Dentist Blog

Posts for: March, 2015

By Northside Family Dentistry
March 24, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Actor Michael Douglas shocked TV audiences across the country when he announced on the David Letterman Show in 2010 that he has stage IV oral cancer. Fortunately, the cancer had not spread and his radiation and chemotherapy treatments were successful. This year, Douglas teamed up with the Oral Cancer Foundation to warn others about the dangers of the disease and the importance of early detection. In particular, he wants younger people to know that even if they don't smoke and drink a lot, as he admitted to Letterman that he did, they are still at risk.

As Douglas states in a PSA he made with the foundation, “the fastest growing segment of the people developing oral cancers are young, non smokers.” That's due to a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus known as HPV16 that can be transmitted through oral sex. So it's important to avoid risky sexual behaviors and to be screened regularly for this devastating disease that claims one life every hour in the U.S., according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

An oral cancer screening is a simple visual and tactile exam done right here at the dental office. We will feel your neck for lumps and inspect your lips and all inside surfaces of the mouth, including the back of your throat, for any suspicious signs. If any are found, a biopsy (laboratory analysis of a tissue sample) can be ordered.

Most oral cancers are “squamous” (small scale-shaped) cell carcinomas that occur in the lining of the mouth and are often preceded by recognizable changes (lesions) of the oral membranes. White or red patches begin to form in the pre-cancerous stage, and as the cancer develops, a non-healing ulcer may appear. If you notice any such changes in your mouth, please let us know.

Michael Douglas ends his PSA with the following plea: “So please, the next time you visit your dentist or your medical doctor, ask for this simple screening. Finding oral cancer in its earliest stages may save your life.” We agree, which is why we always perform this screening during your regular dental check-up. If it's been a while since your last appointment, please come in and see us.

If you would like more information about oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about the disease in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”

By Northside Family Dentistry
March 11, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dentures  

Northside Family DentistryDo you have a broken smile that leaves your whole mouth lifeless and dull? Many people with either full or partial tooth loss are left searching for long-term solutions for their damaged self-confidence and even worse-off smile. But did you know that damaged or missing teeth aren't only a self-confidence issue, but a health issue, too?

That's because completely missing teeth can cause nutritional deficiencies and other systemic health problems. But you don't have to be all frowns and no smiles if you have vacant spots in your mouth, as both full and partial dentures provide a lasting solution!

At Northside Family Dentistry, you'll experience full dental relief with full or partial dentures, whichever is best depending on your specific dental profile. Using the expert techniques of dental experts like Clinton M. Watson, D.D.S., M.B.A., your mouth can be fitted with dentures that improve overall tooth function while also offering a more aesthetically-appealing look to your smile.

If you've lost teeth suddenly and have gotten immediate dentures to shore up the damage, you may realize that some of your dental tissues have shrank and your jawbone has started to lose its usual strength. When this begins to occur, it's most likely a sign that your emergency dentures don't fit like they need to anymore.

During times like these, it's best to either have your dentures relined using the expert techniques employed by Dr. Watson and his on-site dental assistants or to move ahead to longer-lasting and more efficient full dentures.

Regardless of which route you choose, or if you're ready for your first pair of fitted dentures to improve your smile, come into the office today and see for yourself why dentures provide the best option for overcoming your harrowing dental dilemma. If you'd rather know more about all that Northside Family Dentistry has to offer before you come in, feel free to give one of Dr. Watson's dental associates a call at (478) 475-1976 so you can begin the journey towards achieving a smile that keeps on smiling right here in Macon, GA!

By Northside Family Dentistry
March 09, 2015
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: dental exam  

Most everyone knows that going to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings can help save your smile — but did you ever stop to think that it just might save your life?

That's what recently happened to 11-year-old Journee Woodard of Edmond, Oklahoma. The young girl was having a routine teeth cleaning when hygienist Rachel Stroble noticed something unusual: The whites of her eyes (her sclera) had a distinctly yellow tint. Dr. Michael Chandler, Journee’s dentist, confirmed the hygienist’s suspicions, and advised her mom to take her for further testing. The tests revealed that Journee had a tumor covering parts of her pancreas, gallbladder and liver; it could have ruptured at any moment, with devastating consequences.

The tumor was removed three days later in a 9-hour operation, and Journee is now recovering. As for her dentist, Dr. Chandler told reporters that he and his staff were just doing their jobs thoroughly. “It's hard to feel like I’m a hero,” he said (though others might disagree).

Is this a one-in-a-million case? Maybe — yet for many people, a family dentist may be the health care professional who is seen more often than any other. That can put dentists in the unique position of being able to closely monitor not only a person’s oral health, but also their overall health.

There are several reasons why that’s so. One is that most systemic diseases (such as diabetes, leukemia, and heart disease, for example) can have oral manifestations — that is, symptoms that show up in the mouth. If your dentist notices something unusual, further testing may be recommended. Dentists also regularly screen for diseases specific to the mouth — such as oral cancer, which has a much better chance of being cured when it is caught at an early stage.

But beyond checking for particular diseases, dentists often notice other things that may indicate a health issue. For example, if you complain of dry mouth or snoring, and appear fatigued in the dental chair, your dentist may suspect undiagnosed sleep apnea: a potentially serious condition. Many other signs — such as yellowed eyes, a pounding heart rate, or shortness of breath — can indicate potential problems.

Of course, we’re not even mentioning the main reason for regular dental checkups — keeping your smile healthy and bright; for many people that’s reason enough. How does Journee’s mom feel about keeping dental appointments? “I will never miss another dentist appointment,” she told reporters. “I will never reschedule.”

If you would like more information about routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”