General Dentistry in Clay AL

Healthy, Beautiful Smiles for Life

At Deerfoot Dental, we’re on a mission to keep our friends, families, neighbors, and community members happy and healthy – and smiling! Most people don’t realize just how important oral health is – not just for preventing cavities and gum disease, but for the health of your entire body. The mouth mimics the health of your body and is a direct link for bacteria and infections to travel through the gums into your bloodstream, to flow throughout your body and into your main lifelines. Keep your defenses strong by brushing, flossing, and seeing your Clay dentist regularly.

Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene is one of your best lines of defense against not only tooth decay and gum disease, but also against the serious health complications that can follow. We all know we should brush twice daily and floss every day, but few maintain that regimen–and even fewer of us do it effectively.

Deerfoot Dental will provide you with the knowledge, the techniques, and the tools to keep your smile clean and healthy between visits and give you a gentle yet thorough cleaning twice a year to take care of any plaque or tartar left behind.

Home Care Tips

  • 1
    Invest in an electric toothbrush – they really do clean better than a manual and require less effort. We would be happy to recommend one for you.
  • 2
    Brush at least twice per day for two minutes. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle so the bristles get along and under the gum line, brushing in small circular motions. Be sure to brush all sides of your teeth and all the way to the back.
  • 3
    The tongue can harbor lots of bacteria that will only get redeposited after you’re done brushing unless you brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper.
  • 4
    Floss daily, curving the floss in a c-shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Release a new section of floss for each tooth to avoid redistributing bacteria and plaque.
  • 5
    If traditional string dental floss doesn’t work for you, there are many alternatives available. We would be happy to share advice about floss options with you.
  • 6
    Rinse with mouthwash to kill bacteria and disinfect the rest of the mouth.
  • 7
    Swish with water after eating or drinking, prior to brushing, and throughout the day to minimize plaque buildup, acidity, and bacteria. Be sure to spit, not swallow.
  • 8
    Avoid brushing right after eating or drinking, as the acid produced combined with the brushing motion can easily damage your enamel. Instead, just swish your mouth with water, wait about 30 minutes, and then brush.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for adults. Left untreated, it may also contribute to development of at least 52 serious systemic diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. If your gums bleed during regular brushing or flossing, the bad news is – you already have early-stage gum disease (also known as gingivitis). The good news is that gum disease is preventable, treatable, and reversible.

Treatment for gum disease varies on a case-by-case basis depending on the level of infection and extent of tissue damage. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with some simple improvements to your oral hygiene routine. Additional deep cleanings on a more regular basis may be prescribed for more moderate cases, and gum surgery may be necessary for more severe cases.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer because it typically goes undetected and undiagnosed until in its later stages. Oral cancer is only one of many reasons it’s important to see your Clay dentist regularly for cleanings and exams.

While tobacco and alcohol are still considered major risk factors for oral cancer, new research tells us there’s another risk factor that outweighs those two combined – human papillomavirus, or HPV. In an age where most sexually active adults will contract the infection at some point in their lives (79 million Americans are currently infected) – most of whom never even realize they are infected – the importance of regular oral cancer screenings cannot be overstated.

Signs & Symptoms*

*Can be found on the lips, cheeks, tongue, gums, throat, or any surface of the mouth.

  • Swelling, thickening, lumps, rough spots, crusting, or erosion
  • Velvety white, red, or speckled patches
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Numbness or loss of feeling
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Persistent sores
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, change in voice
  • Ear pain

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

  • Smoking – Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers
  • Chewing – Patients who dip, snuff, or chew are 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer
  • Alcohol – Oral cancer is six times more common in drinkers than non-drinkers
  • Family history of cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • HPV

Facts & Statistics

  • 25% of oral cancer patients have no risk factors
  • Men are 2x more likely to develop oral cancer than women
  • 1 American dies every hour from oral cancer
  • 8,000 people die from oral cancer every year
  • 40% of oral cancer patients die within 5 years of diagnosis
  • Early diagnosis can double your chance of survival
  • 65% of oral cancers are linked to HPV

Mouthguards

At Deerfoot Dental, we believe your healthy smile is your greatest asset. If your little ones are active in contact sports or you grind your teeth during the night, we recommend you consider a custom mouthguard to protect the teeth and jaw.
While there are inexpensive stock mouthguards at local sporting goods stores, they tend to be ill-fitting and uncomfortable – and are therefore much less likely to be worn consistently. Only custom-designed mouthguards provide the best fit, highest comfort, and the most protection against oral injuries and potential tooth loss. A high-quality mouthguard from Deerfoot Dental may even minimize damage from concussions.

Let’s Get Started

If you have any questions about general dentistry or would like to schedule an appointment with your Clay family dentist, Dr. Grovenstein at Deerfoot Dental, give us a call today at (205) 810-0844 or request an appointment online below. We can’t wait to see you smile!