My Blog

Posts for: December, 2020

By Garner Family Dentistry
December 28, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

How cosmetic dentistry from your dentist in Mount Pleasant SC can improve your smile.

It’s only natural to think that you are stuck with the smile nature gave you. The truth is, you can change just about anything that bothers you about your smile, thanks to cosmetic dentistry!

Dr. Cynthia L. Garner at Garner Family Dentistry in Mount Pleasant, SC offers a wide variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures. The only question is, which procedure is right for you?

If you don’t like the way your smile has grown dull, yellow, or stained, consider a professional teeth whitening treatment. You can whiten your teeth up to a dazzling 8 shades, and your results can last up to 5 years! That’s better than any over-the-counter whitening treatment. Professional teeth whitening is safe too because all materials and methods have been rigorously tested and approved by the American Dental Association.

If you are upset by the cracks, chips, or tooth wear on your teeth, consider a cosmetic bonding treatment. Bonding uses a material called composite, which can be matched closely to the color of your teeth. After your bonding treatment is complete, your smile will appear whole again, free of minor damage.

If you want to make a dramatic change in your smile, porcelain veneers might be the right procedure for you. Veneers are thin laminates of sparkling, stain-resistant porcelain that are cemented onto the front surfaces of your teeth. Veneers can hide both minor and major issues like cracks, fracture lines, areas of lost tooth structure, discolorations, and other defects. In some cases, veneers can be used to camouflage alignment issues like rotated or crowded teeth, overlapping teeth, or gaps between teeth.

These are just a few of the many cosmetic dentistry procedures available to improve your smile. To find out more about how cosmetic dentistry can help your smile, call Dr. Cynthia L. Garner of Garner Family Dentistry in Mount Pleasant, SC at (843) 884-6002. Call now!

By Garner Family Dentistry
December 28, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

Remembered fondly by fans as the wacky but loveable Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribeiro is currently in his fifth year hosting America's Funniest Videos. It's the perfect gig for the 48-year-old actor, who loves to laugh and make others laugh as well. This is quite the opposite experience from one he had a few years ago that he remembers all too well: a severely decayed tooth.

After seeing his dentist for an intense toothache, Ribeiro learned he had advanced tooth decay and would need root canal treatment. Ribeiro wasn't thrilled by the news. Like many of us, he thought the procedure would be unpleasant. But he found afterward that not only was the root canal painless, his toothache had vanished.

More importantly, the root canal treatment saved his tooth, as it has for millions of others over the last century. If you're facing a situation similar to Alfonso Ribeiro's, here's a quick look at the procedure that could rescue your endangered tooth.

Getting ready. In preparation for root canal therapy, the tooth and surrounding gums are numbed, often first with a swab of local anesthesia to deaden the surface area in preparation for the injection of the main anesthesia below the surface. A dental dam is then placed to isolate the infected tooth from its neighbors to prevent cross-contamination.

Accessing the interior. To get to the infection, a small access hole is drilled. The location depends on the tooth: in larger back teeth, a hole is drilled through the biting surface, and in front teeth, a hole is drilled on the backside. This access allows us to insert special tools to accomplish the next steps in the procedure.

Cleaning, shaping and filling. Small tools are used to remove the diseased tissue from the interior tooth pulp and root canals. Then the empty spaces are disinfected. This, in effect, stops the infection. Next, the root canals inside the tooth are shaped to allow them to better accept a special filling called gutta percha. The access hole is then sealed to further protect the tooth from future infection, and a temporary crown is placed.

A new crown to boot. Within a couple weeks, we'll cap the tooth with a long-lasting lifelike crown (or a filling on certain teeth). This adds further protection for the tooth against infection, helps strengthen the tooth's structure, and restores the tooth's appearance.

Without this procedure, the chances of a tooth surviving this level of advanced decay are very slim. But undergoing a root canal, as Alfonso Ribeiro did, can give your tooth a real fighting chance.

If you would like more information about root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will It Last?

By Garner Family Dentistry
December 18, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   nutrition  

Although energy drinks are but a blip on the historical timeline compared to coffee or tea, they've displaced these traditional stimulants among nearly half of today's adolescents and young adults. But these sweetened “processed” drinks are also controversial among healthcare experts—particularly the effect they may have on dental health.

Besides the added sugar found in many energy drinks—a prime food source for harmful bacteria—many energy drinks and their cousins sports drinks contain significant amounts of acid. High levels of acid soften and erode tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay.

During one experimental study, portions of tooth enamel were subjected to a number of name-brand energy and sports beverages. Over the course of a few days, researchers recorded significant enamel loss, especially involving the energy drink samples.

