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Dentist Near Me | Do I Really Need An Exam?

It’s highly likely that after visiting our practice, you understand the value of a thorough, professional dental cleaning. It’s also likely that you may not fully understand the importance of a complete exam and radiographs.

There are many reasons the exam is an important part of your oral health routine.

1. Exams allow the doctor to evaluate for signs of health conditions. Many health conditions present early signs and symptoms in the mouth, including: Crohn’s, Addison’s, Leukemia, Diabetes, Lupus, Anemia and many others. Skipping an exam could prevent your dentist from screening for oral manifestations of systemic disease.

2. According to research, one American dies every hour from oral cancer. A thorough complete examination can catch early signs of oral cancer, allowing for early treatment, which can be key to survival.

3. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and is related to serious systemic health conditions such as heart disease and stroke, among many others. Evaluating your soft tissue and bone health allows our team to identify early signs of periodontal disease, which can allow for prevention and early treatment. This is vital for your oral and overall health.

4. Radiographs provide valuable insight. Decay and other oral health issues are often hidden from the human eye. Radiographs (X-Rays) allow us to find what we could not otherwise see, allowing for early treatment and less invasive solutions.

Whether it has been 6 months or 6 years since your last appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you and your heath and comfort are our main concerns.

Men: Here’s What You Need to Know About Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Men, dental examinations and treatment are important for you, too. Did you know according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), by age 72 men lose an average of 5 teeth? That number jumps to 12 if you are also a smoker. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your mouth healthy. Follow these tips and you can beat the odds stacked against men and their oral health.

The Basics

Men are more likely than women to suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. Men also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and throat cancer, and men tend to lose more teeth than women. A poll conducted by the AGD found that 45% of men who responded felt there was no need for them to visit the dentist. This is a troubling statistic for a group more prone to oral health issues. A visit to our office can help us identify problems early.

Risk Factors

Certain medications can directly impact your teeth. Others can cause side effects such as dry mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is important in keeping your teeth’s enamel strong. Smoking or chewing tobacco, including smoking electronic cigarettes, have been linked to increasing your risk of developing oral cancer and other oral health issues. If you play sports, especially football or hockey, get fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from extensive damage. You should avoid or limit energy drinks and sports drinks, as these contain acids and sugars that can lead to decay.

Periodontal Disease

Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque on teeth and gums. This buildup, known as tartar, can inflame your gums. Studies have linked periodontal disease to increasing your risk for strokes, heart attacks, diabetic complications, and more. If your gums are red, bloodied, or sore, you should make an appointment to see us. Our experienced, professional dental team will assess your gum health and work to find a treatment for you.

Take These Steps at Home

A visit to our office will provide you with a complete dental examination and cleaning, but you should also practice good oral hygiene each day at home. This starts by brushing your teeth twice each day, for two minutes each time. When you brush, use an appropriate toothpaste. Ask our team if you are not sure what kind of toothpaste is best for you. Make sure you are also using dental floss. Taking care of your teeth at home will make your next visit to see us easier.

Men, your teeth are important so take good care of them. Practice good brushing and flossing habits at home. Reduce your risk of developing decay and oral disease by cutting back on sugary or acidic drinks, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and keeping our office up to date on any medications you are using. Get into the habit of coming to our office regularly, your smile depends on it.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next dental examination, please contact our office.

Dentist Birmingham, AL | Biting Off More than You Can Chew?

Birmingham Dentist

It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.

Why This Is a Problem

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)

Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.

 

What You Can Do

If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth!

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

Dentist in Birmingham | One Tool for Better Gum Health

Dentist in Birmingham, AL

Loose teeth, bad breath, and painful, bloody gums – these are among the signs and symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease. Unfortunately, periodontal disease can also begin without any obvious symptoms. If left undiagnosed or untreated, you could be at risk for irreparable damage to your teeth and gums. The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. In fact, one of the most effective tools for preventing the disease only takes a minute of your time each day.

Floss to the Rescue

Dental floss is an effective and easy to use tool that can be among your best defenses for preventing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Even if your daily oral hygiene routine already includes a thorough brushing that lasts for two minutes, at least twice each day, you should be flossing daily as well. Dental floss is highly effective at cleaning areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. Small gaps and tight spaces between teeth catch food debris and sugars and acids from drinks all day long. Flossing helps to clean out these tough to reach spaces.

