why you should get an oral cancer screening

3 Reasons Why You Need to Be Screened Annually for Oral Cancer

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Lips are for kissing, the tongue for savoring cuisine and the mouth for swishing and sipping the best wine. Our mouths bring us so much pleasure and it is our responsibility to protect them. This protection should include yearly screenings for oral cancer. Carcinoma can strike any part of the oral cavity, including the jaw, tongue, lip, cheek, floor of the mouth, throat or salivary glands. 

Symptoms of carcinoma can often be confused with something else, so it is important to ensure that you receive an annual screening. Some common symptoms of carcinoma that look like everyday problems are jaw pains, a lump on the roof of the mouth, a mouth sore, white patches on the tongue and trouble swallowing. These symptoms can often be dismissed as something minor and transient, however, rather than waiting with fingers crossed for symptoms to clear up or worrying if a symptom is or is not a sign of cancer, it’s best to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ike for an annual screening. While some dentists might inspect for disease during regular teeth cleanings, a scheduled screening is necessary to ensure a thorough examination. 

Just like we have become accustomed to having mammograms and colonoscopies, we need to make oral cancer screenings as routine as our annual physicals. An oral cancer screening is not a painful process.  It consists of using mirrors, special lights and oral rinses to observe spots and other asymmetry in the mouth. The lights will show a contrast between healthy and unhealthy cells, making normal tissue appear dark and abnormal tissue appear white. The rinses contain a dye that will highlight unusual cell growth. In addition to visual scans, Dr. Ike  will use physical touch and exploration of your mouth tissues to feel for tumors. If something of concern is found, it will be monitored over several visits and additional testing can be done before making a final diagnosis.

Here are three important reasons to get screened early:


Screenings can reduce worries if you are at high-risk for oral cancer.

Anyone can get carcinoma of the oral cavity, but some populations are at greater risk than others. It’s not just tobacco smokers and chewers, either – although they run the risk of getting lip, cheek and gum cancer. Just being over 40 years of age can be a risk factor. Also, if you like drinking wine, liquor and other spirits and do it on a regular basis, you might be at a  higher risk. If you sunbathe a lot, you increase your chances of lip lesions. Those with high junk food diets who get fewer nutrients and those who have been diagnosed with HPV can also face higher risk of getting cancer of the oral cavity. Anyone in these categories should make annual screenings routine. 


Find precancerous cells before they turn into a malignancy. 

If you have no telltale symptoms of mouth cancer, such as mouth pain or sores, that doesn’t mean abnormal cancer cells aren’t forming. Many patients miss signs of cancer and need a professional to spot the cancer so that it won’t grow while remaining undetected.

A screening can detect cancer before any symptoms manifest, which is why it’s important to get checked rather than wait for signs. One test will not do. By having screenings yearly, the dentist can track changes to your oral tissues with multiple tests and discern abnormal cells more accurately. In some cases, a biopsy may need to be performed to determine if a lump or lesion is cancerous or noncancerous. 

Ninety-percent of oral cancers are a result of squamous cells in the throat and mouth mutating and becoming abnormal. This is a fast-developing cancer. Five-percent of oral cancers are the verrucous carcinoma type, which develops slowly and rarely spreads. 


Increase your chance of being cured by starting treatment early. 

Those diagnosed with oral carcinoma have an 80 percent to 90 percent chance of survival – if caught early. Cancer is easiest to remove and cure in its initial stages.

If cancer is diagnosed, doctors will be able to identify which stage it’s in. First, doctors will look for tumors. They will measure the size of the tumor and note its location. Second, doctors will assess if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Lastly, doctors will check for metastasis, which means the malignancy has spread to other organs. Doctors will identify just how far the cancer has expanded.


Cures and Treatments

There are many cures and treatments available for anyone diagnosed with oral cancer. Dr. Ike can refer you to an oncologist who can discuss treatments in detail. The most common treatments are chemotherapy and radiation. However, surgery is also an option, not only to remove tumors but also to reconstruct the mouth cavity if treatment destroys tongue tissue, the jawbone or other mouth areas too severely.

