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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
February 20, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: sealants  

Dental sealants from your dentists in Columbus, GA, can keep your child’s smile healthy

Did you know that brushing and flossing may not be enough to keep away tooth decay? It’s true! In fact, many cavities begin in the deep grooves and crevices that are a part of the normal tooth anatomy. Fortunately, your dentist has an effective weapon to fight tooth decay. It’s called a dental sealant, and it can protect you or your child’s smile.

Here at the Columbus, GA, office of dentists Dr. Phillip S. Tully III and Dr. W. Newton Sharp, we offer a wide range of dental services for people of all ages, including dental sealants to keep your child’s smile healthy and free of tooth decay—read on to learn more!

What sealants can do to keep your child healthy

Regular brushing and flossing can do a lot to prevent tooth decay, but that won’t completely help protect the deep grooves and crevices in your child’s teeth. After all, these spots are perfect for bacteria and food debris to collect in. If left undisturbed, an acid is produced that eats away at tooth enamel, causing the formation of cavities. Dental sealants fill up the deep grooves and crevices, providing a hard, smooth surface that bacteria and food debris can’t penetrate.

Parents and children alike love dental sealants because they are:

  • Effective, because they dramatically reduce the possibility of tooth decay
  • Pain-free, because the sealant procedure requires no anesthetic
  • Quick, because each tooth takes only a few minutes
  • Inexpensive, because dental sealants cost only a fraction of the price of dental fillings

The right time for your child to have dental sealants placed is when the permanent molars fully erupt. For most children, the first permanent molars should be sealed when your child is between the ages of 5 and 7. The second molars should be sealed when your child is between the ages of 11 and 14. Dental sealants are also a great option for adults looking to protect their smiles from cavities and decay.

Contact us

To learn more about the dental sealant process and how it can protect you or your child’s teeth, call Dr. Phillip S. Tully III and Dr. W. Newton Sharp in Columbus, GA, today by dialing (706) 323-6491.


By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
February 13, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: CEREC Crowns  

Yes, you can restore a damaged tooth in just a single dental appointment.

When you find out that you need a dental crown you may put off the procedure because you feel like you just don’t have the time, but our Columbus, GA, dentists Dr. Phillip Tully and Dr. Newton Sharp believe that nothing is more important than restoring your smile as quickly as possible. That’s why Dr. Phillip Tully III and Dr. W. Newton Sharp and their team are proud to offer CEREC dental crowns, which make it possible to make and place your dental crown the very same day.

What are CEREC crowns?

CEREC crowns are identical to traditional crowns the only difference is that this restoration is made in-house rather than turning to an outside dental lab. This means that we no longer have to wait weeks to have an outside dental lab create your new crown, we can do the job ourselves in our office while you wait.

A crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that is placed over a pre-existing tooth that is damaged or weakened from decay, infection or trauma. Our Columbus family dentists may recommend a dental crown if you are dealing with a cracked or fractured tooth, if there is significant decay that a filling can’t fully support or if you need to undergo a root canal.

What are the benefits of getting a CEREC crown?

Besides the most obvious benefit of getting a crown the very same day, there are other benefits that our patients will enjoy if they are good candidates for same-day crowns. Other major benefits include,

Easy, mess-free digital impressions: In the past, crowns required dental molds in order to get measurements of the tooth. These putty-like molds were awkward, messy and often took a few minutes to set. Now, we can snap digital images of your teeth in a matter of minutes and turn them into 3D images on the computer. No messy impressions needed. Plus, these digital images take very precise measurements, which means a perfectly fitted crown each and every time.

Bye, bye temporary crowns: Another drawback to traditional crowns is that we had to wait weeks for a dental lab to make and return your new crown. In the meantime, that meant placing a one-size-fits-all temporary crown over the tooth to protect it. This crown isn’t fitted to your mouth so it can be a bit bulky and awkward, prone to falling out, and can make it challenging to eat certain foods. With CEREC crowns we make and place your restoration the very same day so you don’t have to worry about wearing a temporary crown.

We make getting dental crowns and other dental care easier. If you are looking for a dentist in and around Columbus, GA, that can provide you with the restorative dental care you or a loved one needs then call our office today at (706) 323-6491.


We most often associate plastic surgery with cosmetic enhancements to our outer appearance. While this is their primary purpose, some forms of reconstructive surgery restore lost function and health as well as improve appearance. A classic example is cosmetic periodontal (gum) surgery that restores receded gum tissues that have exposed more of the tooth than is visually appealing.

Gum recession occurs primarily because of excessive brushing (too hard or for too long) or because of periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection that ultimately causes gum tissue to detach and pull away from the teeth. Gum recession not only affects the appearance of the teeth, it can expose the tooth’s root surface to further infection and decay. Without treatment, the disease could progress causing further damage with the potential for the tooth to be eventually lost.

In conjunction with plaque removal to stop gum disease and possibly other treatments like orthodontics to correct misaligned teeth, cosmetic gum surgery is used to rejuvenate lost gum tissues around teeth through tissue grafting. In these procedures, a combination of surgical approaches and/or grafting materials are attached to the area of recession to stimulate the remaining tissue to grow upon the graft and eventually replace it.

