Why We Recommend Dental Implants.

For many years, I’ve been a proponent of dental implants. Not only have I completed advanced training in this area of dentistry, I have been a long-time member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), achieving Associate Fellowship status in this world-renowned organization.


Over the past 4-5 decades, we’ve seen dramatic leaps in the technology and techniques surrounding implant dentistry. However, as a dentist, the most satisfying part of providing this advanced tooth replacement option is what I see in my patients.

When patients are able to bite, chew, laugh and speak confidently again, it gives people who once struggled with missing teeth, partials, or dentures an entirely new framework for the daily functions we often take for granted.

Take, for instance, the ability to eat without worry. Because dental implants are anchored by the jaw bone, they recreate the same stability and dependability of natural teeth. Not only does this allow people to savor the foods they love again (a crisp apple, a thick steak, etc.), they can enjoy the satisfaction of eating without uncomfortable rubbing on tender gums.

When people feel encumbered during the process of biting and chewing, they also tend to avoid foods that may pose challenges to stability or lead to discomfort. Things that require rigorous chewing, such as some fresh fruits and vegetables, may be avoided. Alternatives are typically soft foods that dissolve quickly in the mouth. Unfortunately, these can be lacking in the nutritional and fiber benefits found in a diet that encompasses a wider variety of colors, textures, flavors, and chewing satisfaction.

I once had a patient who shared how he used to love a chewy breakfast bagel coated with seeds with his morning coffee. After realizing that his partials were undependable when chewing – in addition to experiencing pain when seeds became trapped beneath them – he started ordering biscuits and gravy. Dental implants restored his ability to relish his favorite breakfast food again, and more.

Additionally, when eating occurs without worry, people are more apt to be socially involved. Because gatherings often include food as the centerpiece, dental implants remove the sense of worry or fear of embarrassing slips. Not only does this encourage people to stay active with others, it’s beneficial to our need for mental stimulation.

In an article posted by the American Society on Aging, “What Social Relationships Can Do For Health” shared: “Social relationships have as much impact on physical health as blood pressure, smoking, physical activity, and obesity, as demonstrated in 1988 by House, Landis, and Umberson.” (www.asaging.org/blog/what-social-relationships-can-do-health)

The article goes on to share an overview of key findings on health and positive social relationships. It reveals how positive and negative aspects of social relationships can truly impact our health. (asaging.org/blog/health-effects-negative-social-exchanges-later-life)

At Riverside Dental Arts in downtown Wilmington, we perform many crown-&-bridge procedures to replacing one or several missing teeth in one area. While this option is ideal for some people, it’s important to know that the bridge is supported by its attachment to crowned teeth on each side. With dental implants, the support comes from being held by the jaw bone. This restores the same foundation of natural teeth.

Another benefit of dental implants is what takes place beneath the gums. Because implants restore the presence of a tooth root, of sorts, they are able to recreate stimulation to the jaw bone that supports it. This helps the bone to maintain its mass so the implant patient avoids the repercussions of bone loss.

Sunken in mouth (right) from bone loss compared to health bone mass (left).

When bone loss occurs from the absence of natural tooth roots, the results can even be seen in the mirror. For example, bone loss leads to deep wrinkling around the mouth, jowls, a sunken in mouth, pointed chin, and mouth that seems to collapse into the face — all features that are aging to one’s appearance, far beyond one’s actual years.

Bone loss is also what causes a once snug-fitting denture or partial to move when chewing. Although denture adhesives and pastes help, bone loss will only become more severe and more challenging to denture and partial wearers over time. I’ve even known some new patients who admitted they would take their denture out so they could eat.

We also have a number of people who have lost a single tooth (or need to have one removed) who’ve opted for dental implants. In addition to restoring appearance, implants allow them to protect the health and structure of neighboring teeth.

And, bite alignment is also enhanced when all teeth work harmoniously. A missing teeth enables shifting and tilting of other teeth. This can result in chipped, broken, fractured, and worn teeth.

As far as cost goes, yes – dental implants seem like a more expensive option than other methods of tooth replacement. However, that’s because the fees associated with implant treatment are all up front. Once in place and restored, however, your implant is designed to last as long as you do! With proper care, there are no cavities to occur, no root canals, no breakage, and no replacement needed.

When dental implants are chosen by an experienced implant dentist that are appropriate to your unique needs, your potential for a lifelong, successful result is significant. Here, we pride ourselves on the high success rate of our dental implant patients. Having the benefits of their “own teeth” again restores their ability to enjoy the everyday pleasures that make life complete!

If you’ve considered dental implants for yourself, then also consider starting with a no-charge consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss the implant system that may be best for you, anticipated costs, affordable payment plans, comfort options, and treatment time. I’ll answer your questions thoroughly so you can make the decision that’s right for your individual needs and goals.

I believe that every person should be able to enjoy the pleasures of eating and laughing as well as a smile they feel is ‘worry free.’ Call 910-254-4555 to arrange a consultation to help you reach this goal, or simply tap here to begin.


Posted in cavities, Cavity repair, Crown & Bridge, Crowns, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Implants, Financial Plans, Full Dentures, Gentle Dentist, mouth sore, New patients, Oral Health & Wellness, Partials, Payment Plans, Sore, Tooth Loss, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Why We Recommend Dental Implants.

A Custom-Made Mouth Guard Can Prevent Costly Damage

With football season upon us, the growing concern about concussions has been a hot topic on the airwaves. However, while head injuries are a risk of this rigorous sport, any contact sport can lead to injuries of the head.


Although parents and coaches generally monitor the equipment worn during sports (pads, helmets, cleats, etc.), a mouth guard is often overlooked as an important component in the prevention of injury. Findings show they can make a significant difference when it comes to head contact.

Wearing a mouth guard during these sports is generally seen as a way to avoid broken or chipped teeth or even teeth that are “knocked out.”  Yet, many people are unaware that the risk for concussion can be lessened by a mouth guard.

In addition to broken or lost teeth, head injuries from contact sports can include jaw breaks or fractures, cuts to the lips and tongue, fractured skull, and concussion. Studies show that a mouth guard can prevent or greatly soften the blow. What has shown to make the most difference, more so than the mere wearing of one, is the type of mouth guard.

According to the Center for Sports Concussion at Idaho State University: “Most mouth guards worn by young athletes are ‘boil and bite’ guards. They are purchased at sporting good stores, heated up and provide some dentition to an athlete’s mouth. For better results, consult your dentist or orthodontist.”(www.knowconcussion.org/about-concussion/the-first-line-of-protection/)

Along similar lines are results from a study of over 400 high school football players that found players who wore over-the-counter (OTC) mouth guards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injures or concussions than those who wore custom-made, properly fitted mouth guards.

Compliance is another advantage when it comes to custom-made mouthguards. When the fit is comfortable and conforms to the unique contours of a mouth, a player is more likely to wear it. The boil-&-bite versions tend to be bulkier, which can be a deterrent to being consistently worn. More concerning, however, is the fact that they are less apt to stay in place during play.

While football gets the most press when it comes to sports-related injuries, players of soccer, hockey (ice and field), rugby, lacrosse, and other activities are all opportunities for head injuries, including concussions. As a Sports Dentist, I’ve seen severe injuries (in adults and youth), even those not necessarily seen as ‘contact sports,’ such as tennis, baseball, volleyball, basketball, and sledding.

