Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Jennifer L. McCoy, DDS, Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
January 20, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

According to Dr. Suess, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." Indeed, you are different from everyone else on the planet. Your fingerprints, your DNA, even the shape of your outer ear, are all unique to you. And, in a society that pressures all of us to be alike, it's good to be reminded from time to time that it's okay to be different—including how your smile looks.

In fact, the thought has such a nice ring to it that some folks designate January as "It's OK to be Different Month," a good time to celebrate all the many ways we're unique from one another—and even in ways that might be considered imperfections.

For example, in terms of smiles, some people have a slight gap between their front teeth. Technically, it's a dental defect, and we can usually correct it with veneers or orthodontics. But a lot of people, including celebrities like Michael Strahan and Madonna, want to keep their gap—they consider it part of their personality, something that makes them, them.

The same could be said for other smile "quirks" like moderate dental misalignments (crooked teeth) or color variations—even a chipped tooth. If you consider it a comfortable part of who you are, then you do you, boo.

On the other hand, if there's something about your smile that you feel detracts from your appearance, you shouldn't have to live with it. And, fortunately, you don't.

Chipped tooth? Composite bonding could make it whole again. Misaligned teeth? Braces or clear aligners can straighten your smile. Missing teeth? You have numerous tooth-replacement options, with durable and life-like dental implants far and away the reigning champ of restorations.

More importantly, we can ensure that any cosmetic improvements you undergo enhance your uniqueness rather than diminish it. For example, we can fine-tune teeth whitening of dull and dingy teeth to achieve the level of brightness with which you're most comfortable—be it subtly natural or Hollywood dazzling.

The bottom line is that you can certainly undergo a complete smile makeover that radically transforms your appearance. Or, you can simply receive a few light cosmetic touches to make the smile you already like even better.

It's your decision—and it all begins with an exam to assess your current dental situation, followed by a discussion of your options. From there, you can choose just how much you want to change about your "Youer than you" smile.

If you would like more information about creating your own unique smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry.”

By Jennifer L. McCoy, DDS, Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
January 10, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   retainer  

For nearly two decades, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has dominated the pop and country charts. In December she launched her ninth studio album, called evermore, and in January she delighted fans by releasing two bonus tracks. And although her immense fame earns her plenty of celebrity gossip coverage, she's managed to avoid scandals that plague other superstars. She did, however, run into a bit of trouble a few years ago—and there's video to prove it. It seems Taylor once had a bad habit of losing her orthodontic retainer on the road.

She's not alone! Anyone who's had to wear a retainer knows how easy it is to misplace one. No, you won't need rehab—although you might get a mild scolding from your dentist like Taylor did in her tongue-in-cheek YouTube video. You do, though, face a bigger problem if you don't replace it: Not wearing a retainer could undo all the time and effort it took to acquire that straight, beautiful smile. That's because the same natural mechanism that makes moving teeth orthodontically possible can also work in reverse once the braces or clear aligners are removed and no longer exerting pressure on the teeth. Without that pressure, the ligaments that hold your teeth in place can “remember” where the teeth were originally and gradually move them back.

A retainer prevents this by applying just enough pressure to keep or “retain” the teeth in their new position. And it's really not the end of the world if you lose or break your retainer. You can have it replaced with a new one, but that's an unwelcome, added expense.

You do have another option other than the removable (and easily misplaced) kind: a bonded retainer, a thin wire bonded to the back of the teeth. You can't lose it because it's always with you—fixed in place until the orthodontist removes it. And because it's hidden behind the teeth, no one but you and your orthodontist need to know you're wearing it—something you can't always say about a removable one.

Bonded retainers do have a few disadvantages. The wire can feel odd to your tongue and may take a little time to get used to it. It can make flossing difficult, which can increase the risk of dental disease. However, interdental floss picks can help here.  And although you can't lose it, a bonded retainer can break if it encounters too much biting force—although that's rare.

Your choice of bonded or removable retainer depends mainly on your individual situation and what your orthodontist recommends. But, if losing a retainer is a concern, a bonded retainer may be the way to go. And take if from Taylor: It's better to keep your retainer than to lose it.

If you would like more information about protecting your smile after orthodontics, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”

By Jennifer L. McCoy, DDS, Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
December 22, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Find out when a root canal might be necessary to maintain the health of your smile.

There has been a throbbing in your tooth and you’re not sure what’s going on. It looks fine, so you want to just ignore it and hope it goes away, but this would be a bad idea. A toothache can be a sign that you need a root canal. When this problem arises, our Lawrenceville, GA, dentists Dr. Jennifer McCoy and Dr. Katherine Copeland are here to provide the immediate treatment you need to feel better fast.

Why is a root canal performed?

The tooth is made up of a harder outer layer known as enamel, which is designed to protect the rest of the tooth from damage; however, sometimes bacteria can get in through a crack or decay in the outer layers of the tooth, which can then infect the dental pulp. Once the pulp has been damaged, the only way to stop it from getting worse is for our Lawrenceville, GA, dental team to perform a root canal as soon as possible to remove the pulp and to disinfect the inside of the tooth.

What can infect or inflame the dental pulp?

One of the most common causes of an inflamed or infected pulp is a cavity. Other causes of pulpitis include,

  • Direct impact or injury to the tooth
  • A cracked or fractured tooth that exposes the pulp chamber
  • Repeat trauma to the tooth often caused by teeth grinding

What are the warning signs of an infected dental pulp?

