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Seniors Deserve Healthy Gums | Columbia SC Cosmetic Dentist

Gum health should be a top priority for seniors. Your risk of developing periodontal disease (gum disease) increases as you age. By taking charge of your gum heath, you won’t have to worry because periodontal disease is both preventable and in many cases, reversible. 

Ending up with bloody or swollen gums, or even losing teeth is a possibility if periodontal disease remains unchecked. In fact, there are multiple studies that connect periodontal disease to other, more serious illnesses.

Gum Disease and Your Overall Health 

A recent joint study conducted by the University of Southampton and King’s College in London discovered a link between periodontal disease and an increase in the rate of cognitive decline in those suffering from early Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that patients with periodontal disease experienced decline six times faster than in patients who had healthy gums. 

Your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke is also heightened if you have periodontal disease. With age, the risk factors for these serious issues increase and it is crucial

to limit the potential risks as much as possible. An easy way to take responsibility for your gum health would be to visit our dentist for regular checkups. 

Numbers Don’t Lie 

Moderate or severe periodontal disease was found in over 14% of seniors ages 65-74, and more than 20% for those ages 75 and older according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 

It was found that more men than women were diagnosed with the disease, and smoking had a significant impact. According to the same study, 32% of current smokers had the disease, compared to just 14% who didn’t smoke at all. 

Steps to Take 

In order to avoid periodontal disease you must floss regularly, which is an easy and effective way to get into the gaps of your teeth where plaque and food particles build up. Also, make sure to brush your teeth for a full two minutes, twice a day. 

As you age, it is more important than ever to keep up with your gum health. By doing so you will lower your risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease which have all been linked to periodontal disease. 

Schedule a visit with Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia for a complete gum evaluation, and we will work with you to create that ensures your gums are as healthy as possible.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

Healthier Gums in One Minute | Cosmetic Dentist In Columbia SC

Have you ever wondered what the symptoms of periodontal/gum disease are? They can include: 

● Bad breath 

● Loose teeth 

● Painful, bloody gums 

The bad news is that periodontal disease can begin even before any of the obvious symptoms present themselves. You could be at risk of irreparable damage to your teeth and gums if you remain undiagnosed or untreated. 

The good news is you can prevent periodontal disease and all it takes is a minute of your time each day. 

Time for Floss 

An effective and easy tool to prevent periodontal disease is dental floss, which will help get rid of built up plaque and bacteria in between your teeth. If you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, you should be flossing daily as well. 

Even if you think you brush your teeth really well, floss will clean the areas where your

toothbrush cannot reach. Food debris as well as sugars and acids from drinks get caught in the small gaps and tight spaces in between your teeth. Floss is essential for cleaning out these gaps and hard to reach spaces. 

Flossing Facts 

Did you know that only 40 percent of Americans floss every day according to a study by the American Dental Association? This same study showed an obvious link between regular intra-oral care and better oral health. 

Many people actually lie about how frequently they floss out of fear of embarrassment and ridicule at the dental office. 27 percent of adults actually lie to their dentist about flossing according to a recent study from the American Academy of Periodontology. 

Are You Flossing Correctly? 

It may be confusing to know the correct and most effective way to use dental floss. The recommended length of your floss should be about 18 inches, wrapping most of it around your middle finger. 

You should use about one inch of floss to clean between each pair of teeth. Carefully slide the floss between your teeth using your thumb and index finger. Be very careful when flossing your gum line to avoid cutting your gums. The whole 18 inches of floss should be used, using one inch of clean floss in between each tooth. 

It only takes one minute to floss your teeth – just one minute to prevent periodontal disease. Doesn’t it seem worth it to get into a habit that is easy and beneficial to your oral health? 

For more information about gum health, proper flossing technique, or to schedule a visit to the office, please contact Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia today.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

Is Exercise Taking a Toll On Your Teeth? | Columbia SC Cosmetic Dentist

Can exercise really be damaging to your teeth? Obviously exercise is crucial for good health and your well-being, but studies have shown that certain exercise and fitness habits can increase dental decay and tooth erosion. 

