September 11, 2012

Risk vs. Reward of Traditional Amalgam Fillings

There is much discussion these days over whether traditional metal tooth fillings are as safe as we’ve believed for the last century. Metal, or amalgam, fillings are composed of a mixture of different metals, including mercury. Several adverse reactions in the brain and kidney have been linked to mercury exposure, so people are becoming wary of having mercury poured onto their teeth. Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate discusses amalgam further.

The Beginning of the Amalgam Wars

The American debate over amalgam began in the 1830s. Two brothers from France, the Crawcours, introduced the filling material in the United States in 1833. By 1844, 50% of dental restorations placed in upstate New York were amalgam. The brothers called their innovative material royal mineral succedaneum, which drew attention away from the mercury content because the public associated the name with gold. In 1843, the American Society of Dental Surgeons ran the brothers out of town, considered them charlatans, and declared the use of amalgam as malpractice. The amalgam solution, however, was cheaper, easier to apply, and less painful than traditional methods, and banning it made the ASDS quite unpopular. In 1850, it rescinded its amalgam boycott, but not soon enough. In 1856, the ASDS disbanded.  (more…)

September 8, 2012

Over, Under, Cross: What does this mean for your bite?

In order for your teeth and jaw to work properly, your bite must fit properly when at rest. When opposing teeth do not line up as they should, the condition is called malocclusion. The misalignment puts undue stress on jaw muscles and the joints that connect your upper and lower jaw (the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ). Malocclusion can occur for a number of reasons.  Dr. Peter Pate explains the most common form, called overbite.

When Your Teeth Go Overboard

In a healthy mouth, upper teeth will ideally sit about 3-5 mm in front of lower teeth when your jaw is at rest. An overbite is a condition in which this extension is greater than 5mm. Although an overbite can be inherited from parents, a child can develop or worsen an overbite with excessive pacifier use or thumb sucking. Some overbites are so minor as to be unnoticeable, while some are so severe that they visibly alter the structure and appearance of your face. Effects of an extreme overbite, however, go beyond appearance. The strain that an overbite places on the jaw can lead to TMJ disorder, headaches, and speech impediments. Overbites constitute about 70% of dental disorders in children, making it the most common form of malocclusion.

What is an Underbite?

Another form of malocclusion is the underbite.  As you’ve probably guessed, an underbite is the condition where the lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth when the jaw is at rest. Because upper teeth are supposed to be in front of lower teeth, an underbite is usually more visible than an overbite. Like an overbite, an underbite can be genetically inherited, but can also be worsened by tongue thrusting or excessive open-mouthed breathing. (more…)

Oral Health: Snapshot of Systemic Wellness

The next time you schedule your annual physical, make sure you have your regular dental visit on the calendar as well.  To get an overall view of your health, it can be beneficial to start with the mouth.   Current research shows that many systemic deficiencies or maladies are illustrated in the tissues of the oral cavity.   Atlanta dentist Dr. Peter Pate explains how he can ascertain details about your overall wellbeing by inspecting the health of your mouth.

The Connection Between Your Mouth and Your Body

The oral-systemic connection refers to the relationship between the health of your mouth and the overall health of your body. Over the last several decades, numerous studies have shown that the two are distinctly connected. For instance, the earliest signs of some potentially fatal systemic diseases appear as lesions in the mouth or other oral problems. This discovery has increased the importance of attending your regular dental checkup. Early detection vastly improves the chances of successful treatment.

Further Implications of the Oral-Systemic Connection

The oral-systemic connection has other important implications as well. Incidences of tooth decay and gum disease have been linked to specific malicious bacteria within the oral cavity (S. mutans and P. gingivalis, respectively). When you consume food and beverages that contain refined sugars and other fermentable carbohydrates, bacterial plaque (which is constantly present in your mouth) digests these substances. The by-product of this digestion is lactic acid, which plaque secretes over the surfaces of the teeth. When lactic acid attacks enamel, it also saps teeth of essential enamel-strengthening minerals (calcium and phosphate).  Without these ingredients, the enamel is not able to remineralize and strengthen itself.   Weakened enamel leaves teeth vulnerable to bacterial attack, which leads to tooth decay. The plaque under your gum line secretes acid, and attacks the connective tissue between the gums and teeth. This irritation causes the gums to recede from the teeth, increasing the chance of gum disease. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through diseased soft gum tissue and travel throughout the body, irritating body tissue cells along its journey. (more…)

August 9, 2012

Tantalizing Tongue Trivia

Have you ever wondered why your tongue changes its appearance? Or why your tastebuds seem not to work sometimes?  When your tongue acts strangely, it may be trying to tell you something. Check out these interesting facts from Dr. Peter Pate and boost your knowledge about the tongue!

