Q and A: Mouthwash for Oral Hygiene | Fayetteville, GA

For many, mouthwash is an unnecessary extra step and added cost to their oral care routine. Mouthwash isn’t exactly the first thing a dentist will mention when reviewing your regimen, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Mouthwash, after proper brushing and flossing, can provide peace of mind to individuals who struggle to keep cavities at bay, despite their best efforts.

What does mouthwash do?

Mouthwash is advertised to kill bacteria and give you fresh breath, but that isn’t the whole story. Mouthwash reduces the bacteria in your mouth and reduce the amount of plaque it forms. Regular use helps prevent periodontal disease, and those with fluoride work to reduce cavities when used as directed.

What ingredients in mouthwash make it effective?

The bacteria-fighting active ingredient(s) in mouthwash are what make it an effective addition to your routine. Ingredients such as cetylpyridinium chloride, zinc gluconate, or quaternary ammonium are commonly found in washes. Just one of these will provide the bacteria fighting benefits that enhance your routine.

Are natural mouthwashes effective?

Some people advocate for fluoride, and others want little to do with it. Many brands make natural alternatives, utilizing essential oils or harvested ingredients like garlic as an astringent. Whatever the formula, natural mouthwashes have been shown to be effective at preventing gum disease without adding to the rise of antibacterial- resistant bacteria.

Is mouthwash safe for children?

Children under the age of 6 should not be utilizing mouthwash, as they are likely to consume it. Once your child has developed the muscle reflexes necessary to swish and spit the wash, with adult supervision, they can begin to incorporate it into their care routine.

While mouthwash isn’t going to make-or-break your oral hygiene, it is a great way to round out your routine. Mouthwash may bring you peace of mind between visits or be an effective way to keep bacteria at bay for cavity-prone teeth.

To schedule an appointment or learn more about the beautiful smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created visit us online today at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

What You Should Know About Cavities | Fayetteville, GA

Cavities are part of health and hygiene discussions from the moment we begin brushing- or throw a fit about it. Cavities are preventable and treatable; it’s important to be aware of what causes cavities and how dentists treat them.

How Do Cavities Happen?


Acidic Foods– Citric acid contained in lemons, limes and oranges also pops up as an ingredient in processed foods. Citric acid and others weaken teeth and put enamel in danger of erosion which in turn creates crevices for bacteria to stick and become a cavity. It would be difficult to avoid citric acid, so the best thing you can do is consume water throughout the day and keep the intake of acidic foods to a minimum.

Sugar– While sugar doesn’t cause cavities, like citric acid, it contributes to the likelihood you may develop one. Sugar is a harmful bacteria’s favorite food, so the longer sugar lingers on your teeth, the more likely that bacteria will begin to eat it. This weakens your enamel and creates opportunities for that harmful bacteria to hang around and cause a cavity.

Believe it or not, children are not more prone to develop cavities than adults, but there are factors that may put children and elderly individuals at more risk for tooth decay. Children tend to crave and eat sugary foods while doing a poor job brushing their teeth. The elderly tend to take medication that reduces the amount of saliva they produce thus reducing the neutralization properties of saliva. Drinking water throughout the day and regular dental visits can help both children and their grandparents to reduce the chances harmful bacteria may cause a cavity.

How Are Cavities Treated?

If you wake up to a toothache or notice black spots on a tooth, you may have a cavity. Cavities are a common occurrence and dentists have several means of treating them. Treatment options vary depending on how advanced the tooth decay has become.

Simple Decay- Fluoride treatments and fillings are viable treatment options if the cavity is in its early stages. Your dentist will apply a solution to the decaying tooth to kill harmful bacteria and place a filling where the cavity was to seal the area to prevent further decay. This is a fairly simple and painless method for cavity removal, as well as the most common treatment option.

Serious Decay- If the cavity has progressed beyond the ability for a fluoride treatment to remove the bacteria, crowns, root canals and tooth extraction are a dentist’s next line of defense. Crowns are custom coverings for decaying teeth; typically made from porcelain, they work to strengthen your effected tooth once the bacteria has been removed. If the decay reaches the inner tooth, or pulp, your dentist will remove the pulp, medicate it to clear any infection and add a filling. Tooth extraction is a last resort option when the decayed tooth is beyond restoration. Your dentist may recommend a bridge or implant for the gap.

To schedule an appointment or learn more about the beautiful smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created visit us online today at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

How to Care for Baby Teeth | Fayetteville, GA

Our babies and children may never acknowledge the benefits caring for their teeth at that age has on their adult teeth later. Yet, their health will always be better off for early interventions in proper oral hygiene. “Baby teeth” are the precursor for adult teeth, they are the placeholder and it’s important they be maintained for gum health and reduction of harmful bacteria.

Oral hygiene for our children begins the day their first tooth breaks through the gum. With a damp, soft cloth, lightly wipe your babies gums after feeding. Once more prominent, you may begin using a soft toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste twice a day until preschool age. At that age, the amount of toothpaste the can be safely used increases to the size of a pea.

When your child is at that age and able to brush on his or her own, it’s important to keep an eye on them. Many children find the process of brushing teeth to be boring or unimportant, but this is an important age to develop good habits. Singing toothbrushes and flavored toothpaste help encourage kids to find the process more enjoyable and help them guide them towards brushing their teeth for two minutes. Another great way to encourage your child is to brush with them and show them how to get to their molars, back of their teeth and along the front.

Tooth health matters from the day they appear, so parents who take their children’s oral hygiene seriously and encourage good habits aid the child’s adult teeth later- even if they don’t know it yet.

To schedule an appointment or learn more about the beautiful smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created visit us online today at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

Best Practices for Veneers | Fayetteville, GA

Porcelain veneers are one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures people seek for their smiles. The longevity of your veneers can vary depending on how they are cared for. Here are some best practices for maintaining your veneers for years to come.

Good Oral Hygiene- Maintaining good oral hygiene such as regular brushing, flossing and incorporating a mouthwash is great for your natural teeth and veneers. Veneers are placed along the gemlike to retain the appearance of being natural, so it’s important to keep your oral hygiene up to avoid a receding gemlike that may expose the veneer.

Avoid Unnecessary Force- Nail biting, chewing ice and forceful brushing can break or dislodge a veneer; they can also be the reason your dentist recommended veneers to begin with. It’s important to make an effort to avoid these habits for the longevity of your veneers.

Stop Clenching and Grinding- This bad habit is a great way to chip or break your veneers over time. Bruxism, or the grinding of teeth at night, can be avoided by incorporating a night guard when you sleep. Reducing stress or finding alternative means to clenching your teeth will also go a long way in maintaining your new pearly whites.

Limit Staining- Porcelain is a material that resists stains, but the dental cement used to keep them in place unfortunately is not. Coffee, tobacco, wine and any other food and beverage that may stain your teeth will stain the cement over time. Eventually, if not properly cared for along the way, the cement will become discolored and look odd against your veneers – or even start to make your veneers look discolored by association.

To schedule an appointment or learn more about the beautiful smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created visit us online today at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

The Positive Health Effects of a Smile | Fayetteville, GA

There is no official evidence supporting the adage “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile” but there is evidence to support the positive effects of a smile. Everything in the human body is connected, and smiles have real-life implications for our physical and mental health. Friends may even encourage one another to smile during difficult times; that is because even a fake smile produces real endorphins.

Smiling and Our Health. When we smile, our brains release neuropeptides and neurotransmitters that alleviate the stressors of our day. The most common hormones associated with these results are dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Dopamine and serotonin are “happy hormones”, acting as antidepressants. Endorphins offer mild pain relief; together, they have been shown to reduce stress and our heart rate. A smile a day can go a long way to making us feel better and look out onto the world with a positive attitude.

Smiling and Our Relationships. People who smile more often are seen as being more approachable, likable, creative, and productive. Smiling can also have a “ripple effect” as one person’s expression of joy can cause an onlooker to also feel joy and smile too. The next time you are out with friends, or a loved one could use a pick-me-up, remind them of their positive attributes and share a smile with them!

It is important to note that there are individuals who experience smile anxiety and may hesitate to share in this exchange. Smile anxiety occurs when an individual becomes reluctant to smile in public because he or she dislikes, or is embarrassed by, the aesthetic appeal of their smile. There are many factors that may cause someone to feel this way including trauma, decay or the way in which their adult set has grown in.

Its important to retain gentle kindness if you know a loved one struggles with the appearance of their smile, though there are several means of restoration your dentist may accommodate.

