Your Guide to Halloween Candy: What to Avoid and How to Take Care of Your Teeth

October 21, 2021

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 6:05 pm

Trick-or-treating is fun for the whole family, and children often anticipate the evening of fun the entire year! Halloween is coming up and we want you and your children to enjoy the festivities….without damaging your teeth! Here is a list of some of the most harmful treats for your teeth and how you can better protect them this October 31st.


Things to Look for in a New Dentist

November 16, 2020

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , — southlakedental @ 9:52 am

Has the time come for you to look for a new dentist? This can happen for a variety of reasons. You might move to a new city or town, or you might start working in a city that is far away from your current dentist. Your old dentist might have retired or moved offices, or maybe you just weren’t happy there. Another possibility is that you have not been seeing a dentist regularly, and now you’ve decided it’s time to do so. Of course, your first concern is that you find a dentist that you like and who can meet your needs. If you’re not sure how to start narrowing down the pool, here are some other considerations when looking for a new dentist.


It seems obvious, but the location is one of the more important considerations to keep in mind when looking for a new dentist. It isn’t necessarily just as simple as finding someone in town, though. Think about traffic during the time of day that you’re likely to make appointments (particularly if you’re trying to see the dentist before or after work, which might be during rush hour), as well as the office’s convenience to both work and home.

Now, this is not to say that an excellent dentist is not worth going out of your way! There are times when you might choose a dentist who is out of town or inconveniently located. Consider whether you will want to or can travel farther if you have a severe toothache, if you need to go to the dentist during the middle of your workday, or if you have to go in several times for a procedure that takes more than one visit.

Insurance and Payments

If you have dental insurance, you likely have a list of dentists who are in-network. Depending on your plan, you might pay a bit more if you go out of network, or you might have no coverage at all if you see someone, not on your plan. Only you can decide if you are in the financial position to see whoever you’d like, regardless of whether they participate in your insurance network.

If you don’t have insurance, you’re freer to go wherever you’d like. You might purchase a discount plan with your specific dentist. Payment options are another consideration. If you need to make payment plans, use a dental credit service (like CareCredit), or would like to see someone who will give you a discount for paying cash upfront, these are questions to ask before your first appointment.

Recommendations and Reviews

When trying to find a new dentist, particularly if you’re new to the area, you will need to rely on others’ recommendations. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and acquaintances who they think is the right dentist in your town. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to find all types of service providers, including a dentist! You can also check on Yelp, Facebook Reviews, Google Reviews, and the like. Some dentists will also have testimonials on their websites (though these will generally only include positive reviews). Do as much filtering of the available dentists in your area without leaving home to save time.

Looking for a new dentist can be stressful, but with these considerations, you can narrow down your options and then make the best decision from there. If you are searching for a new dentist, please feel free to call and schedule a consultation so you can see if our office is a good fit.

4 Cosmetic Dental Procedures to Give You a Straighter or Whiter Smile

September 15, 2020

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , , , , — southlakedental @ 1:34 pm

 At our dental office, not only do we care about your overall oral health, but we also care how you feel about your teeth cosmetically. With the holiday season quickly approaching, many individuals consider options to whiten and/or straighten their smile before gatherings and family photos. If you’re interested in enhancing your smile, various dental procedures allow you to safely and effectively achieve the smile you’ve been dreaming of. Here are a few options that we offer at our office: 

1. Whitening – Teeth whitening is one of the most commonly requested dental procedures. Did you know you can safely whiten your teeth at home using custom trays made at our office? In most cases, a visit for whitening tray impressions takes less than 30 minutes. Your custom trays will be made in our onsite dental lab and are available for you to pick up by the following business day. 

Our dentists recommend ways to prevent teeth staining and discoloration, but daily habits such as drinking coffee and tea and the use of tobacco products can contribute to unwanted staining. While some toothpaste, mouthwash, and drugstore products can whiten teeth, the best results come from your dentist. Along with your custom whitening trays, you’ll receive a whitening gel that you place in the trays and wear on your teeth daily for a short period of time to gradually whiten your teeth. 

