation. A sedative medication can be prescribed that you take by mouth approximately an hour before your dental visit to minimize anxiety and promote relaxation.

Intravenous (IV; “intra” – inside, “venous” – vein) Sedation. If oral sedation isn’t entirely effective in facilitating treatment, then a medication combining a sedative for relaxation and a pain-blocking anesthetic can be delivered through or small needle or catheter that is gently inserted into a vein. This is referred to as “conscious sedation” because you are in a semi-awake state during which you are able to respond to verbal direction. It takes effect quickly, and you can come out of it quickly. However, you may not remember much about your procedure. It is very different from general anesthesia during which you are completely unconscious.

Safety First

Dentists who offer IV sedation receive extensive training after which we must pass an exam and apply for a special permit that we maintain through continuing education. We carefully screen patients for eligibility and monitor you throughout so you can rest easy before, during, and after your procedure.

If you would like more information about sedation in dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.”


By Augusta SmileCare
July 09, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: TMJ  

How do you deal with TMJ pain? Your Augusta family dentist has some suggestions. 

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, usually abbreviated to TMJ, is a common pain disorder, affecting between 10 and 35 million TMJAmericans. If your Augusta, Georgia family dentist has diagnosed you with TMJ, here are some tips for managing your condition from Dr. John D. Massey of Augusta SmileCare.

Heat and ice application

Moist heat from a hot water bottle or damp washcloth can help to alleviate pain and restore some function to the jaw joint. You can also apply ice packs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time for pain and inflammation relief. Your August family dentist Dr. Massey cautions his patients not to overheat the water and never place ice directly on the skin - it should be wrapped in a clean cloth or towel first.

Steer clear of sticky foods

To keep your jaw from working overtime, resist the urge to eat chewy foods like gum or taffy or hard, crunchy items like candy and ice cubes. Your Augusta dentist also cautions against trying to accommodate foods like corn on the cob or applies by opening your mouth too widely. It may be necessary to maintain a soft diet for a few days if you're having a particularly painful flareup of TMJ.

Relax

For optimal dental health, people should try to avoid clenching their jaws together. This is especially important for TMJ patients. Dr. Massey suggests practicing at relaxing your facial muscles relaxed and keeping your upper and lower teeth apart until it becomes a habit. Relaxation methods like deep breathing or meditation can help enhance your efforts. Many TMJ patients have found benefits in yoga or massage therapy as well.

Exercise your jaw

Your Augusta dentist Dr. Massey may refer you to a nearby physical therapist in order to learn some jaw exercises you can do at home. When done consistently and correctly, these exercises have shown to help increase jaw mobility and decrease pain.

If you've been plagued by TMJ symptoms - jaw pain, limited movement, or headaches - contact Augusta SmileCare to have an evaluation as soon as possible.


By Augusta Smilecare
July 06, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
TomHanksAbscessedToothGetsCastAway

Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.

“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”

That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.

Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!

The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.

If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”




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John D. Massey, DMD
4200 Columbia Road
Martinez, GA 30907

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