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Living With My New Dentures


Wearing new dentures can be challenging. You are replacing teeth which have served you well over your lifetime. We at Dentfirst are committed to helping you overcome any obstacles you may encounter in learning to live with and use your new teeth. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call and speak with your doctor or our knowledgable patient care co-ordinators.


Your new dentures are only about 30% as effective as your real teeth so it will take you longer, using smaller bites, to eat your meals. Food will get under the dentures. This is unavoidable, but with practice can be greatly reduced in time. Always chew on both sides of your mouth at the same time to balance the dentures so they won’t pop up on the side with no food. This takes practice.


Clean the dentures after every meal and before you go to sleep. Use a soft brush and water. Soak the dentures overnight in Efferdent or Polident. Fill the sink with water, first, in case you drop the dentures while cleaning them. Do not clean the dentures with any brand of toothpaste because it will wear down the teeth and impair the fit. Your denture is made of plastic for lightness and is not as resistant to abrasion as are real teeth. Never, never wear your dentures while sleeping. This will cause gum damage and bone shrinkage as well as premature wear of the dentures. You may have been advised to wear your dentures at night if you have just had some teeth removed. This is a temporary ‘bandage’ and should not continue past the first few weeks at most. Continue reading Living With My New Dentures

Surgical Post-Operative Instructions for DentFirst Patients


We know having dental surgery isn’t your idea of a fun time. But we are committed to helping you recover from your necessary surgical procedures. Please read the information below and call your DentFirst doctor if you have any questions or concerns.


Be sure to bite on the gauze you were given. This keeps pressure on the wound and allows the socket to fill properly with its clot. It keeps saliva from washing away the healing tissues which are trying to form.

After you have clamped down on the gauze for a period of 2 hours or so, please remove the soaked pack and look at the extraction site in the mirror. If the oozing has stopped then you are done with the gauze. If there is still oozing from the site then repack it with the extra gauze you were given by the surgical assistant.

Spitting, rinsing, sucking on a straw or smoking will cause the clot to be washed or sucked out of the socket. If this happens the healing will not occur as desired. Instead of spitting (which causes suction) just wipe the saliva with a tissue. Continue reading Surgical Post-Operative Instructions for DentFirst Patients

Why Remove Wisdom Teeth?

Wsidom Teeth2

About Your Wisdom Teeth

Why has your dentist referred you to an Oral Surgeon?

Your family dentist has determined that your treatment requires special care. An oral surgeon is a dentist who has had extensive training in the removal of teeth. As specialists, they devote their time and skill to patients who require oral surgery. Oral surgery is one of the eight specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.

Why remove them?

Often wisdom teeth are so far back they can be hard to clean, making them more prone to decay. Bacteria can infect the surrounding tissue and cause gum disease. Also, crowding can damage adjacent teeth and, if they are impacted, cysts can form and destroy the surrounding jaw bone.

But they don’t hurt

The best time to remove wisdom teeth is when they DO NOT HURT. If you wait until you are “sore”, infection can be present and it is sometimes more difficult to become numb. Tissue does not heal as well when infection is present. In some cases it may become necessary for you to be treated with antibiotics for several days before they can be removed. This will delay your treatment. Continue reading Why Remove Wisdom Teeth?

My Dental Examination and Treatment Plan

Patient and Dentist

Initial Examination Appointment

Today, your dentist did a thorough examination of your teeth, their bony support and the health of your gum tissue. To help us accurately and graphically evaluate and record your dental health and to diagnose any disease, we used either 18 small x-rays (radiographs) which focused specifically on each area of your mouth, or a panographic radiograph which views all your teeth, jaws and jaw joints on one film. For most patients we recommend that this very extensive examination be performed every three years.

The reasons for this examination are twofold and go well beyond just looking for tooth decay:

  • We make sure that there is no existing disease in the bone surrounding the teeth, that the gums are healthy, and identify any restorative treatment necessary to return your mouth to optimum health.
  • To graphically present, to your insurance company, the state of your oral health and to substantiate and identify any required treatment so that they can also verify its necessity.

The DentFirst Difference

After you leave the office your radiographs will be reviewed again by your family dentist. The DentFirst difference? At no additional fee, your case will benefit from peer review by at least one other Georgia licensed dentist. If necessary, the additional expertise of DentFirst specialists can be drawn upon as well. As a dental team we will use our collective experience, knowledge and training to evaluate your condition and help coordinate a plan of treatment for optimally restoring your dental health. Continue reading My Dental Examination and Treatment Plan

My New Root Canal Filling


About Your New Root Canal

After Completion of Root Canal Treatment

Depending on the condition of your teeth and the treatment required during the root canal therapy, your tooth may be sore for up to a week or so. Please do not be alarmed. This is not uncommon following completion of root canal therapy. The treated tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed.

