4200 Columbia Rd, Martinez, GA 30907



Posts for: September, 2018


While braces are a tried and true method for achieving a more attractive smile, they may also give rise to problems with dental disease. This is because their hardware — the brackets and bands that serve as tracks for the tensioning wires — make it more difficult to access the tooth and gum surfaces to clean away plaque. This thin film of food remnant may then become a haven for bacteria that cause gum disease or tooth decay.

One of the more common conditions to occur while wearing braces is gingivitis. This is an initial inflammation of the gum tissues caused by bacterial plaque that hasn’t been removed by brushing or flossing. As the inflammation grows unchecked, the infection could advance deeper into the tissues to become a more serious form of gum disease that threatens the survival of affected teeth.

Difficult as it may be for those wearing braces, the best way to avoid gingivitis is through more thorough oral hygiene practices. Fortunately, there are many hygiene products that can help you get around many of the access difficulties posed by braces. Smaller toothbrushes known as interproximal brushes and floss threaders, small aids that thread dental floss under braces wires, can access the spaces between teeth more readily than conventional brushes or floss. Water flossers (which use water under pressure to remove plaque between teeth) and motorized toothbrushes can further increase efficiency. We can also reduce bacterial growth in the mouth if need be with prescription-strength antibacterial mouthrinses.

If, however, gingivitis or gum overgrowth (another common occurrence during orthodontic treatment) continues to be a problem, we may need to take other actions including surgery. In extreme cases, the braces may need to be removed to adequately treat the gums and allow them time to heal before proceeding with orthodontics.

Extra care with daily hygiene and regular dental checkups and cleanings in addition to your orthodontic visits will help keep gum problems at bay while you’re wearing braces. Taking this extra care will stop or minimize the effect of disease as you continue on to the ultimate goal of your orthodontic treatment — a more beautiful smile.

If you would like more information on dental care during orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Augusta Smilecare
September 25, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Tooth-Colored FillingsCavities. Even with modern dental care, they're all too common. Fortunately, today's diagnostic techniques and materials look better and last longer than ever before. At Augusta Smile Care, Dr. John Massey, your Augusta, GA, family dentist, places realistic tooth-colored fillings to fully restore decay with a strong material which blends right in with surrounding enamel. You'll hardly be able to tell you had a cavity!

What causes tooth decay?

Experts agree that oral bacteria causes tooth decay and gum disease. It proliferates in plaque and tartar between teeth and on their chewing surfaces. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 96 percent of adults 65 and older have experienced tooth decay in their lifetimes.

Kinds of fillings

If left untreated, tooth decay only worsens, invading enamel, dentin and eventually, interior soft pulp and root structure. Fortunately, dentists have used metal amalgam fillings for years to restore teeth in form, function and health. However, metal fillings can be unattractive, particularly in the front of the mouth, and they eventually cause minor cracking in tooth structure as people bite and chew.

The modern alternative is the tooth-colored, or cosmetic, filling. Made of tooth-colored composite resin (a blend of silica particles and plastic), a tooth-colored filling is just as strong as your natural tooth enamel, and it blends seamlessly in color and texture with the rest of the tooth.

Filling a tooth

At Augusta Smile Care, Dr. Massey often discovers tooth decay on routine examination or through digital X-ray imaging. That's why your six-month check-ups and cleanings are so important. Fortunately, placing a filling is a simple, one-visit process and normally needs nothing more than a local anesthetic to numb the tooth.

When the tooth is numb, the dentist uses small tools to remove the decay (and any old filling material). He shapes the remaining enamel to receive the composite resin, and then, layer by layer, fills the tooth. He uses a dental curing light to harden each layer, creating a super-resilient bond.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says that cosmetic fillings not only look better than amalgam, they:

  • Become part of tooth enamel and the second, more porous, tooth layer called dentin
  • Flex with the pressures of chewing and biting and distribute those forces evenly
  • Last for many years

Your tooth-colored filling

You'll be amazed at how well it looks and performs. If you think you have a cavity, please call Augusta Smile Care for an examination. Dr. Massey and his team love bringing smiles back to health and enhancing their appearance, too. Call the office at (706) 868-1322.