Tongue Facts

  • The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body and allows you to eat, drink, talk, and make funny faces (about 85% of the population can curl their tongues into a tube).
  • Your tongue is the only muscle that is connected at only one end.
  • Even after brushing and flossing your teeth, bacteria at the back of your tongue can still make your breath foul. In fact, approximately 50% of the bacteria in your mouth reside on the surface of your tongue. Be sure to brush your tongue as a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. You can use the soft bristles of your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, and be sure to rinse thoroughly.
  • Your tongue is like a fingerprint; no two are alike. (more…)

August 8, 2012

Technology for Better Dental Care

At Dentistry in Buckhead, we pride ourselves on exceeding our patients’ expectations. Dr. Pate and our trained, compassionate team will make you feel like part of the family by providing personalized attention and exceptional dental care, backed by advanced technology. Here, Dr. Pate lists just a few of the technological advances that we offer to give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

DIAGNOdent

Cavities are the most common dental issue that Dr. Pate treats. DIAGNOdent uses a low-intensity laser to detect signs of decay more precisely and at an earlier stage than previous methods. When cavities are found early, there is less decay to remove, so Dr. Pate can preserve more of your natural tooth structure. DIAGNOdent’s laser detection also allows Dr. Pate to monitor areas of concern without the repeated use of X-rays.

Digital X-Rays

The greatest advantage of digital radiography is safety. Digital X-rays require up to 90% less radiation and provide a much clearer picture of your teeth than a traditional X-ray machine. You can view the detailed images on a monitor as Dr. Pate explains his finding and treatment recommendations. Also, digital X-rays are much easier to store, study and transfer than traditional film records, and they require no hazardous chemicals for development.

Intraoral Camera

Ever wonder what the inside of your mouth looks like up close? Our intraoral camera lets us take you on a virtual tour of your mouth. We prefer to keep our patients at the center of their treatment plans. The camera captures images that give us visual aids to guide you through your diagnosis and treatment options, so you’ll be informed every step of the way. (more…)

Getting to the Root of Tooth Sensitivity

Chances are, you have experienced the discomfort of sensitive teeth.  Sensitivity in the  mouth can be a sign of other underlying issues.  Teeth feature three primary layers: the protective outer enamel, the sensitive dentin, and at the core, a canal that houses nerves and connective tissue. Enamel is the hardest tissue in the body and the second hardest naturally occurring substance on our planet. Dentin is a softer tissue that features tiny tubules, or channels, that allow sensations of pressure and temperature to be conducted to the tooth’s nerve. The nerves that lie within the inner canal then send signals to the brain.

Thin Enamel

Acid erosion and tooth wear can thin the protective enamel on the outside of teeth. Thin enamel provides less insulation, making teeth more sensitive to temperature fluctuations and pressure. Erosion is most often caused by acid in foods or from stomach acid. Enamel wear most often results from grinding and clenching teeth, a condition called bruxism.

Exposed Dentin

The crowns of teeth are covered with enamel, but the roots are not. If the gums recede, roots become exposed. The slightest pressure, such as that from wind, can cause intense pain to exposed teeth roots. Temperature fluctuations will also cause discomfort. Gums can recede for a number of reasons, including gum disease, grinding, or aging. (more…)

June 17, 2012

It’s Father’s Day! Smile!

You can’t be the life of the party without a spectacular smile. Studies have shown that smiling at work and in your personal life can greatly improve the moods of those around you. As the saying goes, smiling is contagious.

Do you like your smile? Small blemishes and imperfections on your teeth can make you self-conscious, causing you to smile less or hide your smile in public. This Father’s Day, Atlanta’s family and cosmetic dentist, Dr. Peter Pate, can help you put your best smile forward.

A Wide Variety of Cosmetic Dentistry Choices

At Dentistry in Buckhead, we offer a wide variety of cosmetic procedures to shape your smile into a masterpiece. If you’re short on time and would like to brighten your smile quickly, our in-office Zoom! treatment can lighten your teeth in just one office visit. The procedure often results in teeth that are eight to ten shades brighter. We also offer professional-strength take-home whitening kits that enable you to whiten when your schedule allows.

Porcelain veneers can cover a variety of imperfections at once. They can change the shape, size, and color of multiple teeth to create optimal uniformity. Modern, minimally invasive veneers are secured to the front of your teeth to create a flawless smile.

For chipped or permanently stained teeth, Dr. Pate may recommend dental bonding. This quick cosmetic procedure involves applying a tooth-colored composite resin that works like sculpting clay. Dr. Pate hardens the resin using a curing light, then sculpts and polishes the resin to the ideal shape. If you have only one or two blemished teeth, bonding is a simple and inexpensive alternative to porcelain veneers.

Your Smile is Your Choice

A healthy, beautiful smile is no accident. At our office, it is the combined effort of a devoted dentist and an informed patient. After a comprehensive exam, Dr. Pate will consult with you to decide the best option for achieving the smile of your dreams. To schedule a consultation, call Dentistry in Buckhead at (404) 266-9424. We proudly welcome patients from the Buckhead area, as well as Sandy Springs, Lenox, Brookhaven, Atlanta, and surrounding communities.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »