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Date: 5/26/2017 7:22 AM PDT

Thank you, Mehul Gadhia, for all of the photos, we had a great time at the South Charlotte Study Club 10th anniversary event with friends and colleagues!

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Date: 5/17/2017 6:41 AM PDT

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Dental tools like toothbrushes, floss, and other teeth cleaning gadgets make up a multi billion-dollar industry. There are so many different oral health care tools on the market that it can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to pick the best option for your mouth. Some are electronic, many are not, and it is often difficult to know which ones really are more effective in keeping your oral health in check.

Do electric toothbrushes really clean better than traditional ones? What can waterpiks do that normal floss can’t? To help make it easier, we have laid out the pros and cons of powered and traditional versions of two tools that you use twice daily to clean your teeth: the toothbrush and floss.

Electric toothbrushes

Pros: A huge advantage to the electric toothbrush is that it is generally more enticing and seems to be more fun to use. This is a great aspect for those who are reluctant to brush twice each day, and especially for children, as it can inspire enthusiasm to brush. This is a clear case where electric toothbrushes can be more effective than manual toothbrushes.

Electric toothbrushes can be a time saver and can do a more thorough cleaning job as they provide between 6,000 and 30,000 strokes per minute. This means that it can take less time to properly clean your teeth, however this doesn’t mean that quickly running the toothbrush over the teeth will be as effective as a manual toothbrush. Ensuring that every tooth is thoroughly cleaned is still as vitally crucial as ever.

For those who do not have the dexterity or grip needed to operate a manual toothbrush, an electric toothbrush is a great option as it is easy to hold and takes care of the rotating action for you.

Cons: Even cheap electric toothbrushes typically cost more than a manual toothbrush, and higher quality ones are significantly more. Along with the initial cost of the unit and its charging base, the heads should be replaced just as frequently as a manual toothbrush should be, and these can be pricey depending on the toothbrush model type.

The bulk of an electric toothbrush can be a huge con, especially for those who travel or highly value counter space in the bathroom. The toothbrush itself is about double the size of a manual toothbrush and it comes with a variably sized charging station that you’ll need to consider.

Some people find the vibrations created by the toothbrush to be aggravating, or even painful. Those with gum issues, loose teeth, or general sensitivity should seriously consider another brushing method, as controlling the pressure and vigor of an electric toothbrush can be very difficult.

If you’re considering purchasing an electric toothbrush, this is a great time to take the plunge. April is oral health month and 123Dentist offices are selling the Oral-B Genius, bundled with a Crest 3D Whitening kit, for just $99.

Manual Toothbrushes

Pros: The biggest pro to manual toothbrushes is that you have more control over the way that you brush your teeth. You can decide how fast and how hard to brush your teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. This results in a more comfortable cleaning for those who have sensitive areas in their mouth or who find the constant vibrations of electric toothbrushes to be aggravating.

Manual or traditional toothbrushes are a much more cost-effective option than their electric counterparts, costing well under $10. They do not take up much room either, making travel and storage very easy, especially since there are no additional parts.

There is very little that can go wrong with a manual toothbrush, as there are no batteries to charge or accessories needed. It is the simplest option with nothing to fiddle with like replacement heads or power buttons.

Cons: Manual toothbrushes rely on the user having excellent brushing technique in order to thoroughly clean teeth and the mouth. This is an issue for those who do not take the time to properly brush their teeth and who miss spots. This can also present problems for those who find handling a toothbrush to be difficult. In order to thoroughly clean the mouth, quite a bit of dexterity is needed and a manual brush may not be the best option for those who find this challenging. Also, people with motor difficulties, arthritis, or any other number of conditions may find manual toothbrushes to be more challenging than their electric brethren.

Manual brushes also may not have the same allure as an electric toothbrush, and this can result in a lackluster attitude towards brushing. For children, manual brushes do come in fun colors that feature cartoon characters. But for adults who prefer more high tech options, manual toothbrushes are the less enjoyable option. Where are the adult versions of the Batman or My Little Pony toothbrush, we ask!