Some doctors use immunotherapy, during which drugs are employed to boost the body’s own immune system so that it can destroy the cancer. Targeted drug therapy may be used to stop the cancer cells from multiplying. 

Ignoring signs and symptoms of oral cancer can have a deleterious effect on your quality of life. Cancer of the mouth can affect the ears, nose and throat, causing problems with hearing, problems with speech, reduced ability to chew, loosened teeth and the presence of bad breath. Some sufferers endure fatigue, tongue numbness and weight loss due to oral cancer. That’s why detecting it in the early stages is crucial. 

If you are ready to schedule an oral cancer screenings, contact our office to schedule an appointment by filling out the form on our website. Design Dentistry Columbia also offers other preventative dental services, such as periodontal screenings.


how to tell if you have a cavity

#SaferAtHome: Cavities – How to tell if you have one

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COVID-19 has managed to throw a wrench in all of our springtime 2020 plans. The changes we’re experiencing don’t have to interrupt your daily dental routine. Taking care of your smile should remain a top priority, and we know that while you are sheltering at home, you may have found yourself making some not-so-smart snack choices.  Not to worry, we have tips on how you can spot a developing a cavity from the comfort of your home, and what steps you need to take for relief. 

Signs you may be developing a cavity or tooth decay: 

Toothache / Spontaneous Pain

If you find that you have spontaneous or shooting pains in a tooth without any cause that continues to persist longer than 3 days, you may be developing a cavity. 

Pain, when you chew or bite 

Are you having difficulties when you chew or bite foods? Does it send pains throughout your mouth that makes you avoid certain foods or make you opt for soft foods instead?  This too can be a sign that you are suffering from a developing cavity.  

Sensitivity to hot/cold sensations 

When it comes to eating and drinking, do you have trouble with handling cold and hot temperatures? This sensitivity to temperature can be an underlying and early sign to tooth decay. 

You may not experience any of the above symptoms consistently and it may be possible that you still could be forming a cavity or suffering from tooth decay. This can be a result of inadequate brushing, not getting enough fluoride, dry mouth or overindulgence on foods that can cling to your teeth for a long period of time. 


If you are having tooth pains, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

If you’re feeling sick, but still having dental issues, you can schedule a telehealth appointment.

best toothbrushes 2019

Five Toothbrushes That Will Revitalize Your Smile

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Your smile is one of the first things people will see when they meet you. Want to make a great first impression? Make sure you are taking care of your smile. There are many things you can do to maintain a healthy smile – and many of them are pretty easy! Start with getting a great toothbrush. Take a look at some of these toothbrushes that will help you revitalize your smile.


Oral-B 3D White

This power toothbrush is great for whitening your teeth. The Oral-B 3 White helps to remove surface stains that cause dull looking teeth. For those who have sensitive teeth and gums, the design of the Oral-B 3D white is perfect. The bristles on this toothbrush allow for a deep clean while not irritating gums or teeth while it gently polishes away stains.

Spinbrush Truly Radiant

For those looking to get a deep clean feeling, the Truly Radiant Spinbrush is a great option. The dual-action brush head allows for one of the deepest cleans a power toothbrush could offer. This brush is dentist recommended for those who are looking to reduce plaque build up and improve the overall health of their teeth. The Spinbrush is a cost effective brush that can be purchased for the whole family. With a replaceable head, this brush can last for years.

Phillips Sonicare HealthyWhite

The Sonicare name has been well known in dental health for many years. The new HealthyWhite brush has come into the market with a great design that is a beautiful addition to any bathroom. White, clean, and sensitive are three different settings that will allow users of this brush the ability to customize their brushing experience to their unique dental needs. The sonic technology is where Sonicare’s name is derived. The 31,000 brush strokes per minute ensure the cleanliness of anyone’s mouth who uses this amazing brush. It is easy to say that this is one of the best toothbrush options out on the market today.

