My Blog

Posts for: April, 2018

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
April 21, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

The classic movie Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, still brings back sweet memories of childhood to people everywhere. Recently, the news broke that a remake of the beloved 1971 film is in now development in Hollywood. But at a reunion of the original cast members a few years ago, child star Denise Nickerson revealed that her role as gum-chewing Violet Beauregard caused a problem: she ended up with 13 cavities as a result of having to chew gum constantly during the filming!

It should come as no surprise that indulging in sugary treats can lead to cavities: The sugar in your diet feeds harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay and other dental problems. Yet lots of kids (not to mention the child inside many adults) still crave the satisfaction that gum, candy and other sweets can bring. Is there any way to enjoy sweet treats and minimize the consequences to your oral health?

First, let’s point out that there are lots of healthy alternatives to sugary snacks. Fresh vegetables, fruits and cheeses are delicious options that are far healthier for you and your kids. Presenting a variety of appealing choices—like colorful cut-up carrots, bite-sized cheese bits and luscious-looking fruits and berries can make it easier (and more fun) to eat healthy foods. And getting kids off the sugar habit is a great way to help them avoid many health problems in the future.

For those who enjoy chewing gum, sugarless gum is a good option. In fact, chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of healthful saliva in the mouth, which can help neutralize the bacteria-produced acids that cause cavities. Gums that have the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance have passed clinical tests for safety and effectiveness.

But if you do allow sugary snacks, there are still a few ways to minimize the potential damage. Restrict the consumption of sweets to around mealtimes, so the mouth isn’t constantly inundated with sugar. Drink plenty of water to encourage saliva flow, and avoid sugary and acidic beverages like soda (even diet soda) and “sports” or “energy” drinks. Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. And don’t forget to visit our office regularly for routine checkups and cleanings. It’s the best way to get a “golden ticket” to good oral health.

If you would like more information about sugar, cavities and oral health, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Nutrition & Oral Health” and “The Bitter Truth About Sugar.”


Your teen is about to embark on an orthodontic journey to a straighter, more attractive smile. But although you're excited about the outcome, you both may be steeling yourselves for a few years of "life with braces."

But maybe not—your teen may be able to take advantage of a different kind of corrective appliance: clear aligners. This 21st Century teeth movement method has a number of advantages over braces. For teens, though, there's one big one that could have a huge impact on their social life—clear aligners are nearly invisible to other people.

Clear aligners consist of a series of clear, removable, computer-generated trays based on photographs, models and x-rays of an individual patient's teeth and bite. Each of the trays is slightly different from the previous one in the series, and by wearing each one for about two weeks before moving on to the next, the aligners gradually move the teeth to the desired new positions.

Besides reducing embarrassment often associated with wearing metal braces, clear aligners have other benefits. Unlike braces, they can be removed for eating, easier oral hygiene or for rare special occasions (although for best effectiveness, they should be worn for 20 to 22 hours each day). Recent developments like added elements that help target certain teeth for movement or "power ridges" for more controlled and efficient force have increased the range of bite problems they can be used to correct.

While this means clear aligners can be used for many bite problems, in some severe cases braces and other orthodontic treatments might still be necessary. And because they're not fixed like braces (only the orthodontist can remove them) the patient must have the maturity and self-discipline to wear them consistently.

Your teen will need to undergo a thorough orthodontic examination to see if clear aligners are a viable option for them. If so, it could make the next few treatment years less stressful for both of you.

If you would like more information on clear aligners, 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 “Clear Aligners for Teens: User-Friendly Orthodontics.”

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
April 04, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Whether one of our Columbus, GA, family dentists, Dr. Phillip Tully III or Dr. W. Newton Sharp, has recently told you that you have a cavity fillingsor you are just curious to learn more about specific dental services we offer, you’ve come to the right place. Many people will deal with a cavity at some point during their lifetime and it’s always important to understand how a cavity is removed and the tooth is restored.

What is a tooth-colored filling?

Also referred to as a dental filling, this tooth-colored composite resin is used to fill a cavity and restore a tooth both in strength and appearance. The resin is moldable, making it easy for our Columbus dentist to shape and contour the resin over the cavity to completely fill it. While there are other kinds of dental fillings, a tooth-colored filling is the most common and popular option since it blends right in with the tooth. With a tooth-colored filling, no one will ever be able to tell that you have one.

How is a tooth-colored filling placed?

First and foremost, our Columbus dentist will need to remove the decayed portions of the tooth to prevent the decay from spreading. In order to do that, we will first administer local anesthesia to the gums around the tooth. This will ensure that the area is completely numb so you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure.

Once your mouth is numb, we will use a dental drill to remove the decay. Once the decay has been removed it’s time to rebuild the tooth with your new filling. We will choose the shade of resin that will most closely match your tooth. From there, we will apply it in layers. As we mentioned, the resin is like putty, so we can shape, mold and trim it to blend right in with the rest of the tooth. Once a layer has been shaped we will harden it into place with a laser. We will continue to apply layer after layer until the tooth is completely rebuilt. Lastly, we will polish the tooth so that the resin offers a sheen that’s similar to natural tooth enamel.

How long do tooth-colored fillings last?

Composite resin fillings are pretty strong and resilient; however, they aren’t designed to last the rest of your life. Of course, maintaining good oral hygiene is one surefire way to guarantee that your filling lasts as long as possible. The average lifespan of a tooth-colored filling is about seven to 10 years (but they can last longer, too).

Do you have questions about the comprehensive dental services we offer in Columbus, GA? Do you need to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tully or Dr. Sharp? If so, then give us a call. We are here to help in any way we can.