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No Insurance? What to Do in a Dental Emergency

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, about 44 percent of Americans do not have any form of dental coverage. That’s about 114 million people! But just because you don’t have dental coverage doesn’t mean you should stop routine dental exams and cleanings. But while budgeting for a bi-annual checkup is one thing, it can be quite another financial setback if a dental emergency occurs without coverage. Here are some tips to try if you have a dental emergency, but you don’t have dental insurance.

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Encourage Oral Care in Kids with these Books about Brushing!

If you have kids, you probably already know that sometimes even the easiest and mundane of daily responsibilities can be a battle. Picking up one’s dirty socks off the floor can go over as well as being asked to deep clean the entire carpet, and asking them to wash their hands before dinner might as well be asking them to wash their hands in a big bucket of gooey slime. If getting your kids to brush your teeth is up there on the list of things to do that are often like, well, pulling teeth, check out some of these popular children’s books that show them how fun and important taking care of their teeth can be!

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Could Your Dentures Be Making You Sick?

  It is estimated that at least 20 million Americans wear some form of denture- ranging from a partial to a full set of teeth. But despite these high numbers, many denture or partial denture wearers have not been properly trained in the care and cleaning of these dental devices. This can cause huge problems for the wearer- ranging from ‘dirty’ looking teeth to bad breath to an increased risk for illnesses. So, what can you do to make sure you or your loved ones are properly cleaning these helpful oral appliances? Keep reading to find out.

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Dental Cavities on the Rise

Dental caries, or as they are more commonly known, cavities. They’re those pesky little spots of decay in your teeth that form when your below-the-surface tooth enamel breaks down, causing the surface enamel to collapse, and creating a sinkhole in your tooth. But what causes cavities in the first place, and why are they on the rise?

"According to recent data, cavities are increasing across every single age group in America," said Dr. Michele Simpson of Wilmington, North Carolina. "Which is ironic, because today there are more tooth care products on the market than ever before."

But according to Simpson, the increase in cavities may not be entirely about hygiene.

"A recent study at the University of Zurich found that genetic enamel defects may be caused by not just bacteria on the teeth, but by the strength of the enamel itself," explained Simpson. "Basically, some teeth have stronger enamel than others, and those with weaker enamel have less protection against cavities."

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Baby Teeth Offer Autism Clues

A recently released study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has found a connection between prenatal and postnatal exposure to some metals, and autism spectrum disorder, also known as ASD. Conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, the study used naturally-shed baby teeth to measure levels of lead, manganese and zinc in children with and without ASD. The study analyzed the teeth of 32 pairs of twins and 12 individual twins to control genetic influences.

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Crazy Dental Myths Debunked!

  Myths, legends, and mysteries. They are as much a part of the human tapestry as proven facts. But while some, like Bigfoot and that one about getting sick from not dressing warmly enough, won’t seem to go away, here are a few of the weirdest dental-related myths that have been thankfully dis-proven over time.

Swallowed gum stays in your stomach for seven years.

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Not Sleeping Soundly? It Could Be Sleep Apnea.

According to American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million adults in the United States suffer from the sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs most frequently in men over the age of 40 who are overweight or obese, though it has been seen in patients of all ages, weights, and genders.

There are three main types of sleep apnea. The most common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway of the throat is blocked while sleeping. This happens when while lying down, the tongue rests on the soft palate of the throat, and like a domino effect, the soft palate leans on the throat, closing it.

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Feeling Tongue Tied About Ankyloglossia?

 

 Ankyloglossia, or "tongue tie" is a common childhood ailment that occurs when the lingual frenulum connecting your tongue to the bottom of your mouth fails to separate in utero. An estimated 3 million babies are born each year with tongue ties, and while tongue ties are found in babies of both genders, for some reason, they’re more common in boys than in girls. Furthermore, while it is unknown what exactly causes tongue tie, it can sometimes be associated with certain genetic factors. Dr. Michelle Simpson discusses what exactly a tongue tie is, and how to correct it.

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Veneers Aren’t Just for Your Teeth

 
If you’re one of the 81 percent of people who believe their smile is unattractive, or the 28 percent who refuse to show their teeth in photos on social media, you could be a candidate for porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin porcelain strips that are fitted onto the tooth and then adhered into place. Porcelain veneers can improve the look of the color, shape and texture of the teeth. Usually placed on the front-facing surface of your teeth, veneers give you the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of, without having to undergo lengthy procedures like braces, crowns, or dental implants.

