Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What Are Porcelain Veneers and Why Are They Used?

Porcelain veneers are very thin layers of ceramic material that are used to improve the look of a patient's smile. These ultra-thin layers are bonded to the front tooth surface in an effort to protect or restore the tooth (or teeth) while maintaining a natural appearance.

Porcelain veneers can be used for a number of reasons. They can improve the appearance of discolored teeth, fix teeth that are chipped or broken, give a more natural appearance to teeth that are misshapen or misaligned and can even help close gaps between teeth.

The process of applying porcelain veneers involves several steps. First, the outer enamel of the tooth is shaved off to create a surface suitable for the bonding process. An impression of the tooth (or teeth) is then taken with special putty and the mold is then sent to a laboratory. The lab will fabricate the veneer to match the mold. The new veneer will be inspected to make sure it fits; sometimes veneers must be trimmed to help it fit perfectly. Finally, the dentist will bond the veneer to the outer tooth surface using a special adhesive material.

For more information on porcelain veneers, visit our Treatments page or give us a call at 919-782-0548.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kids' Dental Care Tips for Parents

Helping your child develop a proper dental hygiene routine can keep their smile healthy throughout their lives. Studies have shown that children who practice proper dental hygiene early in life, are more likely to continue the habit well into adulthood. Although it may be tough for parents to get their little ones into the routine of brushing and flossing, it will certainly pay off in the long run.

Here are a few helpful hints for parents when it comes to dental care:

Use positive reinforcement - Don't use a trip to the dentist as a scare tactic. Reward proper brushing and flossing with praise or perhaps a small treat like a sticker or small toy.

Brush with your child - Young children especially like to imitate their parents' behavior. If your child sees you brushing and flossing regularly, chances are he or she will be more likely to follow suit.

Make it part of you and your child's routine - Make sure you allow extra time (at least in the beginning) for you and your child's dental routine. You will most likely have to help your child brush his or her teeth, which may take a little longer, or your child may need a few extra minutes of coaxing before they're even willing to brush.

Choose fun dental products that your kids will like - Whether its a toothbrush with your child's favorite cartoon character on it or some kid-friendly mouthwash that changes colors when they spit it out, your children may be more willing to engage in routine brushing if they are allowed to pick out the products they use. Just make sure any products you buy for your child are approved by the ADA and are safe for kids.

Kids should start their regular dental cleaning and check-ups at 3 years old.  You can consult with us to see if your child may be ready to start his or her visits with Dr. Melcher.  We work with patients of all ages - from toddlers to seniors.  Give us a call today to schedule your child's appointment: 919-782-0548.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How Tobacco Use Affects Your Dental Health

Most people agree that smoking and tobacco use is hazardous to your health, as well as the health of those around you. However, many people are unaware of the possible dental-related consequences of tobacco use.

Did you know that smoking and chewing tobacco can contribute to oral cancer, gum disease and slowed healing after dental procedures? Not only that, but the use of tobacco products can also stain your teeth, cause bad breath and may dull your sense of taste and smell.

The harmful additives in cigarettes and other tobacco products can contribute to a number of health-related issues while the nicotine in the tobacco itself can cause the user to become addicted. This vicious cycle leads many people to suffer health problems while dealing with financial burdens such as paying more for insurance or having to pay for dental procedures to correct tobacco-related issues.

Contrary to what some people believe, smokeless tobacco options are not "safe alternatives" to cigarettes, pipes or cigars. In fact, chewing tobacco contains higher levels of nicotine than cigarettes, making it an even harder habit to break. And, according to, one can of snuff delivers more nicotine than over 60 cigarettes! These smokeless "alternatives" can cause just as much damage, if not more, than pipes, cigars or cigarettes. From oral cancer to gum recession to alveolar bone loss, tobacco products (smokeless or otherwise) can cause serious dental problems.

Tobacco use can be a powerful addiction; however, with so many health risks, it's no surprise your dentist will encourage you to quit. If you feel like you need help kicking the habit, there are a number of free resources that can be found on the web. One of which is, a site where you can get free information, contact an expert or chat online with a counselor.

For more resources on dental health and treatments offered at Implant and General Dentistry in Raleigh, NC, please visit or call us at 919-782-0548.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Healthy Dental Habits for Adults Over 60

It was once believed that people would lose their natural teeth as they aged. Nowadays, dental experts know that aging doesn't necessarily lead to tooth loss. As medical advancements continue to evolve, people are keeping their natural teeth well into their 50s, 60s and beyond. However, aging adults do require some special dental care in order to maintain a healthy smile.

Here are a few tips for dental care after 60:

Brush and Floss Daily - Although this applies to people at just about any stage of life, it is especially important for older adults. People over 60 are more susceptible to cavities. One of the reasons is dry mouth, which is a common side effect of many prescription medications.

Clean Dentures - Daily Bacteria can stick to dentures just as it sticks to natural teeth. Whether you wear full or partial dentures, be sure you are cleaning them daily with a cleaner specifically made for dentures. The American Dental Association (ADA) also recommends removing your dentures for at least four hours every 24 hours in order to keep the lining of your mouth healthy.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly - This is another bit of advice that applies to everyone, but is particularly important to seniors. As we age, the nerves in our teeth actually become smaller and less sensitive. This means that if you wait until you feel pain, it could be too late. An untreated cavity could lead to the loss of a tooth. In addition to checking for cavities, your dentist will also screen you for oral cancer and gum disease.

Quit Smoking - Again, people of all ages should take this piece of advice, but senior citizens who smoke are especially prone to dental problems. Smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. It can also hinder the healing process after dental surgery and may decrease the success rate of dental implants. Many older adults feel that it's "too late" for them to quit smoking. This is not true. It's NEVER too late to quit! If you need help, talk to your doctor about prescription and non-prescription options to help you quit.

To learn more about dental hygiene and treatments for seniors and patients over 60, please contact Implant and General Dentistry in Raleigh NC at 919-782-0548.