Dentist Blog

Posts for tag: Atlanta

Floss is an invaluable tool that we often take for granted.  Floss is so prevalent in North America that we purchase over 3 million miles of it every year (an average of 18 yards per person).  This invention is a crucial part of routine dental hygiene, but where did it come from?


The concept of dental floss was first put forward in 1815 by Levi Spear Parmly.  Parmly came from a family of well-known dentists in New Orleans. He recommended that patients floss with silk floss. 

The first patent for a dental floss dispensing device was filed by Asahel M. Shurtleff in 1874 For removing foreign matters lodged between the teeth, dentists recommend the use of thread in place of tooth-picks, [fl]oss-silk being considered the best material for the purpose  for the dental company Codman & Shurtleff.  The product was not, however, actively marketed until 1882.

In 1898 Johnson & Johnson introduced dental floss on a broader scale by securing a patent for silk floss made from leftover sutures.  However, adoption of silk floss was fairly low before WWII, and during the war domestic supplies of silk became scarce.

Around the same time Dr. Charles C. Bass (the Father of Preventative Dentistry) invented nylon floss.  Nylon, in addition to being more abundant, was also more abrasive and flexible than silk and thus better suited in the production of floss.


Since the invention of modern day nylon and biodegradable flosses, there have been many studies trying to capture the rate of flossing in the patient population.  According to a 2004 study conducted by NYSDJ, over middle-aged patients are significantly more likely to floss than their younger and older counterparts.  Additionally, only 13.4% of respondents were frequent every day flossers, whereas 57% reported not flossing at all.

Benefits & Techniques:

Flossing is a vital part of dental home care.  The interproximal surfaces of teeth (the space between) cannot be reached by brushing alone.  The regularly flossing with the proper technique can significantly lower gingival inflammation scores as well as help mitigate increases in periodontal pocket depth.  Regular flossing removes plaque, polishes surfaces, and helps to reduce bad breath.

For those with bridge work, fixed retainers, and orthodontic appliances try floss “threaders” – a flexible soft plastic pick that works just like a needle and thread.  For tight spaces between teeth try using waxed floss as it will slide through better.  Water-picks cannot replace brushing and flossing, because a water-pick cannot remove plaque with the efficiency of brushing or flossing.

Follow these steps to improve your flossing technique:

  1. Cut about 18” of floss off the roll
  2. Take the ends in your hands
  3. Wrap the ends of the floss around two fingers from both hands
  4. Slide the floss gently into the space between your teeth
  5. Once the floss reaches the gum-line pull the ends away from you until the floss forms a c shape.
  6. Then pull one end of the floss through and away from the tooth
  7. Repeat with all interproximal spaces
  8. Rinse

Of course in addition to brushing and flossing, regularly scheduled dental cleanings are crucial to maintaining optimum oral health.  Give us a call to schedule your cleaning today!

Perio Maintenance: What Does It Mean?

“What is the difference between a regular cleaning and perio maintenance?” a routine question encountered by almost every dental professional.  This post will attempt to explain the differences and reasoning behind the differentiation.

There are two kinds of routine dental cleanings, a regular cleaning and a periodontal maintenance cleaning.  Regular cleanings are designed to assist healthy mouths by removing stains and tartar that can only be removed by a dental professional.  Perio maintenance appointments are designed for patients that have been treated for periodontal (gum) disease.  The reason for this deeper cleaning has its roots in what we know about gum disease.

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a persistent bacterial infection around the gums and bone that support your teeth.  Any of the following signs may be an indication that you have an infection:

·         Red, swollen, and tender gums

·         Gums that bleed after brushing or flossing

·         Persistent bad breath

·         Pain while chewing

·         Loose teeth

Gum disease can be caused by a number of factors including smoking, non-smoke tobacco, some RX and OTC medications, genetics, diabetes, hormonal changes in girls/women, and diabetes. 

Our hygienists can assess your tissue for periodontal disease by performing a quick, relatively painless test to measure the size and depth of the pockets in the gums.  Pockets that are 5mm or more in depth generally indicate an infection.

