Do you have Dental Insurance or a Flex Spending Account?

It's time for your End of Year Check-up! 

Did you know that most dental insurance plans "start over" on January 1st?  Many Health Flex Spending Accounts are also a "use it or lose it" benefit.

If you have dental treatment needs, we can help you with a strategy to get the most from your coverage.   

Contact Us Today to take advantage of these important benefits!  

Orthodontics is not just for kids anymore

As parents we worry about our kids getting cavities.  For us grown-ups,  our greater risk is actually gum disease, or periodontal disease.  In fact, periodontal disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. 
In dentistry, we focus on 1) treatment of periodontal infection with therapeutics and lasers and 2) prevention of further disease. 

A Straighter Smile is a Healthier Smile

Great home care and regular visits for xrays and cleanings are important, but for adults with crowded and misaligned teeth, keeping the teeth surfaces clean can be more difficult.

When teeth are properly aligned, this helps the gums fit more securely around the teeth, allowing for the strongest and healthiest defense against potential periodontal problems.

Many of our adult patients have enjoyed the benefits of Invisalign® clear orthodontics.  These comfortable and clear aligners gently and gradually begin to move your teeth into the proper position - without unsightly brackets and wires.

Visit the Invisalign web site


Do You Snore?

Chronic Snoring is impossible to ignore for a good reason…

It can be a sign of a more serious condition, Obstructive Sleep Apnea. 

Sleep experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients are undiagnosed and untreated. 

Many patients do not know they have a problem because they are unaware that they wake up throughout the night to breathe.  Bed partners often detect OSA because of the loud snoring that can accompany the breathing disorder.

Common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are:

 Irritability or changes in behavior

  •  Morning headaches
  •  Difficulty concentrating
  •  Night sweats
  •  Heartburn
  •  Nocturia (frequent night-time urination)
  •  Restless sleep
If left untreated, OSA can lead to more serious medical conditions, such as : 
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of heart disease and heart attack
  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Social/marital problems
Because dentists see patients on a regular basis, they frequently screen patients for sleep apnea. If screening shows the patient is at risk for OSA, he or she is referred by the dentist to a sleep physician for a diagnosis and treatment.


by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine


American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine

It's Time for Your Fall Dental Insurance Check-up!

Dental insurance is a valuable benefit! Did you know that most dental insurance plans "start over" on January 1st?  This means that you will have a new deductible and a new annual maximum, and any remaining 2011 benefits will simply just go away.

If you have dental treatment needs, we can help you with a strategy to get the most from your coverage. Just give our office a call; our front office team is very well versed with insurance plans and is happy to assist you with researching your status. 

DIAGNOSIS: Dental Fear

Dental Health News from Dr. Durden

Do you know someone that is afraid of going to the dentist?  If you do, you probably know, this is a very “real” anxiety.

Between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear.  A higher percentage, perhaps 20%, is apprehensive enough that they will go to the dentist only when they have a problem.  About two-thirds of these individuals connect their fear to a previous bad experience in the dentist's office.  (

Studies show that fear of dentists is not so much worrying about pain as it is the lack of “control of the situation” that anxious patients perceive when in the dental chair.

This feeling of helplessness can trigger a “fight-or-flight” physiological response, and fear takes over.  Some patients even experience this feeling just walking into a dental office.

Understanding the emotional side of the fear can help.  Even so, it can be hard to “talk yourself into it” – this is where we come in!  A few tips that we have seen work with other patients:

·         Get to know us -  It sometimes helps to meet me and my team prior to having any treatment completed.  We can schedule a brief introductory appointment in which we sit for a chat in our consultation room, away from the clinical area.  In this meeting, I can learn more about your dental history and offer options to make you completely at ease while in our care.

·         Bring along a friend or family member that is comfortable with seeing the dentist.  Having someone you trust close by is sometimes helpful and reassuring during treatment.

·         Use distraction to your advantage.  We offer music headphones and television viewing during treatment  (One tip is to listen to music that you have never heard before, so you are more focused on the new music than your surroundings.)

·         Try relaxation techniques, such as controlled, deep breathing or muscle group focus exercises, in which you consciously tighten and relax muscles to ease body tension. 