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Keep Forgetting to Brush?

 We get it- life gets busy. No matter how old you are or what you do for a living, it can be easy to forget to do simple everyday things like brushing your teeth if you’ve already got a lot of plates in the air. Unfortunately, forgetting to brush your teeth just once a day can increase your risk for cavities, gum disease, and even periodontitis, which can lead to a lot of other dangerous problems, including tooth and gum loss, and even jaw loss. So, when we say brushing twice a day is important, we mean it!  So, what can you do if you find yourself struggling to remember that all-too-important second brushing each day? Here are some cool new ways to remind yourself to take care of your teeth!

The "Tooth" App. The tooth app is a pretty simple, free app, but brilliant in its simplicity. It has three major functions, all designed to help adults remember to brush their teeth better

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Could It Be Gingivitis?

 
 If you’ve ever brushed or flossed your teeth and noticed your gums were bleeding, it could be the sign of a condition called gingivitis. 

It is estimated that more than 75 percent of adults in America have some form of gum disease. The most common and earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. Patients with gingivitis may experience redness and swelling of the gums, elongated teeth due to receding gums, and the patient’s gums may bleed during brushing or flossing. But while gingivitis itself is not that serious of a condition, if left untreated it can quickly escalate to full-blown periodontitis, which can cause everything from tooth loss to bone and tissue loss. Thankfully, gingivitis is reversible with proper oral health care.

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Wisdom Teeth Removal Patients Should Beware of Dry Socket

 

Just like getting your driver’s license or taking your SAT’s, getting wisdom teeth removed has become somewhat of a rite of passage for young adults in America. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 85 percent of American adults have had their wisdom teeth removed.   Wisdom teeth (also known as third molars) are the third and last set of adult molars to erupt in the adult mouth, as well as the most common set of teeth to be removed.  This is because wisdom teeth can often become impacted, a condition which occurs when wisdom teeth do not fully erupt. But while partially erupted teeth may not seem like a big imposition, impaction causes many painful side effects, including crowding, inflammation, infection, cysts, cavities and even damage to the other nearby teeth. Worse still, the longer you keep your wisdom teeth, the greater the risk of damaging the rest of your healthy teeth.

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Why Choose Invisalign?

 Is your smile a little less perfect than you’d like it to be? Do you have minor crowding or rotations that you’d like to correct without having to commit to traditional wire brackets? You may be an excellent candidate for the tooth straightening system known as Invisalign.

Invisalign works by creating a series of custom-molded, transparent plastic trays that you wear over your teeth to slowly adjust the positioning of your teeth over time. Most treatments last between 3-12 months, depending on how many trays you need to achieve your desired results.

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Does Brushing Your Teeth Affect Your Appetite?

For years, people trying to lose a few extra pounds have been offered tips like ‘If you get hungry, just brush your teeth," and for many people, that advice has proven to be sage. But as writers at the magazine Popular Science recently discovered, that wisdom doesn’t hold true for everyone.  Following some recent engagement with fans on their Twitter page, the brains behind Popular Science discovered a surprising number of their followers believe that brushing their teeth actually makes them hungrier, not the opposite. So, which is true? Both ideas can’t be right- or can they?

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Say Goodnight to Morning Breath

If you’re one of the estimated eighty million unlucky people in America who wakes up each morning with less than minty-fresh breath, you’re not alone. In fact, approximately thirty-five to forty-five percent of people on earth suffer from the condition known as halitosis, or as it is referred to in the morning "morning breath" – that combination of bad breath and equally bad taste in your mouth that only seems to show up after sleeping. So, what causes morning breath- and what can you do to stop it?

Morning breath is that sour, Sulphur-laden odor in your mouth that shows up after you’ve been asleep. Much like the term ‘morning sickness,’ however, morning breath is a bit of a misnomer. Morning breath can strike anytime you wake up- even after a mid-day nap. Morning breath is caused by the bacteria in your mouth that normally nosh on the carbohydrates left behind after you eat. However, once you brush your teeth and rinse all those carbohydrates away, they have nothing to snack on until your next meal- so they move on to the proteins in your mouth, which can be found in your saliva and mucous membranes. The breakdown of the proteins is what causes the Sulphur smell that most of us associate with morning breath.