If you’re interested in a quick whitening tray option, we also carry Opalescence teeth whitening trays at our office. These one-size-fits-all whitening trays are “grab and go” so you can pick one up at your next appointment. 

 Whitening trays have proven to be an effective way to whiten and brighten your smile. Our patients are extremely pleased with the results. Give us a call if you’d like more information or if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

2. Bonding – If you’re interested in restoring a cracked, chipped or discolored tooth, a cosmetic procedure such as tooth bonding can give you the results you want. Bonding is a method that corrects the shape or the shade of your teeth. It can also close small spaces, black triangles in between teeth or increase the size of a tooth to achieve a more symmetrical smile. 

The procedure can often be done without anesthetic and completed in one visit. Our dentists simply apply a tooth-colored composite resin to one or more of your teeth to repair damage. This whitening method is seen as a cost effective solution as it’s less expensive than other cosmetic dental procedures such as crowns and veneers. The best part: the results are instant! 

Bonding is especially great for fixing any imperfections in your teeth and restoring confidence in your smile. 

3. Veneers – Out of all the cosmetic teeth solutions, dental veneers achieve the most aesthetic results. Veneers are a thin porcelain covering that’s placed over your teeth. Many patients choose to have veneers placed on one or more teeth to achieve their desired smiles.  

You can pick out the shade of the synthetic teeth covering, creating a white and bright smile. We can change the shape, length, or size of your teeth using veneers. Veneers are applied to the part of the teeth that shows when talking or smiling. That means we remove less tooth material, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable than crowns

If you choose to have a veneer placed on a single tooth, the shape of the veneer can be specifically made to fit that one tooth and create a natural look that blends in with surrounding teeth. Veneer placement is generally painless but requires two or more visits. Veneers do not stain and years after they still maintain the same shade and esthetics.  

4. Invisalign – Clear aligners are the most popular way to correct a smile these days — especially adults who do not want a “metal mouth.” 

Many people who formerly wore braces choose Invisalign orthodontic treatment as the discrete solution to correct any relapses. Invisalign treatment is the process of wearing a series of clear, removable aligners/clear trays that gradually straighten your teeth. There are no brackets and wires, and none of the restrictions that come with metal braces.

Even if your teeth are slightly misaligned, it can affect your overall oral health. Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean, which puts you at risk of decay and periodontal disease, and can cause jaw pain. Depending on the complexity of your case, you could complete your treatment in as few as six months. 

Most patients will start seeing results in a matter of weeks. Our doctors will ensure your aligners fit well, answer your questions, and let you know what to expect.

If you have questions about any of these ways to get a straighter or whiter smile, give us a call today.

Which Teeth Whitening Option Will Work for Me?

July 22, 2020

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , , , , — southlakedental @ 4:31 pm

Teeth whitening is a popular dental procedure here in Fort Mill and beyond. Most people want their teeth to appear white and bright. Studies show that people feel more confident when they have white teeth. You may feel compelled to whiten your teeth for professional interactions. 

Even with perfect at-home brushing and flossing, your teeth can become yellowish or stained due to medications, age, food and drink, and tobacco use. No matter the cause, there is a solution for whiter teeth. However, there are so many options both over-the-counter and through your dentist. How do you know which ones actually work? 

Don’t get stuck with teeth whitening gimmicks. There are tons of teeth whitening options, and here is what to know about them: 

Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are easy to find over-the-counter at drug and retail stores, and they are relatively cheap. The strips are also reasonably easy to use. The strips come in sections for your top and bottom teeth, and you place and adapt them on. After waiting for the directed amount of time, you can take them off and rinse your mouth. When used over time, at-home whitening strips will make your teeth somewhat whiter. However, the results take time, and you’ll only get a few shades of whitening. Many people also struggle with the strips because the gel doesn’t taste good and can cause teeth or gum sensitivity. Also, user error prevents from achieving desirable results. Sitting there with strips on may feel uncomfortable. 

Keep in mind, tooth whitening products sold at stores do not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration because they are considered cosmetic. Only one type of whitening strip has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association

Please note that most whitening products are not suitable for children. Check with your child’s dentist before applying whitening products. 

