Front-facing portraits of Drs. Barnard and Williams

Welcome Dr. Williams and Dr. Barnard!

We’re excited to announce two awesome additions to the Howard Family – Dr. James Michael Williams and Dr. Ian Barnard. Get to know our new dentists a little more and don’t forget to schedule a cleaning in Beaufort or Bluffton today.

Dr. James Michael Williams, DMD

Dr. J. Michael Williams was born in Atlanta, Ga. and grew up in Louisville, Ky., but he never lost his southern roots. He received his undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Louisville. As a seasoned provider for over 30 years, he enjoys working with patients of all age groups and strives to make every patient feel as comfortable as possible during their visit. Dr. Williams was inspired to enter the field of dentistry by his grandfather, who was a general dentist in Atlanta. He would travel frequently to Atlanta to visit his grandfather’s practice and realized the unique opportunity dentistry offered to positively impact the live of patients. As a general dentist, he is a master of many skills, but thoroughly enjoys doing anterior cosmetic dentistry, veneers and even dental makeovers to help boost patient’s confidence by improving their smile.

Dr. Williams strives to be a life-long learner and stays on the cutting edge of dental treatment by taking several continuing education courses throughout the year. He is committed to ensuring a positive, comfortable experience for the patient while visiting the office and looks forward to fostering relationships with the Bluffton community. Outside of the office, Dr. Williams enjoys trying new restaurants and spending time with his wife of over 35 years, Jeanie, and sons, Aaron and David.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Williams today!

Dr. Ian Barnard, DDS

Dr. Barnard is a graduate of Purdue University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in animal science and double minored in international studies and biological studies. He went on to graduate from Indiana University, School of Dentistry in 2015. Dr. Barnard completed a one-year residency and is certified to perform IV sedation.

Dr. Barnard hails from Kendallville, Indiana, and fondly looks forward to serving the coastal community of Beaufort, S.C. His hometown oral surgeon inspired him to enter the field of dentistry by serving as Dr. Barnard’s mentor and dear friend. Dr. Barnard enjoys using his hands to help patients not only improve their oral health, but increase their confidence and reduce their pain. Outside the office, Dr. Barnard enjoys traveling, yoga, exploring the outdoors, thrifting, photography and spending time with his wife, Angela, and two cats, Steve and Wallyta.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Barnard today!

Man Hand writing Oral Cancer with black marker on visual screen. Isolated on background. Business, technology, internet concept. Stock Photo

Oral Cancer Awareness

Oral and pharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat) collectively kills nearly one person every hour of every day of the year. Of the people newly diagnosed with these cancers, only about 60% will live longer than 5 years. Moreover, many who do survive suffer long-term problems such as severe facial disfigurement or difficulties eating and speaking. The death rate associated with oral and pharyngeal cancers remains particularly high due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

This month, we want to remind you that regular oral cancer examinations from your dental professional are the best methods to detect oral cancer in its early stages. Regular dental visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

  • Tobacco Smoking
  • Excessive Alcohol Consumption
  • Gender (twice as common in men)
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • Age
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Oral HPV infection

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

The earliest signs of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer may be mistaken for other problems, such as a toothache or cold. If symptoms persist for several days or weeks, it is important to see your doctor so that, if oral cancer is present, it can be diagnosed as soon as possible. Many of these symptoms can be due to other, less serious problems or other cancers.

  • Unusual lumps or bumps in the mouth, wart-like masses, mouth sores that do not heal
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Unusual nosebleeds or other bleeding from oral cavity
  • Distortion of any of the senses, numbness in oral or facial regions
  • Sore throat, hoarseness, ear pain
  • Progressive swelling, enlarged lymph nodes, shifting of teeth

HPV and Oral Cancer

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is an infection that can be transmitted through sexual contact, unwashed hands and saliva. HPV 16 and 18 have been linked to oral cancer. It is estimated that over 50% of all oral cancers are associated with HPV lesions. A vaccine is now available to prevent infections from HPV 16 and 18.

Help Raise Awareness

If you’d like to help us raise oral cancer awareness this month, feel free to share this blog with your friends on social media. And remember to ask for an oral cancer screening at your next dental checkup!

 

Natural Beauty with stunning eyes and a perfect candid expression. Nikon D3X. Slightly cross-processed to underline that warm natural smile.

Thinking About Adult Braces? Know Your Options.

Has your dentist recommended braces for healthier teeth or a better bite? Is there something you’ve always wanted to improve about the appearance of your smile? Then you should know that braces and orthodontic care aren’t just for kids. At Howard Family Dental, more adults than ever before are choosing them. In fact, 20% of all orthodontic patients today are adults. Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age.