Phillips Sonicare DiamondClean

When traveling, it can be hard to pack a dentist recommended brush due to the size of most advanced brushes. However, the Phillips Sonicare DiamondClean has been regarded as the best toothbrush for those who are regularly traveling. The advanced design of this brush allows for travelers to still get the same advanced brushing they would get at home. This brush will remove twice as much plaque as a traditional brush with the travel capabilities of a compact brush.

Oral-B Pro 1000

When it comes to design, ergonomic design, teeth whitening capabilities, and dentist recommendations, the Oral-B 1000 is among the elite brushes in the world right now. This brush is a great choice to fight gum disease and revitalize a smile. For everyday use, there is no brush quite like this Oral-B Pro 1000. At its price point, no other brush can compete with the amazing quality and design. 


Ready to have the smile you’ve been dreaming of? Make an appointment at Design Dentistry North Springs today.


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How Smoking Affects Your Oral Hygiene and Health

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We all know that smoking is bad for our health. Smoking can lead to a number of diseases and health risks, but you might not realize what it’s doing to your oral hygiene and health. In fact, smoking is the leading cause of tooth loss and gum disease, and it’s no wonder that many people who smoke will eventually have issues with their oral hygiene and health. If you’re living near Columbia SC, you can visit Design Dentistry to begin traveling the road back to good oral health. At Design Dentistry your oral health is a top priority.

Here are four ways that smoking affects your oral hygiene and health:


Most people who smoke on a regular basis have stained teeth. This is due to the chemicals, tar and nicotine in the cigarettes themselves. You will notice that people who smoke have a yellowish look to their teeth, which can have an impact on the person’s self-esteem and confidence. Their smile just isn’t white anymore, however, some of this damage can be reversed once the person stops smoking altogether and uses whitening products to reduce staining.

Tooth Loss

Smoking can also cause tooth loss because of the fact that it dries the mouth. When you smoke regularly, the smoke you’re inhaling is drying out your mouth, which essentially and eventually leads to tooth loss. Many people who smoke also have issues with gum disease because of all the chemicals in the cigarettes they’re smoking.

Bad Breath

It’s no surprise that people who smoke have issues with bad breath. Cigarettes are full of chemicals and the tobacco that you’re inhaling lingers on clothing, hair and your breath. This is a major issue for people who are trying to improve their oral hygiene. It’s hard to feel confident when your breath smells like cigarettes all the time. No mints or mouthwash will get you away from the strong stench of smoke.

Tartar Buildup

Along with regular staining of teeth, tartar buildup is a major concern for oral hygiene. If you are a smoker, after visiting Design Dentistry in Columbia SC, you will probably be told that you have a tartar buildup problem. This is due to the tar and other chemicals in the cigarettes that you smoke. It leads to black and brownish staining that will need to be removed by a professional hygienist. Tartar buildup can not only cause issues for your teeth in general, but it can also be quite unsightly and cause you to feel badly about the way that your teeth look.

As you can see, smoking is incredibly detrimental to your overall oral hygiene and health. There are a lot of people out there who smoke and don’t think much about their teeth until they have problems. It is better to quit sooner rather than later so that you’re not succumbing to all of these issues.

That said, if you are having problems with your teeth because of your cigarette habit, be sure to visit Design Dentistry in Columbia SC to get on the road to a better smile. When you feel good about your smile, you feel good about yourself.  It’s best to quit cigarettes altogether to avoid future problems, as this is the best way to prevent oral health and hygiene issues down the road.

No matter what you’re dealing with right now, a dental professional can help to restore your smile back so that you can feel confident once again. There are many problems that come from a cigarette habit, but the key is to work with a dentist to eliminate these issues.

Ready to have the smile you’ve been dreaming of? Make an appointment at Design Dentistry North Springs today.