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Reading Teeth: What Morphopsychology Says About Your Personality

We recently read a fascinating article about the art of "morphopsychology," which is essentially reading the shape of one’s teeth to determine their personality type- but is there any merit to it?

In morphopsychology, there are supposedly four shapes of teeth, each shape possessing its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Individuals possessing that tooth shape are said to personify the traits associated with their tooth shape. The shapes are as follows:

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Coping with Dental Fears in Looming Nitrous Oxide Shortage

When a deadly explosion tore through an Airgas nitrous oxide plant in Cantonment, Florida in August of 2016, the last thing anyone was thinking about was their teeth. But after the dust settled and the victim was laid to rest, both the medical and food industries were left with the startling realization that a nitrous oxide shortage was a very real possibility.  Unfortunately, despite Airgas’ attempts to shift manufacturing of their laughing gas to other plants, they are still falling short on production nearly a year later. As a result, they have cut back shipments to foodservice companies who typically use the gas as an aerosol to create things like whipped cream. Despite these efforts however, the medical community is still feeling the pinch of the shortage, and patients around the US who have come to rely on laughing gas to get them through anxiety-ridden dental procedures are now faced with the reality of having to attend their dental visit without the aid of this popular relaxer. Dr. Michele Simpson of Wilmington, North Carolina understands what the nitrous oxide shortage means to practices like hers. She's also aware of how it can impact her patients, however, there are things patients can do to help get them through their dental anxiety without the help of laughing gas.

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Dentists Caution Against Growing Foreign Dental Tourism Trend

As health insurance costs skyrocket and more and more employers are declining to offer dental coverage as part of their compensation packages, Americans with costly dental work are feeling the pinch in their wallets. To get the care they need without breaking the bank, many patients are traveling beyond borders to undergo procedures that can often cost three or four times more in the US. But a growing number of dentists are cautioning patients that when you undergo dental procedures in some foreign clinics, you may not be getting the bargain you think you’re getting.

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Could Your Dentures Be Making You Sick?

It is estimated that at least 20 million Americans wear some form of denture- ranging from a partial to a full set of teeth. But despite these high numbers, many dentures or partial denture wearers have not been properly trained in the care and cleaning of these dental devices. This can cause huge problems for the wearer- ranging from ‘dirty’ looking teeth to bad breath to an increased risk for illnesses. So, what can you do to make sure you or your loved ones are properly cleaning these helpful oral appliances? Keep reading to find out.

Nobody really wants to get dentures. Having dentures means you have lost the last remains of your natural teeth, and must now put in a device that doesn’t always feel great or stay put properly. Perhaps this is why many older patients who have had dentures for many years don’t wear them as frequently as they could. The good news is that today’s dentures are more comfortable and natural looking than ever before. New denture wearers never have to experience those awkward dentures of years past, and those replacing older dentures may actually want to wear their new ones, even if no one will see them. But while dentures do replicate the look and feel of natural teeth, what they do not do is replace the need for proper cleaning and oral hygiene.

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Could You Be Diagnosed with Diabetes at Your Next Dental Exam?

A recent study by the University of Amsterdam and published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care found that patients with periodontitis were twice as likely to have undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes as those with less severe forms of gum disease. We spoke to Dr. Michelle Simpson of Wilmington, North Carolina about this study and what it could mean for the future of diabetes diagnosis.

An estimated 422 million people suffer from the condition known as diabetes. Here in the U.S., that number hovers around 29 million with another 8 million cases undiagnosed. Unfortunately, those numbers appear to be growing. In fact, it’s estimated that 37 percent of Americans over the age of 20 are already pre-diabetic, a condition that if not corrected will inevitably lead to full-blown diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder categorized by the body’s inability to process blood glucose properly. It causes blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels to rise to a state called hyperglycemia, making the body resistant to insulin and causing the pancreas to make extra insulin at first, and not enough insulin as the disease progresses. Patients with diabetes have shorter life spans, and frequently suffer from a host of other complications including increased risk of heart disease, lower-limb amputations, blindness, dementia, sexual dysfunction and kidney failure.

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Michele Simpson DDS

Wilmington Dental Office

3317 Masonboro Loop Rd • Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28409

(910) 550-3959