J. Mark Oliver DDS PA

Straight Talk: All You Need to Know About Invisalign

woman putting in clear alignersAre you ready to start your journey to straighter teeth? Do you dislike the look of regular metal braces? If so, Invisalign may be for you.

Clear Aligners

Invisalign is a different take on traditional braces. This treatment is used to straighten crooked or crowded teeth with the use of clear plastic trays. Invisalign is designed to be invisible on the teeth, allowing for discreet treatment. Invisalign uses modern computer imaging to map out the future progression of your tooth movement for your aligner trays. This allows for completely customized aligner trays for your teeth.

How is Invisalign different from ordinary braces?

Invisalign allows the wearer to remove the trays whenever they would like to. This gives you the ability to eat and drink whatever you want during your treatment time. With its removable trays, Invisalign also allows the wearer to have improved oral hygiene over those who wear traditional braces.

The Process

Once you have had a consultation with your doctor to determine if Invisalign is right for you, your custom made Invisalign trays will be made. You will need to wear your trays up to 22 hours a day to maximize your treatment. Be sure to take your trays out for eating, drinking and of course to brush and floss. You will have new trays every two weeks and over the duration of your treatment you will begin to see your teeth shift into place. You can expect to have routine visits with your doctor every four to six weeks to check on your progress.

Aftercare

Once your treatment is over, you will have beautiful straight teeth. However, even though your treatment is done, you still need to wear a retainer at night. This is done to prevent your teeth from shifting.

If you are interested in starting Invisalign treatment, give us a call at Winston-Salem Office Phone Number 336-724-5054 to schedule a consultation.

How to Keep Your Gums Healthy

woman smiling holding an appleKeeping your gums healthy is vital to ensuring that your mouth stays clean and your teeth stay intact and in pristine condition. This blog will focus on the best ways to make sure your gums stay healthy in order to prevent gum disease and keep your smile shining bright for years to come.

1) Floss, Floss, Floss

Flossing is one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take to fight against gum disease and keep your gums healthy. Flossing once a day helps clean those areas in between your teeth which are hard for your toothbrush to reach.

2) Brush and Rinse

Brushing twice a day is the most commonly preached method of keeping your mouth fresh and clean. It is also a good idea to rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash twice a day in order to protect your gums. Rinsing with mouthwash is a great way to thoroughly clean your mouth, because it reaches areas that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.

3) Use the Right Toothpaste

Choosing the right toothpaste is important to keeping your gums healthy. Make sure to grab a toothpaste that contains fluoride in order to get the best results when brushing. Also make sure to look for the ADA seal of acceptance in order to ensure that you’re getting a toothpaste backed by experts at the ADA!

4) Regular Dentist Checkups

Visiting your dentist twice a year is extremely important in preventing diseases and ensuring that your teeth remain healthy and clean. Your dentist will be able to see early symptoms of gum disease and is the only way for you to get rid of tartar and plaque which are stuck to your teeth and can have a negative impact on your gums if not cleaned.

These four steps can help you significantly improve the health of your gums and reduce your risk of gum disease. If you have any more questions about how to keep your gums healthy or how to prevent gum disease, give J. Mark Oliver DDS PA a call at Winston-Salem Office Phone Number 336-724-5054 today!

Advantages of Invisalign

woman smilingMany of us think that invisible braces, such as Invisalign, are only used to enhance the aesthetic value of a person’s smile. To a certain extent, that is true. Typically the goal of having braces is to straighten one’s teeth and improve his or her smile. However, did you know that there are actually health benefits to having a straighter smile as well?