As awareness of head injuries and their long-term repercussions grows, Sports Dentistry will hopefully see more publicity on the role of mouth guards in preventing concussion and injuries to teeth and the mouth. Until then, please protect your children, players you coach, and yourself.

Making a custom-made mouth guard is very affordable and the process takes minimal time. Call 910-254-4555 to discuss one for yourself (or someone you love) or tap here to begin.

Dr. Gabe Rich, a Sports Dentist, has been featured in ESPN magazine and served as team dentist for the Carolina Hurricanes for over twenty years. He continues to provide dental care for the CFCC Sea Devils.


Posted in Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Emergency, Gentle Dentist, mouth sore, New patients, Sports Dentistry, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on A Custom-Made Mouth Guard Can Prevent Costly Damage

How To Conquer Your Fear Of The Dentist

I know someone who nearly drowned as a youth. It’s a feeling that has never left him and has since invoked a sense of fear every time he’s in the water. Although he’s a strong swimmer now, he feels there will always be lingering emotions from that traumatic event.

Fear is a reaction we experience that warns us of danger. Like shivering in the cold, it’s not something we can necessarily control. So when we have a new patient who shares that they are “scared” of dental visits and haven’t seen a dentist in years because they’ve been “too afraid,” we understand.

See actual patients share their experiences in our office at: www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=qDQoa4Fpn78

Hearing people tell us they have fear or anxiety associated with dental visits is not uncommon. According to a 2014 survey shared by the American Dental Association, 22 percent of American adults reported that they avoided dental care due to fear.


It has been estimated that up to 75 percent of adults experience some level of anxiety or fear when it comes to going to a dentist. Of those, an estimated 5 – 10 percent are categorized as dental phobics.

Dental phobics are people who have such intense fears that the mere thought of calling a dentist or going in their front door causes reactions. For these individuals, they may break out in a sweat, have a more rapid heartbeat, or even cry – even before arriving at the dentist.

Some patients aren’t sure what triggered their fears in the first place. Others may recall a painful experience in a dentist’s chair in the past. Some react to certain smells or sounds. However, for those who have an intense fear of dentistry, the reaction can be so strong that it can evoke sensations of pain even before they’ve been touched.

As powerful as this fear can be, there are solid reasons to address it sooner than later. Not only is the health and appearance of your smile at risk, your overall health could be harmed as well.

For decades, researchers have studied the unique strain of bacteria that exists in the mouth. Like any bacteria in the body, when oral bacteria amass beyond a manageable level, they can cause infection. However, the particular type of bacteria found in periodontal disease has garnered much attention lately.

It has long been known that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream through gum tissues that are weakened by gum disease. Once bloodborne, it has been found to trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This inflammation has been associated with a long list of serious health problems.

Research has found links between this potent oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, preterm babies, some cancers, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, impotency, erectile dysfunction (ED), and even Alzheimer’s disease.

These are all reasons enough to pursue seeing a dentist, of course. Yet, the confidence of a healthy, appealing smile is what is most pressing in the minds of people who finally enter our doors.

The ability to smile and FEEL good about a smile has much to do with how we feel about ourselves. Studies have shown that the mere act of smiling improves our mood. And, people who smile often are believed to have a longer life expectancy!

An article in the NY Times also shared how a ‘sincere’ smile has an impact on lifespan. For people who smile with their eyes, one study showed a 7 year boost to lifetimes versus non-smilers! (www.nydailynews.com/life-style/cheese-putting-happy-face-live-longer-article-1.3014375)

Of course, appearance is also important. We all want to feel our smile complements our face and projects our inner-selves as vibrant, beautiful people. This adds to self-esteem, self-confidence, and comfort in being close with others.

To help people relax and move through dentistry, some offices offer sedation and various methods, such as gas or medications. However, we believe that truly conquering your fear begins with a trusting relationship between you and your dentist.

Our friendly staff members are experienced in helping fearful patients as well. As I mentioned prior, dental fear is not uncommon. Providing the right environment for fearful individuals can be a particular challenge for some offices. However, from our success with formerly-fearful patients, we feel we’ve created a setting that is both appropriate and reassuring that addresses all levels of dental fear.

How to begin? First, visit our website: www.RiversideDentalArts.com and get to know the team, the appearance of our office, and the services we provide. Then, consider calling: 910-254-4555.

Not ready to talk yet? Tap here to learn where we are and then either call or email to share your concerns. Email us at: info@riversidedentalarts.com, to ask questions prior to calling, if preferred.

Dr. Gabe Rich

Typically, all patients begin with a friendly conversation that takes place in our consultation room. During this visit, we will not seat you in a treatment room or treatment chair. Your consult will take place in a private room that is away from the clinical suites. We will sit in comfy arm chairs and discuss your particular needs.

I’ll also explain options available to help you relax and recommendations to move you through care at a pace that feels right. From there, you can determine if you are ready to move forward.

There is no charge for a consultation. If you’re ready, call 910-254-4555 to schedule or to simply ask questions. Or, tap here.

Let us help you achieve the excellent oral health and beautiful smile you want while overcoming your dental fears. This will help you to be more focused on the terrific smile you have than the worries that prevented you from it!

Posted in Arthritis, Beautiful Smiles, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Fear, Diabetes, Gentle Dentist, Gum Disease, Heart Disease, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, Sedation Dentistry, Systemic Inflammation, tooth ache, Tooth Loss, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on How To Conquer Your Fear Of The Dentist

Pregnant? Why Healthy Gums Are Especially Important For You!

If you watched any of the seven seasons of AMC’s series “Mad Men,” it blatantly illustrated just how drastically times have changed. Set in the 1960’s, the episodes followed the team of a Madison Avenue ad agency. As I watched, I was always shocked to see the characters do things we now know are oh-so-wrong.

For example, as true-to-life at the time, many people smoked heavily and drank alcohol throughout the day. Yet, the most shocking episode I watched were several pregnant women at a cocktail party, all smoking and drinking alcohol. At the time, people were unaware of the risks these choices posed to unborn babies. Now we know better.

Science has revealed that what the mother consumes (or inhales) is what the unborn baby endures as well. While it’s now common knowledge that alcohol and smoking is taboo during pregnancy, the level of bacteria in your mouth should be added to the list of precautions for moms-to-be.

When pregnant, the long list of dietary and medication restrictions are made to enhance the potential for healthy newborns. While many pregnant females now know to also avoid certain cheeses and seafood, a particular area of concern now pinpoints to the health of their gums.

Studies have shown that it is important for pregnant women to maintain excellent oral health for the well-being of their baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association (americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/swollen-gums-during-pregnancy/):

“Pregnancy gingivitis is caused by the hormonal changes that increase the blood flow to the gum tissue and cause your gums to be more sensitive, irritable, and swollen. These hormonal changes also hinder the body’s normal response to bacteria which can cause periodontal infections.”

Elevated hormones in pregnant women increase the risk for gum disease, causing nearly 50 percent to experience swollen, red and sore gums that bleed easily when brushing. The cause is a form of gum disease known as Pregnancy Gingivitis. Pregnancy hormones make the gums more susceptible to inflammation. This means they are more sensitive to the oral bacteria of gum disease.

It is estimated that a third of all pregnant women have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. As is coming to light through research findings, oral bacteria can be a destructive force for a pregnant female far beyond the mouth. Studies show that gum disease increases the risk for preterm delivery (before 37 weeks) and babies born at low birth weight.

The preterm birth rate for females without periodontal disease is approximately 11 percent as compared to almost 29 percent for women with moderate to severe levels.