Water Flossers

Pros: The main advantage to the water flosser, or the brand name it’s more commonly known by – the Waterpik® – is that it provides an alternative to those who choose not to floss. The device shoots out a stream of water that users can aim between teeth. This can help to remove food particles from between teeth which can otherwise lead to tooth decay or gingivitis if not removed.

It is a fine option for people who would otherwise do nothing to clean in between teeth, and for some can inject a sense of novelty and fun into the teeth cleaning process. We believe that any tool that makes users more enthusiastic about their own oral care is a good tool to use!

Water flossers may also be easier to operate for those who have a hard time using their hands or do not have the dexterity needed to use floss, providing a decent alternative to fiddly floss strings.

Cons: Unfortunately, they do not do as good of a job cleaning plaque off of teeth as traditional floss does. The stream of water that hits the teeth can pass over built up plaque and tartar and does not have the strength needed to clean deeply between teeth. In general, dentists do not consider water flossers to be a substitute to brushing and flossing but rather an additional step in the mouth cleaning process.

Water flossers can be quite expensive, too, easily costing anywhere from $20-$100. The initial purchase of a water pick can be costly, as well as any replacements needed should something not operate properly.

Floss

Pros: Traditional floss is still the most effective tool in scraping plaque and tartar from the sides of teeth and removing food particles from between them. Because it is flexible it can curve around teeth to clean all sides of each tooth, and it can be pulled taut to scrape off stubborn residue.

Traditional floss is the most cost effective dental tool on the market, costing less than five dollars per package, and you can monitor how much of it you want to use. It also comes in un-waxed or waxed versions with various flavors to make it easy to customize your flossing routine.

Because you operate floss with your own two hands and nothing else, you have total control over where the floss goes in your mouth and how much pressure is applied. This can be important for those with sensitive areas in their mouths or those who feel more comfortable with more control over their oral cleaning.

Cons: The biggest issue with traditional floss is that some find it difficult to handle as it does require a certain level of dexterity. However, there are options such as tools, which provide a handle at the end of a pre-threaded piece of floss. This can be an easier and quicker option for those who do not want to fiddle with strings wound around their fingers.

Unfortunately, many people see flossing as a tedious task and this highlights another issue with traditional floss: it does not have the allure of a more high tech option. Because of this, and surely other reasons, many do not bother to floss at all, in which case traditional floss is completely ineffective. As with all dental tools, in order to be effective, they have to be used.

In the end, the most effective tools for cleaning your teeth are the ones that you will actually use.

If technology excites you and makes the idea of cleaning your teeth twice daily more enjoyable, pick something more high tech. If you are more of a traditionalist, or have a health condition that complicates hand movements, it only makes sense to choose the tool that you are most comfortable with. For more information, ask your dentist about which dental tools are best for you.

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Date: 4/26/2017 11:16 AM PDT

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Bad breath happens. If you’ve ever gotten that not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or just talking with friends, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives.

What Causes Bad Breath? There are a number of reasons you might have dragon breath. While many causes are harmless, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something more serious.

Bacteria Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth. Your mouth also acts like a natural hothouse that allows these bacteria to grow. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind.

Dry Mouth Feeling parched? Your mouth might not be making enough saliva. Saliva is important because it works around the clock to wash out your mouth. If you don’t have enough, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems or by simply breathing through your mouth.

Gum Disease Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by a sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque.

Food Garlic, onions, coffee… The list of breath-offending foods is long, and what you eat affects the air you exhale.

Smoking and Tobacco Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and puts you at risk for a host of health problems. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how their breath smells.

Medical Conditions Mouth infections can cause bad breath. However, if your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, see your healthcare provider.

How Can I Keep Bad Breath Away?

Brush and Floss Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.

Take Care of Your Tongue Don’t forget about your tongue when you’re taking care of your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and look way back, you’ll see a white or brown coating. That’s where most of bad breath bacteria can be found. Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them out.