·         Ask questions about your dental treatment.  We make it a priority to help our patients fully understand their care.  This is very beneficial to all patients, and has proven especially helpful for individuals that are apprehensive about dental procedures  -  knowledge puts you in control.

·       Talk with us about sedation options for dentistry, in which we can help you achieve a fully relaxed state to accomplish the dental treatment you need without fear.
We invite you to Contact Us if you or a loved one is fearful of visiting the dentist – we can help!

Sedation Dentistry

Oral conscious sedation dentistry is sometimes referred to as “comfortable” or “relaxation” dentistry.  These terms describe the feelings most patients experience during their conscious sedation dental appointments.  

Should I consider Sedation Dentistry?

If you experience a high level of fear when visiting the dentist, you may be a candidate for sedation dentistry. We have also seen positive results with patients with the following dental histories & needs:

·         Previous traumatic dental experiences
·         Difficulty getting numb, or become very frightened about needles and shots
·         Severe gag reflex
·         Extremely sensitive teeth
·         Extensive restorative needs and limited time for multiple appointments
·         Chronic or acute jaw soreness
·         Physical limitations such as back and neck problems
Conscious Sedation induces an altered state of consciousness that minimizes anxiety and discomfort through the use of pain relievers and sedatives.  You experience a state of very deep relaxation.  Here’s how it works:

·         Before your appointment - We will give you a prescription for a sedative to take the night before or the morning of your appointment to place you in a fully relaxed state.
·         Arriving for treatment - Your companion will bring you to our office, where we will make you comfortable with a warm blanket and music headphones in our treatment area.
·         During your appointment - Dr. Durden will monitor you throughout your entire visit. We will complete your dental treatment while you are sedated, and you will be able to respond to Dr. Durden as necessary.
·         After your appointment - Your companion will take you home and stay with you until you have fully recovered from your sedation medication.
·         The next day - Most patients feel no discomfort or residual effects from the dental visit. Often, oral sedation medications have an amnesic effect – patients remember they went to the dentist, but not much about the dentistry itself.
Our dental treatment areas are also equipped with Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) for a mildly relaxing temporary effect during dental treatment.

Do you or a loved one experience strong fear or anxiety about visiting the dentist?  Dental Sedation may be the solution – Contact Us to learn more.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders: The Migraine Connection 

One in four Americans seeks care for acute and chronic pain in the face and neck at some point in life.  Recurring headaches or muscle aches in the neck, shoulders or face plague these people every day and often go unresolved for years. 

In addition, sufferers experience ear symptoms including pain, ringing, buzzing or loss of hearing.  They may also have clicking or locking of the jaw which can make chewing, speaking or moving the jaw painful or difficult.

After thorough analysis, many of these patients' symptoms could be traced back to Temporomandibular (jaw) Joint and obstructive sleep disorders which triggered jaw clenching, resulting in the classic "migraine".

TMJ Dysfunction:  What is it?

TMJ itself stands for Temporomandibular Joints, a complex system of bone, muscle, nerves and soft tissue located just in front of your ears. They are the most frequently used joints in the body… and are prone to misalignment, which can lead to chronic recurrent headaches as well as ear, facial and neck pain.  Until recently, these symptoms, appearing unrelated, were frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as migraine, tension headache, neuritis, neuralgia, or stress.

Migraine Symptoms

Migraines involve recurrent episodes of moderate to severe throbbing or pulsing pain; often striking only one side of the head.  Untreated, such attacks can last from 4 to 72 hours. Other common symptoms are extreme sensitivity to light, noise and odors, and nausea and vomiting.

Migraines occur most frequently in the morning, especially upon waking.  Some people have migraines at predictable times, such as before menstruation or on weekends following a stressful week of work. Many people feel exhausted or weak following a migraine but are usually symptom-free between attacks.

Tension Headaches

Tension-type headache is the most common type of headache.  Its name indicates the role of stress or emotional conflict in triggering pain and contracting the muscles in the neck, face, scalp, and jaw. Tension-type headaches may also be caused by jaw clenching, intense work, missed meals, depression, anxiety or too little sleep. Tension-type headaches affect women slightly more often than men.

Headaches and Sleep Disorders

Headaches are often a secondary symptom of sleep apnea. For example, tension-type headache is regularly seen in persons with insomnia or sleep-wake cycle disorders. Reduced oxygen levels in people with sleep apnea may trigger early morning headaches.