Abstaining from both energy and sports drinks is a sound way to avoid enamel erosion (the best hydrator, it turns out, is simply water). But if you do wish to continue consuming these beverages, here are a few common sense precautions for reduce the risk of harm to your teeth.

Partake only at mealtimes. Among its many abilities, saliva is able to neutralize oral acid and bring the mouth to a neutral pH level within 30 minutes to an hour. But if you're sipping on high-acid beverages throughout the day, your saliva may not be able to compensate effectively. Drinking energy drinks only during a meal helps saliva do its acid-buffering job better.

Rinse with water afterwards. Rinsing with a little water after eating or drinking something acidic can help reduce the pH levels in the mouth. That's because water is by and large neutral on the acidic/alkaline scale. Because it's not adding more, rinsing with water dilutes any concentrations of acid that may still be lingering in your mouth.

Don't brush immediately. Brushing is essential to overall hygiene, but if you do it right after you eat or drink, you could be doing more harm than good. That's because elevated acid levels that naturally occur after consuming foods and beverages can temporarily soften and demineralize the surface enamel. Brushing could remove microscopic bits of softened enamel. If you wait an hour to brush, you'll be giving saliva time to “re-mineralize” your enamel.

If you would like more information on the role of beverage acid in dental disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Think Before Your Drink.”

By Garner Family Dentistry
December 10, 2020
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry

Everyone wants to have a bright smile, but your pearly whites can lose some of their brightness if you drink tea and coffee, you smoke, or as you grow older. Professional teeth whitening is a quick and easy way to restore your white smile and the results will last. Dr. Cynthia L. Garner is a dentist at Garner Family Dentistry in Mount Pleasant, SC. She offers in-chair teeth whitening.

Professional Teeth Whitening Vs. At-home Whitening

Mount Pleasant dental patients have found that having their teeth whitened at Garner Family Dentistry is much better than using an over-the-counter whitening kit because:

  • Quicker results: Professional whitening can be done in an hour or less. DIY kits can take several weeks to achieve the desired results.
  • Better results: In most cases, in-chair whitening can lighten your teeth by up to eight shades. Because home kits use weaker bleaching agents, they can only whiten your teeth 1-2 shades.
  • More even results: Often, DIY kits don’t whiten the teeth evenly and some stains may be left behind. Dr. Garner is there to ensure that this does not happen with professional whitening.
  • Lasting results: Once you have had professional whitening, the results can last for over a year. After that time, you can have a top-up treatment every six months or so to maintain your bright smile.
  • No damage to gums: Because Dr. Garner has had specialist training in professional teeth whitening, she knows how to protect your gums and mouth tissue from the bleaching agents used to whiten teeth. This means that you will not have any discomfort during the procedure, and you will not suffer from gum or tooth sensitivity after the procedure. There is a risk of both of these problems with DIY whitening kits.

If you live in Mount Pleasant and you would like to find out more about professional teeth whitening call Dr. Garner at (843) 884-6002 to schedule a consultation.

By Garner Family Dentistry
December 08, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implant  

Although they can be expensive upfront, dental implants often prove to be a wise investment in the long-term. With a success rate that outperforms other teeth replacement restorations, dental implants could be the answer to a more attractive smile that could last for decades.

But while their success rate is high (95% still functioning after ten years), they can and do occasionally fail. Of those that do, two-thirds happen in patients who smoke.

This unfortunate situation stems from smoking's overall effect on dental health. The nicotine in tobacco constricts oral blood vessels, inhibiting the flow of nutrients and antibodies to the teeth and gums. Inhaled smoke can scald the inside skin of the mouth, thickening its surface layers and damaging salivary glands leading to dry mouth.

These and other effects increase the risk for tooth decay or gum disease, which in turn makes it more likely that a smoker will lose teeth than a non-smoker and require a restoration like dental implants. And blood flow restriction caused by nicotine in turn can complicate the implant process.

Long-term implant durability depends on bone growth around the imbedded implant in the ensuing weeks after implant surgery. Because of their affinity with the titanium used in implants, bone cells readily grow and adhere to the implant. This integration process anchors the implant securely in place. But because of restricted blood flow, the healing process involved in bone integration can be impaired in smokers. Less integration may result in less stability for the implant and its long-term durability.

To increase your chances of a successful implant installation, you should consider quitting smoking and other tobacco products altogether before implant surgery. If that's too difficult, then cease from smoking for at least one week before surgery and two weeks after to better your odds of implant success. And be as meticulous as possible with daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental visits, to reduce your risk of disease.

There are many good reasons to quit smoking. If nothing else, do it to improve your dental health.

If you would like more information on tobacco use and dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants & Smoking.”