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August 9, 2012

Tantalizing Tongue Trivia

Have you ever wondered why your tongue changes its appearance? Or why your tastebuds seem not to work sometimes?  When your tongue acts strangely, it may be trying to tell you something. Check out these interesting facts from Dr. Peter Pate and boost your knowledge about the tongue!

Tongue Facts

  • The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body and allows you to eat, drink, talk, and make funny faces (about 85% of the population can curl their tongues into a tube).
  • Your tongue is the only muscle that is connected at only one end.
  • Even after brushing and flossing your teeth, bacteria at the back of your tongue can still make your breath foul. In fact, approximately 50% of the bacteria in your mouth reside on the surface of your tongue. Be sure to brush your tongue as a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. You can use the soft bristles of your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, and be sure to rinse thoroughly.
  • Your tongue is like a fingerprint; no two are alike. (more…)

March 15, 2012

Alternative Dental Terms

Dentistry has many different terms that can all mean the same thing. Just for fun, let’s take a look at some of the terms that Dr. Pate or others may use to discuss your teeth, mouth, and smile.

Alternative Names for Teeth

Your teeth have different shapes and different purposes. When Dr. Pate is examining your mouth, he may use specific names for your teeth. If he uses any of the following terms, they all generally mean “teeth.”

  • Pearly Whites
  • Bicuspids
  • Molars
  • Third molars
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Canines
  • Incisors
  • Chompers/Choppers
  • Fangs
  • Tusks


March 1, 2012

What are Taste Buds?

Taste is the weakest of your five senses, but it’s responsible for the different flavors you experience when you eat. In general, girls have more taste buds than boys. Taste buds are tiny nerve endings that send messages to your brain to help you sense a taste. How much do you know about your taste buds? Test your knowledge and visit Dr. Pate to make sure the taste in your mouth is healthy.

1. What are the bumps on your tongue called?

a. Papillae
b. Ridges
c. Palate

2. What are the five main tastes?

a. Sugar, fruity, sour, spicy, creamy
b. Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami
c. Dairy, bread, meat, dessert, beverage


January 5, 2012

What Do Your Teeth Say About You?

Your smile says a lot about you. It’s a proven fact that people with attractive, healthy smiles are perceived to be friendly and intelligent and are more likely to be promoted at work, earn more money, and have personal and professional success.

Buckhead dentist Dr. Peter Pate knows the importance of a beautiful and healthy smile. Take a look at the dental characteristics below and see if your dental traits match your personality traits.

The Shape of Your Teeth

Your front two top teeth are called the central incisors and serve as the center of your smile. They also indicate age. Younger people tend to have rectangular-shaped central incisors with rounded corners, while the central incisors of older people often become square with square corners as they shorten with age.

The teeth to the immediate left and right of your central incisors are called lateral incisors, and they indicate gender. Women have lateral incisors that are slightly shorter than the central incisors and rounded at the tips. Men, on the other hand, tend to have lateral incisors that are close to the same length as the central incisors and are more square-shaped. (more…)

September 20, 2011

The Toothbrush: Small Tool with a Big Impact

Did you know that some form of the toothbrush has been around for nearly 5,000 years?  You might not even recognize these ancient brushes, as the bristles were made of unique materials such as hog’s hair, twigs and bamboo. The first modern-looking toothbrush was invented in 1948 in China. Over the average lifetime, this little invention gets a lot of attention from us. We spend about 38.5 days brushing our teeth! With this in mind, Dr. Pate and his team would like to share some tips with you, whether you’re choosing a new toothbrush or altering your brushing technique.

Regardless of your preference for manual, powered, pink, or blue (the most popular color), the key is to choose a soft bristle brush that fits comfortably in all areas of your mouth. The ADA recommends disposing of your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles are worn. After all, your brush won’t clean your teeth properly with flattened or bent bristles. Children typically will need to replace their toothbrushes more frequently.