It is suspected this is triggered when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. When these bacteria reach placental membranes, it has been shown to cause inflammatory reactions that can lead to pre-eclampsia or early labor. Gum disease also increases the potential for late miscarriage. (www.nytimes.com/1996/10/09/us/gum-disease-in-pregnancy-linked-to-premature-low-weight-babies.html)

In one study, pregnant women who showed higher levels of antibodies to oral bacteria had a higher number of preterm births and babies born at low birth weight. Examinations of  amniotic fluid and fetal cord blood samples showed the same elevated antibodies for babies born preterm or at low birth weight.

It is important for moms-to-be to know the signs of gum disease. They include tender gums that bleed when brushing, gums that are red in color (versus a healthy pink), frequent bad breath, or pus pockets that form on gum tissues. If you notice any of these, call promptly to be examined. Gum disease will not improve on its own and worsens when treatment is delayed.

Fortunately, studies also indicate that the successful treatment of gum disease lowers the risk of preterm births. This has motivated obstetricians to advise their patients on more closely monitoring their oral health and to see their dentist.

Give your baby an added advantage for a healthy beginning by ensuring your oral health is at its best. We provide treatment for nearly all stages of gum disease that is safe for pregnant women (and for all patients).

Pregnant? Begin with a no-charge consultation. Call 910-254-4555 or tap here to schedule.

Posted in Bad Breath, Bleeding Gums, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Gentle Dentist, Gum Disease, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, Sore, Systemic Inflammation, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Pregnant? Why Healthy Gums Are Especially Important For You!

Many Advantages For Adults Who Straighten Teeth

When I discuss cosmetic dentistry with patients who wish to improve the appearance of their smiles, our conversation doesn’t just focus on creating a smile of white, pretty teeth. We discuss the importance of the shape, size, and position of teeth to ensure a balanced, natural appearance.

While today’s cosmetic dental techniques and materials provide exceptional options for a natural look and feel, every tooth involved in treatment plays a bigger role than merely how it appears in a smile.

The mouth is structured to support an upper row and lower row of teeth. Each tooth supports the teeth on both sides as well as the tooth above (or below), helping to keep it at a proper length.

These arches of teeth hold various shapes and sizes that, together, are designed to work harmoniously.

While a proper bite is necessary for good oral health (affecting our overall health, which I’ll explain further below), a beautiful smile relies on the correct positions of teeth as much as it does their shape and shade.

It doesn’t take much to trigger ‘malocclusion.’ This is when the bite becomes misaligned, typically due to a lost tooth or one that tilts or turns out of position. Like dominoes, it only takes one to cause a like reaction to the others.

When one tooth becomes ‘crooked,’ adjacent teeth no longer have the bolstering support they need and can tilt or turn as well, and so on for the next one and next. Crooked teeth mar the appearance of a smile, creating a jumbled appearance. Yet, they cause more problems as well.

Crooked teeth are more difficult to keep clean. The tight angles and nooks formed when crowded, crooked teeth bunch up make it more difficult for the bristles of a toothbrush to do a thorough job at removing oral bacteria. Flossing becomes more challenging in these areas as well.

When oral bacteria are not thoroughly cleansed from the mouth, they quickly form a sticky film of plaque that coats the teeth and gums. Here’s how you can feel plaque with your tongue: Brush your teeth in the morning and then run your tongue over them. Feel how slick and clean they are? Before you brush in the evening, run your tongue over them again. You’ll feel something coating them and your mouth won’t feel as clean and fresh. This is accumulated oral bacteria and the origin of nearly every oral problem that exists.

Oral bacteria is the cause of periodontal (gum) disease, cavities, and most tooth loss. It can also become bloodborne and trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Research has linked the infectious bacteria of gum disease to a long list of serious health problems. These include heart disease, stroke, preterm babies, some cancers, arthritis and diabetes.

Yet, the problems of misaligned teeth aren’t limited to the ability to keep them clean. Crooked teeth generally mean that the upper and lower teeth fail to fit in a unified way. When they do not rest together comfortably or work together harmoniously (such as during chewing), the stress and strain can be transferred to the jaw joints.

TMJ Disorder is generally the result of an improperly-aligned bite. Although it can lead to sore jaw joints, headaches, migraines, ear ringing, dizziness, and difficulty opening the mouth fully, it is the teeth that typically take the biggest brunt of the problem.

Teeth that don’t work together can ‘hit’ incorrectly, resulting in teeth that are chipped, cracked, fractured and broken. And, during sleep, teeth can grind or clench together, eventually leading to worn teeth.

For many adults, the thoughts of realigning natural teeth conjures visions of uncomfortable brackets and wires – not to mention the awkward look of braces. Even clear brackets and bands can stand out in a way that is less-than-flattering for adults.

When combined with the dread of the prickly feel to tender gums and the ordeal of keeping food out of wires and brackets, it’s no wonder that some adults ignore the need to straighten crooked smiles.

Invisalign to the rescue! The Invisalign process uses clear, custom-designed molds that snap over your teeth, gently moving them in stages that are appropriate for you. They can be removed for eating and brushing and are virtually undetectable in a smile. For some adults, they can move teeth at a pace that is faster than traditional orthodontics.

Invisalign can eliminate the awkward look and uncomfortable feel of braces so you can enjoy an appealing smile with your natural teeth. This also allows you to protect the integrity of your natural tooth structures, supporting their own ability to remain healthy.

As a Certified Invisalign provider, I’ve helped many patients to gently ease teeth into proper alignment for a beautiful, healthy smile. If you suffer with crowding or misaligned teeth but have avoided having them straightened because of the challenges associated with braces, call 910-254-4555 to arrange for a free consultation.

During this time, we’ll discuss how Invisalign can work for you and anticipated treatment times. We can also have our Financial Coordinator review easy payment plans, if desired.

Having a smile of straight teeth will enhance your appearance and oral health. I look forward to discussing how this can be achieved through Invisalign with you soon. Call to schedule or tap here to begin.


Posted in Arthritis, Beautiful Smiles, cavities, Cavity repair, clenching & grinding teeth, Cosmetic Dentistry, crooked teeth, crowded, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Diabetes, Financial Plans, Gentle Dentist, Gum Disease, headaches, Heart Disease, Invisalign, migraines, mouth sore, New patients, Opalescence Go Whitening, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, Payment Plans, Smile Makeovers, Sore, TMJ & Bite Realignment, Tooth Loss, Tooth Whitening, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Many Advantages For Adults Who Straighten Teeth

Has Your Denture Started To Slip? Here’s Why. (And How To Stop It)

One of the reasons that sea oats are so precious is in how they help sand dunes to resist erosion. In addition to their beauty, we’ve learned that they prevent sand from giving way to wind and rain. This preserves the valuable barrier the dunes provide.

As we enjoy nature’s finest when it comes to the Carolina coastline, I’m reminded of the important role of tooth roots when it comes to protecting valuable “structures.”

Each tooth is much more than what can be seen above the gum line. Teeth are held by roots that are firmly embedded in the upper and lower jaw bones. While this foundation provides you with secure, stable biting and chewing ability, teeth are also a beneficial presence to the jaw bones that support them.

The jaw bones are living structures within our bodies. They are alive and rely on the interaction of teeth for stimulation. Without the presence of tooth roots, the jaw bone begins to shrink, or ‘resorb.’ This is similar to muscles that go unused and eventually atrophy (wither away).