Read more if you would like to find out how exercise can impact our oral health. 

Dry Mouth: During exercise, breathing heavily through the mouth can cause your mouth to dry out due to a reduction of saliva. Saliva is made up of minerals that work to fight off bacteria, prevent tooth decay, and protect tooth enamel. 

While you exercise, try to breathe through your nose and hydrate before, during, and after your workout. This will help to prevent the decay caused by a dry mouth. 

To reduce the presence of bacteria and plaque you should also brush your teeth right before you exercise. 

Clenching Jaw: When lifting weights, athletes often clench their jaw which can result in wearing down and possibly even cracking of the teeth. Consider using a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth from clenching and grinding together.

You can purchase a mouthguard at your local drugstore or sporting goods store. You can alos visit our dentist who can make you a custom, personalized mouthguard. 

Drinking Sports Drinks: The fact I am about to share with you may be shocking, but studies have shown that sugary sports drinks are up to 30 times more erosive to teeth than water. That’s right! These drinks contain citric acid that can soften the tooth enamel to the point where even brushing your teeth after can cause damage to your teeth. 

If you constantly are taking sips of these sugary liquids, you are putting your teeth at risk for tooth decay. Although these drinks taste great, you are better off drinking water instead which will prevent these negative effects. 

If you cannot give up sports drinks, consider rinsing your mouth with water after you drink them, chewing a sugar-free gum, and avoid brushing your teeth immediately after. 

Physical fitness is important for overall health as are regular visits to your Columbia SC cosmetic dentist. Increased activity can help promote the health of your teeth and gums. Just as you would check with your physician before starting a new exercise regime, you should also include regular dental checkups. 

Want to know more about how your teeth are doing? Contact Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia today to schedule your next appointment.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

How Dental Sealants Can Benefit Adults | Cosmetic Dentist Columbia SC

Even with proper oral care at home — two minutes of brushing twice a day and once-daily flossing — it can be difficult to clean some tooth surfaces thoroughly. Dental sealants can help adult teeth stay cleaner.

A dental sealant is a protective resin that acts as a barrier against tooth decay. It is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) to help smooth over pits and grooves that can be difficult to clean with a toothbrush. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental sealants prevent 80 percent of cavities in the molars, where the vast majority of tooth decay occurs.

Who Benefits from Dental Sealants?

Although they are most often associated with pediatric dentistry, sealants can also be beneficial for adults. People whose chewing surfaces have deep grooves, who want to stop a mild tooth lesion from developing into decay, or those who simply want an extra level of protection are all good candidates for sealants.

How Does Dental Sealant Work?

It takes just minutes to apply in our office. First the chewing surfaces are prepared to help the sealant adhere properly, then the sealant is brushed on. The liquid resin flows into the uneven surfaces of the teeth to create a smoother surface. The resin bonds to the enamel and hardens.

Sealant is either white or clear. Because of where it is applied, it is not visible when the patient talks or smiles.

How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

A sealant application can last for years before it needs to be replaced, but it varies.

Over time the sealant can become worn or loose and will not protect teeth as effectively. Chewing on hard foods and ice cubes can break down the sealant material, as well.

Having dental sealants applied is a quick procedure that offers substantial benefits for the right adult patients. Our Columbia SC cosmetic dentist can determine whether this treatment is a viable option to give you extra protection from tooth decay. If you have had a sealant treatment in the past, we can check to see if it needs reapplication.

With proper at-home care and regular professional cleanings, a dental sealant can be just as effective for adults as it is for children and teenagers. Contact Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia for more information about this treatment and other ways you can achieve a healthy mouth.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

In-Office vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening | Dentist Columbia, SC

Your teeth may feel strong and healthy, but if they are not their whitest, you could be perceived as looking older than your years. A survey by the Oral B dental hygiene company showed that people with white teeth are thought of as 20 percent more attractive and 13 years younger.  

Dentist-supervised teeth whitening may be a great option to brighten your smile if you have dull, stained, or discolored enamel. Our dentist can help you achieve whiter teeth with procedures in our office or at home. Let’s take a closer look at causes of tooth discoloration and your options. 

