expert type icon EXPERT

Dr. Travis E. Hampton

Dentist

Dr. Travis Hampton is a Dentist practicing in Covington, Georgia. Dr. Hampton specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic, and endodontic procedures, and performing examinations, among many others.
Dr. Travis E. Hampton
  • Covington, Georgia
  • Medical College of Georgia
  • Accepting new patients

What are the most visible signs and symptoms of a gum disease?

It is good to be concerned with oral infections as they can cause pain, tooth loss, and other problems. All diseases in the mouth are pain free at first. The best ways to control READ MORE
It is good to be concerned with oral infections as they can cause pain, tooth loss, and other problems. All diseases in the mouth are pain free at first. The best ways to control dental problems is good old-fashioned brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist regularly.
Gum disease is usually first detected by seeing blood in your sink after brushing or flossing. If you bleed after you clean your teeth, floss more and see your dentist. Avoid sugary diets and sugar habits such as sipping on soft drinks. Also, it is a good idea not to share tooth pastes between family members as colds and other infections can be spread from one toothbrush to another from the tube of toothpaste.

Do I have to be numb?

That depends on the size of your cavity and the skill of your dentist. Many dentists are surprised to know that not all patients need to be numbed to do basic dental procedures. READ MORE
That depends on the size of your cavity and the skill of your dentist. Many dentists are surprised to know that not all patients need to be numbed to do basic dental procedures. In my practice, I have gone entire days without numbing patients and they have felt no pain at all. If a cavity is shallow or if you are replacing an old filling and the dentist is careful not to bare down into the tooth, you usually will feel no pain. Not many dentists practice this though as most numb patients automatically.

To answer your second question, it can hurt a lot to have a tooth worked on without anesthesia. Again, it will depend on the size of the decay, the skill of the doctor, and other factors like your pain threshold and age. Older patients have smaller nerves and don't feel nearly as much as a younger patient who typically have huge nerves. You can always tell your dentist to try and go slow and if you start to feel pain, get numbed up.

Can a gum infection pass to other parts of the body?

A small number of people in America die from dental infections every year, either through infection spreading to the brain or a condition called Ludwig's angina which closes the READ MORE
A small number of people in America die from dental infections every year, either through infection spreading to the brain or a condition called Ludwig's angina which closes the airway in the throat from swelling. There is also a lot of research being done about gum disease and correlating increases in other disease processes such as prostate cancer and heart problems. The type of infection spreading is bacteria from your gums. Infected and bleeding gums can allow a lot of bacteria into your blood stream. I do not know of any way to identify the infections early but I do know that keeping your gums and teeth healthy is good for your overall medical health. Brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly for optimum dental health.

How can I close the gap between my frontal teeth?

The best way is through orthodontics (braces), but you can also try composites or veneers. Composites are white fillings and veneers are thin laboratory made porcelain covers that READ MORE
The best way is through orthodontics (braces), but you can also try composites or veneers. Composites are white fillings and veneers are thin laboratory made porcelain covers that are bonded to the front of your teeth. Composites do not have the longevity of veneers, but they also do not alter the teeth. A veneer needs to have the tooth prepared to hold the veneer and the change is permanent. Both options usually look great and are much quicker than braces, but again, I don't like to alter healthy teeth and composites typically last 2-5 years in the front before chipping or needed to be replaced. Therefore, I recommend staying with the braces. Be sure to wear the retainers when done or else the space will come right back.

Is it bad if a piece of an old filling falls out?

When a filling falls out, it is usually because there is a cavity under the filling, so yes, that is bad. Sometimes, a filling will break and fall out with no decay present but READ MORE
When a filling falls out, it is usually because there is a cavity under the filling, so yes, that is bad. Sometimes, a filling will break and fall out with no decay present but even so, food can get caught in the hole which usually leads to a future cavity. You need to see a dentist to fill it or possibly crown it, if the filling/cavity is large. Remember, the main three diseases of the mouth (cavities, gum disease, and cancer) are all PAIN FREE, until it is too late. I would recommend you see a dentist as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Why do some dentists hurt during cleanings more than others?

This can be because the last hygienist you saw was 'heavy handed' or the hygienist you saw the time before could have left tartar behind which makes your gums more sore the next READ MORE
This can be because the last hygienist you saw was 'heavy handed' or the hygienist you saw the time before could have left tartar behind which makes your gums more sore the next time. If you go to the same hygienist every time and it continues to hurt, you need to try another hygienist. Some are better than others at not hurting you. Also though, and very important, is how infected your gums are going in. If you floss everyday and have healthy, tight, non-bleeding gums, then it should not hurt to get your teeth cleaned. If you don't floss regularly and have infected gums, it will usually hurt to clean the tartar out, no matter how 'gentle' the hygienist is.