For people who are missing one of more natural teeth, replacing them with dental implants helps to restore the much-needed stimulation to the bone. Their presence helps to halt the process of resorption and protect from further bone loss. This is one of the main reasons we recommend dental implants to replace missing teeth.

For some people who have worn a denture or partial denture for years, they are often unaware that the process of resorption has begun until their appliance moves or slips. This occurs because the bone underneath the gums is shrinking.

When a denture or partial is first made, it is created to fit the individual contours of a ‘ridge.’ This is the raised arch where natural tooth roots were once held. The arch is actually gum-covered bone, which begins declining in height and mass due to the resorption process.

Often, when an appliance first begins to move, it occurs while chewing rigorously, such as when eating a thick bagel or pork chop. As the bone continues to shrink, so does the height of the denture’s or partial’s foundation. It becomes flatter year after year.

In these instances, people typically begin using denture pastes or adhesives to help hold the appliances in place. As bone loss continues, they may not even realize that more and more frequent applications of these products are necessary.

Sooner or later, many people are candidates for a ‘reline’ to restore a more secure fit to the denture. In this process, the contours of the gum-colored based are reshaped to better fit the flattened arch that now exists. Eventually, however, relines are needed more and more frequently and each one seems to provide less and less help (and with shorter intervals each time).

Bone resorption can even be seen in a person’s facial structure. Ever heard of a “granny look?” This is when the chin becomes more pointed and the mouth appears to collapse into the face. Jowls form as muscles detach from facial bone structures and the face sags. Deep wrinkles develop around the mouth and the corners of the mouth tend to turn downward, even when smiling.

While the repercussions to appearance are certainly unwanted, the challenges associated with the compromised ability to bite and chew properly are worse. When eating becomes difficult (or overshadowed by the fear of embarrassment), people often move to a diet of soft foods that dissolve quickly in the mouth.

Unfortunately, these foods often lack the nutritional make-up for proper fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. And, many times bites are swallowed before being adequately chewed. This compromises the digestive system since digestion begins in the mouth as food is chewed.

Not only do denture wearers take more medications than those who have their natural teeth, they have more gastrointestinal problems. Over the years, renowned prosthodontist and founder of Misch Implant Institute Dr. Carl Misch has shared many findings that show how detrimental denture wear can be to one’s physiological and psychological health. www.deardoctor.com/articles/hidden-consequences-of-losing-teeth/page2.p

Obviously, it is important to replace missing teeth as well as the mimicking presence of their roots. By restoring stimulation to the bone, you help to preserve facial appearance as well as the ability to eat a healthy diet of foods you love. And, to enjoy your food in social settings, worry-free!

People are pleased to learn that dental implants are also affordable. While the upfront costs may seem higher than other tooth replacement options, dental implants will not break, decay, require root canals, or compromise the health of neighboring teeth. And, they are designed to last your lifetime! These days, there are not many things that provide that kind of value!

Call 910-254-4555 to begin with a free consultation or tap here. Like you, your confident, new smile – and your improved health – are our goals, too!

If dental fear is a factor, please call to schedule a no-charge consultation. We are proud that we have been able to help hundreds of once-fearful people overcome these fears and achieve the healthy, confident smile they always wanted. I’ll discuss relaxation options along with pacing your treatment so you are comfortable throughout your care.


Posted in Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Fear, Dental Implants, Financial Plans, Full Dentures, Gentle Dentist, New patients, Partials, Payment Plans, Sedation Dentistry, Tooth Loss, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Has Your Denture Started To Slip? Here’s Why. (And How To Stop It)

New Research On Gum Disease Shows Arthritis (RA) Trigger.

For decades, scientists have conducted research and studies to delve into the delicate interworking of the human body. Often in an effort to pinpoint the triggers for cancer and other diseases, they have carefully examined the intricate and integral nature of our bodies’ complex systems.

As a dentist, I’ve found the connection between serious health problems and the bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease of particular interest. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The same bacteria that can inflame and destroy gum tissues and the structures that support teeth must be pretty potent. As destructive as these bacteria can be in the mouth, their harmful nature can run rampant in the body.

When gum disease weakens the tissues in your mouth, the bacteria can penetrate them and enter the bloodstream. As the bacteria travel throughout the body, they can activate systemic inflammation.

Systemic inflammation has been found to be the basis for a wide variety of serious health problems, thanks to extensive research. While inflammation can be a normal response to our body’s immune system, it is meant to be a temporary reaction of the immune system. For example, ‘acute’ inflammation is a supportive function as a cut heals or the swelling of a thumb that’s been accidentally hammered subsides.

Chronic inflammation is when the immune system turns on and then can’t turn itself off again, even when it is no longer needed. As a matter of fact, chronic inflammation can lead to damaging effects to your health.

Chronic inflammation is depleting to the body’s energy levels and leaves it vulnerable to disease. It is now known as a source and contributor for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

Over the years, I have been monitoring research that shows the correlation of gum disease and the higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recently, a study presented at the 2018 Annual European Congress of Rheumatology shared how gum disease may actually serve as the primary trigger for systemic autoimmunity associated with RA.

By tracking the antibodies associated with RA, it was found that they originate from a site outside of the joints. The study indicates that inflamed gums may activate the process that results in RA. (www.dentistrytoday.com/news/industrynews/item/1312-oral-bacteria-linked-to-migraine-headaches?highlight=WyJtaWdyYWluZSJd)

RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes pain and disability to the joints and damage to internal organs. While older adults are more frequently affected, young adults, adolescents, and even children can develop RA.

According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), nearly half of American adults have some level of gum disease. I believe this may be due to the ability of gum disease to exist without obvious symptoms. (www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/oral_health_disparities/index.htm)

Unfortunately, when symptoms emerge, such as gums that bleed when brushing, many people fail to associate the issue with gum disease. Some even deem bleeding gums as a sign they are doing a good job brushing (which is NOT the case!).

In addition to tender gums that bleed when you brush, other signs include persistent bad breath; swollen gums; gums that pull away from teeth and expose darker, tooth root areas; gums that turn red versus a healthy pink hue; and, pus pockets that form near the base of teeth.

Even though the bacteria of gum disease is so potent and destructive, it is so easy to prevent with rather simple measures. Brushing thoroughly twice per day and daily flossing helps to keep oral bacteria levels manageable between dental check-ups. It is also helpful to drink plenty of water each day to keep the mouth moist. This helps saliva flow stay at an efficient level to rinse away food particles and oral bacteria.

Your 6-month dental cleanings are designed to remove plaque or calculus (also known as tartar) buildup that has formed since your last cleaning. Plaque is a sticky film of oral bacteria that coats the teeth and gums. Calculus is a hardened form of oral bacteria that attaches to teeth. It can no longer be brushed or flossed away.

Obviously, your oral health is an integral part of your overall health. It is important to keep a healthy mouth so your body can function without interferences from the rouge bacteria of gum disease. Plus, your smile will thank you!

Renew your commitment for a confident smile, fresh breath, bright teeth and healthy gums. Begin with a free consultation to discuss how we can help you enjoy optimal oral health through our skills and an effective at-home regimen. Call 910-254-4555 to schedule or tap here.

During this time, we’ll also be happy to discuss any concerns you have regarding comfort. We have many patients who once had dental anxiety or fears who now smile confidently and are relaxed at dental visits. Too, easy payment options can also be discussed. Just ask to speak with our helpful Financial Coordinator for more information.