Top Dental Myths

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We know that some people can be so afraid of visiting the dentist that they would rather put their oral health in the hands of the internet. Not only is avoiding the dentist a bad idea for health, but we’ve seen a few things on the internet that had us raising our eyebrows. So before you fall for another old wives’ tale, we’re sharing — and debunking — a few modern dental myths.

  1. You only need to go to the dentist if your teeth hurt. Actually, you should visit us at least twice per year because we can catch problems early. Not to mention, some dental issues can be asymptomatic until they cause a severe issue. Remember: prevention is the best defense!
  2. Oral health is not connected to the rest of your body. This is a dangerous myth! Studies have found a link between periodontal disease and heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Maintaining oral health is essential for your overall health!
  3. It doesn’t matter what time of the day you brush your teeth. Yes it does! Skipping brushing before bed means that food particles sit on your teeth all night, which can exacerbate tooth decay. Brushing in the morning is also advised for fighting decay and bad breath.
  4. Cavities might go away on their own. We wish. While some tooth decay can be stopped or reversed, when the enamel is too weakened and destroyed, it forms a cavity. A cavity is permanent damage that requires dental repair.
  5. Bad breath means you’re a bad brusher. Not necessarily. There are many factors that affect your breath, including the food you eat and other health issues, like whether or not you are sick. Poor oral hygiene is one of several possible causes.
  6. Fillings made of silver are not a health risk. Wrong. Mercury fillings are dangerous and harmful to both people and the environment. Exposure, even in small amounts, is toxic and poses significant risks to human health.
  7. The harder you brush, the cleaner you’ll get your teeth. No! Hard brushing can damage your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth gently and at a 45 degree angle for best results.
  8. When it comes to cavities, sugar is the main culprit. Not so fast. While sugar can cause cavities, the problem with sugar is not how much you consume but whether it sits in your mouth. Sugar produces acid which wears down the enamel on your teeth. Make it a priority to brush after consuming food and/or drinks that are high in sugar.
  9. The whiter your teeth are, the healthier they are. Don’t be fooled by color because it can vary from person to person. The best indicators of oral health or fresh breath and no cavities.

Make no mistake, when it comes to your overall oral health, having the wrong information can be harmful. Don’t let these myths lead to avoidable dental problems! And remember: nothing replaces a visit to the dentist. We’re professional smile-makers!

Ready to have the smile you’ve been dreaming of? Make an appointment at Design Dentistry North Springs today.

Visit Design Dentistry In Columbia SC To Learn More About Caring For Your Teeth and Gums

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At Design Dentistry in Columbia SC, we want our patients to have a healthy smile. There are a variety of ways to care for your teeth before or after dental treatment in our facility. Here are five fantastic ways to have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.


Dental Tip 1: Consume a Nutritious Diet

If you want to have strong teeth and healthy gums, then you must consume a nutritious diet. You should eat a lot of vegetables and fruits rather than consuming junk foods such as candy or ice cream. Dietitians recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but it is better to consume more than that. While fresh produce has a lot of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, canned or frozen vegetables and fruits are also nutritious. In addition, make sure to eat whole-grain breads and pastas rather than baked goods that are made from refined flour. To have a healthy smile, you should also eat lean protein such as poultry, fish or beef along with dairy products such as milk, cheese or yogurt.


Dental Tip 2: Protect Your Gums and Teeth

At Design Dentistry, we recommend protecting your teeth and gums while you are playing sports such as soccer or football. Our dentists in Columbia SC can make a customized mouth guard for your teeth that will protect your gums and teeth during contact sports. While it is possible to buy generic mouth guards at local drugstores, these devices slip inside the mouth, and it is difficult to breathe or swallow with one of these items in your mouth. A dentist can collect a mold from your mouth to make a unique mouth guard that fits properly inside your mouth.