Toothbrushes usually have about 2,000 bristles. For the best clean, hold the brush at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line while using short gentle strokes to cover each surface of the tooth. Dr. Pate suggests brushing for at least two minutes for an effective cleaning. Don’t forget your tongue! Giving it a scrub down will help to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

There has long been a vital connection between a healthy body and a healthy mouth. It’s a good idea to toss your toothbrush after a bacterial infection such as strep throat. Always allow your brush to air dry after each use, and keep it separate from other people’s toothbrushes. Whether you have natural teeth or dentures, bacteria likes to lurk in the mouth. NEVER use someone else’s toothbrush!

Dr. Peter Pate and his team are always here to answer questions or offer tips for a healthy smile. To schedule your family’s dental cleanings, please call our Atlanta dentist office, Dentistry in Buckhead, at 404-226-9424.

August 22, 2011

The Tooth Fairy!

Today is National Tooth Fairy Day! If you have ever known a young child who has lost a tooth, you know how important it is to be visited by this dental nymph. What is the origin of this fantasy figure?

The history of the tooth fairy, as told by some, is actually a rather dark tale.  In the Middle Ages, witches were on the lookout for items that could be used to work their black magic. They thought items held especially close to someone – like hair, clothing, and even teeth – were prime ingredients for potions and spells. Therefore, baby teeth were quickly discarded either by fire or buried out of sight.

In less ominous traditions, parents took their children’s teeth and buried them in the garden in order to “grow” strong, healthy adult teeth in their place. This tradition was adapted over time and some people buried the teeth in flower pots inside the home.  Today, of course, the location has moved to the pillow where it is “buried” for the night until a fairy comes to retrieve it, leaving a coin, toy, or treat for the child to discover upon waking

Children in Cambodia toss their lower teeth on the roof and bury their upper teeth in the ground. They hope that the new teeth will grow towards the old teeth and be straight. In Turkey, parents bury their children’s teeth in a location that might benefit the child’s future, such as a college campus garden or at a hospital.  In Kyrgyzstan, a child will hide his tooth in a piece of bread and give it to an animal with desirable teeth.  In other countries, the baby teeth are regarded as mementos or small treasures. Such is the case in Chile, where the lost tooth is made into a charm and set in precious metal to be used as a necklace or an earring.

Although children eventually lose these “baby” teeth, it is still important to keep them healthy and clean. One of the best ways to instill healthy oral habits for your child is to practice brushing and flossing with them at an early age. Call Dentistry in Buckhead today if you live in the Atlanta area and would like a family dentist who understands parenting firsthand.  As a family man and father, Dr. Peter Pate knows that you want the best for your kids, and he’ll help you by providing excellent dental care in an inviting, comforting atmosphere. Call 404-266-9424 and schedule your family’s checkups today.

July 5, 2011

The History of Dental Implants

As the leading tooth replacement option today, you would think the dental implant is a fairly recent technological advancement.

Believe it or not, the first dental implants date back more than 1,300 years. Here’s a timeline of dental implants.

Ancient History: Ancient Mayans and Egyptians hammered tooth-like pieces of shell, ivory, and animal bone directly into their gums to replace teeth.

1700s: Lost teeth were often replaced using the teeth of human donors, but the process was unsuccessful due to infection from the foreign materials used during the implant process.

1800s: Gold, platinum, and other metal alloys were used experimentally and placed into sockets where teeth had been recently extracted. Long-term success rates were poor.

1952: A doctor in Sweden accidentally discovered that titanium can bond with living bone tissue when he placed a titanium screw in an animal’s thighbone. He had the idea to use titanium posts to bond dental implants to patient jawbones.

1965: Modern dental implants made their world debut!  This was the beginning of implanting titanium in bone for the purpose of rooting prosthetic teeth.

1981: Per-Ingvar Branemark, the Swedish doctor who discovered the fusing power of titanium, published a paper reporting all the data he had collected about titanium implants.

1982: The Toronto Conference on Osseointegration in Clinical Dentistry created the first guidelines for successful implant dentistry.

2002: An American Dental Association (ADA) survey showed that oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, and general dentists nearly doubled the number of implants performed per dentist between 1995 and 2002.

Today: Dental implants are the number one tooth replacement procedure.

Dr. Peter Pate uses dental implants to give his patients beautiful, complete, and healthy smiles that will last a lifetime. Call Dentistry in Buckhead in Atlanta, Georgia at (404) 266-9424 to reserve your consultation appointment with Dr. Pate.

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