Did my dental x-rays harm my baby? (first trimester)

At this point, there is nothing you can do. We try not to take any X-rays or do any dental work, unless necessary in the 1st trimester. Occasionally, we have to and we never seem READ MORE
At this point, there is nothing you can do. We try not to take any X-rays or do any dental work, unless necessary in the 1st trimester. Occasionally, we have to and we never seem to have any problems, but I would check with my OB-GYN to be sure. Try not to lose sleep over it though, the amount of radiation for a routine dental examination is far less than a typical medical radiograph. Please avoid dental treatment until the 2nd trimester, if you need any work done.

Can an infected tooth spread the infection to the other teeth as well?

A dental abscess can spread to other root tips and infect them, but not on the short term. A dentist will usually prescribe antibiotics to control the infection and pain, while READ MORE
A dental abscess can spread to other root tips and infect them, but not on the short term. A dentist will usually prescribe antibiotics to control the infection and pain, while the patient is waiting for a dental visit to treat the tooth (by either root canal or extraction). This will usually be within a few weeks, so I wouldn't worry about it spreading during that time, especially if you are on the antibiotic.

Is the fluoride treatment at the dentist really worth it?

The fluoride we use in the office is a prescription strength. It is better than OTC rinses. Having said that, we usually only prescribe this for children. We do recommend extra READ MORE
The fluoride we use in the office is a prescription strength. It is better than OTC rinses. Having said that, we usually only prescribe this for children. We do recommend extra fluoride for any adult who has had more than one cavity in the last two years. If you have no cavities and you are an adult, then I do not recommend it in my office.

What can I eat or avoid eating to reduce plaque?

It does sound like you are doing the right things. I would suggest to get a sonic brush if you do not have one and use it for the full two minutes, especially before going to READ MORE
It does sound like you are doing the right things. I would suggest to get a sonic brush if you do not have one and use it for the full two minutes, especially before going to the dentist. ;) Foods that encourage bacteria are sugary foods, breads, and meats. Foods that discourage plaque are coarse fruits and vegetables. Personally, I am a carnivore but I seldom have a plaque problem, so I am not sure that it is your diet. Better brushing techniques or a better brush should help. You might need to brush and extra time throughout the day as well. Also, chewing sugar-free gum helps remove plaque, especially after a meal. I recommend Trident with xylitol. Good luck

Is water-flossing as effective as regular flossing?

Not according to the study is that I have read. While a WaterPik does help remove major food debris, it does not remove finer plaque and as of today, the best way to remove plaque READ MORE
Not according to the study is that I have read. While a WaterPik does help remove major food debris, it does not remove finer plaque and as of today, the best way to remove plaque is with mechanical removal. (Brushing and flossing). It's akin to using a water hose to clean your garage floor versus scrubbing with a brush. Sorry, no easy way around this one, however, if you ass flossing to your morning routine, it does not take much time and you are much more likely to get it done.

What if only one tooth is crooked?

The proper way to straighten a tooth is with braces. Simple cases do not cost as much and Invisalign offer lower cost options for minor cases. The only other way to straighten READ MORE
The proper way to straighten a tooth is with braces. Simple cases do not cost as much and Invisalign offer lower cost options for minor cases. The only other way to straighten the tooth would be with restorative treatment, i.e. a veneer, but this would permanently alter the tooth and I do not recommend it.

What is a dry socket?

A dry socket forms when you lose the blood clot covering the extraction site. Usually lost by smoking, spitting, or suction, once lost, the socket has exposed bone and exposed READ MORE
A dry socket forms when you lose the blood clot covering the extraction site. Usually lost by smoking, spitting, or suction, once lost, the socket has exposed bone and exposed bone is always painful. It will go away on its own in two weeks however, the pain can be too intense to wait it out. Your friend needs to call the dentist who extracted the tooth. He can place a medication in the extraction site that will sooth the bone and pain until the socket heals.

Can I whiten my teeth with baking soda alone?

Baking soda is naturally abrasive which will remove superficial stains from your teeth. But it also can damage the enamel with excessive use. Most people have darker teeth because READ MORE
Baking soda is naturally abrasive which will remove superficial stains from your teeth. But it also can damage the enamel with excessive use. Most people have darker teeth because of long term, deeper stains. These require bleaching to reach and affect. Short answer: It will not hurt you in the short-term but it might not do much good either.

I can't fix my teeth sensitivity. What do I do?

You can ask your dentist for a fluoride gel and sometimes that will help, but sensitivity can be difficult to control for some people. In my practice, it is the complaint I hear READ MORE
You can ask your dentist for a fluoride gel and sometimes that will help, but sensitivity can be difficult to control for some people. In my practice, it is the complaint I hear the most, but it usually is not a sign of a serious problem (like decay).
Common causes are root exposure and clenching. Root exposure can happen naturally in life, but many times it is caused by aggressive brushing or excessive clenching. If your tooth brush looks 'bent and worn' after a short period of use, then you are brushing too hard and I recommend a Sonic brush. You can't brush too hard with one of those.
Also, you might ask your dentist to make you a night guard. Clenching leads to sensitivity. Ask yourself from time to time, 'are my teeth together right now?' If they are, you are clenching too much. Your teeth should never touch unless you are eating. Period. If you are clenching and you control that, your sensitivity might improve.


Good luck, Doctor Hampton