 

Why an Adult may need Orthodontic Care

There are many reasons orthodontic care may be recommended for adults. Crowded teeth, missing teeth or jaws that are out of alignment – a condition called malocclusion or “bad bite” – can cause excessive wear on teeth. They may cause jaw pain or difficulty chewing. And they can make teeth harder to keep clean, which may lead to cavities or worse.

Cosmetic considerations are important as well. An attractive smile is a real confidence booster. And since people are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever, it can make a difference at any age.

 

Options for Adults

When you think of braces, you may think of big metal appliances on the teeth. But there are other options available that may be right for you:

  • Invisalign® – These aligners are clear trays that fit snugly over the teeth. Many adults prefer them because they are virtually invisible when worn. Each aligner is designed to shift your teeth slightly. During treatment, you go through several sets. With each one, your teeth move according to the treatment plan mapped out by your orthodontist until they are in the proper position. These aligners are removable for eating and brushing, but should be worn 22 hours a day.
  • Braces – Wearing braces no longer means having a mouth full of metal brackets. Braces are smaller and lighter. Clear brackets and ceramic brackets that match your teeth can make them a much more attractive option for adults.

Advances in the design of these options can also make the course of treatment faster than before. At Howard Family Dental, you and your orthodontist can evaluate your particular orthodontic needs, cost considerations and personal preferences to help you make the right choice.

 

Amber’s Experience with Adult Braces

 

 

Amber had issues with her teeth crowding each other. For cosmetic purposes, she was eager to have them treated. Braces were the best option for her. Her orthodontist used clear brackets, which were much less noticeable than metal ones.

 

What was your experience like as an adult with braces?

It was great! I had clear brackets so they were not super noticeable. I had so many other adults comment on how they were considering getting orthodontics after seeing me do it.

How long did your total treatment take?

Only about eight months. I just had a few teeth I wanted to shift.

Did you experience any unusual reactions from friends and family while undergoing treatment?

Just positive comments. I was surprised how many people commented that they wanted to explore braces as well.

How did you modify your diet while wearing braces?

I stayed away from really sticky and crunchy food that could have broken my brackets. But if I really wanted something that fell into that category, I was very careful and did not bite into anything directly. I only had one broken bracket throughout my entire treatment.

Are you pleased with your results?

Absolutely! If you are an adult and you are interested in braces, go for it. It is well worth the time and financial investment to be happy and confident with your smile. You will not regret it!

 

Ben’s Experience with Invisalign

 

 

Ben was experiencing jaw pain because of his bite. His dentist recommended braces to treat the problem. At his orthodontic checkup, he learned he’d be a good candidate for Invisalign, so that’s the option he chose.

 

What was it like being an adult wearing Invisalign?

At first, it was definitely an adjustment. It was tough not to keep poking at my aligners with my tongue and to remember to do the things I needed to do to take care of them. After about a month, though, it all just became second nature. It was great. People didn’t even realize I was wearing them until I pointed it out.

How long did your total treatment last?

From first impressions to final removal, about 14 months.

How often did you have to go for treatment?

I went every six weeks or so, to get my set of trays adjusted or replaced. I came in maybe a half-dozen times during the course of treatment. I was always in and out very quickly, in about 20 to 30 minutes.

How many hours a day did you wear your aligners?

I was really good until the last few trays. Probably 20 hours a day or so.

Was it difficult to keep up with cleaning your aligners?

Well, to help me remember to brush after each meal, I hid toothbrushes and toothpaste everywhere – in the kitchen, all bathrooms, office, car, briefcase – because otherwise I wouldn’t remember. I still find them in odd places as I clean the house.

Are you pleased with the results?

I’m thrilled. My jaw doesn’t hurt when I eat anymore, and my smile looks great. I went and got whitening afterwards, just to top off the whole experience! People notice it. I didn’t think my teeth were that bad before. But when people come up to you and say, “Wow, your teeth look great,” you just know you made the right choice.

 

If you’re an adult interested in exploring the possibilities of orthodontic care, contact Howard Family Dental today.

Girl with braces takes selfie in a field

The Best Time for Braces

Are you wondering what’s the best time for braces? It might be earlier than you think! For adults and kids alike, there are plenty of reasons people might want braces – and it’s not just cosmetic. Having straighter teeth can have some health benefits too.

For Kids: No Later than Age 7

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a checkup with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7.

  • Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
  • While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.
  • Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
  • In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Additionally, early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, correct harmful oral habits, improve appearance, guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position and improve the way lips meet.

For Adults: Anytime!

