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    5 Things Your Teeth & Gums Are Telling You About Your Overall Health

    Shhh. Do you hear that? Your teeth and gums may be telling you something—and if you know what to look for, your oral health could give you some important clues about the state of your overall well-being.

    Here are some ways to recognize certain conditions so you can seek care before it becomes a serious problem.

    1. Dry Mouth

    Has cotton mouth made it difficult to carry on a conversation? Do you feel like you can’t get enough water to satiate your thirst? There can be many contributing factors, including dehydration, allergies, or starting a new medication. However, in some cases dry mouth can also be an indicator of certain diseases like diabetes or Sjogren’s syndrome.

    Should I be worried?

    Dry mouth isn’t always a sign of more serious conditions, so try not to assume the worst if you’ve started noticing your mouth is dryer than normal. Other signs that something more is going on include excessive thirst, tingling of the extremities, frequent urination, weight loss, and blurred vision.

    Whether you have additional symptoms or not, alert your dentist or primary care physician that something is out of the norm so you can get help and rule out more serious conditions.

    2. Chronic Mouth Sores

    From biting your cheek to the annoyance of a canker sore, mouth sores happen from time to time. But if they keep coming back or don’t heal after a few weeks, you’ll need to see a professional. Chronic mouth sores can sometimes be a symptom of other health concerns such as oral cancer.

    Should I be worried?

    If the sore is not pink in color, doesn’t go away after a few weeks, or is continually returning, book an appointment with your dentist right away. This is particularly important for tobacco users and anyone over the age of 60, as they are more susceptible to oral cancers.

    3. Flat Teeth

    If you have flat molars accompanied by headaches or jaw pains you can’t explain, your mouth may be busy while you’re sleeping—and nighttime teeth grinding can lead to a number of problems down the road.

    Should I be worried?

    If you wake up with an achy jaw, experience regular headaches, or have pain that radiates from the mouth and head downward, it may be time to see a professional to get fitted for a mouth guard. This will protect your teeth from common side effects, such as enamel chipping and flattening of the top of the teeth. Teeth grinding can be a sign of underlying stress, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, talking to a therapist or counselor could also help.

    4. Cracking or Crumbling of Teeth

    As we age, our enamel begins to thin and we’re more vulnerable to breaking and cracking of teeth. However, sometimes tooth erosion can result from other conditions, and early detection can help keep you healthy for longer.

    Should I be worried?

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux, can lead to tooth damage from stomach acid. If you experience dry mouth, heartburn, or cracking and chipping of teeth, it could be the result of this common condition. This disease is usually very treatable with the right medication, so be sure to ask your physician about your options before your teeth suffer more damage.

    5. Plaque or Gum Inflammation

    Plaque is nearly impossible to avoid entirely, but it’s important to keep it from building up—that’s why it’s recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Uncontrolled plaque can lead to gum disease, or even heart attack or stroke.

    Should I be worried?

    Research shows that inflammation of the gums is a major factor in predicting the development of heart disease. When bacteria from the mouth caused by gum disease loosens and enters the bloodstream, it can lead to clot formation, increasing the risk of heart attack and/or stroke. If you have a heart condition, it is very important to have your dentist routinely examine your mouth for infection and to practice good oral health habits.

    Have an oral health concern? Talk to your dentist.

    If you’re experiencing one of the aforementioned conditions, try not to panic! Self-diagnosis or seeking medical advice from Dr. Google may only convince you of the worse and cause you to miss the true cause of your issue.

    Instead, see your dentist; they see people with mouth conditions on a regular basis and can help guide you to the right treatment or doctor.

    We also encourage all patients to get to know their “default” and be aware of anything abnormal that occurs—at which point your doctor or dentist can make recommendations for how best to keep you happy and healthy.

    Ready to schedule your next cleaning and checkup? Atlanta dentist Dr. Gurley is accepting new patients, and he would love to help you keep an eye on your health from teeth to toes. Contact us today.

    Best DIY Teeth Whitening Tip: Don’t Do It! Here’s Why

    Picture this: You’ve just received an invitation to your 20-year college reunion, or maybe you accepted a proposal from Mr. or Ms. Right. Whatever the reason, you want a smile that dazzles, and you should have it. You just shouldn’t do it alone.

    Unfortunately, getting the smile of your dreams requires more than just a quick fix, no matter what your favorite beauty blogger says—and we recommend focusing your DIY dreams on refinishing that antique mirror or building a new house for Fido.