Whitening Toothpaste or Mouthwash

Another low-cost method to whiten your smile is toothpaste or mouthwash that contain whitening agents. Again, these are an easy choice for many because they are easy to find and don’t cost much more than regular toothpaste or mouthwash. 

The great thing about whitening toothpaste and mouthwash is that each can be used in combination with other whitening treatments. This is an easy and affordable way to help achieve white teeth, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work alone. To obtain the whitest teeth possible, you will need to add another whitening method to your regime. These methods will also only get you a few shades brighter. However, this is a wonderful place to start if you are on a budget and can wait for gradual results.  

Teeth Whitening Trays and Gels 

Whitening trays and gels are a great way to whiten your teeth while at home. To use, fill the trays with the provided bleaching product and wear them for either a few hours or overnight, then brush the product away. Many Fort Mill dentists, including Southlake Family Dentistry, offer these trays. Please make an appointment to come to the office to custom fit your trays for the maximum comfort possible. We can then select the right level of bleaching for your teeth and goals. These take-home whitening kits cost a little more than over-the-counter strips but are convenient and cheaper than in-office bleaching. The results are more dramatic and take less time to achieve.  Also, these trays can be used for future touch-ups as needed.

In-Office Bleaching 

Visiting the office for a bleaching treatment is the quickest and most effective way to achieve those pearly whites. During your visit, we can apply a whitening solution directly to your teeth. Your treatment will last 60 to 90 minutes. You can then go about your day, but you should avoid coffee, tomato sauce, yellow mustard, and red wine. This treatment is preferred by many because of its immediate results and effectiveness. However, in-office bleaching is the most expensive of all these methods, so contact us today to discuss pricing and payment options.  

Now that you know all of the teeth whitening options we recommend, it should be much easier to choose which one will be best for you and your teeth. If you are interested in teeth whitening trays and gels or in-office bleaching, please contact us to set up an office visit. We can’t wait to see you and your bright smile! 

The Best (and Worst) Fruits for Good Dental Health

June 1, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 12:12 am

Fruit: It’s healthy, and that means it’s good for your teeth, right? While this is true in most cases, there are a few exceptions. Since summer is a great time to enjoy a variety of fruit, read on for some information about choosing the best (and worst) fruits when it comes to your dental health.


You’ve heard the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and you might not realize that enjoying these crunchy fruits can also keep the dentist away (not that you’d want to, of course!). The act of chewing apples creates friction around the teeth and gums that physically scrubs plaque and food debris off of these surfaces. If you can’t brush your teeth after lunch, crunching on a few slices of a crisp apple can help stave off the bacteria that causes cavities. Naturally, you will want to brush when you are able to.


High in vitamin C, strawberries are little powerhouses in the vitamin and health department. They also contain a bit of acid which can neutralize the bacteria hanging out in your mouth. In addition, they are similar to apples in that they create a scrubbing action as you chew them. Strawberries can be eaten whole or sliced up in a fruit salad. One caveat: If you have small pits in your teeth, the tiny seeds can get caught, so be sure to brush and floss well to remove them.

Raisins (and Other Dried Fruit)

Dried fruit is on the list of the worst fruits to eat for good dental health. Why? It’s sticky and contains concentrated sugars without any extra liquid to help wash it off of your teeth. Eating raisins, dried apricots, and dried dates can actually make your teeth less healthy! While it’s fine to eat these foods, it’s very important to brush well afterward to remove traces of the sweet snacks from your teeth so as not to attract the bacteria that causes dental cavities.

With summer right around the corner, fruit makes a great dessert and snack. You can also add it to any meal for a nutritional boost. Just be sure that you choose wisely when it comes to your dental health.

Why Should You Quit Smoking?

May 1, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 3:43 pm

If you smoke, you’ve undoubtedly heard dozens of reasons why you should stop. A lower life expectancy, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack… all of these are more likely among smokers than among their non-smoking peers. If you needed a few more reasons to quit smoking, here are some ways the habit negatively affects your oral health.