Facts Behind Flossing

According to a survey referenced by the American Dental Association, only 40{9efa1768ccb14c34ce6c5585029cafb9fe7f57d095da00c1681e6a798287259d} of Americans floss each day. The same study showed a clear link between regular intra-oral care and better oral health. Unfortunately, many people also lie about how frequently they clean between their teeth. A study from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27{9efa1768ccb14c34ce6c5585029cafb9fe7f57d095da00c1681e6a798287259d} of adults lie to their dentist about their flossing habits.

Tips for Flossing Correctly

It can be confusing to figure out the best way to use dental floss. Try cutting off about 18 inches of floss and wrapping most of it carefully around your middle finger. Use roughly one inch to clean between each pair of teeth. Using your thumb and index finger, carefully slide the floss between your teeth. Floss to your gumline, but be gentle. Avoid cutting your gums. Work your way through your 18 inches of floss by using a new, clean section between each pair of adjacent teeth.

It only takes about a minute to floss your teeth each day, but these minutes contribute to a lifetime of optimal oral health. Floss is among the most effective tools at your disposal to keep your gums clean and healthy. Get into the habit of flossing your teeth regularly – your gums will thank you.

For more information about gum health, or to schedule a visit to our office, please contact our team.

35243 Dentist | Why Do My Gums Bleed?

Dentist Birmingham

While brushing or flossing your teeth, do you notice blood on your toothbrush or in the sink? Swollen, red, or tender gums can bleed when brushing or flossing, even if you are brushing gently. While it may seem harmless, it is important that you do not ignore these symptoms as they may be signs of a more serious issue. Here are four reasons why your gums may be bleeding, and what you can do for prevention.

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene Habits

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily is recommended. However, this routine might still cause your gums to bleed. Bleeding gums can be a consequence of flossing too hard. Use soft bristle toothbrushes for a gentler cleaning.

  1. Smoking

Inhaling smoke can leave toxins on the teeth that irritate gums and cause them to bleed. Smoking can cause your immune system to be compromised, and prevent tissues from healing correctly. Quitting cigarette use will reduce bleeding gums. If you smoke, be sure to schedule an extra oral examination with our team to evaluate your gum health.

  1. Nutritionally Poor Diet

A healthy lifestyle is beneficial to every aspect of your health.  Eating junk food high in sugar content can cause decay and lead to poor oral health. A balanced diet and proper oral hygiene can reduce the risk of bleeding gums.

  1. Gingivitis

Plaque and bacteria can build up on your teeth and become inflamed. Gingivitis is often symptom free. The one symptom that typically appears is bleeding gums, which is usually ignored because it is generally painless. Gingivitis is preventable by brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and flossing regularly to reduce plaque build-up.  Schedule an appointment with us today if you suspect you have gingivitis.

If your gums regularly bleed, it is important that you contact our office. Our team can provide a complete oral examination and recommend proper treatment. Your oral health can significantly impact your overall health. For a healthy life, start by maintaining healthy gums.

To schedule your visit, please contact our office today.

3159 Green Valley Road
Birmingham, AL 35243
(205) 967-4080

Birmingham, AL Dentist | The Truth About Dental Anxiety

Dentist 35243

Dentist birminghamIs anxiety or nervousness preventing you from visiting our team? Dental treatments should not be a cause of stress. If you worry about pain, embarrassment, or loss or control during a dental examination, we want you to know two very important things: You are not alone and We can help.

Dental Anxiety Is Common

Research has shown that most patients experience some degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist. Between 10 and 20{9efa1768ccb14c34ce6c5585029cafb9fe7f57d095da00c1681e6a798287259d} of the general population encounters such a high level of stress and nervousness that they ignore oral healthcare altogether. This can increase the risk of developing severe oral health complications, requiring additional care.

In many cases, dental anxiety has two main causes. First, patients may have had a negative experience in the past, leaving them apprehensive towards their next appointment. Second, is through influence. This is particularly true for children. Children learn through imitation and are influenced by their parents. If you dread going to the dentist, your child may pick up on the behavior and develop similar fears.