The first step in caring for a tension-type headache involves treating any specific disorder or disease that may be causing it. For example, arthritis of the neck is treated by a physician with anti-inflammatory medication and temporomandibular joint dysfunction may be helped by oral appliances.

·         A sleep study may be needed to detect sleep apnea and should be considered when there is a history of snoring, daytime sleepiness or obesity. Dr. Durden refers patients with possible sleep disorders to a sleep specialist for diagnosis and treatment.

If you think you have a TMJ Disorder

Dr. Durden finds that it is sometimes helpful for patients keep a daily journal to document the details of their TMJ symptoms, including the time(s) pain occurred and what they were doing, along with the level of pain and specific location.  Our Head, Neck and Facial Pain Questionnaire can also provide us with valuable details in addressing TMJ symptoms. 

Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent causes of depression and stress, with the resulting effect of diminishing quality of life.  If you or a loved one is suffering with these types of TMJ symptoms, please Contact Us and let us help you uncover the cause and get back on the road to recovery and a pain-free life.

References: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, American Academy of Craniofacial Pain  

Hey Mom ...

Too busy for two dental visits? 

We know you’re busy. 

That’s why we offer CEREC restorations.  With no temporaries needed, CEREC is  absolutely the fastest way to receive crowns, fillings and inlays.   All can be done in one visit, saving you time in your busy life.  

Call Us Today to take advantage of 
one-visit dentistry @ 706.742.7000

Your Child's First Visit to the Dentist

We believe that a fun, casual first meeting is the ideal way to introduce the sights and sounds of the dental office to your child. We pace this visit based on your child's interest and response to the dental environment. Sometimes it is just a ride in the "spaceship" (dental chair) or a teeth cleaning while your child holds "Mr. Thirsty" (the suction) and learns what we are all about.
We will also teach both you and your child how to make brushing and healthy eating habits fun and rewarding to help take care of that precious smile!

Before You Arrive
Prior to your child’s appointment, tell them that someone will look at their teeth and clean them. Try showing them pictures of dentists or have fun role-playing, acting like you or your child are the dentist. One of our favorite children’s books is “Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit to the Dentist (Dora the Explorer)" by Christina Ricci . 

If you have questions about your child’s first visit to the dentist, give us a call!  706.742.7000

Protecting Your Child’s Oral Health in the Early Years

Children are a joy, and we want to help you keep their smile healthy!  From the appearance of the very first tooth, it is important to take care of your child’s oral health needs on a daily basis to ensure against cavities and infection. 
  • If you have an infant or young child, here's some important tips for their dental home care routine:
  • Clean your infant's gums with a clean, damp cloth twice a day.
  • As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush moistened with water, after each meal. 
  • Help your young child brush at night.  This is the most important time to brush thoroughly, due to lower salivary flow during sleep and higher vulnerability to cavities and bacterial plaque.
  • A small, pea-size dab of fluoride toothpaste can be used after the child is old enough not to swallow it.  (Note: too much fluoride in the early stages of tooth development can cause dental fluorosis, a harmless cosmetic condition manifested by brown, mottled or discolored enamel).

By approximately age 5, your child can learn to brush his or her teeth with proper parental instruction and supervision.

One of the best ways to encourage brushing is to be a good role model. Many parents brush their own teeth while helping their child brush, making brushing a fun time together.

Children, like adults, should see the dentist every six months.  It is important to us that your child have wonderful early experiences at the dentist! We see children at age 3 and above in our office, and we work closely with pediatric dental specialists to care for children that are very young or are apprehensive about seeing the dentist.

If you have questions about your child's oral health, please do not hesitate to Contact Us for assistance.

What is "Baby Bottle" Tooth Decay?

One common way a baby can develop cavities is called “baby bottle tooth decay.” This condition  occurs when a child’s teeth are frequently exposed to sugary liquids, such as milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened liquids for long periods.  With the nutrient source of the sugars, harmful bacteria thrive in the oral environment and begin to destroy tooth enamel, often affecting multiple teeth and resulting in “rampant” decay.

Without treatment, tooth decay progresses and can eventually cause pain, infection and abscesses.   Severely decayed teeth may need to be extracted.  