To learn about the restoration options that may be right for you and view the gorgeous smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created, visit us online at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

The Process of Wisdom Tooth Removal | Fayetteville, GA

Wisdom teeth can crowd valuable gum space and can cause third molars to grow improperly and teeth to overlap one another; for individuals with small mouths and jaws, this is especially detrimental. Wisdom tooth removal is a very common procedure performed on a majority of young adults, and is nothing to be afraid of.

Not everyone gets wisdom teeth, but if your wisdom teeth do grow in, this is the basic process you can expect to go through:

Consultation. If you are feeling the growing pains of new teeth coming in at the back of your jaw, it may be a sign your wisdom teeth are coming in. It is common for this set of teeth to erupt in young adults between one’s late teenage years to their early twenties.

Removal. The removal process will look a little different for everyone depending on the circumstances of tooth positioning, jaw size and angle at which wisdom teeth come in. For some, this set of molars does not impact their jaw or existing teeth and they can safely retain them. Most people however do require removal and have two options:

         IV Sedation. For those with dental anxiety or who are generally concerned about their procedure, IV sedation is a great option. Upon arrival, you are allowed a few minutes to breathe and relax as an IV drip slowly puts you to sleep. When the procedure is over, you will wake up and may experience a somewhat dazed feeling until the solution fades.

         Nitrous Oxide. Commonly known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide allows one to remain awake during the procedure and is administered as a means of relaxing an individual into their procedure. It’s important to note that nitrous oxide does not work for everyone and that increased amounts do not necessarily mean a more effective result.

Recovery. Initial recovery from the effects of sedation or nitrous oxide after surgery typically only lasts a few hours. Healing time for the gums can take up to two weeks and the reintroduction of certain foods follow this period so as not to further disturb your gums. Your dentist will speak with you about proper cleaning methods for the gums to ensure a safe and effective healing process.

Wisdom tooth removal can be viewed as either a rite of passage into adulthood or terrifying for someone to go through. Either way, the removal of our wisdom teeth for those who attain them is important.

To learn more about wisdom teeth removal, or to schedule an appointment today, visit us online at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

Dental Myths and Misconceptions | Fayetteville, GA

Oral care and hygiene are paramount to our ability to maintain and retain our teeth as we age. With so much information about oral care practices online, we felt it was important to demystify some of the most common dental myths we hear and offer advice on how to move forward.

Myth 1. Hard Brushing Cleans Better.

This action is counter-productive, as excess pressure on your teeth can work to damage enamel rather than support it. Hard brushing also hurts our gums and can lead to a recessed gum lining over time. We recommend taking care to brush gently with a soft-bristle brush.

Myth 2. Chewing Gum Helps Clean Teeth.

Chewing gum is certainly not a replacement to brushing. Chewing gum can be a great way to combat sugar cravings or a candy habit, but while it makes your breath smell better, it cannot replace the benefits of brushing.

Myth 3. Baby Teeth Don’t Need Brushing.

Good oral care practices begin when we are young, and proper oral care for a child’s first set of teeth matters. Tooth decay in a baby tooth can lead to complications as an adult, so we recommend a twice daily brushing routine as soon as the child has teeth.

Myth 4. Sugar Causes Cavities.

Sugar itself is not the cause of cavities, though the bacteria that eat the sugar can be. The starches and sugar itself attract bacteria that thrive on the surface of your teeth and release an acidic compound that promotes tooth decay. Regular brushing and rinsing after eating particular sugary foods will go a log way to prevent decay.

Myth 5. Enamel Loss Causes Sensitivity.

There are many reasons why we may experience sensitivity, and enamel loss doesn’t happen overnight. Tooth grinding, abrasive toothpaste, aggressive brushing and lack of regular proper oral hygiene all contribute to both sensitivity and a loss of enamel. Should you lose your enamel however, you will likely experience tooth sensitivity as well.

To schedule an appointment today or learn more about Dream Works Dental and see the beautiful smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created, visit us online at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

What Type of Toothbrush and Toothpaste is Right For Me? | Fayetteville, GA

When it comes to oral hygiene we all know its best to have a nicely bristled toothbrush and brush twice a day for two minutes. For most of us, that is a good enough rule of thumb for our oral hygiene, but how we brush also matters.

When you go to pick out a new toothbrush, the package notes different bristle stiffness options such as “soft” or “hard”. Dentists recommend soft bristle brushes for people of all ages to decrease excess pressure and harsh brushing on your teeth and gums. Excess pressure while brushing can damage enamel and create microtears in your gum tissue.