Smoking Makes Gum Disease Worse

Smoking can cause or exacerbate gum disease. Why? First, it tends to dry out the oral tissues, leading to more fragility in the gums. As they dry, they pull away from the teeth, leaving a handy spot for bacteria to hang out. Smoking also affects the tiny capillaries bringing oxygen to the gum tissues, which can make it take longer for small abrasions to heal.

Smoking Can Lead to Tooth Loss

As the gum tissues dry out and become more unhealthy, the bone underneath also begins to erode. This can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Also, if you have oral surgery, you’re at risk for infection and complications if you keep smoking. You’ll be more likely to keep your teeth if you quit smoking.

Smoking Has Cosmetic Effects, Too

Of course, you might be mainly concerned about the immediate cosmetic effects of smoking. Yellowed teeth and halitosis (bad breath) are common maladies experienced by smokers. Teeth whitening doesn’t work well if you continue smoking while you undergo the treatment. And while good oral hygiene can help with bad breath, the fact is that cigarettes and frequent gum infections will cause halitosis despite your best efforts.

It is hard to quit smoking. The good news is that there are several products and behavior modification techniques that can help. Your physician is a good source of information on how you can kick the habit. Talk to your doctor or dentist today about how you can stop smoking and achieve better oral health (and overall health).

Avoid Getting a Summer Cold

April 15, 2018

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , — southlakedental @ 2:55 pm

With the winter in the rearview mirror now, you’re probably looking ahead with the knowledge that cold and flu season is finally over. Unfortunately, it’s still possible to pick up a cold (or cold-like symptoms) in the spring and summer. There are some steps you can take to avoid getting a summer cold. Read on to find out what they are.

Wash Your Hands

Just as you did over the winter, be sure to wash your hands frequently. Although there aren’t as many germs lurking around as there were at the height of flu season, you can still pick up bugs by touching doorknobs, handrails, grocery carts, and the like. After you get home from being out in public, give your hands a good washing with warm water and soap. If you’re going to a place that’s expected to be crowded, consider carrying hand sanitizer.

Treat Your Allergies

Symptoms of a summer cold that linger for more than a week or two might be caused by allergies to pollen, mold, or other environmental factors. A lingering cough, postnasal drip, stuffiness, or headache might very well be caused by hayfever. This can, in some cases, progress into a sinus infection, so it’s important to have your allergies treated. See your doctor if you get a cold that isn’t improving after a week.

Keep Your Immune System Healthy

There are lifestyle choices you can make that will reduce your risk of developing a summer cold. Eat healthy foods (focus on fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, and whole grains), get enough sleep, and be sure to exercise each day. Going for a walk outdoors also exposes you to vitamin D, which can boost your immunity. Go in the early morning or early evening without sunscreen so you can reap the benefits of the sun without putting yourself at risk from the UV rays. (Be sure to cover up and use sunscreen the rest of the time.)

Staying healthy through the summer is usually easier than doing so during the winter, but being aware of the ways you can avoid a summer cold is always helpful!

Do You Need a Mouthguard?

March 1, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , , , — southlakedental @ 5:08 pm

Have you ever considered wearing a mouthguard? If you’re like many dental patients, you probably associate mouthguards with the safety gear that football players wear. If you’re not a football player yourself, you’ve probably never considered that you might need a mouthguard. But mouthguards can benefit other patients as well.


Football is a rough sport, but it’s not the only one that poses a danger to your mouth and teeth. The American Dental Association recommends mouthguards for athletes participating in a number of different sports.

Basketball, handball, racquetball, baseball, softball, and soccer, are all sports that carry the risk of getting hit in the mouth by a fast-moving projectile. Track, acrobatics, skiing, surfing, martial arts, skydiving, and track and field events all come with the risk of impacts or falls that could cause a mouth or tooth injury. If you participate in any sport where a mouth injury is possible, wearing a mouthguard can protect your teeth, tongue, and gums and potentially save you a lot of money in dental bills.

Nighttime Teeth Grinders

Do you ever wake up with a stiff, sore jaw or a headache? Are your teeth chipped or worn down? You may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. This is called bruxism, and it can damage your teeth, cause pain and difficulty speaking and chewing, and contribute to conditions like Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD).