Below are just a few of the ways in which invisible braces can benefit your health:

  • Overall Health: Since oral infections are thought to be related to other health issues in the body such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes, keeping your teeth straightened and properly spaced apart is an important and crucial step to having better overall health.
  • Diverse Diet: With traditional metal braces, there are many foods you are unable to eat which can severely hinder diversity in your diet. Since invisible braces are removable, they allow you to eat a wider variety of foods, helping to ensure that you get all of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary for a healthy body.
  • Periodontal Health: Overcrowded teeth can lead to red, swollen, and irritated gums. These symptoms are typically signs of periodontal disease. Getting braces can allow your teeth to not only straighten, but also make more space between your teeth, allowing your gums more room.
  • Better Cleaning Access: Traditional braces take up a large amount of surface area on your tooth. therefor there is a good amount of tooth you’re missing every time you brush. With invisible braces, however, you are able to remove them in order to clean the entire surface of your teeth and maintain that impeccable flossing and brushing routine!

If you’re looking for a straighter smile, as well as better overall and oral health, give us a call at Winston-Salem Office Phone Number 336-724-5054.

Healthy Snacks for Healthy Smiles

healthy snackAs a parent, juggling life can be a little hectic sometimes. With work, kids, back to school nights, sleepovers, and much more, finding time to pack healthy snacks is difficult. It can be tempting to throw a packaged snack in your little one’s lunch box to save some time in the morning, but more often than not, those pre-packaged snacks contain high amounts of sugar. Here are a few healthy snack suggestions that your child will love and that also promote a healthy smile.

Nuts

Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, which help to build a strong body. Chewing nuts promotes the production of saliva, which naturally washes away leftover debris on and in between your teeth, as well as acid buildup, which can lead to cavities. Nuts can be a great alternative to salty snacks, such as potato chips, that your kids crave!

Cheese

As we know, cheese is rich in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. What you might not know, is that cheese is also rich in a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and ultimately prevents cavities. Try adding a string cheese to your child’s lunch, which will provide them with calcium and casein, and are also simply fun to eat!

Apples

Apples are one of the best snacks to give your children. They are a very high fiber food, which also naturally clean your teeth as you chew them! The skin of the apple especially helps to scrub your teeth, gums, and tongue as you eat them. This helps to fight plaque buildup, and also helps remove surface stains. Since apples help scrub away plaque and residue from the back of the tongue, they also help to eliminate bad breath. If your children are craving something sweet in their lunches, try apple slices. We suggest leaving the skin on so that they may reap all of the benefits.

For more information on tooth-healthy foods for kids, please call us at Winston-Salem Office Phone Number 336-724-5054.

Manual, Electric, and Sonic Toothbrushes

manual and electric toothbrushWith the many options of toothbrushes available today, we understand that choosing the right one for you can be overwhelming. If you are considering changing your brush style, read more information below about manual, electric and sonic toothbrushes.

Manual Toothbrushes

Manual toothbrushes are the most common type of toothbrushes, available at your local convenience store. Many people choose to opt for the manual toothbrush because it is a much cheaper option compared to the electric and sonic toothbrushes. Studies have shown that there is not a huge difference in using a manual toothbrush vs. an electric/sonic toothbrush, as manually brushing still cleans the surface of your teeth of food debris and plaque. However, manual toothbrushes clean your teeth at a rate of around 300 brush strokes per minute, while electric and sonic toothbrushes operate much faster (see below).

Electric Toothbrushes

Electric brushes operate at a much higher brush stroke rate than manual toothbrushes, with around 3,000 – 6,000 brush strokes per minute. A brush stroke from an electric toothbrush differs from that of a manual toothbrush because it moves much faster in a smaller surface area, using either oscillating or vibrating motions.

Sonic Toothbrushes

Sonic brushes differ from electric brushes slightly in that they vibrate at a much higher frequency, about 30,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute. Sonic toothbrushes have been found to have a slighter higher cleaning rate because they clean harder to reach areas, such as under the gums and in between the teeth. However, while this may be true – nothing compares to flossing in between the teeth. The ADA recommends for adults with arthritis or who have a hard time manually brushing to change to electric or sonic toothbrushes, which increases stability for your hand while brushing.

Whatever option you chose, as long as you are brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once, you will be able to effectively keep your teeth clean and healthy! If you have any further questions about the toothbrush for you, give us a call at Winston-Salem Office Phone Number 336-724-5054!

