My Blog

Posts for: February, 2016

By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
February 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   nutrition  
3TipsforMinimizingEnamelErosionfromSportsDrinks

Sports drinks have been widely touted as an ideal way to replenish carbohydrates, electrolytes and, of course, fluids after a strenuous event or workout. But the mixtures of many popular brands often contain acid and added sugar, similar to other types of soft drinks. This can create an acidic environment in the mouth that can be damaging to tooth enamel.

Of course, the best way to replenish fluids after most strenuous activities is nature’s hydrator, water. If, however, you or a family member does drink the occasional sports beverage, you can help reduce the acid impact and help protect tooth enamel by following these 3 tips.

Avoid sipping a sports drink over long periods. Sipping on a drink constantly for hours interferes with saliva, the bodily fluid responsible for neutralizing mouth acid. But because the process can take thirty minutes to an hour to bring the mouth to a normal pH, saliva may not be able to complete neutralization because of the constant presence of acid caused by sipping. It’s best then to limit sports drinks to set periods or preferably during mealtimes.

Rinse your mouth out with water after drinking.  Enamel damage occurs after extended periods of exposure to acid. Rinsing your mouth out immediately after consuming a sports drink will wash away a good amount of any remaining acid and help normalize your mouth’s pH level. And since water has a neutral pH, it won’t add to the acid levels.

Wait an hour to brush after eating. As mentioned before, saliva takes time to neutralize mouth acid. Even in that short period of time, though, acid can soften some of the mineral content in enamel. If you brush during this “soft” period, you may inadvertently brush away some of the minerals. By waiting an hour, you give saliva time not only to neutralize acid but also restore mineral strength to the enamel.

If you would like more information on sports and energy drinks and their effect on dental health, 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 “Think Before you Drink.”


By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
February 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
ArianaGrandeBreaksFree-ofHerWisdomTeeth

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”


By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
February 03, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Night Guard  

Prevent dental wear and tear by wearing a custom-made night guard.

Teeth grinding is a fairly common habit. You may do it and not even notice. Of course, the next time you come in to see your Charlotte, NC family dentists, Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom, for a six-month cleaning they may start to notice the wear and tear that Night Guardteeth grinding is taking on your teeth. Before damage gets too bad, find out when to consider a night guard and how it could help.

What is Bruxism?

While you may have never heard the word bruxism before, you are probably familiar with teeth clenching or grinding. Many people do it and don’t even know it, as it's fairly common to do it in one’s sleep. It’s important that if you have bruxism that you understand the damage it can do to your teeth.

Teeth grinding puts unnecessary pressure on your teeth, which can damage your teeth, cause tooth loss, tooth and jaw pain, recurrent headaches, enamel wear, and jaw joint disorders (TMJ).

Symptoms of Bruxism

One of the telltale signs that you suffer from bruxism is flat teeth. You may not even notice this but your Charlotte, NC general dentists will be able to during one of your regular checkups. You may also experience increased sensitivity to hot or cold in certain teeth because the dentin layer of the tooth is exposed (due to gradual wear). You may also experience jaw pain, stiffness, or clicking.

Treating Bruxism

Once we determine that you grind or clench your teeth, we will often recommend that you wear a plastic, custom-made dental appliance known as a night guard that will work as a shock absorber to reduce the amount of force your jaws are placing on your teeth. This dental device is a great way to protect against future damage to your teeth and gums.

We will take impressions of your teeth, which we will use to create your very own night guard. These night guards are different from any commercial mouth guards you may find, which don’t offer the same fit (and thereby the same protection). They also offer better comfort.

Want to find out if you could benefit from a night guard? Then turn to your dentists in Charlotte, NC at Hockaday & Baucom, DDS.