Posted in Arthritis, Bad Breath, Bleeding Gums, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Fear, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, dry mouth, Financial Plans, Gentle Dentist, Gum Disease, Heart Disease, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, Payment Plans, Sedation Dentistry, Sore, Systemic Inflammation, Tooth Loss, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on New Research On Gum Disease Shows Arthritis (RA) Trigger.

Crown & Bridge – Not Always ‘Apples To Apples.’

When some people are missing one or more natural teeth, one of their options for replacement is with a crown-&-bridge combination. This is possible when a natural tooth exists on each side of where missing teeth are to be replaced.

A crown-&-bridge works together by crowning natural teeth on both sides, which will support a ‘bridge’ of one or more replacement teeth. This bridge of teeth is attached to the crowns and is essentially all one piece (crowns and bridge combined).

While it may seem that all crowns and bridges are alike from one dental office to another, that is far from being the case.

For many people who are candidates for a crown and bridge, they are missing side or back teeth. Since these teeth are not always visible, even in a full smile, the appearance of the replacement teeth may or may not seem to be a major issue.

Yet, when it comes to the look and feel of this option, the materials used will, indeed, make a difference whether appearance does or not. In our office, we traditionally used porcelain to create crowns, veneers, bridges, dentures and partials, and dental implant ‘restorations’ (replacement teeth attached to the implanted portion).

Porcelain is one of the most durable of all materials used in dentistry. It provides a natural look and feel as well as resists staining. Its durability, however, is what makes it our preferred choice when we recommend cosmetic dentistry or restorations to repair or replace teeth.

And, even though the teeth may not be visible in a ‘normal’ smile, they may be in a hearty laugh or a wide yawn. We find our patients feel more confident when they know their smile looks as great as it feels!

Another difference from office to office is in how the crowns and bridge work with your overall bite. In replacing teeth, it is paramount that the crown & bridge ‘meet’ your teeth above or below at a proper height. Additionally, how they are positioned will impact the positions of natural teeth on either side.

When the fit of the upper teeth and lower teeth do not fit together harmoniously, it can lead to strain on the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ). These jaw joints are positioned in front of the ears on each side of your face. Their job is to hinge the lower jaw to the skull.

These joints are in constant motion. When the bite is not properly aligned, the disparity – even a minute one – can lead to TMJ Disorder.

Also known as a TMD, temporomandibular joint disorder can be the source for many problems, some seemingly unrelated to the jaw joints. These include frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, ear ringing, dizziness and jaw popping.

Bite problems can cause chipped, broken, worn, and fractured teeth. It is also the most common of all sources of night-time clenching and grinding.

In all implant, cosmetic, and restorative procedures performed in our office, we incorporate careful measures for proper bite alignment. These steps will help you avoid the discomfort and damage that can be associated with bite misalignment.

Finally, we make patient comfort a high priority, which applies to all procedures in our office and with all staff members. We all have a reputation for a gentle touch and providing a caring, compassionate environment.

We have a large number of patients who originally came “scared to death” of dental visits and are now walking into the office all smiles. They are now more relaxed in the dental chair and know our goal is to ensure they are comfortable from start to finish!

While you’ll always be able to find ‘cheaper’ prices for your crown & bridge, you deserve to know there are differences that can cost you far more in the future. Consider your options and ask our Financial Coordinator to discuss payment plans. We have several that break payments into affordable, monthly amounts that won’t strain your budget. Most require no down payment and are interest-free.

Your smile is ‘front and center’ in your life, all day, every day. Give it your best because, after all, it’s the best part of you!

Call 910-254-4555 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs for tooth replacement, comfort options, or payment plans.

Posted in Beautiful Smiles, clenching & grinding teeth, Cosmetic Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentures, Crown & Bridge, Crowns, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Fear, Dental Implants, Financial Plans, Full Dentures, Gentle Dentist, headaches, migraines, New patients, Oral Health & Wellness, Partials, Payment Plans, Sedation Dentistry, Smile Makeovers, TMJ & Bite Realignment, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Crown & Bridge – Not Always ‘Apples To Apples.’

Signs & Symptoms Of An Abscess Or Other Dental Infection

Tooth aches can occur because of a number of issues. A cavity, gum inflammation, gum recession, or an infection in the tooth — all can cause an ache.

Some tooth aches can be severe. These occur when an infection is present, often as the result of decay or a crack in the tooth. When bacteria penetrate enamel, the sensitive nerves inside the tooth can erupt into an infection, known as an abscess.

An abscess is a pocket of pus that has formed inside the tooth or gum tissues. It is a bacterial infection that causes throbbing pain that can quickly progress in its intensity. The pain may seem to come on suddenly and worsen within a short period. In some cases, the pain may extend to the ear, jaw, and neck.

An abscess requires treatment to resolve. The treatment recommended to resolve your abscess will depend on the type of abscess you have. These are:
• Periapical abscess: An abscess that is in the interior of the tooth, in its pulp chamber.
• Gingival abscess: An abscess that is in the gum tissue with no contact to a tooth or its roots.
• Periodontal abscess: An abscess lies in the supporting bone structures of a tooth.

Other symptoms of an abscess may include fever; having a bad taste in the mouth; sensitivity to hot or cold; having difficulty swallowing; and, difficulty opening the mouth.

Treatment for an abscess may involve root canal surgery or periodontal surgery to drain and clean the infected area. While all treatment is performed to the highest degree of comfort possible, the goal is to receive treatment before the problem worsens.

Once treatment has been performed, the following steps will help you heal and keep you as comfortable as possible:

• If antibiotics are prescribed, start taking them immediately. Take them exactly as it says on the label. Finish all the pills even if you feel better before they are gone.
• If pain medication is prescribed, take it as you need it. Don’t exceed the dose on the label. Taking with food or milk will help reduce stomach upset. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when taking pain prescriptions.
• Avoid pain medications with aspirin. Nuprin or Advil are good alternatives.
• Use warm saltwater “holds”. Mix 1 teaspoon salt in a glass of warm water. Take a mouthful and pouch it in your cheek over the infection area until the water cools; repeat until the water is gone. Doing this every hour helps pull the infection towards the surface of the gums so it can drain. Doing this at the same time as using the cold packs outside of the mouth enhances the effect.
• Use cold packs on the face over the infected area. Place on face for 15-20 minutes, then leave off for 15-20 minutes.
• DO NOT use heating pads on the outside of the face. This can cause the infection to worsen and spread further.
• Maintain a good, balanced diet and get plenty of rest. Your body needs extra energy when fighting infections. You may need to eat softer foods.
• Avoid smoking until the infection has subsided. If you must smoke, keep it to an absolute minimum.

Our goal is to help you avoid problems from occurring in the first place. To minimize your risk for problems or infections in the mouth, be very committed to a thorough at-home oral hygiene routine and your 6-month dental check-ups. Keep the bacteria levels in your mouth under control with mean you will have less chances for developing a problem that requires the time and cost for treatment.

Not sure about the state of your oral health? Behind on your regular dental exams and cleanings? Call 910-254-4555 to request a no-charge consultation. During this time, we’ll be happy to discuss your needs and goals and answer your questions.

Posted in cavities, Cavity repair, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Emergency, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Gentle Dentist, Gum Disease, mouth sore, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, root canals, Sore, tooth ache, Tooth Repair, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Signs & Symptoms Of An Abscess Or Other Dental Infection

How You Care For Your Smile Can Save You Money!

