My Blog

Posts for: February, 2017

By David G. Feeney, DDS
February 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.


For most people, going to the dentist is as routine as getting their oil changed. But if you're like the one in ten people with severe anxiety, dental visits are anything but routine.

What may have begun as a childhood fear has turned for many people into a lifetime avoidance of dental care.  This absence of dental cleanings, checkups and treatments can have an adverse effect on not only their oral health but their general health too.

But there are ways you can reduce dental visit anxiety, beginning first with finding a compassionate dental provider. A good dentist-patient relationship is important for everyone, but more so for people with anxiety. Building a trust relationship with a dentist who listens and accepts your fears without judging is your first step to overcoming them.

Though finding an understanding provider is important, it may not be enough in the beginning of your return to regular dental care. To help you further relax during visits, we can also provide medicinal therapies known collectively as sedation.

Although it has some similarities, sedation is different from anesthesia. The latter deadens pain sensation; sedation aims to calm your emotions. The most common sedation is taken in oral form, usually a pill (or syrup for children) taken an hour or so before the appointment. Oral sedation is often used in conjunction with gases like nitrous oxide and local anesthesia.

For a more relaxed state (especially during an involved procedure) we may use intravenous (IV) sedation. With this method we deliver the medication through a small needle or catheter inserted into a vein.

IV sedation places you in a reduced state of consciousness. But it isn't a “sleep” state as what's achieved during general anesthesia, but more of a “semi-awake” state. You won't need assistance with breathing or heart function and you can respond to verbal or touch commands. Many drugs used for IV sedation also have an amnesiac affect, so you won't remember many details about the procedure.

Depending on your level of anxiety, we can match the right therapy to induce calm and relaxation. Sedation can help you see dental visits in a more positive light so that it truly does become a life routine.

If you would like more information on sedation therapy during dental visits, 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 “IV Sedation in Dentistry.”

February 07, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

The goal of Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, better known as CEREC, is to get you in and out of the dentist's dental crowsnoffice on the same day with your new dental restoration. It is a technology that’s available at Dr. David Feeney’s Matthews, NC, dentist office. Patients who are in need of crowns are excited to learn that they no longer have to wait weeks or months for them. Here are a few benefits of CEREC same day crowns that may attract your attention.

First, What Are CEREC Same Day Crowns?
As the name suggests, same day crowns are restorations that can be created almost immediately. This is done with a machine called CEREC that is based on CAD/CAM technology. After taking a visual image of your teeth, the computer can mill a crown in about an hour or less, while you’re waiting in the chair. Your dentist can then bond the crown in a matter of minutes, shape it if needed, then send you on your way.

The Benefits of CEREC Crowns
CEREC is growing in popularity at dentist offices around the country because of the convenience and effectiveness of this technology. Here are some of most significant benefits of getting same day crowns at Dr. Feeney’s Matthews dentist office:

- Your dentist is able to create crowns that are almost perfect. They usually require very little adjustment compared to lab-created caps.
- The process is fast—about 2-3 hours versus two or more weeks.
- There’s no need for a potentially uncomfortable temporary crown.

Maintaining Your New Crown
After you same-visit crown is installed, it’s up to you to care for it so that you can enjoy the benefits for as long as possible. Consider these simple tips for carrying for your CEREC crown:

- Brush and floss gently around the crown, especially the gum line to keep it free from food and plaque.
- Avoid biting down on hard foods or exposing the crown to very hot liquids.
- Tell your dentist if there is any discomfort after the installation so that adjustments can be made to prevent potential damage.

Just One Crown Appointment
If you decide to get a CEREC crown, you can go to the dentist for just one appointment and walk out with your brand-new capped tooth. Call (704) 847-1000 today to schedule time with Dr. Feeney at his Matthews, NC, office.