4200 Columbia Rd, Martinez, GA 30907



Posts for: December, 2015

By Augusta Smilecare
December 26, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.

“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.

Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.

Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.

Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.

If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.

When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.

Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.

By Augusta Smilecare
December 11, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease   root planing  

Periodontal (gum) disease is an aggressive bacterial infection caused by built-up plaque on tooth surfaces. Gum disease results in bone loss and causes loss of attachment from the teeth, leading to eventual tooth loss.

The goal of any gum disease treatment is to remove as much plaque and calculus (hardened deposits of plaque) from the gums and teeth as possible. Scaling with special hand instruments or ultrasonic equipment is the basic technique for plaque and calculus removal above and below the gum line. As the infection spreads below the gum line, it can widen the natural gap between teeth and gums to form voids known as periodontal pockets that fill with infection. Accessing and cleaning these pockets, which can occur as deep as the tooth roots, will require more invasive procedures.

Pockets that form at a depth greater than 5 mm below the gum line will most likely require surgical access through the gum tissue. But for pockets not quite that deep there’s an intermediary technique called root planing without surgical intervention. As the name suggests, the roots are physically “planed,” much like shaving a wooden board to remove minute layers of wood.

Using similar instruments as with scaling, root planing removes calculus, bacteria and other infected matter adhering to the root surfaces. It’s best to perform the procedure with local anesthesia to numb the gum tissues, which may be quite sensitive depending on the degree of infection. Working in a pain-free environment also helps us to be as thorough as possible in detecting and removing every bit of plaque and calculus we can find.

In advanced cases, it may be necessary to perform this procedure during multiple visits. As plaque and calculus are removed the inflammation in affected tissues will begin to subside, revealing more deposits of plaque and calculus. It’s also important to begin and maintain a daily habit of effective brushing and flossing to lessen the chances of a recurring infection.

Treating gum disease is an ongoing effort that requires constant monitoring and sustained efforts to remove plaque and calculus, including root planing. Saving your teeth, however, is well worth the effort.

If you would like more information on treating periodontal disease, 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 “Root Planing.”

By Augusta SmileCare
December 03, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Find out why dental implants have become one of the most popular tooth replacement treatments.

Dental implants have been giving patients of Augusta, GA dentist Dr. John D. Massey a new smile and a new lease on life. A toothless Dental Implant smile can wreak havoc on your appearance, oral health and self-esteem, but implants can change all that. Find out if implants could benefit your smile.

How do dental implants work?

When you get dental implants to replace missing teeth you will get a dental restoration that will both look and function just like a real tooth. After talking with your cosmetic dentist in Augusta to make sure that implants are the best option for you, here are the treatment steps you can expect:

  • The metal implant (usually made from titanium) is designed to act just like tooth roots and is surgically placed into the jawbone. The implant naturally melds together with the bone to become a permanent foundation from which to hold a dental crown, bridge or dentures. Osseointegration, the natural bonding of the metal implant with the jawbone, is the success behind this lifelong dental work.
  • Once the implant has become part of the jawbone your dentist in Augusta will then place an abutment over top of the implant. An abutment is an extender or connector that attaches the dental crown to the implant.
  • Depending on the type of implant you get we will determine whether we can place a dental crown on right away or whether you will need to wait a couple weeks after this procedure before we can place the false tooth.

Are dental implants right for me?

If you are living with tooth loss in Augusta, there’s a very good chance that implants could work for you. If you are looking for dental work that will replace your tooth for the rest of your life then implants are usually the best option. Here are some other factors to consider that will determine whether implants are right for you:

  • If you have good general and oral health
  • If you aren’t dealing with any untreated long-term health problems like gum disease or heart disease
  • If you aren’t dealing with a compromised immune system or aren’t undergoing chemotherapy
  • If you are an adult
  • If you are a non-smoker

The only way to determine whether implants are right for you is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Massey. If you are ready to regain your smile turn to Augusta SmileCare today.

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