While daytime teeth grinding might be a bad habit that you can overcome with willpower, there’s not much you can do to stop yourself from grinding your teeth in your sleep. Nighttime teeth grinding can be caused by many things, including stress or certain medications. A mouthguard designed for wearing while you sleep can protect your teeth from nighttime tooth grinding.

Your dentist can create a custom mouthguard that fits the precise size and shape of your mouth and is optimized for your needs, whether you’re an athlete or a person suffering from bruxism. Talk to us about whether you need a mouthguard at your next appointment.

Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

December 3, 2017

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , , , — southlakedental @ 7:37 pm

‘Tis the season for holiday greetings, mall Santas, and getting together with family and friends. While all of these are wonderful, the winter season often features something not-so-wonderful: symptoms of coughing, sneezing, sniffling, headaches, and fevers. Unfortunately, cold and flu season is upon us. We want all of our patients to stay healthy, so here are our best tips for staying healthy this winter and beyond.

Get a Flu Shot

If you are able to safely get a flu shot (your doctor will be able to tell you if it’s right for you or if you should skip it), please strongly consider doing so! The influenza vaccine can protect you, your family, and members of the community from an illness that kills approximately 36,000 Americans every year. It’s recommended for almost everyone over the age of 6 months, and even during the seasons when it’s not a perfect match for the viruses circulating in your area, it can reduce your chances of being hospitalized with the flu. Note that the flu shot can’t give you the flu; it might make you achy and give you a fever for a day, but you won’t be contagious or at risk for the complications that influenza can cause.

Wash Your Hands

Following the flu shot, the most important and effective way to stop the spread of illness is simple handwashing. Make it a habit to lather up after getting home from being out and about, before preparing food, and, of course, after using the restroom. If you work with the public, wash more frequently; you might also consider using an antibacterial gel for times when you can’t access a sink for a full wash.

Quarantine Yourself

If you notice that you’re getting sick, stay home if at all possible. Preventing the spread of colds and the flu through the community does everyone else a favor. Cough into your sleeve or a tissue, wash your hands often, and don’t share utensils, glasses, or towels when you’re sick. If you can’t stay home, at least minimize your interactions with others, particularly those who are under the age of 5, elderly, or immunocompromised.

Keep Up With Your Healthy Habits

One final way to keep yourself healthy is to follow the rules of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke, exercise daily, get outside each day for fresh air, get enough sleep, and eat healthy foods. These will all help you stay healthy all year long and are especially important during cold and flu season.

Gum Disease and Your Heart

November 2, 2017

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 4:00 pm

You might not know this, but if you have gingivitis or periodontitis, the mild and severe stages of gum disease, respectively, you could be putting your heart at risk. At the same time, if you have heart problems, it’s very important that you take good care of your gums. What’s the connection? Read on to find out.

Gum Health Affects the Heart

If you have gum disease, there is more bacteria than normal in your gum tissue. This bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and attach to fatty deposits in the blood vessels. This can cause the deposits to break off and head toward the heart, which can cause a heart attack. If the bacteria travels to the heart, you’re also at risk for heart infection. This is particularly true if you have certain heart conditions already.

Preventing Problems With Good Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene can make it less likely that you will have heart problems caused by gum disease. Be sure to brush twice daily and to floss every night before bed. Also, see your dentist regularly. Follow his or her advice regarding how often you should have your teeth cleaned; some people need to go more often than twice yearly, particularly if they have gum disease.

Ask Whether You Need Antibiotics

There are certain heart conditions that make infections more likely. If you have had recent surgery or if you have an artificial heart valve or any other heart condition, check with your cardiologist as to whether you should take antibiotics before having dental work (including cleanings). Be sure to follow the directions; many protocols call for a very large dose of antibiotics one or two hours before the appointment. If you are prescribed antibiotics for a gum infection, take them as directed and don’t stop taking them early unless your doctor or dentist tells you to.

Your gum health is essential to protecting your heart. Talk to your dentist about how you can preserve the health of your heart by combating gum disease.

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