Our Team Can Help

The first action you can take is to let our team know about your feelings of nervousness and anxiety. We have a number of techniques to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Our compassionate team is always open to discussing your options with you.

We will consult you regarding what your visit will entail, and work together to find a comfortable pace at which you feel comfortable.

If nervousness, stress, fear, or anxiety have caused you to skip appointments or avoid dental care completely, please contact our team. Dentistry is constantly evolving by offering new technology and treatment methods with patient safety and comfort in mind. Talk to our team about your fears or concerns and allow us to work with you. Ignoring your oral health can have serious repercussions and lead to more necessary treatments.

Contact our team to schedule your visit today.

3159 Green Valley Road
Birmingham, AL 35243
(205) 967-4080

Dentist in Birmingham, AL | Post-Extraction Care: Dry Sockets

Dentist 35243

birmingham dentistWhen a tooth is extracted, your blood cells clot over the site of the tooth to protect your bone, nerves, and tissue. However, some patients experience dry sockets, a condition where blood clotting does not occur. Here’s what you need to know about dry sockets after tooth extraction.

What are Dry Sockets?

Dry sockets are the result of your blood failing to clot, or when an existing clot is removed. They leave the area previously protected by your tooth exposed, which includes bone and nerves.  Symptoms often include significant pain and discomfort where your tooth was extracted. Pain often lasts beyond the first three days following your procedure. Further symptoms can include having a bad taste in your mouth, pain on the same side of your face as the extracted tooth site, and visible bone where the tooth was removed.

Who Is At Risk for Developing Dry Sockets?

In most cases of extraction, your mouth will heal normally. Dry sockets have been noted to occur at a higher rate in individuals who smoke, chew tobacco, practice poor oral hygiene methods, or suffer from an infection impacting the gums or teeth. Additionally, it is important that you follow all directions provided to you following extraction. Patients who fail to do so, and choose to do things such as drinking with a straw after treatment, have a higher risk for developing a dry socket.

Treating Dry Sockets

If you experience a dry socket, contact our team for an appointment. It is essential to keep the area clean to prevent infection. Removing debris is the first step to keeping the site clean. Additionally, our team may provide you with pain medication suggestions as well as gauze or medicated dressings to protect the site. Avoid touching the area before coming in to our office.

The direct cause of dry sockets is not widely understood. However, it is a temporary condition that can be managed and treated by taking the proper precautions.

If you develop a dry socket following the extraction of a tooth, please contact our team. We will do our best to see you as soon as possible to ensure your mouth is able to heal properly.

3159 Green Valley Road
Birmingham, AL 35243
(205) 967-4080

Root Canal Treatment: Common Myths Busted

According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are three major misconceptions many people have regarding root canal therapy. Unfortunately, these patients may make decisions about their health care based on this incomplete or inaccurate information. Take a look at these myths and truths behind this important treatment option.

 

Myth 1: Root canal treatment causes pain.

This commonly held perception predates modern dentistry. Patients who have actually experienced root canal therapy are 6 times more likely to describe the procedure as painless than those who have never had the treatment.

 

Truth 1: Root canal treatment relieves pain.

In reality, the only pain that is generally associated with root canal therapy is caused by the underlying reason for the treatment – tooth decay or infected or diseased tissue. The root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, relieving the pain in the process.

 

Myth 2: Root canal treatment causes further illness or infection in the body.

This unfortunate belief stems from a long-discredited report from nearly 100 years ago that still turns up during internet searches. This report by Dr. Weston Price was highly criticized in its own time for the sub-standard research methods he used, and his conclusions were being debunked as early as the 1930s.

 

Truth 2: There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that suggests root canal treatment may cause other illness or infection in the body.

In fact, root canal therapy has been proven to have a much lower incidence of bacteria entering the blood stream than tooth extraction and causes much less trauma to the patient. Recent research has also found that patients who have had multiple root canal treatments have a 45% lower risk of cancer than patients who have not.

 

Myth 3: Tooth extraction is always a better option than root canal treatment.

Sometimes a tooth cannot be saved. When that happens, extraction is far better than leaving a diseased tooth in place. However, there is no perfect replacement for a natural tooth. Even the best tooth replacement options may leave you needing to avoid certain foods. Additionally, missing teeth can lead to jaw bone resorption over time.