If teeth are infected or lost too early due to baby bottle tooth decay, a child may develop poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and damaged adult teeth.

Prevention of “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Syndrome”

The key to preventing decay in an infant’s baby teeth is to keep the mouth clean between feedings and avoid using nursing bottles as pacifiers.   If you must give your baby a bottle at bedtime or naptime, make sure it contains plain water.  Also, you should never give a baby a pacifier that has been dipped in honey or sugar. 

Healthy baby teeth will help ensure your child has healthy permanent teeth!  Please feel free to contact us or visit for more information about your child’s oral health.

What are Dental Sealants?

The grooves and depressions in the chewing surfaces of back teeth are extremely difficult (if not impossible) to clean. Acids formed by bacteria and food sugars organize in these areas and break down tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. Studies indicate that 88 percent of tooth decay in American school children begins in this manner.

A dental sealant is a protective plastic coating that is painted onto the chewing surface of a tooth and then hardened using a special light.  By filling the tooth grooves, sealants create a smooth surface that is easier to keep clean and can last for years.

Sealants require no drilling or anesthetic and are a great preventive procedure for children to help protect permanent teeth.

We will check your child’s sealants at regular checkup appointments, and can re-apply the sealant material if necessary.

Energy and Sports Drinks – a Word of Caution

Most people understand the relationship between sugar and tooth decay, and parents are careful about allowing their child to have too much candy or sugary soft drinks.  The recent popularity of sports and energy drinks has brought on an increase in the occurrence of decay related to tooth erosion in children.

Over-consumption of acidic beverages such as sodas, sports drinks and some box juice products can increase the potential for dental erosion, which leaves tooth surfaces weakened and more susceptible to bacteria that cause tooth decay.

In recent years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has cautioned parents about energy and sports drinks:

“Sports drinks, which contain carbohydrates, minerals, electrolytes and flavoring are designed to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise. Sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, but in most cases they are unnecessary on the sports field or in the school lunchroom.

Caffeine, a common ingredient in energy drinks, has been linked to a number of harmful health effects in children, including effects on the developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems. Energy drinks are never appropriate for children or adolescents, said Dr. Benjamin and co-author Marcie Beth Schneider, M.D.  In general, caffeine-containing beverages, including soda, should be avoided.”

By far, the most common recommendation for parents and athletes is to drink water before, during and after sports activities.



Take on Summer with a Fresh New Smile!
Sign up for a
 Complimentary Invisalign Consultation 

Wednesday, July 13th, 2pm - 5pm
& SAVE $$

$727 Instant Savings* includes:

$500 off Invisalign Clear Orthodontics Treatment
PLUS a Complimentary Smile Whitening Home Kit  ($227 Value)

*If you enroll in Invisalign treatment on the day of the event.
LIMITED APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE! Call Us Today to reserve your spot! 706.742.7000

Oral Cancer Awareness - watch Dr Oz

Oral cancer is on the rise. Could you be at risk? Learn about the lifesaving screening tests that you need and the warning signs you can't miss. ...

ANNOUNCEMENT: Winterville Dental now has CEREC® One-Visit Dentistry!

We have recently added CEREC® technology to our practice.  This remarkable innovation in chairside dentistry gives us the tools to design, create, and place crowns, inlays and onlays in a single visit.

The CEREC Difference
The traditional approach to a crown or inlay/onlay often required a return appointment after the patient waited for the restoration to be manufactured in a separate lab.  CEREC CAD/CAM technology eliminates the wait!

How does CEREC work?
Our patients have enjoyed our digital impressions for years, avoiding the mess and awkwardness of  molding materials and trays used with standard dental impressions.  CEREC also uses a digital impression to provide the data for the design and manufacture of the restoration using CAD/CAM technology.   

CEREC employs a special camera to take an accurate picture of the damaged tooth. This optical impression is transferred and displayed on a color computer screen, where Dr. Durden uses CAD software to design the restoration. Then CAM takes over and automatically mills the restoration while the patient waits.  Finally, Dr. Durden bonds the new restoration to the surface of the prepared tooth. The whole process takes about one hour, and there are no annoying temporaries or second visit required!   