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of an infected dental pulp is important so that you know when to seek proper dental care from our Lawrenceville, GA, dentists. Here are just some of the common signs that you may need to undergo root canal therapy,

  • An intense, throbbing toothache
  • A toothache that gets worse when putting pressure on the tooth
  • Localized swelling of the gums around the tooth
  • Sudden tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • The development of an abscess (a bump on the gums that is a sign of infection)
  • Darkening or graying of the tooth

Is there any alternative to root canal treatment?

We know that the idea of getting a root canal or any dental procedure isn’t appealing, but it’s important to have this procedure performed to maintain the health of your tooth and your oral health. A root canal is often the most conservative approach, as it allows us to remove the source of the problem while still preserving the natural tooth.

While some people may choose to extract the tooth, this alternative is often more time-consuming and expensive in the long run since they will then need to replace the missing tooth with a bridge or implant after its extracted. A root canal is a simple procedure that can be completed in just a couple of hours and it will save your natural tooth.

It’s important that you never ignore dental pain, especially since it could mean that you need a root canal. Our Lawrenceville and Suwanee, GA, dental team is here to provide you with the same-day care you require when toothaches and other serious issues happen. Call us right away at (770) 963-2424 and (678) 269-4910.

By Jennifer L. McCoy, DDS, Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
December 01, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures

There are plenty of hilarious videos of groggy patients coming out of wisdom teeth surgery to keep you occupied for hours. While many of these have turned everyday people into viral video stars, every now and then it really is someone famous. Recently, that someone was Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

The NFL star underwent oral surgery to remove all four of his third molars (aka wisdom teeth). His wife, performer and supermodel, Ciara, caught him on video as he was wheeled to recovery and later uploaded the clip to Instagram. As post-wisdom teeth videos go, Wilson didn't say anything too embarrassing other than, "My lips hurt."

Funny videos aside, though, removing wisdom teeth is a serious matter. Typically, the third molars are the last permanent teeth to erupt, and commonly arrive late onto a jaw already crowded with other teeth. This increases their chances of erupting out of alignment or not erupting at all, remaining completely or partially submerged within the gums.

This latter condition, impaction, can put pressure on the roots of adjacent teeth, can cause abnormal tooth movement resulting in a poor bite, or can increase the risk of dental disease. For that reason, it has been a common practice to remove wisdom teeth preemptively, even if they aren't showing any obvious signs of disease.

In recent years, though, dentists have become increasingly nuanced in making that decision. Many will now leave wisdom teeth be if they have erupted fully and are in proper alignment, and they don't appear to be diseased or causing problems for other teeth.

The best way to make the right decision is to closely monitor the development of wisdom teeth throughout childhood and adolescence. If signs of any problems begin to emerge, it may become prudent to remove them, usually between the ages of 16 and 25. Because of their location and root system, wisdom teeth are usually removed by an oral surgeon through one of the most common surgeries performed each year.

This underscores the need for children to see a dentist regularly, beginning no later than their first birthday. It's also a good idea for a child to undergo an orthodontic evaluation around age 6. Both of these types of exams can prove helpful in deciding on what to do about the wisdom teeth, depending on the individual case.

After careful monitoring throughout childhood and adolescence, the best decision might be to remove them.  If so, take it from Russell Wilson: It's worth becoming the star of a funny video to protect both current and future dental health.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth removal, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Wisdom Teeth.”

By Jennifer L. McCoy, DDS, Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
October 29, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

For professional teeth whitening in Lawrenceville, GA, and Suwanee, GA, you can count on the offices of Dr. Jennifer McCoy and Dr. Katherine Copeland to provide all the services you are looking for. 

Who doesn't want a beautiful white smile? You can follow the ADA guidelines and brush your teeth twice daily for 2 minutes and floss regularly and still not have the white teeth you desire. Adding a whitening toothpaste to your routine may help a little, but the results you get at home don't compare with the results you get in a dental office. 

Why aren't your teeth white?

Many things contribute to the color of your teeth. Genetics is one. Not everyone has pearly whites, it is just a fact of life. However, you want your teeth to look the whitest they possibly can. If you smoke, that really adds to the discoloration of your teeth. 

Food and drink are some of the main culprits of teeth that aren't their whitest. Tea, red wine, and coffee discolor your teeth. The brighter the color of the food you eat, the more likely it is to affect the color of your teeth. But man can't live on white food alone, so you need to have a way to eat the things you want and still have white teeth. 

Whitening your teeth in the dental office

Professional teeth whitening in Lawrenceville, GA, and Suwanee, GA is the best way to achieve the result you want when it comes to teeth whitening. The dentist can provide dramatic results in a safe and effective way. With professional treatment, the procedure works more quickly and is less likely to irritate sensitive gums and teeth. 

A protective barrier is applied to protect your gums and roots. This is one of the primary benefits of in-office treatment. It is a very important step.  Professional strength hydrogen peroxide gel is applied to your teeth. It takes about an hour to get the desired result. The difference is immediately apparent.

How long your sparkling white smile will last is something over which you have control. Maintain good oral care at home and get your regular cleaning at the dental office and you can expect to retain the whiteness for between 6 months and 2 years. 

When you need teeth whitening in Lawrenceville, GA, or Suwanee, GA, you can count on Dr. McCoy and Dr. Copeland to be there to provide the services you are looking for. Call the office at (770) 963-2424 in Lawrenceville and (678) 269-4910 in Suwanee for an appointment.