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By Great Florida Smiles
January 12, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Cancer  

When you think of malignancies, do you think of lung, colon, or breast cancer? Most people think of everything but oral cancer. However, oral canceryour Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentists, Dr. Michael O'Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia, are well aware of it, teach their patients about it and perform routine assessments for it. Learn about the early signs of oral cancer from the experts at Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics.

First, some facts...

Did you know that oral cancer is not just one kind of malignancy? The term really points to a group of cancers which affect the head and neck, says the Oral Cancer Foundation. Unfortunately, there are more than 49,000 new cases diagnosed among Americans annually, and it's difficult to cure if not detected early.

In fact, the American Society of Clinical Oncology says that only 63 percent of oral cancers found in their later stages will be be effectively cured beyond five years. However, with early detection, that percentage increases to 83 percent. Obviously, regular assessment, and detection is vital.

In addition, you should know that oral cancer affects all kinds of people. However, men over 40 are more prone, as are individuals who:

  • Have been exposed to Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Abuse alcohol
  • Smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco
  • Eat a diet low in fruits and vegetables

Early signs of oral cancer

As you partner with your Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentist in caring for your oral health, be as informed as possible about tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues, including cancer of the lips, tongue, back of the throat, and other soft tissues of the mouth.

When you come to Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics for your usual six-month check-up and cleaning, Dr. O'Donnell or Dr. Farrugia also will inspect the soft tissues of your mouth and palpate, or feel, the sides of your throat and the angles of the jaw. The assessment takes just a couple of minutes but yields information so helpful in detecting cancerous lesions.

So what are the early signs of oral cancer? They may include:

  • White or red patches on the oral mucosa
  • Lumps
  • A change in dental bite or in the fit of a denture
  • Mouth pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Loose teeth

Be sure to alert your dentist right away if you discover any of these signs at home. Remember, the sooner a lesion is discovered and treated, the better the chances are for a complete cure.

Find out more

Your Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentist will be happy to tell you more. Why not schedule your six-month cleaning and exam at Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics? In Santa Rosa Beach, call (850) 622-5888. In DeFuniak Springs, call (850) 892-2500.

By Great Florida Smiles
October 30, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers   cosmetic dentistry  

You may have heard of veneers as a dental treatment to the stars, transforming actors’ smiles from drab to fab. However, veneers can veneersbenefit many different kinds of patients. Whether you want to completely overhaul your smile or subtly tweak a slightly misshapen tooth, veneers can do it all. Find out what veneers can do for your smile with your dentists at Great Florida Smiles and Orthodontics with locations in Santa Rosa Beach, FL and DeFuniak Springs, FL, Dr. Michael O’Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia.

What can veneers do for me? 
A dental veneer can treat a wide range of dental problems, from simple chips to serious dental staining. Your dentist can help you choose the best use of veneers for your smile. Some of the most common uses of veneers include:

  • stained teeth
  • yellowed teeth
  • uneven teeth
  • misshapen teeth
  • small misalignments
  • small gaps
  • slight crowding
  • chipped teeth
  • cracked teeth

How will my dentist determine if veneers can help me? 
Your dentist can assess your candidacy for dental veneers at a regular dental examination or specific consultation. During this process, your dentist will ensure that you have a strong at-home oral health routine to keep their teeth free from teeth decay and gum disease. Additionally, your dentist will assess your teeth’s enamel to ensure that it is strong enough to provide a good foundation for your veneers.

Dental Veneers in Santa Rosa Beach, FL
If you think you could benefit from dental veneers, you should consider consulting with your dentist. In addition to a consultation, your dentist will need to prepare the teeth and take an impression of your mouth for the dental laboratory who creates your veneers.

For more information on dental veneers or other porcelain dental restorations, please contact Dr. Michael O’Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia at Great Florida Smiles and Orthodontics with locations in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Call (850) 622-5888 to schedule your appointment in Santa Rosa Beach, FL and (850) 892-2500 to schedule your appointment in DeFuniak Springs, FL today!

By Great Florida Smiles
September 05, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

You can fill those gaps and replace missing teeth for the long term with dental implants.dental implants

Are you trying to figure out the best way to restore those gaps in your teeth left over by tooth loss? If so, chances are good that you’ve heard about dental implants. They have become a popular way for our Santa Rosa Beach and DeFuniak Springs, FL, dentists Dr. Michael O’Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia improve toothless smiles because they offer unique benefits that other options don’t, some of which include,

Long-Term Longevity

If you think about dental crowns, bridges, dentures and other restorations, we know that at some point these restorations are going to need to be repaired or replaced. After all, they aren’t meant to last forever. Of course, the same cannot be said for dental implants. Not only are implants made from thick, durable titanium but they also fuse together with the jawbone to become a permanent structure within the mouth. Once the implant has fused with the jawbone it’s meant to last a lifetime. Just ask your dentists in Santa Rosa Beach and DeFuniak Springs.

Restored Speech and Chewing

Even just losing one permanent tooth can be enough to affect your speech or make it challenging to chew your food properly. Fortunately, just by getting a dental implant we can completely restore speech, get rid of speech impediments caused by tooth loss and even make it easier to chew all your favorite foods again. Don’t feel self-conscious again about going out to dinner; dental implants have your back!