Teeth can shift at any age – maybe due to an injury, a health condition or just natural growth. Some people who had braces as a child might even need them a second time when they get older, especially if they neglected to wear their retainer after their braces were removed. If you have any of the following issues, you might want to consider braces:

  • If you have a crossbite or misaligned teeth
  • If you are experience headaches, ear pain or stomach issues related to your oral health
  • If you’re not confident about your smile

Orthodontics have come a long way in just the last decade. If you’re concerned about the appearance of braces, be sure to take a look at Invisalign® clear aligners. These “invisible” braces can discreetly straighten your teeth and be removed for eating and cleaning at anytime. If you’re unhappy or concerned about your teeth, we’d love to schedule a free consultation with you to discuss your options.

Two Friends Whispering Secrets in the Ear.

Members Only: 25% Off Dentures

What if you could save 25% on full or partial dentures and all you had to do was come in for a dental checkup? At Howard Family Dental, you can! Sign up for our Discount Dental Plan and you won’t just be saving money on dentures – you’ll also receive free or discounted dental care for an entire year.

One Membership Pays for Itself

The Discount Dental Plan is exclusively for patients without dental insurance. There is no waiting period, no yearly maximums, no deductibles and no pre-existing condition limitations. New patients will start saving on dental care as soon as you sign up! At just the cost of an initial visit—consisting of an exam & X-rays, teeth cleaning and fluoride treatment—you’ll have access to lots of exclusive member benefits like:

  • 25% Off Dentures and Partials
  • 10% Off Implants
  • 50% Off Sealants
  • 2 Free Teeth Cleanings & Exams Each Year

Save Thousands for the Cost of a Single Checkup

No typos here. For just $227.00, the Discount Dental Plan is already less expensive than the cost of an average dental checkup, which includes a doctor exam & X-rays, teeth cleaning and fluoride treatment. And when you consider the average cost of full dentures is around $3000, the savings are unbelievable! If you are a patient without dental insurance who plans on getting new dentures soon, the Discount Dental Plan sounds like the plan for you.

Schedule a denture consultation at any Howard Family Dental location today!

Download the Discount Dental Plan Application form.

 

About Dentures

 

woman smiles and reveals a heart sticker on her shirt

3 Reasons to Love Your Smile

Unfortunately a lot of people are self-conscious about their smiles. From tutorials on how to smile better and what seems like every celebrity opting for veneers nowadays, there seems to be a lot of pressure on us to have perfect teeth! But just because your teeth aren’t perfectly straight or perfectly white does not mean they aren’t perfectly healthy and beautiful. Don’t believe us? Here are 3 reasons you should love your smile.

1. It’s uniquely yours.

Just like a fingerprint, no two people in the world have the same set of teeth. So if you feel self-conscious over crooked or discolored teeth – Don’t be! Each tooth has a particular size, a particular placement, and a certain distance from its neighbor, which makes the whole set unique. Even identical twins do not have exactly the same set of teeth, because a set of teeth is not only determined by genes, but also by clenching, grinding or thumb sucking.

Michael Strahan laughs and reveals his famous gap

Retired NFL Star & talk show host Michael Strahan—who has one of the most unique smiles we can think of—once considered closing his famous gap at one point. “I made the conscious effort to say, ‘This is who I am,'” he explains of why he didn’t and won’t close up his teeth. “I’m not perfect. I don’t want to try to be perfect.” We think you’re perfect exactly as you are, Michael, and we love your unique smile!

2. Less-than-perfect teeth are beautiful!

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” says a well-known proverb, and we don’t disagree. Crooked teeth aren’t necessarily unhealthy or bad for any reason—despite some people’s obsession with straight teeth—so if you have a few crooked or discolored teeth, don’t stop loving your smile! Believe it or not, in Japan, crooked teeth are ideal. And they even have a specific word “yaeba” for their cute obsession with lengthier canines and less-than-straight smiles.

kate moss is smiling

Anna Paquin, Kate Moss and Kirsten Dunst are three stars who didn’t “fix” their teeth, but we think their smiles make them even more beautiful because they’re natural. If everyone had identical straight teeth, the world would be a boring place. Celebrate your uniqueness today and see your teeth in a new light.

3. It makes other people happy!

Ever seen a smile from a toddler or a happy puppy and had your day made? It turns out there is some science behind the happy feeling we get when we smile and see others smiling. Not only do our brains want to smile when we see someone else smile, research suggests that smiling leads to decrease in the stress-induced hormones that negatively affect your physical and mental health. One study even found that people who smile more lead happier and healthier lives than those who smile less.

So what’s the biggest takeaway here? Smile more! You’ll be happier. The people around you will be happier. And even if you’re self-conscious about your smile, who knows? Someone watching might think it is the most absolutely perfect smile they’ve ever seen. Gaps, snaggleteeth, yaeba, braces, whatever – smile a little more today and see what happens.

Man and woman smile while looking at a laptop, man is holding a credit card, CareCredit logo in top left corner

We Accept CareCredit

We aim to make dental care as available as possible to our patients, which is why we accept CareCredit at our offices.