Other decisions to make about your toothbrush include what materials it’s made from, bristle pattern and the addition of things like charcoal to the bristles.

Plastic toothbrushes with rubber grips line the lisle, but did you know toothbrushes are also made with bamboo and plant-based, compostable materials? Toothbrushes made from plant materials contribute less plastic waste to our world; simply cut off the bristles and burry the handle in your yard (or as recommended by manufacturer).

Bristle pattern and things like additional cleaning or whitening features are up to you. Whatever pattern you choose, all toothbrushes are designed to remove surface level food and stains. Toothbrushes featuring additives are not inherently bad – they can complement a well-rounded hygienic routine. Just be sure not to utilize only charcoal or use it too often, as it may serve to damage your enamel more than it whitens your teeth.

Toothpaste options tend to range from flavor to sensitivity level. Sensitivity toothpaste works by concealing dentinal tubules or desensitizing nerve endings. They also contain fluoride which works to strengthen enamel. While the flavor of your toothpaste is unique to you, stringent options such as peppermint may affect the enjoyment of your morning coffee.

To schedule an appointment today or learn more about Dream Works Dental and see the beautiful smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created, visit us today at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

Easy Practices for Better Oral Hygiene | Fayetteville, GA

Caring for our oral hygiene is highly important to our overall health. While we all do our best, there are habits you may have picked up along the way that may contribute significantly to the deterioration of our overall oral hygiene.

Here are some behaviors that may be worth considering the next time you step into your bathroom.

Toothbrush Storage. How we care for our toothbrush matters – a dirty or splay-bristled toothbrush can introduce unwanted bacteria or hurt your gums while you brush. The best way to care for your brush is to rinse after brushing and allow to air dry on its own.

Toothbrush Cleanliness. Keeping your toothbrush dry and clean is important for your oral hygiene and the longevity of the brush. Packing a wet toothbrush invites a warm, moist environment for bacteria to grow. Overcleaning your brush however will deteriorate the bristles faster, meaning more replacement.

Multitasking. Many of us utilize brushing time to pick out our clothing for the day or wipe the mirror. While this isn’t a bad thing, it may mean you aren’t brushing your teeth properly. Over time, the lack of care will contribute to a buildup of bacteria between your teeth or gums.

Irregular Dental Visits. Its completely understandable why people may be hesitant to visit the dentist; dental anxiety, bad experiences and strange noises can contribute to an uneasy visit. Avoiding the dentist, or having inconsistent visits can escalate what may have been a small issue under regular care.

To schedule an appointment today or learn more about Dream Works Dental and see the beautiful smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created, visit us today at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.

Is IV Sedation Right For Me? | Fayetteville, GA

If you experience a physical reaction to the idea of certain stimuli being triggered by going to the dentist, you may have dental anxiety. Dental anxiety is common among kids and adults alike. Whether someone has had a bad experience at the dentist or not, we all know getting a second opinion could result in more serious diagnosis. Continue reading to learn if IV Sedation may be right for you.

When dentists perform restorative procedures, there are typically a variety of sedation options available to the individual. The two main ones being nitrous oxide or intravenous (IV) sedation. The inhalation of nitrous allows a patient to relax, but IV sedation can guide the patient into a deeper relaxation and in some cases, lull them to sleep.

The following are benefits to utilizing IV sedation for sleep dentistry.

  • Administration of the drug is tailored to the patient’s needs
  • The results of IV sedation are reliable and the most effective means of sedation
  • If you are particularly sensitive to your gag reflex, IV sedation will relax the reaction, but your dentist may recommend nitrous oxide
  • In contrast to general anesthesia, IV sedation is safer and allows you to retain consciousness.
  • Due to the amount of control your practitioner has with the dosage of IV administered, your recovery time is shorter than with oral sedation.

Remaining consistent with your oral health in your daily life, as well as with regular check-ups, are the best way to avoid unfavorable experiences at the dentist. If you do enter into a restorative process, discuss your concerns with your dentist to see if IV sedation may be right for you.

To schedule an appointment today or learn more about Dream Works Dental and see the beautiful smiles Dr. Sukari McMiller has created, visit us today at www.dreamworksdentalcare.com.

Dr. Sukari McMiller proudly serves patients from Fayetteville and all surrounding areas.