Preserved Jawbone

Most people know that when they lose a tooth that the jawbone will also be affected. This is because the jawbone requires full stimulation from the roots of the tooth. When the tooth is extracted or falls out, the jawbone no longer gets the complete stimulation it needs. As a result, the jawbone begins to deteriorate.

While other restorations can replace missing teeth (e.g. dentures) they cannot prevent the jawbone from deteriorating. The only restoration that can is a dental implant because it is meant to take the place of tooth roots (and it even fuses together naturally with the bone).

Are you interested in finding out more about dental implants and how they can revive your smile? We thought so! If so, your next step is to schedule a consultation with Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics in Santa Rosa Beach and DeFuniak Springs FL, today.

By Great Florida Smiles
July 14, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: nutrition  

Your teeth must last a lifetime, and you should do everything you can to care for them--including monitoring what you eat. Your DeFuniak nutritionSprings and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentists, Dr. Michael O'Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia, encourage you to consider how your diet benefits your teeth and gums. What you eat and drink should not be a list of don'ts, but instead a lifestyle that strengthens and beautifies your oral health. So here are some tooth-friendly tips from the professional team at Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics that will keep you smiling.

Four categories of do's

Before you eat or drink something, consider if it nourishes your smile. The American Dental Association says that a poor diet impacts your mouth before it affects anything else. So strive to include these 4 kinds of foods in your diet. Research shows that oral health improves with intake of:

  • Calcium-rich foods
  • Water
  • Protein
  • Fiber

All 4 categories help avoid dental decay, gum disease and yes, even oral cancer. Here are some suggestions on how to include them in your meals and snacks.

1. Consume cheese, yogurt and low-fat milk. All 3 foods are rich in bone- and enamel-building calcium, but they also help your mouth in other ways. Cheese and yogurt, says the American Academy of General Dentistry, contain probiotics, healthy micro-orgranisms which benefit your digestion and also keep bad oral bacteria at bay. Cheese buffers acidic foods such as wine and tomatoes, too.

2. Drink several glass of water. Water washes food residues off your teeth and gums, and it increases saliva production. What's the big deal about saliva? Saliva has excellent antibacterial properties and defends you against cavities and gum disease.

3. Increase lean proteins such as fish and poultry. Even almonds and other nuts provide significant amounts of this nutrient, keeping gums and other oral tissues strong and vibrant.

4. Include several servings of leafy green vegetables and fibrous fruits daily. They literally scrape teeth and gums clean, exercise the jaw bone and are a good source of vitamin C. When choosing breads, crackers and cereals, look for high fiber content as well.

Two don'ts

While your DeFuniak Springs and Santa Rosa Beach dentist wants you to consume nutritious foods, your oral health also benefits from avoiding 2 things--processed sugar and starch. That means limiting:

  • Soda pop and sports drinks
  • White bread
  • Sugary cereals
  • Candy

If you do consume them, brush and floss right away, or if you cannot, at least rinse your mouth well with water. Carbohydrates are the building blocks of toxic plaque and tartar which lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Eat well and come see us

Your friends at Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics advise six-month exams and cleanings for patients of all ages. Is it time for your routine visit? Call for your appointment. You can ask your DeFuniak Springs and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, dentist more about the benefits of a healthy diet.

By Great Florida Smiles
May 31, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Are you a brushing and flossing pro? A good oral hygiene routine is the key to preventing cavities and gum disease. Dr. Michael oral hygieneO'Donnell and Dr. Chris Farrugia of Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics in DeFuniak Springs and Santa Rosa Beach, FL, explain why good oral hygiene is so important.

Plaque is always ready to attack

You may not be able to see plaque, but it's constantly trying to ruin your smile. When bacteria in plaque combine with sugar, a chemical reaction occurs that creates strong acids. The acids erode tooth enamel and cause cavities. Reducing the amount of plaque on your teeth with regular flossing and brushing is a simple way to avoid tooth decay. Floss once a day and brush in the morning and evening to keep plaque from damaging your teeth.

Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel

Fluoride, found in most toothpastes and many mouthwashes, has an amazing effect on your teeth. The mineral can actually repair and strengthen weak spots, making your teeth less vulnerable to cavities. Protecting your tooth enamel is another important reason to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

Using the proper technique is key

Stronger isn't better when it comes to brushing your teeth. When you brush too hard, you can erode your enamel and push your gums away from your teeth. When gums begin to recede, your teeth become sensitive, and your exposed roots may be at risk of tooth decay. For best results, hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and use short, gentle strokes. Make sure you only buy toothbrushes labeled "soft," as harder bristles can cause enamel erosion.

Dental visits help support your oral hygiene routine

Paying a visit to Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics in DeFuniak Springs or Santa Rosa Beach is an excellent way to keep your teeth healthy. Regular visits help Dr. O'Donnell and Dr. Farrugia ensure that tooth decay or other issues don't threaten your smile. If they do notice a problem, they'll recommend a treatment plan to address it.

Plaque and tartar can collect in places you can't reach with your toothbrush or floss. Dental cleanings, part of every dental exam, remove the substances from your mouth and also eliminate mild stains on the surface of teeth.

Has it been a while since you last made a dental appointment? Call Dr. O'Donnell and Dr. Farrugia of Great Florida Smiles & Orthodontics at the Santa Rosa Beach office (850) 622-5888 or the DeFuniak Springs office (850) 892-2500 to schedule your visit.





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