If, after an exam, it is determined that you have gum disease you may need a special cleaning called “scaling and root planing”, or possibly periodontal surgery.  After those initial treatments the type of routine cleanings that are recommended are called periodontal maintenance therapy.  The purpose of these special cleanings is to preserve the progress that you have made. 

Once periodontal disease is brought under control with treatment, it is very important that you get periodontal maintenance care on a regular basis from your dentist, hygienist, or periodontist (a dentist with a specialty in treating gum disease).  Cleaning your mouth daily at home is a must, but it is not enough to keep periodontal disease in check.  A normal cleaning removes stains and tartar from the surface of teeth that could not be removed otherwise.  Patients with gum disease however have developed pockets in the gum surrounding their teeth, these pockets can fill with plaque and tartar, and require a deeper cleaning in order to remove and halt the effects of that buildup on the health of your gums.

Periodontal disease is a condition (like Diabetes or High Blood Pressure), this means it cannot be completely cured, but it can be managed. 

If you are concerned about the health of your gums, or just overdue for your bi-annual cleaning please give us a call to schedule a consultation today! 

By Thomas W. Kauffman, DDS, PC
March 20, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Atlanta   cosmetic dentistry  

Atlanta Cosmetic Dentistry for Bright SmilesWhen you look at yourself in the mirror, is there anything you would like to change about your smile? Many people are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth, which is why they choose esthetic dental procedures for various reasons, including repairing a defect such as a malformed bite or crooked teeth. 

Cosmetic dentistry is available to help improve the look and feel of your smile.  If you are looking to enhance your image, there is an array of modern and sophisticated dental treatments available to fit your needs and your budget.  By visiting our cosmetic dentist in Atlanta, Dr. Thomas Kauffman, you can take the next step toward an overall improvement in the appearance of your teeth, leaving you with one more reason to smile.

A Hollywood Smile

We have all noticed the perfect smiles of actors and actresses, but do you know how they achieved that red carpet worthy smile? It’s simple—dental veneers.  If your teeth are cracked, stained, uneven or chipped, dental veneers might be the perfect option for transforming even the most damaged smiles. Dental veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are custom designed by your Atlanta cosmetic dentist, Dr. Kauffman, to perfectly cover and match your natural smile. 

Get a Bright, White Smile

Whether you are a smoker or a lover of foods and drinks that stain your teeth, many people are not happy with the appearance of their smile.  Depending on the whitening method you choose, treatment can potentially be completed in one visit with your cosmetic dentist in Atlanta, Dr. Kauffman.  By visiting our office, we can help you determine the best whitening procedure: in-office or take-home whitening kits.

By visiting our cosmetic dentist in Atlanta, you can achieve a more confident smile through the availability of various cosmetic dentistry procedures. Talk to Dr. Thomas Kauffman today about cosmetic dentistry, your goals for treatment and which options might be the best for improving the appearance of your smile.

Sedation Dentistry:

    Being afraid is a common reason for avoiding the dentist; according to a survey of 1000 people conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation[i] people fear the dentist more than spiders.  This fear often stems from bad childhood experiences with a dentist, severe gag reflexes, or fear of dental instruments.  Here at Atlanta Sedation Dentistry we strive to provide our patients with a comfortable environment to relieve any anxiety they might have.  As Dr. Kauffman is a trained member of the American Society of Dental Anesthesiologists we have a variety of options to ease dental anxiety including nitrous oxide and line IV sedation. 

            Nitrous Oxide is a sweet smelling, non-irritating, colorless gas which you can breathe. Nitrous Oxide has been the primary means of sedation in dentistry for many years. A mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen is administered through a nasal breathing apparatus. The patient remains conscious in a relaxed condition. Nitrous oxide has a sedative and analgesic (pain- controlling) effect.  Nitrous oxide is safe; the patient receives 50-70% oxygen with no less than 30% nitrous oxide[ii]. Patients are able to breathe on their own and remain in control of all bodily functions. The patient may experience mild amnesia and may fall asleep not remembering all of what happened during their appointment[iii].