What Causes Stained Teeth? 

Chief causes of dark or dull enamel medications, genetics, diet, and tobacco use. Teeth tend to darken with age, as well. Our experienced dental team can create a whiter smile.  

For some patients with internal staining that does not respond to teeth bleaching, porcelain veneers can create a brighter and more even smile. Our dentist will discuss your whitening goals with you to determine which options would be most effective.  

Why In-Office Teeth Whitening Works  

In-office teeth whitening is the quickest way to achieve a brighter smile. The typical process involves a strong yet safe bleaching gel that must be applied by an experienced dental professional. Results are rapid and teeth can be lightened to a higher degree than is possible with at-home kits.  

During a professional whitening treatment, we first clean the teeth and then apply a whitening agent, carefully avoiding the gums and soft tissue. We may then add a laser light treatment to expedite the process. We can repeat the process for more dramatic results.   

Does At-Home Teeth Whitening Work? 

If a visit to our office for professional teeth whitening isn’t an option for you, an at-home treatment can also provide a significant whitening effect. While over-the-counter teeth whitening products can be helpful to some, a customized gel and tray kit from our dentist will yield a safer and more predictable outcome. 

At-home teeth whitening results are less dramatic compared to those achieved at the dentist’s office, and may not be the best solution if your teeth and gums are sensitive. 

If you want to look younger by brightening your smile, contact our dental office to schedule a consultation. We can help you reach your teeth whitening goals quickly and safely. 

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

The Best Type of Floss for Your Smile | Dentist Columbia

What is the best type of dental floss? The answer depends on your teeth. Whether you use  traditional string floss, a water flosser, an interdental brush, or other appliance, it’s important  that you clean between your teeth correctly every day. 

What Flossing Does for Your Oral Health 

Flossing is necessary for a healthy mouth. It removes not only food particles themselves but the  plaque they can form. A sticky biofilm can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.  This condition starts with a bacterial infection in the gum tissue and, if left untreated, can destroy  gingival tissue and the underlying bone.  

Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal  disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to  complications with heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type II diabetes,  Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.  

Dental Floss Studies 

Many studies of floss show that all types work well if they are used as directed. A Journal of  Periodontology study looked at four types of dental floss: shred-resistant, unwaxed, woven, and  an electric “power flosser.” All four removed plaque significantly better than a toothbrush alone.  Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry showed that both electric and  traditional floss removed plaque equally well when used for 30 days.  

● Electric or water flossers can be helpful for older adults and those who don’t have a  steady hand at floss threading 

● If you have significant gaps between your teeth, wide dental tape might be effective for  you 

● Disposable floss picks or premeasured strands are convenient during travel or at work ● People with tight space between teeth might benefit from waxed floss, which slides more  easily in tight spaces  

● For those with traditional orthodontic braces, irrigators and floss threaders can reach  between teeth above and below bands.  

There is no best type of dental floss, only the one that works best for you. Finding a type that is  effective for your smile is a matter of trial and error, as well as preference.  

If you would like advice on dental floss types and techniques, let our team know at your next  appointment. 

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

Your Questions Answered About Oral Cancer Screenings | Columbia SC Cosmetic Dentist

Oral cancer screenings are designed to identify a common condition and treat it early, when it is most  curable. Screening is a fast and painless process built into a regular dental examination. Here are  common questions and answers about oral cancers.  

How Common Is Oral Cancer? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the lifetime risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity and the upper throat  (oropharynx) is about 1 in 60 for men and 1 in 140 for women. The American Cancer Society estimates  that one person dies every hour worldwide from this condition, yet it is preventable and treatable.  

What Are the Symptoms? 

The most common red flags include a mouth sore that won’t heal; red or white patches in your mouth  tissue; lumps or swelling in or around your mouth; pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking, or moving your  tongue; dramatic weight loss; ear pain; and unexplained mouth bleeding.  

What are the Risk Factors for Oral Cancer? 