    Is teeth whitening dangerous?

    In the hands of a pro, teeth whitening is a safe option for giving your smile a little extra sparkle. Unfortunately, most DIY solutions are ineffective and potentially harmful.

    The following are some common tips you’ll find out there on how to whiten teeth at home—and why our Atlanta teeth whitening team says you could get into trouble if you give them a try.

    Claim: Baking soda is a great way to whiten your teeth


    Do I Need to Floss or Not? Cosmetic Dentist Weighs in on Flossing Controversy

    Last year, the benefits of flossing were called into question by an Associated Press report—and many in the media and general public alike were all too happy to latch onto the idea that flossing isn’t necessary for a healthy mouth (we could practically hear the cheers).

    As dental professionals, we were naturally interested to read this report and have fielded many questions from our patients since it first made headlines: Does flossing work? Should I stop flossing? Have you been making me do this all these years for no reason?


    How 3D Imaging Can Make Your Dental Implant Procedure & Recovery More Comfortable

    It’s a fact even we at North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry can’t deny: most people don’t like going to the dentist. Fear of numbing injections or pain fills some people with dread—particularly those who need to more significant work done, like dental implants.

    But did you know that dental implantation has come a long way over the past few years? Thanks to improved techniques and technological advancements, Dr. Gurley is able to provide patients with a quicker, more comfortable experience during and after surgery.

    4 Spring Activities in Alpharetta Sure to Make You Smile

    We don’t want to jinx anything, but we think it’s safe to say that spring has sprung—and with it comes beautiful weather, the wonderful smells of blooming flowers, and plenty of great things to do in Alpharetta.

    If you’re looking for the perfect family event over spring break or are hoping to get out and enjoy all Alpharetta has to offer, read on! We’ve compiled some of our very favorites to share with you.


    Flossing Tips for Healthier Gums

    Flossing your teeth is a vital and important part of a good health routine. However, when it comes to flossing technique, there are a few flossing tips and tricks you can use to create the healthiest smile possible. Food and bacteria can get stuck between teeth and under the gum line, creating a build-up called plaque.

    If this plaque is not removed, it becomes hard and calcified turning into something called tartar. Tartar is harmful because it irritates and erodes gum tissue leading to gingivitis, cavities and eventually periodontal disease. Studies have also shown that gum disease and decay can lead to more serious medical problems like heart disease, infection and stroke!

    Your oral health is the top priority of Dr. Gurley and our team at North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry. We also believe in helping our patients maintain their dental care both in the office and at home, which is why we’ve provided these tips for flossing correctly below. If you’re ready for your next routine cleaning, make sure to schedule your appointment with our office, otherwise read on to learn the best ways to floss your teeth.

    Flossing Tips: How to Correctly Floss Your Teeth

    Flossing seems pretty straightforward, but there are certain tips and tricks you can use to make sure you’re really getting the most benefit from your daily routine. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day, and we agree. Read the flossing tips below to make sure you’re flossing correctly, but your dentist will be happy to show you as well during your next appointment if you still have questions.

    1. Use about 18 inches of floss wrapped about your two middle fingers. Use your pointer finger and thumb to maneuver the floss between your teeth.

    2. Make sure avoid snapping or sliding the floss straight down between teeth as this can damage delicate gum tissue. Instead, gently glide the floss back and forth between teeth as you make your way down toward and under the gum line.

    3. To come out between teeth, use the same back and forth gliding motion up and away from the gum line and then move to the next tooth.

    Some of the main mistakes people make when flossing is that they use aggressive or abrasive techniques which can actually lead to inflammation, irritation and bleeding. If you experience bleeding or pain when flossing, try using a gentler approach. If it persists, we recommend making an appointment to see your dentist as it may be indicating a deeper issue such as infection or tartar build-up.

    Professional Cleanings Supplement a Regular Flossing Routine

    While regular brushing and flossing are necessary for good dental hygiene, professional cleanings and checkups make sure your teeth stay healthy in places you may not be able to reach at home. We recommend scheduling an exam and cleaning at least every 6 months to keep plaque and tartar to a minimum.

    If you’re ready for your next cleaning, or suspect that your teeth and gums could use some TLC, don’t hesitate to call North Atlanta Aesthetic Dental at 770-664-1244 or click here for more information. We look forward to caring for your dental health!