Mouthwash Over-the-counter mouthwashes can help kill bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. It’s only a temporary solution, however. The longer you wait to brush and floss away food in your mouth, the more likely your breath will offend.

Clean Dentures If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night, and clean them thoroughly before using them again the next morning.

Keep Saliva Flowing To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. Your dentist may also recommend artificial saliva.

Quit Smoking Giving up this dangerous habit is good for your body in many ways. Not only will you have better breath, you’ll have a better quality of life.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your dentist determines your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor.

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Date: 4/26/2017 2:35 AM PDT

Dr. Rao, Dr. Brikina, and their two daughters recently took a spring break beach trip to the beautiful Turks and Caicos, a British Territory and an archipelago of coral islands in the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas.  Judging by these pictures, it looks like a great time was had by all!

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Date: 3/31/2017 5:17 PM PDT

 Spring Dental Cleaning Anyone?

Spring has finally sprung…at least for most of us in the Northern Hemisphere!

From cleaning out the garage to dusting away those sneaky little bunnies that invade every nook, cranny, and crevice, but Spring is also the perfect time to visit your dentist for your semi-annual checkup and cleaning.

Our DIY daily dental routines just don’t cut it!

Here are 3 reasons why Spring is the perfect time to dust off those chompers and give our smiles a tip-top shape up heading into Summer.

1. We Smile More In Summer

No scientific evidence or behavioral research to back that one up, it just seems that while Winter could have us hunkering down gaining weight, Spring and Summer have us taking better advantage of longer days and nicer weather.

A healthy smile is certainly more attractive than an unhealthy one, don’t you think?

The best and really only way we can maintain a healthy smile is to have our teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist at least every six months. Much like our homes or apartments, the regular smile maintenance routine of daily brushing and flossing doesn’t really reach all those oral orifices where the cavity creeps have entrenched themselves since our last dental cleaning.

A professional dental cleaning by our dentists is really the only way to attack the plaque and tartar buildup that we’ve been adding to our teeth everyday since our last dental appointment.

2. Our Dentists Will Notice Any Potential Problem Areas

Just like when we simply sweep those pesky little dust bunnies under the rug or don’t take the time to move and clean behind furniture, little problems can quickly become big problems.

The same goes for dental cleanings, if we don’t get a thorough examination of our teeth and gums at least every six months, we could be laying out the welcome mat for the cavity creeps to come a calling…or worse!

It’s like a leaky pipe in your home left to keep leaking; what could have been a simple inexpensive fix of a relatively small problem, will eventually turn into a larger (more expensive) job. Same goes for our teeth and gums, if our dentists notice a small speck of decay or a potential lesion that could turn into oral cancer, they can help us address the issue before it becomes a burden to our oral health, overall health, and our bank accounts.

Did You Know April Is National Oral Cancer Awareness Month?

3. Professional Dental Cleanings Help Prevent Gum Disease…And More?

When our dentists and hygienists tool up to scrubbing away that nasty plaque and tartar from below the gumline, we not only do our gums a service, but our overall health as well. There is a growing body of research and studies linking gum disease to more systemic health problems.

The bacteria found in plaque that causes gum disease has been potentially linked to other overall health problems like stroke risk, heart disease,  diabetes, even prostate health, and problems with pregnancy.

“Sometimes people forget how important oral health is as a component of medical health.” says Dolores Lindsay, CEO of The HealthCare Connection.

Gum disease is an infection, and that infection can lead to more serious problems down the road. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis and can eventually lead to tooth loss and other health problems.

Why not take a little preventative palate maintenance to ensure the cavity creeps aren’t entrenching themselves to make holes in our teeth…or worse?

We should all take the time this Spring to schedule a dental cleaning & examination to make sure we’re maintaining optimal oral health – and overall health!

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Date: 3/21/2017 3:00 AM PDT

Dr. Rao and Dr. Brikina and their daughters recently went on a ski vacation to Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. We love seeing their little girls go! Dr. Rao was the family photographer and if you're wondering where Dr. Brikina is, she's the one in the white coat with fur hood under the mask!

