Dentist Blog

Posts for: August, 2017

By Thomas W. Kauffman, DDS
August 26, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Health  

Eating disorders cause more than psychological harm. The binge-purge cycle of bulimia or the self-starvation patterns of anorexia can also injure the physical body, especially the mouth.

For example, nine in ten people with bulimia will experience tooth enamel erosion from stomach acid entering the mouth from induced vomiting. Although purging is less frequent with anorexic patients, one in five will also develop erosion.

An eating disorder isn't the only reason for enamel erosion: you can have high acid levels from over-consuming sodas, energy drinks or certain foods, or not properly brushing and flossing every day. But erosion related to an eating disorder does produce a distinct pattern in the teeth. When a person vomits, the tongue moves forward and presses against the bottom teeth, which somewhat shields them from acid contact. This can create less erosion in the lower front teeth than in others.

Eating disorders can cause other oral effects. Stomach acid contact can eventually burn and damage the mouth's soft tissues. The salivary glands may become enlarged and cause puffiness along the sides of the face. The use of fingers or other objects to induce gagging can injure and redden the back of the throat, the tongue and other soft tissues.

It's important to stop or at least slow the damage as soon as possible. To do so requires both a short– and long-term strategy. In the short-term, we want to neutralize mouth acid as soon as possible after it enters the mouth, especially after purging. Rather than brushing, it's better to rinse out the mouth with water or with a little added baking soda to neutralize the acid. This will at least help reduce the potential damage to enamel.

In the long-term, though, we need to address the disorder itself for the sake of both the person's overall well-being and their oral health. You can speak with us or your family physician about options for counseling and therapy to overcome an eating disorder. You may also find it helpful to visit the website for the National Eating Disorders Association ( for information and a referral network.

If you would like more information on how eating disorders can affect 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 “Bulimia, Anorexia & Oral Health.”

By Thomas W. Kauffman, DDS
August 14, 2017
Category: Oral Health

A dental filling means one less cavity taking up important space in your smile. However, in the past, filling a cavity also meant adding a fillingsdiscoloration to your smile. Luckily, your dentist can help you take care of your cavities and ensure you have the most natural look possible with tooth-colored fillings. Find out more about tooth-colored fillings with Dr. Thomas Kauffman in Atlanta, GA.

What is a tooth-colored filling? 
Rather than using metals or amalgam to fill the tooth, your dentist will use a dental composite resin matched to the shade of your natural teeth. This ensures a natural look and minimal discolorations in your smile. The composite resin materials even come in different shades to ensure that your filling blends right in with your natural teeth.

What are the benefits of tooth-colored fillings? 
The most obvious benefit of a tooth-colored filling is its subtlety. The materials’ natural coloring will ensure they fit seamlessly into your smile. Additionally, composite resin is a sturdy material, lasting for many years before requiring maintenance or replacement. For larger restorations, we also offer 'custom milled fillings' using CEREC technology. Using a digital image of your tooth, the CEREC system uses a milling device to create custom restorations. These normally exhibit superior fit when large portions of the tooth are missing.

How can I prevent requiring a dental filling? 
Dental fillings treat cavities. Your dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth and fills it in with the materials you choose and reshapes the biting surface of the tooth to fit naturally into the bite. Preventing a dental filling is as easy as preventing tooth decay. Simply brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once every day in between your bi-annual preventative dental examinations and cleanings.

Tooth-Colored Fillings in Atlanta, GA
If you think you could benefit from a tooth-colored filling, you should consult with your dentist to ensure that this is the right treatment for you. Avoiding colored fillings can keep your smile appearing naturally and ensure that you feel great about the way you look. For more information on tooth-colored fillings, please contact Dr. Kauffman in Atlanta, GA. Call (404) 524-1981 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kauffman today!

By Thomas W. Kauffman, DDS
August 11, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.