Donor grafts can originate from three sources: from the patient (an autograft); another person (an allograft); or another animal species, usually a cow (a xenograft). Tissues from outside the patient are thoroughly treated to remove all cellular material and bacteria to eliminate any possibility of host rejection or disease transmission.

Depending on the nature of the gum recession and tooth condition, the procedure can take different forms. It could involve completely detaching the graft tissue from the host site and re-attaching it to the recipient site. But if more of the tooth root is exposed, the surgeon may cover the graft with tissue adjacent to the host site to supply blood to the graft, and affix the loosened pedicle to the graft site. While any technique requires advanced training and experience, the latter procedure involves microsurgical techniques that require the highest levels of technical skill and art.

Cosmetic gum surgery can result in healthier gum tissues and teeth that are less susceptible to infection and loss. No less important, though, these procedures can return a more natural look to your teeth and gums — and a more pleasing smile.

If you would like more information on gum tissue reconstruction, 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 “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
December 22, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

The movie Bohemian Rhapsody celebrates the iconic rock band Queen and its legendary lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury. But when we see pictures of the flamboyant singer, many fans both old and new may wonder—what made Freddie’s toothy smile look the way it did? Here’s the answer: The singer was born with four extra teeth at the back of his mouth, which caused his front teeth to be pushed forward, giving him a noticeable overbite.

The presence of extra teeth—more than 20 primary (baby) teeth or 32 adult teeth—is a relatively rare condition called hyperdontia. Sometimes this condition causes no trouble, and an extra tooth (or two) isn’t even recognized until the person has an oral examination. In other situations, hyperdontia can create problems in the mouth such as crowding, malocclusion (bad bite) and periodontal disease. That’s when treatment may be recommended.

Exactly what kind of treatment is needed? There’s a different answer for each individual, but in many cases the problem can be successfully resolved with tooth extraction (removal) and orthodontic treatment (such as braces).┬áSome people may be concerned about having teeth removed, whether it’s for this problem or another issue. But in skilled hands, this procedure is routine and relatively painless.

Teeth aren’t set rigidly in the jawbone like posts in cement—they are actually held in place dynamically by a fibrous membrane called the periodontal ligament. With careful manipulation of the tooth, these fibers can be dislodged and the tooth can be easily extracted. Of course, you won’t feel this happening because extraction is done under anesthesia (often via a numbing shot). In addition, you may be given a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help you relax during the procedure.

After extraction, some bone grafting material may be placed in the tooth socket and gauze may be applied to control bleeding; sutures (stitches) are sometimes used as well. You’ll receive instructions on medication and post-extraction care before you go home. While you will probably feel discomfort in the area right after the procedure, in a week or so the healing process will be well underway.

Sometimes, dental problems like hyperdontia need immediate treatment because they can negatively affect your overall health; at other times, the issue may be mainly cosmetic. Freddie Mercury declined treatment because he was afraid dental work might interfere with his vocal range. But the decision to change the way your smile looks is up to you; after an examination, we can help you determine what treatment options are appropriate for your own situation.

If you have questions about tooth extraction or orthodontics, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Simple Tooth Extraction” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
December 12, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants   dentures  

Think dental implants only replace individual teeth? Think again—this premier technology can also support other kinds of restorations to provide better stability and comfort. And, they also help improve bone health when incorporated with any type of tooth replacement options, especially dentures.

Although traditional dentures have enjoyed a long, successful history as a tooth replacement solution, they can interfere with bone health. That’s because regular dentures fit in the mouth by resting on the bony ridges of the jaw, which has implications for the bone.

As living tissue, bone goes through a growth cycle with older bone cells dying and dissolving and newer cells forming to take their place. The teeth play a role in this growth cycle — the forces generated when we chew travel up through the teeth and help stimulate bone growth. When teeth go missing, however, so does this stimulus.

Traditional dentures can’t replace this missing stimulus. In fact, the constant pressure of dentures on the jaw may even accelerate bone loss. A sign this is happening occurs when the dentures’ once tight fit begins to loosen and they become uncomfortable to wear.

Implant-supported dentures can help eliminate this problem. We first surgically place a few implants in the jaw, the number determined by which jaw (the lower requires less) and whether the denture is removable or fixed. If removable, the denture has connective points that match the implant locations — you simply connect them with the implants. If fixed, the denture is screwed into the implants to hold it in place.

So, how does this help bone health? For one, the denture no longer puts as much pressure on the jaw ridges—the main support comes from the implants. And, the implants themselves encourage bone stimulation: The titanium in the implant has a special affinity with bone cells that naturally grow and adhere to its metal surface. This natural integration between implant and bone can stop bone loss and may even help reverse it.

If you’re interested in implant-supported dentures, you’ll first need to undergo a full dental exam with your dentist. These restorations aren’t appropriate for all dental situations. But, if they can work for you, you may be able to enjoy the benefits of an implant-supported restoration.

If you would like more information on implant-supported restorations, 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 “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures.”