Your body’s natural defenses must now have time to repair the damage which the original infection and inflammation produced in the bone supporting the tooth. Avoid chewing on the treated tooth as long as it is tender. If you have severe discomfort or persistent swelling, please let us know so that we can prescribe pain relief medication for you. We want you to be comfortable.

Post-Op Instructions

  • Unless you have an allergy to ibuprofen (Advil), and have been instructed by a physician not to take it, or already have been given a prescription for pain medication, you may want to follow these instructions: To Help reduce any tenderness or discomfort, begin immediately taking two (total 400 mg.) ibuprofen tablets three times a day for three to five days.
  • If we prescribed an antibiotic for you, it is important for you to take all of the medication until it is completely finished.
  • If you feel that you are having an allergic reaction to the medication (such as difficulty breathing, a skin rash, itching or hives), you should stop taking your medication and call us immediately.
  • Warm salt water rinses are often helpful (dissolve 1 teaspoonful of salt into 1 cup of warm water, then rinse mouthfuls for a minute several times a day).
  • Do not chew on your treated tooth until all of the tenderness is gone.

Continue reading My New Root Canal Filling

Why Antibiotics Before a Cleaning Appointment


Precautions for Patients with Heart Disease or Murmurs

The American Heart Association cautions that you may need to take antibiotics before having your teeth cleaned or being treated for other dental conditions.

Several heart conditions can be affected by dental procedures. You have indicated on your DentFirst Medical History form that you have had one of the following: heart murmurs, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, angina (chest pain from narrowed arteries in your heart), rheumatic fever, artificial heart valve, heart pacemaker, bypass surgery or vascular surgery, mitral valve prolapse or a recent prosthetic joint replacement.

Some forms of these conditions may be affected by the stress of dental procedures or certain electrical equipment used in the office. Bacteria normally present in your mouth may result in other bodily infections if appropriate antibiotics are not used. Continue reading Why Antibiotics Before a Cleaning Appointment

Tooth Whitening Techniques Compared


Whiteners … What are they and how do they compare?

Ask us to take a look. We can tell you which whitening procedures are best for you. Whiteners may not brighten every different shade of tooth. Yellow teeth will generally whiten well, Brown teeth; not as well. Grey teeth may be very difficult to whiten, but there are some techniques which can improve results even here.

Likewise, whitening will not work on any bonding or tooth-colored fillings which have already been placed in your front teeth. These materials can not be whitened so it is best to do these after the whitening is completed and, if possible, to wait another 2 weeks. Then we can match the proper brightness to your newly-whitened teeth. Composite bonding, porcelain veneers or crowns may be the better option in some cases because the degree of whiteness is totally controllable and mis-shapen teeth can be fixed as well. Additionally porcelain teeth are very resistant to discoloration.

What is in-office Whitening?

If you are a good candidate for tooth whitening procedures, we may suggest that this be done under a dentist’s supervision in the office. Depending upon your starting shade, this may require one to four office visits with each visit taking from 30 minutes to an hour.

Your dentist will first apply a protective gel or rubber shield to protect your gum tissues from the whitening agents. A whitening agent then is painted on to cover the visible portions of the teeth. A special, very bright light of a specific hue, may be used to enhance the speed of the whitening agent.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having my teeth whitened at the Mall rather than at the dental office?


  • Cost


  • Professional supervision lessens post-treatment sensitivity because x-rays of your teeth can be viewed to determine pulpal size and dentinal thickness which affect the sensitivity level.
  • DentFirst offers “Whitening for Life”. Your teeth will most likely darken over time from eating and drinking. Ask about the FREE whitening kits which you can receive for in-home use every year as you continue to visit us for professional Care!
  • A dentist or dental hygienist will supervise the procedure.
  • You can choose a whitening technique where a custom, personalized tray is made to equalize the gel thickness during its application. This will result in more even whitening over the teeth surfaces.
  • If you do have sensitivity you have a professional who is accountable and knows how to treat you.

Continue reading Tooth Whitening Techniques Compared

My New Crown


Now that my tooth has been prepared for a crown what can I expect?

Explanation of today’s treatment

Today your DentFirst dentist prepared and shaped your tooth to receive a crown. Some people refer to these crowns as ‘caps’. Your dentist then made a exacting model of your tooth so that the laboratory could fabricate a covering which will restore it to excellent form and function. In fact the material used to make this impression is so accurate it can detect the raised ink on a brand new dollar bill!