Dental Tip 3: Brush Your Teeth With Fluoridated Toothpaste

When you are shopping for toothpaste in Columbia SC, make sure that it contains fluoride. If this ingredient isn’t listed on the label, then you aren’t getting the best protection for your teeth. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel on your teeth to prevent cavities. By brushing your teeth at least twice each day, your teeth are covered in fluoridated toothpaste that removes dangerous bacteria. When the bacteria are eliminated from your teeth, you are also less likely to develop gingivitis that can infect the roots of your teeth and the bones of your mouth.


Dental Tip 4: Floss Your Teeth At Least Once a Day

If you want to have a healthy smile, then you must floss your teeth at least once a day. When you visit stores in Columbia SC, you will find an assortment of dental floss near the toothpaste and toothbrushes. There are different types of dental floss, including plain floss and flavored floss. You can find flavored floss that tastes like grapes, mint or cinnamon, and by using flavored floss, you can freshen your breath. Some types of dental floss are covered in wax to make it easier to slide the strands between your teeth.


Dental Tip 5: Schedule Dental Examinations Twice a Year

If you live in Columbia SC, schedule an examination with Design Dentistry twice a year. To have a healthy smile, you should have your teeth cleaned professionally every six months. By having plaque buildup removed from your teeth, you can prevent cavities, halitosis and gingivitis. With a complete examination of your teeth, a dentist can find small problems in the earliest stages in order to fill a small cavity or to treat gum inflammation.


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Saturday Appointment - Contact

how veneers improve your smile design dentistry columbia south carolina

How Veneers Improve Your Smile

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Veneers will improve your smile especially if you have the following tooth problems:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Stained teeth

Such tooth problems may affect you and make you lose confidence when you try to show your pearly whites. Below, we help you understand how veneers can help you restore your confidence and help you smile your way through the day,

Veneers (dental porcelain laminates) are made of a material known as porcelain and play the same role as the enamel of the tooth; they are used to help your teeth gain resilience and strength while creating a natural look. They are custom-made to fit your tooth shape and are made functional by bonding them to the original enamel of the teeth. They are a great alternative to braces and crowns, used to correct misalignments in teeth, and they last for approximately 10 to 20 years.

Ways in which dental porcelain laminates help improve your smile.

Closing gaps

If you have a large gap in your teeth, you may find yourself excessively self-conscious about your smile. Veneers can come in handy to help you close the gap partially or fully. Partially closing your gap helps you keep that unique characteristic of your smile while feeling more comfortable with it. Fully closing the gap may give you a new look and the same confidence. Both way, you win, and that is the beauty of veneers.

Smoothing out flaws

You may have lost confidence because of cracks or chips in your teeth. Sometimes, the issue may be that one or more of your teeth are shaped differently from the rest. Some of these may need medical attention. However, some are simply flaws that can be covered by dental porcelain laminates.

Covering Stains

Sometimes professional whitening treatment and cleaning your teeth regularly are not enough to keep the stains on your teeth away. This may mean that the stains on your teeth are intrinsic and no matter the type of whitening treatment you use, the stains cannot be eliminated. Dental porcelain laminates can go a long way in helping you deal with such stains.

Making pearly whites look straight

As a child, you may have had braces that helped make your teeth straight. As they fell out and grew back, you may have experienced the same problem again. However, you may not be interested in wearing braces anymore. Dental porcelain laminates can be the best option in this case as they can help you get a straighter looking set of teeth. They are shells that will bind to the front part of the teeth and make them look straight.

Making the teeth look healthy

Dental porcelain laminates will help you achieve a healthier look by enhancing symmetry and aligning the teeth properly in your mouth. These are characteristics that go a long way in making your smile look healthy, natural and younger. Veneers, therefore, complement your natural teeth and make them look excellently healthy.


While veneers may be exactly what you need, you may not know where to start. We at Design Dentistry are here for you. If you reside in Columbia SC and would like dental porcelain laminates for your teeth, a visit to Design Dentistry will change your smile and restore your confidence.


We provide cosmetic dentistry services among them the placement of veneers. Booking an appointment with us is a sure way of beginning the journey in which you will understand which cosmetic dentistry services will be of use to your smile. Schedule an appointment with us today and we can help you smile your way back to a happy life.