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Date: 2/20/2017 11:53 AM PST

Dr. Rao recently attended the ICOI Winter Symposium in New Orleans! This 3-day workshop consisted of seminars and hands-on techniques to further their knowledge in dental implants. See pictures below!

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Date: 2/14/2017 9:24 AM PST

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You may know why it's important to brush your teeth, but the concept of cavities or gum disease is most likely lost on your child. This is often why he or she doesn't see the big deal when it comes to not brushing teeth. Kids can refuse to brush their teeth for a number of other reasons, though, from an attempt to assert themselves to a sensitivity to the toothbrush.

Having a child who won't brush his baby teeth might not seem like a cause for concern; he will lose them soon anyway. But tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions in kids, affecting about 20 percent of those between the ages of five and 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And not brushing now can cause your child discomfort, as well as problems with eating and speaking, well into the eruption of their adult teeth. It also sets up a pattern of not brushing in the future, which can lead to health issues in other parts of the body.

If your child won't brush, there are a few ways you can establish this healthy habit.

1. Make a Reward

Giving your child a reward for brushing should be a regular item in a parent's arsenal, but the reward that works best will depend on your child's age and interests. Someone under the age of eight, for example, may be receptive to a funny bedtime story before lights out – but only after he brushes.

For an older child, a good reward might be letting him watch an episode of a favorite TV show between brushing and bed. If your child fusses about brushing his teeth, remind them the time he spends complaining will cut into this bonus playtime. Keep in mind, however, that physical activity can make it harder to fall asleep; be sure to keep this incentive to a minimum.

2. Make It a Game

Similar to offering your child a reward is turning tooth brushing into a game. Put on an upbeat song for two minutes (the appropriate brushing time) while your child brushes, and have a mini-dance party. Another option is to create a star chart wherein each time your child brushes without being asked, morning and night, he gets a star or sticker. Having earned five stars, your child qualifies for a prize. If he makes it to 10, offer something slightly better. Two or more children might transform your star chart system into a friendly competition – the one who earns five or 10 stars first gets the best prize, for instance. If they tie, you can give them the same thing. Just make sure this reward doesn't counter all the hard work they did to clean their teeth!

3. Give Your Child a Choice

You don't want to give your child the choice of not brushing teeth because, at this stage, he may take you up on it. To encourage him to embrace the routine, however, you can give him a choice of which products to use. Bring your child through the oral care aisle to pick out a brush and toothpaste that stands out. He may be surprised to find a product featuring a beloved cartoon character, such as SpongeBob Square Pants Mild Bubble Fruit®.

4. Check for Sensitivity

The refusal to brush might have little to do with assertiveness and a more do with sensory issues. Some kids are more sensitive to touch than others, which makes tooth brushing especially unpleasant. Children with autism or attention disorders are likely to have sensitivities that affect oral care, in particular, according to the Special Care Dentistry Association. If you suspect your child's resistance to brushing is linked to a sensitive mouth, there are a few options for coping with it.

As with most difficult phases of your child's life, this one will soon pass. Figuring out a way to work with your child through it will help everyone healthy and collected until it's an effortless part of the daily routine.

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Date: 1/30/2017 9:59 AM PST

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Having cavities in your teeth is just a mess. On top of dealing with the pain you have to make multiple trips to the dentist to have the thing fixed. However, as it is with any sort of ailment, the sooner a cavity or 'bad tooth' is caught, the easier it is to handle, treat and endure. So if you suspect that one or more of your teeth are going "bad" due to any reason but are unsure - here are three tell-tale signs to look out for:

The Color:

Ideally, you need to brush your teeth twice a day. This prevents all sorts of dental issues. So whilst brushing, take a look at the troublesome tooth if you can. Look at its color and compare it with the surrounding teeth. Your teeth don't have to be stark white to notice a tooth that is a little off. Look for any brown or unusual coloring, either in the form of a stain or small dots. These could be the beginnings of a cavity and need to be checked out immediately.