    Dental Hygiene Tips With Braces

    Braces are the best way to straighten teeth, correct bite imbalances and get the perfect smile you’ve always dreamed of, but they also make it difficult to keep your pearly whites pearly! Food and plaque can build up between teeth and adhere to brackets, so regular brushing, flossing and cleaning are imperative to keeping teeth healthy during treatment.

    At North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry, we seek to make oral hygiene as easy and painless for our patients as possible, which is why we’ve come up with several tips to help keep your teeth in tip-top shape during your orthodontic treatment. Read below for our top dental hygiene tips with braces!

    5 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Clean with Braces

    • Brush regularly: During treatment, it can be hard to remove food and plaque between teeth and brackets. In order to avoid build up, try to brush your teeth after every meal, particularly after you’ve eaten sticky or sugary foods. Brushing at a 45-degree angle will also help get below and above brackets and dislodge any food that may have gotten stuck. If you can’t brush immediately, you can also swish your mouth with water to manually remove food.
    • Floss Daily: Flossing your teeth at least once a day during treatment will ensure that hard-to-reach plaque doesn’t turn into harmful tartar. When plaque builds and hardens it leads to tooth decay and periodontal disease. In order to keep gums and teeth healthy, floss in between brackets and wires carefully. We recommend carrying floss or floss picks with you to help remove food after eating!
    • Eat Carefully: Certain foods can be especially difficult to clean out of brackets and wires and we suggest avoiding them during your treatment to maintain the health of your teeth. Foods that tend to be problematic include: popcorn, nuts, sticky and hard candy, chewing gum and starchy foods like bread, pizza and chips. If you do eat these foods, chew carefully and brush immediately after your meal.
    • Utilize mouthwash: food particles can still be missed when brushing and flossing, so rinsing with mouthwash is a good way to kill harmful bacteria and avoid cavities. If you can’t brush after a meal, mouthwash is a good alternative until you can get to a bathroom.
    • Schedule regular cleanings: Lastly, make sure to schedule regular visits to see your dentist for professional cleanings. The tools your dentist uses during your cleaning are made for reaching plaque, tartar and bacteria that your at-home toothbrush may miss. Your dentist will also inform you if any further steps are needed to maintain good oral health.

    Is It Time for Your Next Cleaning?

    At North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry, keeping your teeth healthy and clean is our top priority and we’re happy to help you properly care for your teeth during your orthodontic treatment.

    Your dentist will also answer any questions you may have about brushing or flossing your teeth. If you’re ready for a professional dental cleaning, you can schedule your appointment by calling our office at 770-664-1244 or contact us here for more information.

    Dental Hygiene Tips for the Holidays

    With November upon us, the holidays are looming on the horizon. And as we all know, the holidays mean lots of sweet treats. Whether it’s a cozy hot cocoa, some homemade holiday cookies, or that delicious pie and ice cream at the end of a Thanksgiving feast, there’s a lot of sugar coming your way in the next two months. That said, the influx of sugar doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your oral health!

    At North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry, we strive not only to provide high-quality dental care to those around Alpharetta, GA, but also to provide the information necessary to maintain sound oral health on your own. As the holidays near, we wanted to share some of our favorite hygiene tips for the holidays. If you’re interested in any of our dental services, don’t hesitate to contact us today! Otherwise, keep reading to hear our dental hygiene tips!

    Dental Hygiene Tips for the Holidays!

    • Meet With Your Dentist: While the holidays are certainly busy, it’s a great time to visit your dentist. A professional cleaning right at the end of the holiday season is a great way to ensure that your teeth have survived the holiday sweets!
    • Brush Your Teeth Right After Dessert: When you have a sugary dessert, find some time to sneak away from the family and brush your teeth! If not, sugar can promote bacteria and tooth decay, both of which can be very harmful to your oral health.
    • Swap Out the Sweetest Desserts With Fresh Fruit: While we’re not condoning you do away with your favorite desserts, it’s never a bad idea to substitute one or two desserts for some fresh fruit! Peaches and yogurt, for example, makes for a delicious dessert after a big meal.
    • Enjoy Responsibly!: While the holidays should rightfully be a time to let loose a little and enjoy your favorite sweets and treats, it shouldn’t mean your oral health has to suffer for it. Enjoy yourself, but don’t totally neglect your teeth in the meantime!

    Professional Checkups and Cleanings With North Atlanta!