Between now and your next appointment, in a few weeks, both your dentist and the dental laboratory will need to complete many steps. The mould of your upper and lower teeth will be duplicated in high-definition material. This model will be returned to your dentist who will check it carefully and trim it so that the laboratory will be able to more accurately create the metal sub-structure which supports the porcelain. Finally layers of shaded porcelain are bonded, with great care, to shape the final restoration so that it looks like a real tooth. This technique can provide accuracies measured to less than ten-thousandths of an inch.

Care of my temporary crown

To protect your remaining root and tooth structure your dentist has placed what is called a ‘temporary crown’. This is temporarily bonded in place with a medicated glue, or cement, which is only designed to hold your temporary tooth in place until the next visit. On front teeth your temporary crown is made of a tooth-colored plastic which has neither the strength nor vibrancy of color depth which will be present in the final crown. We often call this a ‘Smiling’ tooth…because that’s basically what it was designed for. You should never try to chew with it. On back teeth your temporary crown will be made of metal because of the pressure it receives from the opposing jaw. It, too, should not be used as a chewing tooth. You must chew on the other side of your mouth while it is in place. It is OK to brush your temporary crown. Unless your dentist or dental assistant has demonstrated the special flossing technique for temporary crowns you should not floss around that temporary tooth. Floss may catch under the edges and it will pop off. Your dentist will advise you.

If your temporary crown does become loose you may be able to gently press it back into its proper place. If your appointment for the final crown is just a few days away and there is no sensitivity or concern about its appearance, you may leave it off. However if your appointment is not in the next few days, or it won’t easily seat back into place, then please call us so that we may see you and replace it back onto your tooth where it belongs. Continue reading My New Crown

My New Composite (Tooth-Colored) Restoration


Tooth-colored Restorations

Now that I’ve had my tooth restored with a mercury-free composite filling how can I best care for it?


Today, your DentFirst doctor restored your tooth with a composite, tooth-colored restoration. This material is designed to restore both the contour and function of your tooth. All the decay was removed and a layer of medicine placed to protect and comfort the tooth underneath the high-tech composite. This medicament protects the tooth helping to reduce sensitivity. If the restoration was on a lower tooth then your tongue and lip will probably be numb for few hours. Be careful not to chew them.

We can thank the NASA Space Program for inventing Composite restorations. This space-age plastic and glass material can exhibit the translucency and color of real enamel. These modern composite restorations certainly have the esthetic qualities which make it the material of choice for restoring many teeth. This material actually bonds to the tooth and can strengthen it in ways which other restorative materials can’t.

If your new tooth-colored restoration feels “high” please let us know. We will adjust the bite for you so that it is comfortable. It’s remarkable, but your jaw can detect a discrepancy as thin as a human hair, and this improper meshing is very difficult to recognize while your teeth are numb. Continue reading My New Composite (Tooth-Colored) Restoration

What is a Root Canal?



Root canals (endodontics) are a treatment of the central pulp of the tooth. Each tooth has a central, hollow core in which there are tiny blood vessels and the tooth’s nerve fibers. When injury (trauma or decay) causes this tissue to become infected or die the decaying tissue often becomes infected, and like most infections, swells. Since it is totally surrounded by solid tooth structure the only place the infection can go is into the jawbone. Pus fills the small space between the tooth and the jawbone causing discomfort.

The dentist can relieve this pressure, remove the diseased tissue and fill the hollow central core with a special filling material which prevents the bacteria from finding a place to grow inside the tooth.

Appointments and Procedure

After your dentist has determined that a root-canal is necessary you will be scheduled an appointment for initial treatment or, if you can’t wait, you will be seen that day. During the first appointment your dentist will numb the jaw and clean, shape and disinfect the hollow core of the tooth. A medication will be placed in the tooth to reduce discomfort and kill the bacteria. A temporary filling will be placed over the opening so that food and bacteria do not re-enter the tooth.

Your dentist will probably prescribe medication for the infection as well as for any possible discomfort. You may find that because the pressure from the internal swelling has been relieved that the pain medication is not necessary. However, if your dentist prescribes an antibiotic then please be sure to take the entire dosage as prescribed.

At the second appointment the dentist will remove the temporary filling and medication and re-cleanse the hollow core. If the infection and swelling in your jawbone is under control your dentist will fill that hollow portion of the tooth with an inert material especially designed to protect the tooth and prevent any infection from returning inside that tooth. Continue reading What is a Root Canal?