 

Truth 3: Saving natural teeth, when possible, may be the best option for overall health.

By saving the natural tooth whenever possible, doctors and patients avoid the need for further, more costly restoration treatment. Root canal treatment has a very high success rate and can often allow the natural tooth to last a lifetime.

 

Our doctor makes every effort to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible. We will review your oral health needs carefully before recommending any treatment.

 

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office.

 

Restoring Smiles with Veneers

About 1 in 4 adults in the United States feels embarrassed by the look of their smile. Our dental office is proud to offer porcelain dental veneers to new and existing patients. Dr. Cosgrove has the training and experience to provide porcelain veneers to patients who wish to restore a whiter, healthier, more even look to their smile.

 

Porcelain veneers are a cosmetic and restorative dental solution that are designed to mimic the look and feel of natural teeth. Veneers create an immediate improvement in the appearance of a smile. They are a minimally invasive treatment option and can be more cost-effective than many other cosmetic improvement options.

 

Patients  whose teeth are healthy, but are chipped, cracked, crooked, or mildly stained can benefit from veneers. Patients whose teeth are uneven or have gaps may also find veneers are a great solution for improving the look of their smile.

 

We offer custom-crafted porcelain veneers that are fitted precisely to cover the front surface of the tooth. Because porcelain is a semi-translucent material, the tooth continues to have a natural healthy appearance with the veneer in place. Veneers are chosen with care to match the natural teeth around them, to ensure optimal aesthetic results.

 

Once placed, porcelain veneers are a strong, stain-resistant, and long-lasting cosmetic dental solution. However, porcelain dental veneers need ongoing dental care, just like natural teeth. They should be brushed and flossed regularly and normal dental exam and cleaning schedules should be maintained. When cared for properly, veneers can last a lifetime.

 

There are some additional factors to consider before choosing veneers. First, it is common to experience some sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages for a few days following the placement of veneers. This is generally mild and unlikely to last more than about a week.

 

Second, while porcelain is a strong and durable material, it is recommended to avoid activity that will put great stress on the veneers, such as chewing excessively hard foods or using the teeth to attempt to open a nut or bottle. Finally, any patient who has issues with bruxism (grinding) should discuss this with our doctor before deciding whether to have dental veneers placed.

 

For more information or to schedule a consultation with our expert dentist, contact our office today. We’re here to give you a smile that you can show with pride.

Can I Get a Whiter Smile at Home?

Teeth whitening is one of the most commonly requested treatments in our office each day. Nearly everyone we meet wants to have a brighter, whiter smile. There are many options available, both in our office and from the store that can help whiten your teeth. With any whitening option, not all teeth may show results, depending on the cause of their discoloration.

 

Before Starting, Talk to Us

Before choosing a whitening solution, it is important that we provide you with a comprehensive dental examination. Tooth discoloration can have several causes, so it is important that we assess your smile and determine that your teeth are healthy enough for whitening treatment. Only then will we be able to recommend the methods that lead to the most successful results for your needs. Staining and discoloration can be caused by smoking, coffee drinking, medications, decay, or oral diseases. The first step in whitening your smile is determining the cause of staining.

 

What Treatments are Available for Home Use?

One popular choice for whitening your smile at home is whitening strips. These are applied to your teeth for a period of time, then removed. Whitening strips generally contain peroxide that sticks to the surface of your teeth. Usually, they contain fewer bleaching chemicals than treatments our office can provide. Increased sensitivity can occur when whitening with strips, so it is important to monitor your discomfort. If your sensitivity becomes unmanageable, stop using the strips. It is often best to avoid brushing your teeth right before using whitening strips.

 

Another common option is to use a whitening toothpastes, which may include hydrogen-peroxide to bleach your teeth. Like whitening strips, you may find limited whitening results with these toothpastes. For more intense results, you may require more concentrated treatments available through our office.

 

Talk to Our Team for Whitening Solutions

Over-the-counter whitening products often contain fewer whitening substances than the solutions we have available in our office. They can, however, achieve noticeable results. Before starting any whitening treatment, make an appointment to see us. We can help you ensure your teeth are healthy enough for whitening.  Our experienced dental team will work with you to determine the best way to brighten your smile.

 

For more information on whitening your smile or to schedule your next examination, please contact our office.