            With line I.V. sedation medications are administered through an intravenous line (I.V.). The patient falls asleep and is completely unaware of the procedure being performed. Some of the medications most commonly used are Fentanyl (opiate) and Versed (benzodiazepine). Supplemental oxygen is delivered through a nasal breathing apparatus and the patient's vital signs are closely monitored. Dr. Kauffman offers patients the option of Dental Intravenous Anesthesia also referred to as "Twilight Sedation" for their dental treatment[iv].

Intravenous Sedation or "twilight sedation" helps you to be comfortable and calm when undergoing dental procedures. IV sedation is designed to better enable you to undergo your dental procedures while you are very relaxed; it will enable you to tolerate as well as not remember those procedures that may be very uncomfortable for you. IV sedation will essentially help alleviate the anxiety associated with your treatment. You may not always be asleep but you will be comfortable, calm and relaxed, drifting in and out of sleep – a "twilight sleep”[v]

A thin needle will be introduced into a vein in your arm or hand. The needle will be attached to an intravenous tube through which medication will be given to help you relax and feel comfortable. Once again some patients may be asleep while others will slip in and out of sleep. Some patients with medical conditions and/or on specific drug regimens may only be lightly sedated and may not sleep at all[vi].

The goal of IV sedation is to use as little medication as possible to get the treatment completed. It is very safe, much safer than oral sedation.  At any time an antidote can be administered to reverse the effects of the medications if necessary.  I.V. Sedation is an excellent tool for alleviating anxiety, help in enduring lengthy appointments, and offering relief from more uncomfortable treatments. 

At Atlanta Sedation Dentistry we are committed to providing our patients with highly personal and individualized care.  We understand that dental anxiety is a real and serious concern for many people; and we are here to ensure that patients can receive the care they need in a way that makes them comfortable and safe individually.  Give us a call today to get started on improving your oral health and wellbeing, free of fear.



By Thomas W. Kauffman, DDS, PC
January 13, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Atlanta   Sedation  
Sedation Dentistry AtlantaIf you suffer from dental anxiety you may find yourself skipping important dental visits.  Some people’s fear of going to the dentist or getting dental procedures done is so severe that they often lose sleep at night and worry excessively about what might happen at the dentist’s office.  With the help of Atlanta sedation dentist, Dr. Thomas Kauffman, you can rest easy knowing your treatment will be a breeze with sedation dentistry
Sedation dentistry is used to provide a relaxing and anxiety-free experience for certain people receiving dental treatment.  Don’t avoid necessary dental treatment.  Talk to Dr. Kauffman, your sedation dentist in Atlanta, about the different modalities that can help calm your fears and keep you smiling longer.

All About Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry refers to the use of anesthesia during treatment to put patients into a relaxed state, almost like sleep.  It is often used during procedures that require an extensive amount of time in the treatment chair, and is ideal for patients who experience dental phobia or have difficulty controlling their movements.  Many forms of sedation are used to alleviate anxiety or put patients in a sleep-like state, so that little is felt or remembered from the procedure. 
Sedation dentistry techniques include:
  • Oral conscious sedation
  • Intravenous sedation
  • Nitrous oxide
There are different types and degrees of dental sedation available.  The sedation dentistry technique recommended by your dentist will depend upon the treatment being performed and the degree of your dental anxiety.  Your dentist will be able to tell you if you are a candidate for moderate sedation with oral sedatives or nitrous oxide, or deep sedation with intravenous medication. 
Contact Dr. Thomas Kauffman, our sedation dentist in Atlanta, today if you suffer from dental anxiety or phobia.  With the help of sedation dentistry, Dr. Kauffman can use the latest advances in sedation dentistry to successfully treat your dental anxiety while performing treatment to maintain your dental health.  With sedation dentistry, you no longer need to avoid going to the dentist.