As most families try to fund the added expenses for summer getaways or fun outings, having this time precious together can also pose a strain on some budgets. To save up for these well-deserved indulgences, many people look at their spending throughout the year. They try to spend wisely and take steps to avoid incurring costs for things that could have been easily prevented, such as a cavity.

One of the biggest advantages of having regular dental check-ups is their ability to help you save money. These periodic visits give your smile a clean slate, which can help avoiding problems in the first place.

Too, spending just minutes each day on your at-home oral care combined with dental check ups and cleanings every six months can convert into a big savings. Through a thorough at-home oral care regimen, many problems can be prevented, which saves you in time and money for repairs.

During dental exams and cleanings, we have an opportunity to remove calculus. Calculus (also known as tartar) is a cement-hard form of oral bacteria that results from plaque accumulation. Once plaque forms into calculus, it attaches to teeth and can no longer be brushed or flossed away.

These hardened masses of oral bacteria thrive by eating away at gum tissues as they reproduce in your mouth. Because they reproduce so rapidly, gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) can easily evolve into full-blown periodontal disease, which is an infection.

While gingivitis causes tender gums to bleed when brushing, periodontal disease symptoms are more severe, including persistent bad breath, tender gums that bleed easily, gums that darken in color, receded gums, and pus pockets that form at the base of some teeth.

When this potent bacteria enters the bloodstream through tears in diseased gum tissues, it causes problems far beyond the mouth. It has been shown to trigger inflammatory reactions that can result in major health problems.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S., with over 47 percent having some level of gum disease.  Research has also shown that oral health is intricately connected to overall health.

Studies have found links between the bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease and serious health conditions and diseases elsewhere in the body. To date, research has shown links to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, impotency and more.

Obviously, infectious oral bacteria is highly potent. Yet, they are actually easy to control with twice-daily brushing and daily flossing combined with regular dental checkups. To help minimize oral bacteria levels in the mouth, limit sugary snacks and either swish after eating or chew sugarless gum when brushing is inconvenient. This will you help to lower your risk for cavities and enjoy fresher breath!

Saving money is always a good goal. When money-saving steps are implemented, you can also improve your oral and overall health! Saving money by NOT needing cavities repaired and avoiding the need for gum therapy to treat infectious oral bacteria will give you much to smile about.

Start with a thorough examination and cleaning. This will help you maintain a healthy smile at home between visits. We also offer easy payment options for most treatments. Ask to speak with our Financial Coordinator during a no-cost consultation with our Doctors. To schedule, call 910-254-4555.

Posted in Bad Breath, Bleeding Gums, cavities, Cavity repair, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Financial Plans, Gentle Dentist, Gum Disease, Heart Disease, mouth sore, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, Payment Plans, Sore, Systemic Inflammation, tooth ache, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on How You Care For Your Smile Can Save You Money!

Cosmetic Dentistry – A More Beautiful Smile In The Right Hands.

When you think about it, your smile is pretty much ‘front-&-center’ when it comes to your overall appearance. Your smile has a prominent place on your face and it is often the first thing people notice when meeting you. It even projects your mood, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

Obviously, a smile is a major component of appearance, especially facial appearance. When it comes to smile flaws, it doesn’t take much to send out a negative vibe. These flaws may be in the form of obvious decay, teeth that are discolored, too much (or uneven) gum tissue that arches over teeth, crooked teeth, teeth that have chips or are broken, missing teeth, and showing obvious signs of ‘dental work.’

Cosmetic dentistry, in the right hands, can give you a smile that has a natural look and feel. Using today’s technology and techniques, we can often recreate a smile in just one or two appointments. And, along with exceptional durability and longevity, patients in the hands of a skilled, highly-trained dentist can enjoy a smile that beautifully complements overall facial features.

There are several reasons that cause people to avoid having smile improvements or makeovers. These include:

• Treatment Cost: Because cosmetic dentistry is deemed elective in nature, most insurance companies don’t allow coverage. There are exceptions, of course, such as the repairs needed for an accident or injury that contributed to changes in the smile. However, choosing to improve the appearance of a smile can be financed (in our office) through affordable payment plans. In most, these break out the fees in easy, interest-free, monthly payments with no down payment required.

• Dental fear or anxiety: Concerns about comfort while in dental treatment can cause some people to avoid having the care they need or want. When people avoid dentistry, their smile’s appearance and health can be sacrificed. This leads to a higher risk for cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, bite misalignment, and chipped or worn teeth. One of the reasons we like to begin with each new patient in a private consultation is to learn their expectations as well as concerns they have when it comes to a new dental relationship. Our goal is to help make each visit one that is comfortable and informative, leading to a healthier, more confident smile. While comfort is a high priority with all members on the Riverside team, when we have an especially anxious or fearful patient, we like to discuss additional measures that can help each individual move through treatment much easier.

• Having a ‘fake’ smile: There is nothing worse than seeing someone who smiles, showing obvious signs of dental work. When ‘cheap dentistry’ is performed, the trade-off is usually in sacrificing the natural look of real teeth. For the ideal in esthetics, we advise porcelain crowns or veneers. These provide the highest level of durability available in dental esthetics while even reflecting light as natural teeth. Also, when a dentist fails to master the skills needed for treatment planning with the proper shape, shade and size of teeth, the result can appear ‘fake.’ For example, when repairing gapped teeth, there is typically the need to involve neighboring teeth in treatment. Just filling in the gap by making two wider teeth will provide a look that is unnatural and unflattering. An experienced dentist with the right skills and ‘eye’ for detail can provide you with a desired outcome.

• Treatment time: Most adults have too much on their plates on just the average day. Add to that the time needed for cosmetic dental procedures and some people are less apt to proceed. Yet, is the actual time commitment really as much as perceived? Today’s cosmetic dentistry involves many procedures that can often be completed in just a couple of visits. Although a few may involve the need for a dental lab to create the final restorations, the actual ‘chair time’ required may be far less than you think. Additionally, we try to arrange appointment times to provide the most efficient process possible. Scheduling can often be done to coincide with lunch hour breaks, early morning, or end-of-day time slots.

We all have challenges when it comes to adding a procedure to our busy days. While no one jumps into cosmetic dentistry without due consideration, the challenges are often far less obstacles than assumed when actually understanding the specifics related to each person.

Yet, the returns of a flattering smile are endless. People who feel good about the appearance of their smile tend to smile wider and more often. This projects them as a happy and confident individual, sending a positive message to others.

Research has also shown that the act of smiling is a mood booster! For people who have smiles they love, smiling becomes easier and more frequent. That makes for a person who smiles from the inside out!

If you’re ready to discuss smile enhancement, call 910-254-4555 to schedule a no-charge, no obligation consultation. I’ll make recommendations and discuss estimated fees. While you’re here, we can also have our financial coordinator review easy payment options.

We look forward to welcoming you!

Posted in Beautiful Smiles, cavities, Cavity repair, Cosmetic Dentistry, crooked teeth, Crowns, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Insurance, Financial Plans, Gentle Dentist, New patients, Payment Plans, Porcelain Veneers, Smile Makeovers, TMJ & Bite Realignment, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Cosmetic Dentistry – A More Beautiful Smile In The Right Hands.

Could Poor Gum Health Trigger Health Challenges Beyond The Mouth?

Riverside Dental Arts recently joined an organization called the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, or AAOSH (aaosh.org/). We felt it was important to be connected with this membership of like-minded dental professionals for several reasons, but mainly because of our commitment to our patients’ whole health wellness that, as you’ll see, begins with excellent oral health.

