My Blog

Posts for: May, 2017

By David G. Feeney, DDS
May 17, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
JohnnysTeethArentRottenAnyMore

Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.

In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.

For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.

Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.

It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.

That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”

We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?


By DAVID G. FEENEY, DDS
May 08, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Teeth don't always stay as white as we would like. The foods you eat, your age and your use of cigarettes or other tobacco products can teeth whiteninglead to unsightly staining. Luckily, teeth whitening treatment can erase years of stains. Matthews, NC, dentist Dr. David Feeney explains how teeth whitening can improve your smile.

How does teeth whitening work?

If you've ever spilled a cup of coffee on a white shirt, you may have used bleach to get rid of the stain. Teeth whitening works the same way. Hydrogen peroxide gel bleaches out stains that discolor your tooth enamel. Whitening is very effective for these types of stains, called extrinsic stains, but it won't work for intrinsic stains that are deep inside your tooth.

Is professional whitening a better option than drugstore whitening kits?

Drugstore products may take a long time to work and vary in effectiveness. Professional whitening is safer and produces more immediate results. When you visit Dr. Feeney's Matthews office, your teeth will be up to eight shades whiter in 60 minutes or less.

Before your teeth are whitened, your teeth will be examined to ensure that you don't have any dental problems. If your teeth are whitened and you have a cavity, you may be more likely to experience sensitivity. During your visit, your teeth will also be cleaned to remove plaque and tartar. If these substances aren't removed before whitening, the hydrogen peroxide gel won't whiten your teeth evenly.

Sensitivity is one of the most common complaints people have when they whiten their teeth. Thanks to two important precautionary steps used during professional whitening, your risk of sensitivity will be reduced. Dr. Feeney applies a protective coating of gel to keep the whitening agent off your roots and gums and also pulls your cheeks and lips away from your teeth with retractors during the whitening session.

After your treatment, you'll probably see a very noticeable difference in your teeth. You can keep your smile bright by limiting coffee, tea, wine, berries and other foods and beverages that stain teeth. Dr. Feeney also offers at-home whitening kits that you can use to touch up your results from time to time.

Are you ready to brighten your smile? Call Matthews, NC, dentist Dr. David Feeney at (704) 847-1000 to schedule your appointment.


ArtificialSweetenersareByandLargeaSafeAlternativetoSugar

Refined sugar is a prime food source for disease-causing oral bacteria. As bacteria consume sugar they produce high levels of acid that over time can erode enamel and leave a tooth vulnerable for decay.

The solution to stopping this vicious process is simple: cut back on eating refined sugar. The reality, though, is a bit more complicated. Many of us seem genetically hard-wired with a “sweet tooth,” perhaps a remnant of our early ancestors' sense that sweet foods were a safe means to obtain energy.

Food manufacturers likewise don't help with making this dietary change — the number of items with added sugar has ballooned over the last several decades. We can trace a lot of this back to the unintended consequences of past government guidelines that called for removing fat from processed foods. But this also removed flavor, so manufacturers began adding sugar (under a myriad of names) to compensate.

Sugar consumption is now a hot health topic for its suspected connection with inflammatory diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as dental health. We now have a love-hate relationship with sugar — we want to show it the door but we can't quite bring ourselves to let it go.

The situation has created a market for artificial sweeteners. The amount and types of sugar alternatives has exploded since saccharine first emerged in the early 1960s. With these increased choices, though, there have also been increased concerns over their health impact, including in the mouth.

This concern has prompted numerous research studies. The conclusion: artificial sweeteners don't adversely affect the health of most people. And, from a dental perspective, artificial sweeteners can have a positive impact on teeth and gum health because unlike refined sugar they don't promote oral bacterial growth.

In fact, one particular sweetener may be even more beneficial to your teeth: xylitol. This sweetener, which comes from a sugar alcohol that oral bacteria can't digest, is often found in chewing gums, hard candies or mints.  In effect, xylitol “starves out” bacteria to help prevent tooth decay.

From a dental perspective, replacing sugar with an artificial sweetener (especially xylitol) can be advantageous. And less sugar could mean more good news after your next dental checkup.

If you would like more information on artificial sweeteners, 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 “Artificial Sweeteners.”