 

You Feel Pain:

Chew carefully and try to exert pressure on that tooth. If you feel a twinge or pain or any inflammation in the gums near that tooth, chances are, the roots are rotting or at least getting attacked by bacteria. If you feel such pain or irritation, contact a dentist immediately.

 

There's a bad odor in your mouth:

If you've been brushing regularly and haven't changed your routine, there's no reason for your mouth and gums to smell bad. If, especially while eating, you feel your mouth fill with a bad odor or taste for no reason, there might be a pus pocket damaging your tooth. These release pus when put pressure upon whilst eating or chewing. Sometimes, these damage your tooth silently while you might not notice a discoloration on the tooth itself or even pain in the initial stages because these silently attack and rot away your roots. If you feel such an odor or taste in your mouth, get your tooth checked immediately.

Apart from the aforementioned points, if you feel for any reasons whatsoever that your tooth is being damaged, be sure to get it checked by your dentist. Remember that what isn't visible to the eye might be revealed in an x-ray or to a dentist so never leave anything to chance.

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Date: 1/12/2017 8:59 AM PST

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The right veneers are a quick way to a beautiful smile, and this treatment is perfect for people with teeth that are stained, chipped or have gaps. But veneers are an irreversible treatment, so having them placed is a big decision. Before you and your dentist decide the procedure is right for you, it's important to have the right information about veneers, their cost and how best to care for them.

What are Veneers?

According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), a veneer is a "thin piece of porcelain used to re-create the natural look of teeth, while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel." They are custom made to the contour of your teeth and are bonded to the tooth's original enamel during a series of in-office procedures.

Why are Veneers Used in Dentistry?

Veneers are a less intrusive option than crowns or braces. According to the British Dental Health Foundation, veneers can be used to close gaps or correct small misalignments. Patients also choose veneers as a cosmetic solution to enhance the brightness of their teeth and to straighten their smile, correcting issues like discoloration, fractures, or chips.

Porcelain Veneers

The most commonly used material for veneers are the conventional porcelain veneer and Lumineers and composite resin veneers. AACD, porcelain veneers are preferable for correcting issues of shape or color and can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. It can be a major expense for most consumers, so it's important to know they will need to be replaced eventually.

Placing Veneers

The typical process takes one to two appointments. If the veneer is prefabricated it usually takes one appointment and if the laboratory is creating the veneer it takes two appointments. We will focus on highlighting placement of the porcelain veneer created by the laboratory:
  1. Local anesthetia is not usually required when placing veneers. However, depending on the patient's sensitivity, it can be used if needed. The dentist will clean the tooth and determine the correct shade for the veneer. The dentist will remove a very small amount of the enamel of the tooth to provide room to place the veneer on the tooth.
  2. An impression of the tooth will be made for the laboratory and a temporary veneer will be placed on the tooth with spot etching in the center of the tooth away from the margins.
  3. After the laboratory has delivered the porcelain veneer to your dentist, the temporary veneer is removed, the tooth is cleaned with pumice and water. The veneer is then etched, rinsed throughly with water and air dried. The adhesive is placed on the preparation and then the cement and the veneer is placed for exact fit and contour.
  4. The veneer is then light cured for 60 seconds on all surfaces of it to attach it to the tooth structure.
  5. Your dentist will remove any excess material and polish the margins of the veneer.
Many dentists will schedule a follow-up visit to check for comfort; a comfortable veneer will be a long-lasting veneer.

Care for Veneers

The AACD suggests brushing and flossing just as you would your regular teeth. Proper daily brushing, and use of non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste. Consider limiting coffee and other stain-inducing foods.

Keep in mind that veneers will need to be replaced at some point, no matter how well you take care of them. But proper oral hygiene will help them last as long as possible.

If you're deciding on veneers, consult with your dentist and be sure you understand every part of the process and cost. A beautiful smile feels great and can increase both your confidence and well-being.

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