Dowd Family Dentistry
309 McArthur Road
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Office: (910) 822-5888

Fax: (910) 822-0055


Posts for: December, 2014

By Dowd Family Dentistry
December 29, 2014
Category: Oral Health

In times of stress, people have many ways to comfort themselves. For adults, it can be habits such as eating, drinking, or smoking. For children, it is often sucking their thumb, fingers, or a pacifier. Babies have been observed in scans to suck on their fingers and thumbs even before they are born. It makes them feel secure.

When is thumb sucking a problem?
Sucking on fingers or thumbs can be a problem when it is done too vigorously and too long. A young child's jaws are soft and can change their shape to make room for the thumb if the child sucks too hard and too often. If thumb, finger or pacifier habits continue too long, the upper front teeth may tip toward the lip or not come into the correct position in the mouth.

How do you know if your child falls into the group that will suffer from the results of too much thumb sucking? It's best to visit our office so we can check on how the child's teeth and jaws are developing.

What can be done about thumb and finger sucking?
Most children naturally stop sucking their thumbs, fingers, or pacifiers between the age of two and four. The pacifier habit is easier to break than the thumb or finger sucking habit, probably because it is always easier to find their fingers or thumbs. It is a good idea to try to transfer your child's habit to a pacifier at an early age. The next steps are to cut down pacifier usage and gradually stop by 18 months.

If your child is still engaging in these habits at age three, we can recommend strategies for cutting back and stopping. Remember that positive reinforcement, in which a child is rewarded for the desired behavior, always works better than punishment for the behavior you don't like.

Also remember that finger and thumb sucking is normal. Help your child to feel safe, secure, and comfortable as the behavior will probably disappear by itself. If you are worried about your child's sucking a pacifier, thumb or fingers, please visit us to put your mind at rest.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about children's thumb sucking. For more information, read “Thumb Sucking in Children” in Dear Doctor magazine.

By Dowd Family Dentistry
December 22, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: whitening  

Whitening toothpaste can work--but it does have its limitations. Here is what you need to know.

Some Whitening Toothpastes are More Effective Than Others

Not all whitening toothpastes are created equally. Most toothpastes contain special chemicals that help to break down stains and remove them from the tooth's surface. However, the amount and potency of these chemicals will vary among brands. Furthermore, some whitening toothpastes may only contain a special blue dye which clings to the teeth and only makes them appear less yellow. For a truly white smile, you will likely need to visit a professional cosmetic dentist in Fayetteville, NC, such as Tracy Dowd Johnson, DDS.

Whitening Toothpastes Take Time to Work

Because whitening toothpastes generally contain weaker chemicals than the ones you would receive by visiting a Fayetteville, NC professional cosmetic dentist, you often have to wait longer to see the effects. This can be frustrating and inconvenient if you have an engagement coming up in the near future or if you would like a beautiful smile today.

Most Whitening Toothpastes Can Only Be Used for a Limited Amount of Time

Whitening toothpastes aren't always gentle on the teeth and gums, and as a result, they should only be used for a short amount of time. Use a whitening toothpaste longer than the manufacturer recommends and you risk irritating your gums or even wearing down your tooth enamel. If your teeth have significant discoloration, this limited window may not be long enough to give you the results you want.

Whitening Toothpastes Will Only Help So Much

Furthermore, whitening toothpastes are only effective on mild surface stains. If your teeth are badly stained or if the stain goes deep enough into your teeth, whitening toothpaste may never provide you with the results you need. Visiting a cosmetic dentist in Fayetteville, NC would be a much better option.

While whitening toothpastes may seem cheap and convenient, if your teeth require more thorough whitening, these small tubes may be little more than a waste of your time. For a beautifully white smile you can be proud to show off, call Tracy Dowd Johnson, DDS instead. Along with her knowledgeable and caring staff, Tracy Dowd Johnson will help you achieve a beautiful and sparkling smile you can be proud to show off.

By Dowd Family Dentistry
December 19, 2014
Category: Oral Health

You may have seen Kathy Ireland on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but did you know that she is now a business mogul?

Through it all, Ireland has kept her model good looks, and that includes a bright, glowing smile. In a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine she said that keeping her smile has required ongoing maintenance and more.

It seems that Ireland is a bit of a daredevil. She described a moment of fun with her children when she tried to stand in their wagon and “wagon surf” across her driveway. It ended badly when she crashed into her parked car and suffered a broken nose, split forehead and several broken teeth. “I learned that my love of adventure exceeds my coordination,” she commented.