    It’s recommended that you visit your dentist for a checkup or cleaning at least every 6 months. Finding time around the holiday season is certainly tricky, but it’s well worth it! Give us a call at 770-664-1244 to schedule a consultation today! Or, contact us here.

    TMJ Treatments

    Estimates suggest that around 10 million Americans suffer from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ). While the disorder is inherently complicated, there are a number of treatments available to help remedy its effects. In fact, there are a variety of both at-home treatments, as well as more technical in-office treatments that can help treat TMJ. As such, we wanted to spend some time highlighting some of the best treatments available for this difficult disorder!

    North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry is proud to provide TMJ treatment for those around Alpharetta, Georgia. Dr. Gurley and his experienced team have a number of TMJ treatments that can help improve the potentially detrimental symptoms, and improve your quality of life. Call our dental office today! Or, keep reading to learn more about TMJ treatments!

    What is TMJ?

    TMJ (or TMD) is a disorder that affects the temporomandibular joint. It can arise from a variety of causes, including:

    • Teeth Grinding
    • Jaw Trauma
    • Overuse
    • Misalignment in the Teeth
    • Arthritis

    Symptoms tend to include fatigue in the facial muscles, pain in the neck or shoulders, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw, issues with your ears, and in some cases headaches. Any number of these symptoms can bring detriment to your daily life, making it difficult to go about the simplest daily tasks like chewing food. But those with TMD should feel fortunate that there are also a wide variety of treatments available to ease the aforementioned symptoms.

    TMJ Treatments

    At-home TMD treatments can be a great option for those with minor forms of the disorder. One of the best ways to treat minor TMJ is to minimize overuse of the joint. Eating soft foods can help. Regular warm compresses, with a hot towel, can also helpful. Further, you should massage the joint frequently to keep it loose and relaxed.

    When TMJ symptoms don’t resolve with at-home remedies, it’s time to seek professional services. These services can include prescription medications, sleep appliances, or botox therapy. These treatments will provide the best chances for bringing your temporomandibular joint back to full functionality!

    TMJ Treatment With North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry!

    If you’re experiencing TMJ, it’s recommended you visit your dentist! You can call us at 770-664-1244. You can also contact us here.

    Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

    While dentists are known for professional cleanings, teeth whitening, and cosmetic dentistry services, another common service is oral cancer screenings. Oral cancer is dangerous and can be avoided by abstaining from tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption, however, there are a number of causes of oral cancer you should be familiar with.

    At North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry, we perform oral cancer screenings for every one of our clients during their checkups. This makes visiting your dentist often even more important, as treating oral cancer is more difficult as it progresses.

    Before you contact our Alpharetta dental office, let our knowledgeable dental staff fill you in on the importance of oral cancer screenings.

    Common Causes of Oral Cancer

    As with most forms of cancer, one of the leading causes for oral cancer is tobacco use. In fact, it has been estimated that nearly 75% or all oral cancer cases are associated with tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes or cigars causes the mucous membranes to become irritated, which can lead to oral cancer.

    However, smokeless tobacco, like chew or snuff, also presents dangers as the tobacco comes in direct contact with the mucous membranes. When tobacco use is combined with heavy alcohol consumption, the risk for oral cancer increases even further.

    Another common cause of oral cancer these days is from HPV16. Unfortunately, HPV16 is becoming more prevalent as a cause of oral cancer. It is important to get vaccinated early on to avoid the risks that accompany HPV.

    Dangers of Oral Cancer

    As with the case of any form of cancer, loss of life is incredibly concerning. Oral cancer has a five-year survival rate of around 60%. While this is better than most forms of cancer, it is still extremely high. This makes avoiding the potential causes of oral cancer imperative.

    Luckily, there are ways to help prevent oral cancer from developing. Obviously, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption can go a long way in preventing oral cancer from developing. You can also conduct a self-exam once a month. If there are any abnormalities, like enlarged lymph nodes, that don’t heal on their own within 14 days, you should visit Dr. Gurley as soon as possible.

    If cancer is found during your oral cancer screening, treatment will be necessary. The cancerous growth is often removed, followed by radiation to ensure any remaining cancerous cells are destroyed.

    Oral Cancer Screenings in Atlanta, Georgia

    If you haven’t had an oral cancer screening, don’t worry. When you visit North Atlanta Aesthetic Dentistry, Dr. Gurley does for every patient during checkups. If you are in need of a routine dental checkup, or any of our dental services, you can contact us by calling us at 770.664.1244 to schedule an appointment today.

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