● Tobacco users are at greater risk of oral cancer, whether that is from smoking or products like  chewing tobacco, snuff, and dip  

● Heavy alcohol use, especially with tobacco use, significantly increases risk  

● Excess weight and acid reflux diseases can increase risk, while a diet rich in fruit and vegetables  appears to lower it  

● The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor that is on the rise among young people. One  strain, HPV16, is responsible for 2 out of 3 oropharyngeal cancers  

● Apart from HPV-related cancers, most oral cancers take years to develop. Most patients are older  than 55 when first diagnosed  

● Genetics can also factor into oral cancer risk. Two types of blood abnormalities, dyskeratosis  congenita and Fanconi anemia, elevate risk  

What Does a Dentist Look for in an Oral Cancer Screening? 

Dentists examine all oral cavity surfaces, including under the tongue, for suspicious discolorations or  sores. Using gloved hands, they feel inside the mouth for lumps or irregularities, and may also feel the  neck. Sometimes a dye or light is used to emphasize contrast between healthy and unhealthy tissue. If  anything looks suspicious, our dentist will recommend further testing. 

How Often Should Screenings be Performed? 

The American Cancer Society recommends dental screenings every three years from age 20 to 40, and  annual screenings after that.  

While screenings can’t prevent every case of oral cancer, they are a valuable first line of defense. If you  would like more information about oral cancer and screenings, contact Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia today.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

What You Can Do About Periodontal Disease | Cosmetic Dentist in Columbia SC

Nearly half of adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, according to the Centers for Disease  Control and Prevention. It ranges from mild inflammation to a type that causes bone damage and even  tooth loss.  

Symptoms of periodontal disease include chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, red or swollen  gums, bleeding gums, and painful chewing. 

Causes of Periodontal Disease 

A major cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene habits. Your best defense is daily brushing and  flossing plus regular professional exams and cleanings. Without vigilant prevention, plaque can form on  the teeth and along the gumline. If this biofilm is not regularly removed, it can harden into a substance  called calculus (tartar), which only a dental professional can remove. 

When tartar continues to build, the risk of periodontal disease increases. Gums can become inflamed and  begin to bleed from brushing, flossing, and eating certain foods. At this point, advanced treatment is the  only way to prevent tooth loss. 

Other factors that may contribute to periodontal disease include diabetes, smoking, and pregnancy. A  healthy lifestyle and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help ward off periodontal disease when  combined with good oral hygiene.  

Some prescriptions can aggravate gum inflammation. They include antiseizure, immunosuppressant, and  blood pressure medicines called calcium channel blockers. Our doctor can provide preventive measures  to alleviate medication side-effects. 

Stages of Periodontal Disease 

There are four levels of periodontal disease, ranging from gingivitis to periodontitis. In the most severe  stage, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets along the gumline. These spaces are  difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health.  Without prompt, expert treatment, periodontitis can destroy the jawbone, gums, and soft tissues.  

Treat Gum Disease Early 

Periodontal disease leads to more than tooth loss and jawbone thinning; research has linked it to several  health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, arthritis, and even some forms of  cancer.  

Overall, the worse periodontal disease gets, the more intense the treatment. If you have symptoms of  gum disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation. Our cosmetic dentist in Columbia SC can provide excellent care and  refer you to a specialist if needed.  

For more information on gum disease or to schedule an appointment, contact Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

Why Flossing is Essential to Good Oral Hygiene | Columbia Dentist

While we all know toothbrushing is critical to a healthy mouth, it is equally important to understand the benefits of daily flossing. According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, only 30 percent of Americans floss daily, and 33 percent say they never do. This thinking needs to change.  

No matter how well you brush, the bristles can’t get between teeth. If you have ever brushed until every surface feels marble smooth and then notice flecks of food when you floss, you can see why removing debris between the teeth is so important.  

Why Flossing Works 

Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. These conditions usually begin with a bacterial infection in the gingival tissue. If left untreated, it eventually destroys both the tissue and the underlying bone.   

Bacterial infection in gingival tissue causes the body to create an inflammatory response that contributes to gum disease. It can deepen the pockets between teeth and gums and eventually cause the gums and jawbone to recede. Without adequate support, teeth could eventually loosen and fall out.  