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New Trends In Dental Implants

dental implant structureA trending topic right now seems to be the decision to opt for “mini-dental implants” instead of more traditional ones. Below we are going to take a look inside the trend, and lay out some of the benefits and drawbacks so that you can get a better understanding of this exciting trend in dentistry.

Benefits

  • Mini dental implants are usually less expensive than traditional ones, sometimes costing only 1/3 that of regular implants. They take less time to place and are smaller and less invasive, and can be used in small spaces or for those with inadequate bone mass.
  • With mini dentures, smaller dentures can be used, leading to a better tasting experience for the palate than a traditional denture would provide.
  • Mini implants can be placed with minimal recovery time, and usually require very little to no bone grafting.

Drawbacks

Because this is still a fairly new procedure, there are a few downsides. For one, there aren’t enough studies out there on the longevity of these implants, so we don’t know how they hold up over time. A study published in the International Journal of Implant Dentistry in 2016 revealed that traditional dental implant placement has a proven survival rate of 95% or greater. The analysis collected data from over 10,000 implants from 3,095 patients, across three separate private practices over the course of 20 years. For mini dental implants, there isn’t yet enough data to conclude a proper survival rate.

Another concern is that because this is such a new trend there is not as much information or regulation out there. Some practices with claims such as “Dentures-in-a-day” might not do a proper consultation, skipping important steps such as a 3D scan to make sure that you are a good candidate for the procedure.

While it may be some time before this method is perfected and adopted, it is also exciting to see the advancements changing people’s lives in the dental industry every day. Check in with J. Mark Oliver DDS PA to find out what tooth replacement options may be right for you!

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5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Are Changing Color

woman brushing her teethBrushing and flossing your teeth every day can keep your smile bright and white. However, you might have noticed that even though you take great care of your teeth, they look a little yellow and have lost their sparkle. This is completely normal. Here are 5 reasons why this could be happening to you.

  1. Food and Drinks:

    Coffee, tea and red wine play a major role in staining your teeth. They all have Chromogens, which are intense color pigments that attach to the white outer part of your tooth known as enamel.
    Tip: Drink with a straw, keeping those stain-causing dyes in the drink away from your teeth

  2. Tobacco Use:

    The two chemicals found in tobacco, tar and nicotine, create a tough stain. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless, but when it’s mixed with oxygen, it creates a yellowish color. Both together create the stain.

  3. Age:

    Below the white shell of enamel on our teeth is a softer area called Dentin. Over the years, our outer enamel gets thinner from brushing and the yellowish dentin shows through.

  4. Trauma:

    If you have experienced an injury to the mouth, your tooth may change color. This is because your tooth reacts to the trauma by putting down more dentin, which is darker than the outer enamel on your teeth.

  5. Medications:

    Many different kind of medications come with the side effect of darkening your teeth. Also, children who are exposed to medication when their teeth are forming, either in the womb or as a baby, can experience discoloration of their adult teeth later in life.

Some of these reasons are preventable and some of these happen over the course of life. Try to avoid some of these things and continue to brush and floss your teeth every day. If you would like to discuss your teeth whitening options with us, please call our office at 336-724-5054 to schedule an appointment.

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Where Do Dental Implants Come From?

'children playing in dirt'Dental implants have a surprisingly rich and interesting history. Across centuries and throughout cultures around the world there is evidence of attempts at replacing missing teeth with various objects and materials.

The oldest dental implants can be traced back to 2000 BC in China, where missing teeth were substituted with bamboo pegs.

Fast forward a bit to around 1000 BC and you’ll find an ancient Egyptian King whose tomb was recently discovered along with his mummified remains; a copper peg hammered into place where a tooth once lived. This may have been the first time in history that we know of when metal implants were used.

Across the globe some time around 300 BC, an iron tooth was found in a French grave thought to be Celtic in origin. It is possible this implant may have been a post-mortem placement to honor the dead, as an attempt to perform the surgery using a live patient would have been an excruciatingly painful process.

