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Common Questions

Along with the benefits of a shiny clean smile, our Winterville dentists want you know about some of the other important reasons to stay on schedule with your dental checkups and cleaning appointments:

  1. A complete dental examination is an important part of maintaining your oral health.
    Your dentist will examine your teeth, gums and jaw joints to look for signs of wear or infection. Dental x-rays help us see beneath the gums and between teeth to make sure that everything is in good shape. Early detection of problems helps prevent bigger issues later - our goal is to save you time and money!
  2. Periodontal (gum) disease does not hurt.
    Gum disease begins when bacteria are able to creep beneath the gums to form toxin-based deposits on the root surfaces of teeth. This leads to gum infection, which, over time, can cause teeth to become loose and fall out. By monitoring your oral health with regular dental examinations, we can take measures to prevent and treat gum disease as soon as possible. Gum disease does not usually ‘hurt’, so staying on schedule with your dental hygienist is very important to your oral health.
  3. Dental problems are the #1 reason that children miss school.
    Baby teeth and young adult teeth are also at risk of tooth decay and infection. The American Dental Association® recommends that children visit their dentist at least twice a year for preventive care. We can also help you with teaching your child good brushing and flossing habits; this will pay big dividends for them as they mature.
  4. Oral cancer is a growing problem in the U.S.
    Silent and deadly, the number of oral cancer diagnoses are increasing daily at a staggering pace. Our dentists perform an oral cancer screening during your complete dental examination appointments. Oral cancer is a very aggressive disease, but if detected early, life-saving treatment is possible.
  5. Medical Links to Dental Health:
    Research continues to reveal the connections between oral health and overall body health. Inflammation and infection in the mouth can affect the entire body and is especially difficult for patients that have conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. Keeping your mouth healthy through regular examinations and cleanings can help reduce the risk of dental-related medical complications.

We are just a phone call away to schedule your regular cleaning and examination appointment. Contact Us today to stay on track with your oral health!

As a comprehensive dentist, Dr. Durden's treatment philosophy and training includes the diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint (jaw joint or TMJ) disorders (dysfunction or TMD), as well as collaboration with medical professions in the management of orofacial pain, sleep disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea.

Each of the jaw joints works like a ‘hinge’ to move the lower jaw to speak, chew and open/close the mouth. When one or both joints becomes inflamed or damaged, jaw joint pain can occur. Patients that suffer with TMD often have a long list of related symptoms, including headaches, migraines, back, neck and shoulder pain, just to name a few.

Diagnosis of TMD
Like many physical conditions, the symptoms of TMD can take some time before the cause is identified. Dr. Durden often meets patients that have been referred by medical doctors that are evaluating the patient's chronic headaches. After a completed oral health assessment using diagnostic imaging and jaw movement tests to confirm a diagnosis of TMD, Dr. Durden will assist the patient with managing TMJ pain using non-surgical treatment.

Treatment of TMD
Treatment of TMJ dysfunction can include a combination of a special bite guard that helps relax the jaw joint(s), muscle stimulation, cold therapies, medications, pain trigger treatments, a soft diet and exercises to relieve discomfort. Learn more about TMJ/TMD Therapy.

What causes TMD?
The underlying cause of the TMD can be difficult to pinpoint. It may be related to teeth grinding (bruxism) or jaw clenching habits that the patient may be unaware of, or, it could be the result of trauma or injury to the jaw. There are also known connections between TMJ dysfunction and obstructive sleep apnea.

If you or loved one struggles with persistent jaw joint pain, migraine headaches, teeth clenching and teeth grinding, or other facial, head or neck pain, please Contact Winterville Dental to schedule a TMJ health assessment with Dr. Phillip Durden. We know that chronic head and neck pain is not ‘normal’ and will help you get the answers you need.

american academy of craniofacial pain

Dr. Phillip Durden has achieved the status of Fellow of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (FAACP). The term ‘craniofacial’ refers to the skull and bones in the face. The study of craniofacial pain includes the assessment and management of symptoms and conditions that cause pain in facial structures.

Dental emergencies are never convenient. Dental pain, infection and tooth abscesses related to a mouth injury, decayed teeth, broken teeth or periodontal (gum) disease can also pose a serious threat to your health.

We are here for you during any dental emergency; if you are experiencing a dental problem, please give our office a call, 706.742.7000. If you call after hours, we will have instructions for you to reach our dentists.

With any dental emergency, it is important to stay calm, especially with children. If you are calm and have some basic information, you can help save valuable time in getting the help that they need. A faster response can sometimes save teeth.

Common Dental Emergencies include:

Tooth Knocked Out
If the tooth is a baby tooth, call our office for instructions. Baby teeth usually come out on their own, anyway, so we really want to make sure there are no other serious injuries.

In the case of a permanent tooth that has been knocked out: If you can find the tooth, handle it very carefully. Rinse it gently with lukewarm water just to remove any debris, don't scrub the tooth. If your patient can understand and tolerate it, place the tooth back in the socket in the mouth. (This is where staying calm helps). If you are not able to place the tooth in the mouth, store it in a cup of milk (preferred) or clean water to be transported with the patient to our office.

Call our office immediately for instructions and to make arrangements to be seen. Our dentists may be able to re-implant the tooth and save it.

Tooth Pushed out of Position
This can sometimes happen with a mouth injury; the tooth is not dislodged, but is pushed out of place and is painful. Using your fingers, firmly grip the tooth on either side and shift it back into place. Call our office right away, it may be necessary to splint the tooth to keep it stabilized.