It is also important to remove plaque because it can harden into calculus (tartar), a substance that can only be removed by a dentist. Daily flossing is a simple way to ward off tartar and keep your teeth healthy. 

Flossing Helps Overall Health 

By maintaining proper oral health, you can help prevent other health problems. The American Dental Association and American Heart Association both acknowledge a link between cardiovascular problems and periodontal disease. Recent research published by the National Institutes of Health show people with gum disease have a 20 percent higher chance of developing heart disease. The most prominent theory is that gum disease causes inflammation elsewhere in the body and narrowing of the arteries. 

Other studies suggest links between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer. Research also shows that people with diabetes, who are already at greater risk of infection and inflammation, develop gum disease at higher rates than non-diabetics. Those who manage their blood sugar successfully, however, lower their risk of gum problems. 

Whether you use waxed, unwaxed, or tape types of dental floss, the most important point is that you use it at least once a day to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay. Contact our dental office to schedule your next appointment and stay on top of your oral health at home.  

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

The Link Between Gum Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis | Dentist in Columbia, SC

Recent studies have linked periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, and rheumatoid  arthritis (RA). Both are inflammatory conditions that prompt the immune system to attack the body. Our  team can teach you more about this connection and how you can protect your oral health if you have  been diagnosed with RA.  

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful swelling of joints. Periodontal disease can cause swollen gums, infection  and tooth loss. Both are the result of inflammation, which is the body’s natural means of destroying  harmful bacteria and viruses.  

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that holds your teeth in their place. It is typically caused  by poor oral health habits that permit a sticky film called plaque to build up and harden on teeth (known  as calculus, or tartar). If this is not removed, infection sets in, ultimately resulting in loose and missing  teeth. In this case, the body’s inflammatory response is warranted. 

In RA, the body mistakenly activates the immune system against the body’s own joints. This is known as  an autoimmune response. The link between arthritis and gum disease suggests that poor oral health may  actually prompt the immune system to attack the joints. The scientific journal PLoS Pathogens reports  that porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium that causes periodontal disease, can cause RA and make it  more severe.  

While scientists continue to study the links between autoimmune conditions and periodontal disease, they  also report positive findings: When RA patients successfully treat gum disease, joint swelling and pain  diminish.  

If you are among the 1.3 million Americans diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to keep up  with your at-home oral care. This includes twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. The conundrum you  may face is that arthritis can make accurate brushing and flossing difficult, and this compounds the  problem.  

● Talk to our dentist or an occupational therapist about using a toothbrush with a special handle  ● Experiment with different kinds of floss until you find one that is easy to use  ● Toothpaste that comes in a pump instead of a tube can be easier for arthritic hands to manage 

If you have concerns about your gums and rheumatoid arthritis, our team is happy to help you better  manage your oral health. Schedule your next appointment today

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

We Are Here For You

Dr. Julia K. Mikell
Solo Practitioner

3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

(We are easy to find in Forest Acres at the corner of Harrison Rd. and Budon Ct., near the Zesto’s on Forest Drive.)

(803) 738-1114

Providing Dental Care
For Many Communities Including:

Forest Acres, Fort Jackson, Arcadia Lakes, Lake Katherine, Heathwood, Shandon, Rosewood, Downtown Columbia, Earlewood, Cottontown and the University of South Carolina

Hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Friday: Closed


  • South Carolina State Dental
  • America Dental Association
  • America Dental Association

Dentist in Columbia, SC

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Dentist in Columbia, SC

“My husband and I had our 1st appointment with Dr. Mikell today and we left there feeling like we absolutely made the right choice! She and her staff were professional, kind, competent, and very respectful to us. We feel like this was a fabulous start to a long and happy relationship!”

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“Dr. Mikell and her staff are the best! I moved ten years ago, but still drive in to town to have her team take care of my smile. They are the nicest people you will ever find!”

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“Julia and her entire amazing staff are top notch. From routine cleanings to more specific emergency situations, I truly trust this team to take care of me. I am so thankful specifically for their help with a fitted night guard. I sleep better and my teeth are protected! Highly recommend Diamond Dental Studios!”

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