Years ago, the connection between the mouth and the rest of the body was not something many people knew about. Today, hoards of research has brought to light the link between our oral health and its impact on our overall health. As more is known, more people are becoming aware of the connection.

For example, I find it remarkable that periodontal disease can trigger the onset of arthritis, and vice versa. As a matter of fact, the tissues in arthritic joints have an almost identical makeup to that of the oral bacterium of periodontal disease. (www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/gum-disease/ra-and-gum-disease.php)

Similarly, people with diabetes can actually improve their blood sugar levels by maintaining healthy gums. (www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-diabetes.htm)

However, as research more closely hones in on the intricate connection – the cause & effect – of oral bacteria and how it relates to other functions of the body, we saw the need to follow the findings more closely through AAOSH.

What is “oral systemic health?”

According to AAOSH, oral systemic health is the connection between oral health and overall health. Countless studies have demonstrated a link between poor oral health and systemic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and even pregnancy complications.

Other conditions include oral cancer, oral airway and sleep apnea, TMJ (which can cause headaches & migraines), dental decay (cavities), and bio-compatibility of dental filling materials (in genetically susceptible individuals).

By staying on top of the latest relating to this intriguing spectrum of oral health, we feel we can help our patients stay healthier, overall, through helping them to be better involved in their day-to-day living. Knowing the ‘Why’ of an issue provides a deeper appreciation of the ‘What,’ we believe.

So, what can you do? First, reconsider your relationship with your regular dental checkups. Because of our commitment, we incorporate an extensive level of periodontal wellness into each 6-month dental exam and cleaning. These appointments are structured to give you a ‘clean slate’ of sorts twice a year so you can more-effectively maintain good oral health between visits.

Additionally, we’ll make recommendations to help you be proactive when it comes to keeping healthy teeth and gums. We will make specific recommendations for ways to help you be thorough in brushing, flossing, preventing ‘dry mouth,’ reducing plaque buildup, and keeping oral bacteria levels in check.

If we note signs of early periodontal disease, we’ll also make treatment recommendations to help resolve the problem while treatment needs (and costs) can be minimal. Because gum disease begins silently (like most diseases that form in our bodies), some patients are surprised to learn their gums are infected. For this reason, it is beneficial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of gum disease so you can respond promptly should they emerge.

These include gums that may become tender or swollen in certain areas. The gums may ‘ache’ like there is a toothache in the area. You may notice blood in the sink when brushing your teeth. The gums may also pull away from some teeth or appear deeper in color versus the healthy pink they should be. Your breath may seem bad more often as well.

While these problems may indicate gum disease, some can be easily ignored, unfortunately. This merely enables the disease to progress further. For example, some people assume that seeing blood in the sink when brushing means they are doing a good job. Healthy gums do not bleed easily and unless you’re scrubbing too vigorously or using an abrasive substance (such as baking powder), bleeding gums are anything but normal.

Another reason that Riverside Dental Arts is pleased to be affiliated with AAOSH is its commitment to truth. While certain media, online sources, biased research findings, and some professional organizations can cast doubts or alarm when it comes to communicating to the general public, the AAOSH takes a stance that is unbiased and thorough in its assessment so it can relay the true picture to its membership.

We will keep you informed of developments as they occur through our web site as well as during your visits to our office. In the meantime, you may find this video both easy-to-watch and informative. We felt it gives a brief, uncomplicated explanation of how your mouth relates to your general health. (www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=1IDXhLr0ULU)

Just know that our commitment to your well-being, head-to-toe and from the inside out, is important to Dr. Rich, Dr. Black and each member on the Riverside team!

Posted in Arthritis, Bad Breath, Bleeding Gums, cavities, Cavity repair, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Hygiene Cleanings & Check-Ups, Diabetes, dry mouth, Gentle Dentist, Gum Disease, headaches, Heart Disease, migraines, Oral Bacteria, Oral Cancer, Oral Health & Wellness, Sore, Systemic Inflammation, TMJ & Bite Realignment, tooth ache, Tooth Repair, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Could Poor Gum Health Trigger Health Challenges Beyond The Mouth?

The ‘Dreaded’ Root Canal – Far More Comfortable Today Than Its Reputation.

At Riverside Dental Arts, we tend to recoil when we hear the illustrative slant, “…as bad as a root canal,” since we know, using modern techniques, a root canal is far from its terrible reputation.

Of course, having any dental treatment that involves drilling into a tooth is something we all wish to avoid. However, when necessary, today’s root canals can save a natural tooth while being far more comfortable than the cringe-worthy procedure it has been labeled to be.

In most cases, the procedure for a root canal is similar to that performed for filling a tooth (cavity repair). Like a filling or a crown (cap), a root canal can help to save a tooth from tooth loss. The difference is a filling or crown repairs and protects the tooth structure above the gum line, whereas a root canal repairs and protects it in its root system — below the gums.

When is a root canal needed?

To understand the need for a root canal, let’s look at the tooth itself. Consider that each natural tooth is held by the jaw bone by a root or roots. These roots are like ‘legs’ that have a center portion with a narrow tunnel inside. These tunnels are what contains the nerves, blood vessels and other soft tissues of the tooth.

The contents of these tunnels are actually known as a tooth’s pulp chamber. The pulp helps nourish and hydrate the tooth, providing it with resiliency and strength. The pulp is also what involves natural teeth with other parts of the body.

For example, the pulp extends from the roots and into the jaw, which is fed by its blood vessels. This is one reason why the jaw bone shrinks in the absence of natural tooth roots.

The pulp also holds nerves that carry signals to the brain. For example, when you drink hot coffee or eat ice-cream, the pulp is what signals the tooth it has come in contact with these substances.

For several reasons, however, the pulp can become infected. This can be the result of a crack or fracture, cavity, or injury to the tooth. Symptoms typically include pain and swelling in the area.

A root canal is designed to save the tooth by removing the dead nerve tissue and infection that is occurring inside its root. Without resolving this infection, the tooth will most likely require removal.

Dr. Kenneth Black

In our office, Dr. Black performs most root canals. He brings a particular level of skills to the procedure to create optimal comfort and efficiency. He begins by administering

numbing medications with a gentle hand.

He begins by using a small drill to make an opening in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber. Using special tools, Dr. Black removes the infected nerve and cleans the canal inside the tooth.

He then dries and fills the chamber with a special material. To further protect the tooth, a crown is normally placed. Without the crown, reinfection is a possibility.

Why is saving a natural tooth so important?

Each tooth has a role and, as mentioned prior, it does not stand alone. A tooth interacts with other parts of your body while providing support to neighboring teeth. Saving a tooth helps to prevent future problems from occurring to other teeth and keeps the jaw bone that supports it at a healthy mass.

While a root canal is designed to avoid tooth removal, like any medical or dental procedure, there are no guarantees that it will be successful in all cases. While our success rate is excellent, rare circumstances can require tooth removal after all. For instance, a tooth root may have a crack in it, making it impossible to seal the canal and prevent reinfection. 

The good news is, if you find you need a root canal, you can rest assured that the procedure will be performed with optimal comfort and efficiency. As with all procedures at Riverside Dental Arts, we will use gentle, skilled, and compassionate hands.

New patients are always welcome. If you or someone you know is in need of regular dental care or has a specific need, please call 910-254-4555 to learn more. We also offer a free consultation to answer your questions and discuss how we may be the right dental office for you.