Tooth Pain, Abscess or Swelling
Usually a tooth abscess is related to a tooth that is badly decayed. The infection will spread and go into the jaw, creating a serious dental emergency. Call our office right away for instructions. If you are traveling outside of the area, don't delay treatment; seek care from another dentist, or an urgent care medical facility or hospital emergency room.

Blow to the Face or Jaw
In the case of a hard blow to the mouth, dislocated jaw, mouth, face or head injury, go to the hospital emergency room right away. Head injuries and facial swelling can be very serious, especially for children.

Chipped or Cracked Tooth
This is a very common dental emergency. A chipped or cracked tooth could be due to an injury, or a large, broken filling that has weakened the tooth. Call our office for instructions, if you are out of the area, depending on the condition of the tooth, we might be able to give you instructions on temporary tooth ‘first aid’ to make the tooth comfortable until you can come to see us.

Prevention of dental injuries is the best defense against emergency dental pain. We can assist you with making a custom mouthguard to wear while playing sports. We recommend wearing a sports mouthguard during any activity that involves direct personal contact or the risk of a fall, like basketball, soccer, roller skating, skateboarding bicycling, football or baseball.

Dental insurance can sometimes help offset the costs of treatment. Dental insurance plans vary greatly; we always recommend that our patients look carefully at their booklet and talk with their plan administrator to make sure that their benefits are a good match for their specific needs. We are glad to assist in this process, of course!

Most dental plans are structured as a low-cost rider to a medical insurance policy. They provide a level of reimbursement for dental treatment based on a variety of factors, including the number of subscribers. (Understandably, the basic business model of dental insurance dictates that they simply can't pay out more than they collect in premiums.)

Dental plans usually pay a percentage of a list of dental procedures selected by the insurance company. They may pay towards dental cleanings, exams and x-rays, but perhaps not reimburse anything for dental implants or root canals.

The list of procedures and reimbursement allowances are called the insurance company's ‘usual, customary and reasonable’ (UCR) allowance table. ‘UCR’ amounts are based on the insurance company's criteria, there are many different ‘UCR’ amounts for any given procedure between insurance carriers.

Most dental insurance plans have a yearly deductible, $25-$75, which is deducted from reimbursement for treatment. Some companies waive the deductible for diagnostic or preventive procedures, and apply it restorative (fillings or crowns), surgical or other procedures.

Some insurance companies create ‘networks’ (PPO, DMO) in which the providers that enroll agree to accept contract rates for specific services. Some are restrictive, and won't allow the patient to go ‘out of network’ for care, while others allow the patient to choose their own provider.

Most dental plans have a maximum benefit allowance that re-sets annually; typically between $1,000-$2,000 per year. Once this amount is paid out, the plan will not reimburse for care again until the new benefit year begins. (This ‘maximum’ allowance range has not changed since the 1990s.)

If this sounds confusing, it is! With all of the rules, limitations and exceptions, insurance is not designed to pay for all of a patient's treatment. We can, however, help research your benefits and provide you with an estimate for your care.

At Winterville Dental, our focus is on the patient's oral health. Over the years, we have stayed true to our mission of diagnosing needs first and encouraging preventive care. We always present options and alternatives to our patients so they can make an informed decision about any treatment that is needed. No matter if you are insured or uninsured, we feel strongly that this approach will help you save time and money in keeping your smile healthy.

If you have questions about dental insurance, please don't hesitate to Contact our Winterville Dental Team. We will be happy to assist you!

When a tooth becomes badly decayed or fractured to the extent it cannot be repaired, it may be necessary to extract the tooth. We are often asked “why” we recommend replacement of the missing tooth:

With the exception of third molars or ‘wisdom teeth’, each tooth serves an important purpose. (Wisdom teeth are far back in the mouth and are usually recommended for removal due to problems with eruption or keeping them clean). Front teeth are for biting and tearing food, and back teeth are used to grind food into small particles to aid in digestion.

Not only does each tooth have its own unique function, teeth work together to support the health of the jaw and provide structural support for facial muscles.

If you think about it, teeth bite together countless times per day. This contact creates a powerful force (consider how strong your bite is while you are eating a crunchy apple). When a tooth is missing, the force of this repeat bite contact can cause the remaining teeth in the area to move and shift, given the ‘wiggle room’ of the absent tooth.

Over time, this type of tooth displacement and movement can lead to further problems. The tooth in the opposite arch (upper or lower) will drop into the open space (extrude) and could become damaged and painful, and eventually may also be lost. If the missing teeth are not replaced, the tooth loss cycle may continue. This type of ‘domino effect’ of tooth loss is common with severe periodontal disease.

Another consequence of a missing tooth is loss of jaw bone support in the area. With the tooth gone, there is an open void in the bone where the empty tooth socket is located. And, with less interaction between the teeth and bone to keep blood flow and cell production stimulated, the jaw bone level recedes.

Replacing a missing tooth as soon as possible following extraction is generally recommended to avoid problems in the future. While it is an investment, replacement of a single tooth now is much less costly than repairing or replacing multiple teeth later after problems occur.

At the time of the tooth extraction, we will discuss replacement options with the patient, such as a dental implant or dental bridge, or in the case of multiple missing teeth, full mouth dental implants or removable dentures. The dentist may recommend a dental bone graft for the extraction socket to help minimize post-extraction bone loss.

With a replacement restoration such as a dental implant crown in place, the biting and chewing processes can function normally. This helps to protect the other teeth as well and preserve the health of the jaw bone in the area.

If you have questions about replacement of missing teeth, please don't hesitate to Contact Dr. Phillip Durden, Dr. Brandon Whitworth, Dr. Chase Wootton & Team.


Winterville Dental, LLC complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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