By Augusta Smilecare
September 18, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   cancer  

Cancer treatment can be an all-out battle with intense side effects for your entire body. One particular area that can suffer is your mouth.

Chemotherapy and radiation target and destroy cancer cells, which can lead to non-cancerous cells caught in the crossfire and also destroyed. The salivary glands in the mouth are prone to such damage, which could greatly impact your ability to ward off dental disease.

Saliva, what salivary glands produce, plays a major role in oral health. The bodily fluid disseminates antibodies throughout the mouth that fight disease-causing bacteria. It also neutralizes acid, which can erode tooth enamel, and helps restore lost minerals to the enamel.

If the salivary glands become damaged, however, they may produce less saliva and create a condition called xerostomia or “dry mouth.” This is a common occurrence for cancer patients, which can rob them of saliva’s benefits and make them more susceptible to tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. The end result could be tooth loss.

There are things you and your dentist can do to prevent this. First, have a complete dental checkup before undergoing cancer treatment. If at all possible have any necessary dental work undertaken (with adequate recovery time afterward) before beginning chemo or radiation. Your dentist and oncologist (cancer specialist) may need to coordinate any planned dental work.

You should also practice daily oral hygiene with brushing and flossing, along with keeping up your regular dental cleanings. This will prevent the buildup on teeth of bacterial plaque, which in turn will reduce your chances for dental disease. Your dentist may also prescribe antibacterial as well as fluoride mouth rinses to help limit the growth of oral bacteria.

To minimize dry mouth, increase your water consumption as much as possible. You may also use saliva boosters like xylitol, an alcohol-based sweetener found in many gums or mints that promotes salivation (it also deters oral bacterial growth).

And don’t forget to maintain a healthy diet, which will not only benefit your stamina during cancer treatment but can also help you maintain better dental health. Providing good care for your mouth during this trying time will help ensure your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible.

If you would like more information on oral care, 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 “Oral Health During Cancer Treatment.”

By Augusta Smilecare
September 08, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Are you ready for a new smile? You’ve endured the embarrassment and drain on your of self-confidence long enough. The good news is that modern cosmetic dentistry has an awesome array of materials and methods ready and able to help you make that transformation.

But before you proceed with your “smile makeover” it’s good to remember one thing: it’s a process. And depending on how in-depth your makeover might be, it could be a long one.

To help you navigate, here’s an overview of the three main phases of your smile makeover journey. Each one will be crucial to a successful outcome.

The “Dream” Phase. The path to your new smile actually begins with you and a couple questions: what don’t you like now about your smile? And if you could change anything, what would it be? Right from the start you’ll need to get in touch with your individual hopes and expectations for a better look. With your dentist’s help, take the time during this first phase to “dream” about what’s possible—it’s the first step toward achieving it.

The Planning Phase. With that said, though, your dreams must eventually meet the “facts on the ground” to become a reality. In this phase your dentist works with you to develop a focused, reasonable and doable plan. To do this, they’ll need to be frankly honest with you about your mouth’s health state, which might dictate what procedures are actually practical or possible. You’ll also have to weigh potential treatment costs against your financial ability. These and other factors may require you to modify your expectations to finalize your treatment plan.

The Procedure Phase. Once you’ve “planned the work,” it’s time to “work the plan.” It could be a single procedure like whitening, bonding or obtaining a veneer. But it might also involve multiple procedures and other specialties like orthodontics. Whatever your plan calls for, you’ll need to be prepared for possibly many months or even years of treatment.

Undergoing a smile makeover can take time and money, and often requires a lot of determination and patience. But if you’ve dreamed big and planned well, the outcome can be well worth it.

If you would like more information on ways to transform your smile, 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 “Beautiful Smiles by Design.”

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