Archive for the ‘Toothfully Speaking’ Category

Georgia Mission of Mercy

June 15, 2013  |   Toothfully Speaking   |     |   Comments Off on Georgia Mission of Mercy

On June 14th, 2013 I participated in the 2nd Georgia Mission of Mercy held in Norcross, Georgia. This was the 2nd event held in Georgia and the 2nd such event in which I served. The Mission of Mercy provides dental care for the needy on a first-come, first-serve basis. This ministry was started in Virginia and has now been expanded to several states. Over a two day period, approximately 1,500 volunteers treated 2,000 patients, providing fillings, cleanings, extractions, root canals, and dentures.  Many people lined up overnight to be sure to receive care.   I signed up to serve in the oral surgery department, removing severely infected and damaged teeth for patients in pain.  I was fortunate to have two first year GRU dental students assisting me.  Marielle Youmans and Stuart Beauchamp aided in setting up the supplies and seating patients, but also had the opportunity to remove  multiple teeth under my supervision.  They were hard working and enthusiastic, and learned quickly.  The patients loved them, and by the end of their 12 hour day, they were doing all the work while I got the hugs.  Shown below are Marielle, Stuart, ...

Replacing a Tooth

July 05, 2011  |   Toothfully Speaking   |     |   Comments Off on Replacing a Tooth

Dentists always try to save teeth, but not all teeth can be salvaged. Sometimes major decay, fracture, gum disease, or nerve damage can doom a tooth to removal. How can you replace a lost tooth? Dentists have many ways to give you a tooth back. If many teeth have been lost, a partial or removable denture can be made to fill in spaces. For a single tooth, your dentist can do a bridge, where crowns on either side of the space suspend a false tooth between them. Another option is an implant, which is a metal cylinder surgically placed into the bone of the extraction socket. After a few months of healing, a crown can be attached to the implant and will function just like the original tooth. Although a more expensive treatment, an implant does not involve grinding down nearby teeth. If you have lost a tooth and want it replaced, ask your dentist to discuss your options and give his best recommendation. Dr. Bruce Holes 706-678-4300

Vacation Emergencies

July 05, 2011  |   Toothfully Speaking   |     |   Comments Off on Vacation Emergencies

Murphy’s Law, when applied to dentistry, is that if something is going to go wrong, it will happen on vacation or over the holidays.  What can you do with a dental emergency when you are far from home? The first thing is not to panic.  Often, dental emergencies can wait until you get home.  Broken cusps or a lost filling usually can go a week or so without treatment.  They may feel sharp to your tongue or sensitive to cold, but they rarely develop into a toothache.  Pharmacies also sell temporary materials that can be mixed and placed in the opening to protect the area for a short time.  A lost crown can be left off and stored in a safe place until you return without risk of damage to the underlying tooth.  A tooth that is loose, causes swelling, or gives throbbing pain, however, does need immediate care, either with a prescription from your dentist by phone, or temporary care by a dentist in the area. The best way to prevent this problem is to keep up with your six or three month cleanings and check-ups. An ounce of prevention can go a long way toward avoiding a ruined vacation. Dr. Bruce ...

Dental Pain

February 25, 2011  |   Toothfully Speaking   |     |   Comments Off on Dental Pain

Tooth or gum pain is often the reason I see a patient for the first time.  There are nerves in both the tooth (called the Pulp) and in the bone and gingiva, which act as a warning system that something is broken or infected.  Unfortunately, it is not an “early” warning, and “waiting until it hurts” for dental care is a costly way to care for your mouth. Typically, pain in a tooth comes only when bacteria have reached and are killing the pulp.  Pain in the bone or gums often develops only after significant damage has occurred.  That is why dentist do thorough exams, x-rays , and periodontal evaluations to catch these problems before they reach this level. Diagnosing problems before pain develops often allows us to do a simple restoration rather than a root canal or even an extraction.  Our goal is to find and correct problems early, saving you money and unnecessary pain. Dr. Bruce Holes 706-678-4300

Gum Disease

February 22, 2011  |   Toothfully Speaking   |     |   Comments Off on Gum Disease

If you ask most people what a dentist does, they would typically say that a dentist treats cavities in teeth.  Dentists also diagnose and treat another problem that is almost as common- gum disease. Periodontitis, the official term for gum disease, is an infection of the gingiva that causes a breakdown and loss of the bone supporting the teeth.  It is caused by different bacteria than the germ the causes cavities.  Your risk for gum disease is much higher if you smoke, have diabetes, or have a family history of gum disease. Prevention of gum disease depends on regular cleanings and diligent home care, including flossing.  Treatment of bone loss depends on how early the problem is diagnosed, so it is critical to see your dentist and hygienist regularly. Dr. Bruce Holes

Preventive Maintenance

February 22, 2011  |   Toothfully Speaking   |     |   Comments Off on Preventive Maintenance

During tough economic times, we all are faced with making difficult choices.  Few people have unlimited funds, so we all have to decide what we will do with our money.  Unfortunately, it is easy to ignore our health and postpone needed care when so many other things seem so urgent. There is a risk, however, of waiting too long and allowing a simple problem to become much more expensive.  A cavity ignored becomes a tooth that needs a root canal rather than a simple restoration.  A delayed cleaning can develop into gum disease that requires surgery.  A postponed crown becomes an extraction and a bridge.  In each of these cases, delay ends up costing you many times more than what you saved by waiting. A good mechanic can save you from expensive repairs with early intervention or even a simple oil change.  Likewise, your dentist can partner with you in maintaining your oral health and dealing with problems in timely manner. Dr. Bruce Holes 706-678-4300

Your Heart Health

February 22, 2011  |   Toothfully Speaking   |     |   Comments Off on Your Heart Health

Last year, a surprising link was discovered by researchers following patients with heart disease.  It was discovered that people with gum disease were more likely to develop heart disease than people who kept their gums healthy with regular cleanings and daily flossing. It turns out that bacterial infections in the mouth, left untreated, can travel through the blood stream and set up inflammation in blood vessel walls.  These areas can develop plaques which restrict blood to flow and set the stage for heart disease or stroke. Current research points to daily flossing and regular dental cleaning, when added to good habits (like exercises) and avoidance of bad habits (like smoking), is a formula for better heart health and a longer life. Dr. Bruce Holes 706-678-4300

New Year’s Resolutions

February 22, 2011  |   Toothfully Speaking   |     |   Comments Off on New Year’s Resolutions

The start of a new year is often a time for us to make a goal to improve ourselves.  We resolve to lose weight, exercise more, or save money.  I would encourage you to put your dental health on that list. It is so easy to put yourself at the end of the line.  Kids need clothes, cars need repairs, and taxes come due.  I often see parents who have provided every need and want for their kids, but have neglected their own needs year after year.  Why not declare this year to be the year you take care of yourself?  Let 2011 be the year you get the smile you’ve always wanted. Your dentist is anxious to work with you to develop a plan to give you a beautiful and comfortable smile.  Make a resolution this year to move yourself to the front of the line! Dr. Bruce Holes 706-678-4300