Just 2000 years ago missing teeth were being substituted for animal teeth, and the poor were even selling their teeth to the wealthy, just to make ends meet! The body often rejected these surrogate teeth, causing infection.

More recently in 1931 in Honduras, Dr. Wilson Monroe and his wife found a jawbone amongst other artifacts, with teeth fashioned from shells and attached to the jawbone of an ancient man.

Today we are lucky enough to have dental implants that not only look and feel like real teeth, and anesthesia for the pain is also a plus. Thanks to studies conducted by Per-Ingvar Brånemark of Sweden in the 1950’s, oral surgeons have been able to perfect the process over the years to create today’s implants, which have a 98% success rate! Through a process known as osseointegration, metals and other implant materials are able to be skillfully placed so that your jaw bone actually attaches itself to the implant creating a seamless support system.

Missing a tooth or two? Give us a call at Winston-Salem Office Phone Number 336-724-5054 to discuss your dental implant options today!

Bad Breath is Bad News

'woman with fresh breath'Don’t let bad breath be a part of your day! In our office, we are asked on an almost daily basis “How can I get rid of my bad breath?”

Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep your breath fresh and clean:

1. Brush and Floss Regularly:
It’s basic advice, but foolproof. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing and tongue scraping once is the best way to combat bad breath. When the bacteria in your mouth have bits of food and debris to feed on, they create the odors that cause bad breath. Keeping your mouth clean will keep your breath clean at the same time!

2. Drink Water:
You don’t always have access to a toothbrush. As it turns out though, water can be an effective way to freshen your breath until you can get home and brush. Water helps clean out your mouth and prevents dryness, another major cause of bad breath.

3. Eat Good Foods:
A good way to prevent bad breath is to stay away from foods that make your breath smell bad, and eat foods those that will help your breath smell good! Melons and citrus fruit are high in Vitamin C, and help kill bacteria in your mouth. Fibrous foods like apples and celery can help remove food stuck in your teeth, reducing smells caused by bacteria feeding on them.

4. Choose gum and mints with Xylitol:
Sugary gum and breath mints are often used to tackle bad breath. However, the stinky bacteria in your mouth love sugar, and giving them more tends to produce acid that can make your breath smell worse AND lead to tooth decay. Xylitol is a sugar alternative that bacteria cannot break down, which makes it a perfect method for keeping your breath fresh and clean.

If you are troubled by your bad breath, ask us for more tips on staying fresh and clean!

Teeth Bleaching vs. Teeth Whitening

'woman with bleached and regular teeth'You’ve probably seen someone with pearly white teeth before and wondered, “How have they managed to keep their teeth so bright all these years?” The truth is, many people these days are opting to whiten their teeth with artificial methods to achieve that picture-perfect smile.

Bleaching vs. Whitening

When teeth are whitened beyond their natural color, the process is referred to as “tooth bleaching”. This type of whitening usually involves using some form of “bleaching” agent such as hydrogen-or-carbamide peroxide.

Another method of restoring teeth to their original, whiter state of being is known as “teeth whitening”. This process is different from bleaching in that it involves cleaning the surface of teeth to remove stains, dirt, and other brightness inhibitors to restore the teeth to their original color. Sometimes this process also involves the use of bleaching agents.

Nowadays, these terms are used almost interchangeably – (their distinction is one mostly used by the FDA).

When you get your teeth whitened in our office, we utilize a highly-potent peroxide bleaching gel that can be better activated with a laser. We will also apply a gel to your gums to protect from chemical exposure.

Store-bought whitening kits contain a lower-potency whitening gel, but implement a similar process. These kits can be a significantly cheaper solution, but are usually not as effective and can even be damaging if not applied correctly.

And many people these days are even trying DIY methods to enhance their smile. Whatever method you choose, its always best to contact us first at Winston-Salem Office Phone Number 336-724-5054 so that you can make sure you are choosing the safest teeth whitening option for you.