Posted in cavities, Crowns, Dental Care in Wilmington, Gentle Dentist, New patients, Oral Bacteria, Oral Health & Wellness, root canals, Sore, tooth ache, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on The ‘Dreaded’ Root Canal – Far More Comfortable Today Than Its Reputation.

Dental Implants – A Lifetime Value!

Like most, I grew up being taught the value of a hard-earned dollar, learning early that “money doesn’t grow on trees.” This is what prompts us to carefully weigh the long-term value of the purchases we make. Getting the most from our dollars begins with opting for what will give us the best outcome long-term.

As a dentist, providing our patients with the best value in smile options has always been my goal. This includes tooth replacement options. Over the years, I’ve seen how tooth loss is actually a debilitating problem for many people.

Think about it… losing teeth can lead to problems while eating. This is the result of bone shrinkage (known as ‘resorption’) that occurs when tooth roots are no longer present in the bone.

When dentures or partials are first made, they are shaped to ‘wrap’ existing contours in the mouth. However, bone loss flattens the foundation, changing the snug hold of dentures and partials. This can lead to uncomfortable rubbing on tender gum tissues, causing many people to chew food less or resort to softer foods with less fiber.

Feeling debilitated due to tooth loss doesn’t end with a compromised diet. Tooth loss can also create psychological problems for some people. One way this was brought to light was presented at a 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, held in conjunction with an annual meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research.

During the meeting, a research study was presented on findings that depression and anxiety are associated with tooth loss. In the study, researchers used data gathered in 2010 through The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Survey. This survey encompassed responses from over 451,000, of which more than 76,000 had experienced tooth loss.

Of those who were missing teeth, almost 17 percent reported depression and over 13 percent reported anxiety. Study participants were all over 19 years of age and there was an even representation of males and females. The sample also had a balance of ethnic groups, with approximately 68 percent whites, 13 percent blacks, 12 percent Hispanics, and 6 percent other.

Comparatively of all those surveyed, depression and anxiety were significantly different in tooth loss participants versus those without the condition. (Learn more about this survey at: International & American Associations for Dental Research. “Tooth loss linked to depression, anxiety.” ScienceDaily, 20 March 2014. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140320111903.htm

Because of the advantages to both physical and psychological well-being, many people are opting for dental implants over dentures and partials. Being so ‘ideal’ as far as a tooth replacement option, why don’t all individuals choose dental implants?

Because the fees for dental implants are all ‘up front,’ many people perceive them as a more expensive option. Although implants may seem, initially, more costly than dentures or partials, they are actually a far better investment for a number of reasons.

1). After a dental implant is placed and the final teeth attached, your investment is intended to last your lifetime. And, dental implants have one of the highest of all implant-in-bone success rates — up to 98 percent by some estimates.

2). Because Dental implants are constructed from a material that biologically bonds with living bone (known as titanium), they are not rejected by the body. This means that once the implant is placed in the jaw bone, it can be depended on to serve as a stable tooth root replacement.

3). The teeth attached to implants do not experience cavities, need root canals, or cause problems for neighboring teeth. Although having all treatment costs upfront can make dental implants appear as a larger investment, dental implants are actually a savings when considering the future expenses to maintain other tooth replacement options.

4). Because dental implants are held in your bone, they recreate stimulation needed to help the jaw bones sustain mass. This halts the process of bone loss and its associated problems.

5). Without the process of bone loss, you are also able to avoid associated changes in facial appearance. These include deep wrinkles around the mouth, the formation of jowls, a pointed chin, and a mouth that appears to sink inward.

6). Since dental implants have the same, sturdy foundation that natural teeth enjoy, implants do not reply on neighboring teeth to support replacement teeth (as with crown-&-bridge combinations).

7). With dental implants, having the same foundation of natural teeth – the jaw bone – they are able to restore dependable biting and chewing. You can eat all the foods you love again and enjoy a healthy, satisfying diet.

Considering dental implants? Begin with a no-charge consultation by calling 910-254-4555. During this time, I’ll explain options that may be best for your needs and goals. If desired, our Financial Coordinator will also meet with you to discuss ways you can make easy monthly payments for implant treatment, often without a down payment and no interest charged.


Posted in Cavity repair, Cosmetic Dentures, Crown & Bridge, Dental Care in Wilmington, Dental Implants, Financial Plans, Full Dentures, Gentle Dentist, New patients, Oral Health & Wellness, Partials, Payment Plans, root canals, Tooth Loss, Tooth Repair, Tooth Replacement, Wilmington Dentist | Comments Off on Dental Implants – A Lifetime Value!

Statistics Show Men Not As Diligent When It Comes To Their Smile

Having good oral health has taken on new light over the past few decades, thanks to an enormous amount of research. In addition to avoiding cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease, a healthy mouth is now understood to be a necessary component of having good overall health.

Numerous research has shown that the infectious bacteria of gum disease can cause inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body. This is because the bacteria of periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Gum disease has been linked to diseases or medical conditions such as some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency.

That in itself should motivate people to be highly-committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home combined with twice-a-year dental checkups and cleanings. Yet, when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile, men, especially, are falling short.

Research findings published by the Journal of Periodontology showed that women are nearly twice as likely to see their dentist for dental check-ups than men and are more likely to follow through on recommended treatment. Women in the study were also shown to have better gum health with less dental plaque, calculus, and bleeding. (www.perio.org/consumer/gender-differences)

When it comes to flossing, neither gender was shown to be a winner. Over half of adults in the U.S. (of both sexes) need to get into the habit when it comes to flossing each day. Of those surveyed, only 49 percent reported that they were daily flossers. Even more alarming, 1 out of 3 of those surveyed deemed it normal to see blood in the sink when brushing teeth and were unaware of this being a sign of periodontal disease.

Although the benefits of a healthy smile are often unknown or deemed low-priority, Americans seem to be more tuned-in when it comes to the appearance of a smile, which is a fairly high-ranking factor in how we deem the attractiveness in an individual. A national survey reported by the American Dental Association (ADA) revealed that a smile outranks eyes, hair and body as the most attractive physical feature. (www.dentistryiq.com/articles/de/2009/02/survey-finds-smile-is-most-attractive-physical-feature.html)

However, the survey also showed the differences between men and women when it comes to the care of their teeth and gums. The survey estimates that 86 percent of females brush their teeth twice or more a day while only 66 percent of males do so.

Guys! You can do better! Your oral health is an important part of having good overall health, and that applies to both sexes. It is important to have dental check-ups every six months as well as being committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home.

Your at-home care routine should include brushing at least twice a day for at least two minutes per time. Use a soft to medium tooth brush and avoid scrubbing in a back-&-forth motion. (This can cause damage to tooth enamel and wear away gum tissues.) Hint: if your tooth brush bristles splay out after a month or so, you’re pressing down too hard.

It is also important to floss daily. This removes food particles caught between teeth that a tooth brush can’t dislodge. If flossing is too awkward, purchase a water flosser. These are affordable and are proven to be equally as effective as flossing manually. For people with large hands or manual dexterity issues, they are also easy to use.

The tips above will help you avoid oral problems, such as gum disease and cavities. This means you’ll also be able to avoid or minimize costs for treatment and time in a dental chair. However, the advantages to your overall health – as research has shown – are priceless.

Could you be better at maintaining your oral health? Let’s create a clean slate by helping you achieve a healthy mouth. Call 910-254-4555 to begin with a no-charge consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss ways to create a healthy smile that supports good overall health.

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