April 27, 2012

The Advantages of Invisalign

Crooked teeth are embarrassing, but a mouth full of metal may be even more humiliating for professional adults. Fortunately, Dr. Pate offers Invisalign clear braces—a cosmetic alternative to straighten your smile. Take this quiz to see how much you know about the benefits of Invisalign.

1. What color are Invisalign braces?
a. Silver
b. White
c. Clear

2. How long do you wear each set of aligners?
a. One month
b. Two weeks
c. One week

3. When should you remove Invisalign?
a. For eating and cleaning
b. For sleeping
c. Only at the end of treatment

4. Which of the following is associated with Invisalign?
a. Wires
b. Brackets
c. A custom fit

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April 22, 2012

Oral Piercings and Dental Health

Some people think oral piercings are fashionable, but Dr. Pate views them as potential dental disasters. If you’re considering a lip or tongue piercing, take the proper precautions to avoid damaging your teeth, gums, and oral health.

Stay Sterile

More than half of the bacteria in your mouth live on the surface of your tongue. When your tongue is punctured, your oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream, increasing your risk of heart problems and other oral-systemic conditions. Additionally, if not sterilized properly, the piercing needle can carry bacteria and increase your risk of toxic shock syndrome, blood poisoning, hepatitis, and other health problems. Furthermore, research shows that stainless steel studs collect more bacteria than plastic studs. To prevent infection, be sure your piercer is using a clean needle and practices proper oral hygiene to keep your mouth clean.

Healthy Healing

A piercing takes a long time to heal. It’s important to take proper care of your mouth during the recovery process to prevent infection and restore the healthy tissues. Immediately following your piercings, your tongue, lips, and gums may swell. Swelling can make it difficult to speak, eat, drink, and swallow properly. Furthermore, excessive inflammation may block your airway. To promote quick recovery, consume plenty of vitamin C, rinse your mouth with an antiseptic, and avoid acidic items that could irritate your mouth. You should also visit Dr. Pate to check that your piercing and oral tissues are healing safely.

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April 21, 2012

Healthy Smiles for Teenagers

If you’re a high school senior, you’re probably looking forward to prom, graduation, and college. Now is a perfect time to visit Dr. Pate to brighten your smile for these special occasions. Behavior and lifestyle changes during the teenage years can affect your oral health. Let’s take a look at the common dental problems that affect teenagers, and the treatments Dr. Pate can use to restore the issues before the big day.

Body Development

As your body develops, so does your mouth. Your teeth may shift and become crooked, or your bite may become misaligned. Braces are a common option to restore your alignment. However, if you’re worried that a mouth full of metal will hinder your adult image, Dr. Pate offers Invisalign clear braces to straighten your smile without wires and brackets. As a bonus, they are removable so you can take them out during your prom or graduation ceremony. Additionally, your wisdom teeth begin to develop and erupt in the late teen years. Third molars often don’t have enough room to grow in properly, creating pain and crowding that cause the need for an extraction. Summer is a great time to schedule your extraction so you have enough free time to recover. Furthermore, puberty and menstruation cause hormonal changes in your bloodstream. These changes can increase blood circulation to your gums and may cause tender, sore, or swollen gums.

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April 18, 2012

Keeping Back Teeth Healthy

When you smile, other people typically only see the front, outer surfaces of your teeth. Many cosmetic treatments, like whitening, veneers, and bonding, brighten these surfaces to improve your physical appearance. However, it’s just as important to take care of the parts of your mouth that other people can’t see. Proper dental care and regular visits to Dr. Pate can help keep front and back teeth healthy so you can function properly.

Why are Back Teeth Overlooked?

The Academy of General Dentistry reports that more people are concerned with achieving a beautiful smile than a healthy one. Many people don’t pay close attention to their back teeth because they aren’t visible and don’t impact overall appearance.

In addition, brushers often have difficulty reaching and cleaning their back molars. Your back teeth are responsible for grinding and crushing your food before you swallow. Your “chewing surfaces” also have deep ridges to help with chomping. Since your back molars are frequently exposed to food, and food can get stuck in the grooves, it’s important to thoroughly clean these teeth to remove debris. If you need help reaching the back of your mouth, try using a toothbrush with a long handle. You should also remember to start your brushing routine at the back of your mouth—while your toothbrush and paste are fresh, and before you tire of brushing. Additionally, at your regular dental cleaning with Dr. Pate, our hygienists will help clean those difficult-to-reach angles that you can’t scrub on your own.

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April 17, 2012

Overcoming Dental Fears

An estimated 30% of people avoid visiting the dentist due to fear and anxiety. Recent research from the University of Sydney found that women in their 40s are more likely to experience dental fear.   This is because members of this demographic are more likely to have felt trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety, or stress that interferes with a relaxed state of mind. In addition, people with a low pain tolerance, high sensitivity, or difficulty sitting still may fear dental discomfort. Fortunately, Dr. Pate can help relieve your nerves with sedation dentistry to make your appointment relaxing and comfortable.

Tips to Fight Dental Anxiety

To achieve their bright superstar smiles, Robert de Niro, Kelly Osbourne, and Billy Ray Cyrus all had to overcome their dental phobias. Here are some strategies you can use to cope with your dental fear so you, too, can receive the healthy and beautiful smile of your dreams.

April 9, 2012

Need Bonding or Veneers?

Dental bonding and porcelain veneers are two common cosmetic procedures that Dr. Pate can use to brighten your smile. Both restorations are placed over your teeth to hide discolorations, chips, gaps, and other imperfections. At your cosmetic consultation with Dr. Pate, your Atlanta dentist will discuss all your options and determine the cosmetic treatment that meets your needs. Take this quiz to see if you know the difference between bonding and veneers.

1. What material does bonding use?

a. Porcelain
b. Composite resin
c. Amalgam

2. Who creates your porcelain veneers?

a. A dental ceramist
b. Dr. Pate
c. A periodontist

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April 4, 2012

Do You Need Dental Implants in Atlanta?

Periodontal disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss. Missing teeth can impair your appearance and ability to function normally. Fortunately, Dr. Pate offers restoration of dental implants — a comfortable prosthetic to restore your smile.

Benefits of Dental Implants

  • Comfort: Dental implants are planted into your jaw bone and serve as the root of your missing tooth. As your mouth heals, your bone will grow around the implant post, creating a comfortable and sturdy finish.
  • Durability: Since dental implants are surgically placed in your mouth, they will stay in place without slipping and sliding. The prosthetic crown attached to your implant is strong enough to withstand everyday wear and tear.
  • Space: With missing teeth, your adjacent teeth have the potential to shift into the open gap, creating bite misalignments. Dental implants, however, sit in the same spot where your tooth once was, holding proper spacing and alignment.
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