Strong, Durable Materials
Restorations created using CEREC technology offer dental patients a long-lasting, esthetic alternative to silver or plastic fillings.  CEREC ceramic materials are  natural-looking, compatible with tissue in the mouth, anti-abrasive and plaque-resistant.   

Proven Technology
With two decades of clinical research and more than 20 million restorations performed worldwide, CEREC has proven to be a an effective, safe and convenient technology that we are delighted to offer to our patients.    

 Value-added Service for Our Patients
 “This equipment greatly enhances the efficiency of the restorations we can provide.  Patients will benefit from more timely care that puts them back on track quickly. We are optimistic that the availability of CEREC restorations will help some patients overcome their fears when they see how fast and comfortable the treatment process can be.  

We believe everyone should have access to their best smile, and CEREC will make that possible for more people.” 
Dr. Phil Durden

Happy Father's Day! Men's Health Week is June 13-19

 Visit the Medline Plus web site to

Learn about common men's wellness issues and help Dad stay healthy!

Are you getting enough sleep?

A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study of 7,000 Georgia residents concluded that many people have trouble staying awake during the day, a common symptom of sleep disorders.
·         16 percent of study responders across our state experience persistent problems staying awake during the day,  but only 10 percent reported having been diagnosed by a physician with a sleep disorder. 
In addition to problems staying awake, the study also found that: 
  • 33 percent report that they snore,
  • 25 percent complain that they have problems falling asleep,
  • 31 percent cannot sleep through the night, and
  • 35 percent of Georgians wake up in the morning feeling unrefreshed.

Sleep really is important!

Not only can sleep disorders make you feel tired and irritable, they can place you at higher risk of a driving accident, and affect your work performance.  Lack of sleep and sleep disorders have also been linked with many serious chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
In addition to persistent daytime sleepiness, other signs of sleep disorders include:
  • Snoring that is accompanied by pauses in breathing,
  • Loud or disruptive snoring,
  • Difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep,
  • Awakening from sleep and feeling un-refreshed or with a headache,
  • Tingling sensations in the legs or arms during evening hours,
  • Physically acting out dreams during sleep.

The first step to treating a sleep disorder is a diagnosis by a medical professional. 

Be prepared to share details about your sleep patterns and provide your doctor with as much supporting information as possible.  You may need to ask your bed partner to find out if you snore or kick during the night.  Be sure to let your doctor know  if you wake up with a dry mouth, snore, experience morning headaches, can't sleep or frequently wake up in the middle of the night, or experience a tingling in your legs during the evening.

Your doctor will likely order  a sleep study to determine if you are experiencing “obstructive sleep apnea” patterns during sleep.  If this is the diagnosis, the most common treatment is CPAP, Continuous Positive Air Pressure. The CPAP machine gives pressurized air to the patient through a nasal mask worn at night.

Not all OSA sufferers tolerate the CPAP machine, and oral appliances are a viable alternative.  In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine identifies oral appliances as the first line of defense in treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

An oral appliance recommended by Dr. Durden, such as the SomnoDent MAS®, moves the lower jaw slightly forward.  Because the tongue is connected to the lower jaw, this moves the tongue forward and tightens the soft tissues and muscles of the upper airway so that it does not obstruct the airway. The patient is able to adjust the appliance to move the jaw as far forward as he/she needs.

It takes about a month for the appliance to feel natural, after which it becomes habit. Sometimes an appliance can be is used in conjunction with CPAP because it can open and stabilize the airway so that the patient does not feel as much air pressure from the CPAP machine.

Sleepiness Scale

To determine if you are at risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, take this simple test to determine if you should be evaluated.  A score of 9 or above is an indication that you should see your doctor. 

If you believe that you or a loved may suffer from a sleep disorder, please contact our office or your physician for guidance on diagnosis and treatment.

Visit the CDC web site to read more:

CDC Sleep Information


A Special Thank You to all our patients that entered our 10,000th Patient Celebration drawing!  We appreciate your support and trust in us to care for you and your family!
Dr. Phillip Durden & The Winterville Dental Team

June Whitening Special: Show off your summer tan with a brighter smile!

1st Place Marigold Festival Float

1st Place Marigold Festival Parade! Great job everyone.

From Patient #1 to #10,001, a good time had by all !!!