CareCredit is a healthcare credit card designated to help pay for your out-of-pocket expenses, treatment and procedures.

Once approved for CareCredit, patients can charge expenses and depending on the financial option selected, patients can make deferred interest payments.

We are happy to help answer your questions about CareCredit. If you’d like to talk further, feel free to call any of our locations.

If you are ready to apply for CareCredit now, click here.

 

Thinking young woman looking up at many question marks isolated on gray wall background

Are you missing out on free dental care?

Did you know: Most dental benefits are only available for one year?

Unused benefits — like FSA balances — from the prior year don’t necessarily roll over at the end of the calendar year. Many dental plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually, which means you could be missing out on free or discounted dental care. In fact, dental insurance companies count on making millions off of patients who never use their insurance benefits.

At Howard Family Dental, we are committed to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams and making dental care attainable, which includes utilizing your dental benefits. If you have been putting off a trip to the dentist or dental treatment, now is a great time to come in! We will review your dental benefits with you and show you how to maximize your benefits so that you can complete any outstanding treatment.

We also offer Payment Options and Care Credit if you need help covering any out-of-pocket expenses.

Give us a call today to see how we can help you use your benefits before you lose them!

Dental-Themed Halloween Costume Ideas

Headed to a Halloween party and can’t think of any costume ideas? We’ve got you covered! We looked all over Pinterest and found some fun, do-it-yourself costumes you can make right at home. From cute to spooky, these inexpensive ideas are great for kids and adults too! Be sure to check out our Dental Halloween Costumes board on Pinterest for the complete list.

For Kids: Tooth Costume

a young boy stands smiling in his tooth costume made from pillows

Why not, right? And this is a great way to recycle any pillows you own that have lost their fluff. Just grab those two old pillows you’re replacing, a pair of scissors, a needle and thread. Follow the simple directions in this YouTube video and in 15 minutes, your kid will be wearing one toothfully cute costume.

If you want to ramp  it up, you could add a pair of all-black sweatpants or tights and a black sweatshirt, then you’d look like a tooth floating through the night. Maybe wear some glasses, wear a beard or walk with a cane and tell people you’re a wisdom tooth! Or you can wear some ears and put on some make up to look like a bear, and call yourself a molar bear! It’s always fun to get a little punny with your costumes.

For Couples: Toothbrush and Toothpaste Costume

Young white couple poses dressed in costume as a toothbrush and tube of crest toothpaste

Probably the most classic dental-themed costume is the tube of toothpaste. This one’s super easy to make out of recycled household items too! Just grab an old sheet, a lampshade, scissors, thread and a needle. You might need to go out and purchase these though: hot glue gun, headband and felt paper. We bet you can guess how these all fit together, but here are some better directions if you need them.

As for being a toothbrush, there are plenty of ways to make a brush. Basically all you need is a headband and a way to attach something flat with “bristles” attached. We recommend cardboard for the head and drinking straws for the bristles, but you can also use some light wood, zip ties or any other materials found in your garage or basement. Then just make sure your shirt and pants match and now you’ve got yourself a toothbrush costume!

For Everybody: Tooth Fairy

Girl standing on a porch dressed as the tooth fairy

Of course the Tooth Fairy is often depicted as a woman, but guys can have fun with this costume too! Every good Tooth Fairy costume features four main components: wings, wand, crown and a tutu. Even though a lot of people buy wings, this YouTuber has a cool tutorial on making your own pair with coat hangers and pantyhose. And it’s pretty easy to convert plastic headbands into a crown with some construction paper, glitter or other art supplies you have at home.

As for making a wand, we’ve seen a lot of people get creative — this pin shows one made entirely out of toothbrushes! But if you take a look around your house or apartment, we bet you can create your own. We’re thinking covers of notebooks glued to look like a tooth in the photo to the left. Maybe some wrapping paper cut thin for streamers. We looked around the house and found a chopstick, flashlight, umbrella and a wooden spoon we could use to make a wand.

More Dental-Themed Halloween Costumes

That’s not all! For more dental-themed Halloween costumes, just visit our board on Pinterest where we’ve got plenty more to offer. We found some pretty spooky facepaint, some more horror-themed dental costumes and even Nemo and Darla (featuring her infamous headgear) from Finding Nemo! Click here to see the rest and … Happy Halloween!

Walk your way to healthier gums!

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April 6th is National Walking Day and celebrating is easy: Just lace up and go! ‪#‎AHALaceUp‬

Believe it or not, your dental health can affect your heart health too! In fact, many periodontists agree that there is a link between gum health and clogged arteries, heart disease, and an increased risk of heart attack. So a simple 30-minute walk each day will help your heart do its job better, but it might also make your gums healthier!

For more information, visit the American Heart Association here http://bit.ly/1qoJBXU

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