Ireland was born in Glendale, California in 1963. She demonstrated her drive to succeed early in life, starting at age 4 when she and her sister sold painted rocks from their wagon. Later she had a paper route. She began modeling at 17, with the goal of earning enough to pay for college or to start a business. In her successful modeling career she graced the covers of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar and Sports Illustrated. Her first cover for Sports Illustrated, the publication's 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition, was the magazine's best-selling swimsuit issue to date.

In 1993 she founded her marketing and design firm, kathy ireland Worldwide. Now a billion-dollar industry, the firm sells fashions such as wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, as well as a wide range of items for home and family.

She has also written a number of books teaching others how to be successful — based on her own experience — as well as three children's books.

Discussing her oral health, Ireland says that she required serious professional assistance on more than one occasion. When she was a child she knocked out a tooth and later knocked it loose again. As an adolescent she wore braces for about three years. After the driveway incident she needed numerous veneers and dental implants to replace a lost tooth and restore her smile.

Her maintenance routine includes regular flossing and brushing, and she has her teeth cleaned every six months. She keeps up on her reading about the latest in research on dental health, and encourages her three children to floss and brush their teeth, to limit eating sweets and to do what they can to avoid injuries to their mouths and teeth.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about how to maintain your own smile. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Kathy Ireland.”

By Dowd Family Dentistry
December 10, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

Dentists commonly use crowns to fix your smile when there are imperfections that can’t be resolved with cleaning or whitening. When a tooth is still strong and sound, but shaped awkwardly, crooked, too small or discolored beyond bleaching, crowns can often be the perfect solution. Learn how Fayetteville cosmetic dentist Dr. Tracy Dowd Johnson, DDS can enhance your already beautiful smile with a dental crown.

Description of a Dental Crown
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped piece of material that is polished and shined to perfection in a laboratory. It’s commonly made of ceramic or porcelain to closely resemble the look of a natural tooth. The crown acts as a covering—it improves the cosmetic appearance of your smile but you maintain the root of your original tooth. When bonded over the existing tooth, it looks like you were born with it. 

The Process of Enhancing Your Smile with a Crown
It takes a few visits to get your finished dental crown. On the first visit your Fayetteville cosmetic dentist must take X-rays and make a mold of your teeth so that the crown can be custom-created to fit your smile. During that visit the dentist may also prepare the surface of the original tooth with his dental tools and provide you with a temporary covering. When the finished crown is ready, you’ll come in for a final appointment to have it bonded with a very strong cement material. The dentist uses his tools to shape your smile to near perfection. Your crown can last for up to 20 years if you take good care of your oral health and maintain regular dental visits.

Personalized Dental Care
Dowd Family Dentistry is committed to “personalized dental care,” and that definitely includes getting you fitted with a custom tooth restoration that you can count on for many years to come. Contact the office today at 910-822-5888 to schedule an appointment with Fayetteville cosmetic dentist Dr. Tracy Dowd Johnson, or visit the practice’s website at for more information.

By Dowd Family Dentistry
December 04, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: bacteria   oral health  

Bacteria are bad… right? They can cause diseases like pneumonia, strep throat, and tooth decay. They are the reason we wash our hands with soap (or antibacterial gels) and cook (or refrigerate) our food. Yet it turns out that bacteria are also necessary to keep our bodies healthy — and new research is showing just how important these tiny microorganisms are to our well-being. Here are five facts you should know about bacteria.

The bacteria in our bodies outnumber our cells by a factor of 10 to 1. An estimated 100 trillion bacteria live inside the average human — but because they’re so small, they make up only 1-3 percent of our body mass.

The collection of bacteria we harbor is called our “microbiome.” Like the groundbreaking study of human DNA called the Human Genome Project, recent research is leading to a “map” of our bacterial makeup. This revolutionary study is called — you guessed it — the Human Microbiome Project.

No two people have exactly the same microbiome. But in general, the bacteria that live in a particular spot on the body (the mouth, for example) play the same roles in different individuals. Research has also shown that a healthy microbiome looks very different from a diseased microbiome.

In terms of bacteria, the mouth is one of the best-understood areas of the body. It has long been known that tooth decay can result when “bad” oral bacteria begin to outnumber their “good” counterparts. Now we are gaining a better understanding of how certain lifestyle factors — like cigarette smoking — may influence the bacterial balance in the mouth.

Understanding the microbiome may lead to new treatments for disease. Researchers hope that one day, certain serious diseases could be controlled by bacterial “transplants” that re-balance an individual’s microbiome. Maintaining a healthy microbiome could also help prevent many diseases.

So by all means, don’t stop brushing your teeth or washing your hands — this helps control bacteria that could harm you — but do remember that not all bacteria are harmful. One day, an infusion of bacteria might just cure your illness.