My Blog

Posts for: February, 2020

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 20, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

How do you know if you have periodontal (gum) disease? Sometimes your gums will tell you—when they’re red, swollen or bleed easily.

But your gums can also look and feel healthy while a gum infection still brews below the gum line. In this case, a regular dental visit could make the difference. Even without overt signs of infection, we may be able to detect gum disease with a slender metal instrument called a periodontal probe.

Gum disease is a bacterial infection that most of the time arises from dental plaque. This thin film of bacteria and food particles accumulates on tooth surfaces, especially because of poor or non-existent oral hygiene. A continuing infection can weaken gum tissues and cause them to pull away or detach from the teeth.

Normally, there’s a slight gap between the gums and teeth. But as the infected gums pull away, the gaps grow larger and deeper, forming what are known as periodontal pockets. They become filled with infection that soon spreads to the root and bone and increases the risk of tooth loss.

These pockets, though, could be the means for detecting a gum infection with the help of the periodontal probe. During a dental exam we gently insert the probe, which has millimeter depth markings etched on it, between a tooth and its adjacent gums. While a depth of 1 to 3 mm is normal, a probe measurement of 4 to 5 mm could be a sign of an early stage infection. A reading of 7 to 10 mm, on the other hand, may indicate more advanced disease.

Along with other factors, periodontal probing can be quite useful identifying both the presence and extent of a gum infection and then how to treat it. The goal of any treatment is to remove plaque and tartar (calculus) deposits that sustain the infection. But probing, along with other diagnostic methods like x-rays, could point to deeper infection below the gum line that require more extensive methods, including surgery, sometimes to access and remove the disease.

Achieving the best treatment outcome with gum disease often depends on finding the infection early. Periodontal probing helps to make that discovery more likely.

If you would like more information on diagnosing and treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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.

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
February 10, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth pain  

If you have tooth pain, we want to know about it. No, really—we want to know all about it. Is the pain sharp or dull? Is it emanating from one tooth or more generally? Is it constant, intermittent or only when you bite down?

Dentists ask questions like these because there are multiple causes for tooth pain with different treatment requirements. The more accurate the diagnosis, the quicker and more successful your treatment will be.

Here are 3 different examples of tooth pain, along with their possible causes and treatments.

Tooth sensitivity. If you feel a quick jolt of pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it may mean your gums have drawn back (receded) from your teeth to leave more sensitive areas exposed. Gum recession is most often caused by gum disease, which we can treat by removing dental plaque, the main cause for the infection. In mild cases the gums may recover after treatment, but more advanced recession may require grafting surgery.

Dull ache around upper teeth. This type of pain might actually be a sinus problem, not a dental one. The upper back teeth share some of the same nerves as the sinus cavity just above them. See your dentist first to rule out deep decay or a tooth grinding habit putting too much pressure on the teeth. If your dentist rules out an oral cause, you may need to see your family physician to check for a sinus infection.

Constant sharp pain. A throbbing pain seeming to come from one tooth may be a sign the tooth's central pulp layer has become decayed. The resulting infection is attacking the pulp's nerves, which is causing the excruciating pain. Advanced decay of this sort requires a root canal treatment to remove the diseased tissue and fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals to prevent further infection. See your dentist even if the pain stops—the infection may have only killed the nerves, but is still present and advancing.

Pain is the body's warning system—so heed the tooth pain alert and see your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner the problem is identified and treated, the better your chances of returning to full dental health.

If you would like more information on tooth pain and what it means, 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 “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!