Do’s and Don’ts for Dental Care On-The-Go

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Most of us understand the importance of the maintenance of good oral health and hygiene. However, life is busy, and it’s often difficult to even find time to sleep. Being mindful of oral health and maintaining clean and safe tools on a busy schedule can be difficult to manage. Good oral hygiene can be accomplished on-the-go, and all it takes is self-awareness. One great way to increase yours that any South Carolina dentist would suggest is to acknowledge a few oral hygiene tips on a busy schedule.

Avoiding Bacterial Buildup

Whether you’re living out of a hotel now or just bouncing around the country on business, it can be easy to simply toss your belongings into your bag as you move to and fro. While this may be okay for items such as your curling iron and hair brush, you toothbrush can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria. Therefore, make sure it’s separated from other items. A few ways you can accomplish this and improve your oral care routine include:

  • Use toothbrush holders
  • Purchase inexpensive plastic baggies for storage
  • Invest in a toothbrush carrying case

Be Aware of Exposure

You have likely absentmindedly placed your toothbrush or floss on the counter not realizing there was something there you wouldn’t normally be excited to put in your mouth. Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. You would be surprised of the bacteria you’d find not only in your home, but especially at hotels and other places you’ll encounter on the road. Make sure you travel with antibacterial cleaning supplies. This can prevent illness and increase the effectiveness of your overall oral care routine.

A Compromise You Should Not Make

Forgetting to floss or skipping brushing after a meal may seem like no big deal. However, you must keep in mind that these days add up over time, and you only have one set of adult teeth to last your lifetime. Along with following these helpful oral hygiene tips, you should also ensure you receive proper dental care from an experienced South Carolina dentist.

The staff here at Design Dentistry truly care about our patients, and we make it our goal to work with them as a team to optimize their dental care.

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Saturday Appointment - Contact

Four Ways to Make Your Valentine Smile

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February is a month of love and who wouldn’t want to see their sweetheart smile? At Davis and Dingle Family Dentistry, you and your love can have dazzling smiles to start out the new year. Whitening, Invisalign, Porcelain Veneers and Full Mouth Restorations can bring back a confident and happy smile to your face.

Instead of a box of sugary candy for Valentine’s Day, why not give her the gift of brilliant white teeth? With the Zoom Whitening System used at Davis and Dingle Family Denistry, you can give her a dazzling smile and loads of confidence. That’s a much better Valentine’s Day gift that she will love. In one hour, teeth will be up to 8 shades whiter. Valentine’s Day candy, coffee, tea, smoking you name it- all of the things that stain teeth, will be erased, leaving only a great smile and a fresh kiss behind.


Is your partner tired of trying to hide their smile because teeth are uneven or gaps are noticeable? You can have them on your their to a straight and happy smile with Invisalign aligners. Custom-molded clear aligners allow patients to straighten teeth without bulky, noticeable braces. This option also provides them option to take out the aligners when neccesary, to brush and floss or eat. Change the aligners every few weeks as your teeth straighten.
There are times when your teeth need a little more than just whitening. Maybe the teeth are damaged, cracked or chipped. Front teeth are especially noticeable, especially when you make a first impression. Make sure your front teeth look their absolute best with porcelain veneers or by bonding. Thin veneers are permanently placed directly on top of your existing teeth. Beautiful, white teeth will now cover those chips or discoloration.
Maybe dental care wasn’t available to you when you were younger. Maybe you were in an accident. Now, as an adult, your teeth need extensive work. It’s not to late to have a happy, healthy smile. A dental team, which may include periodontists, can clean teeth, craft Invisalign to straighten your teeth, fill cavities and even heal gum diseases. Bridges can be placed where teeth are missing. Veneers can give dazzle to your smile. You can look (and feel) completely new and confident.


Contact us today and we’ll create the right treatment plan for you!