Mom of the week: keeping teeth clean in the Queen City

Dr. Rogers and her family.
Dr. Rogers and her family.

Natalie Claire Martinez-Rogers, 32 of Ballantyne, began Queen City Dental in November 2014 after moving to the area. The small office is now open full time Monday-Wednesday and Friday, and will eventually open up to 7 days a week with night and Saturday hours. Read Natalie’s story and get some awesome dental tips for your children!

Q. How did you decide to become a dentist?

A. I can thank my childhood dentist for this one! I remember seeing her when I was 16 years old for a dental cleaning; during the appointment she spoke to me about the profession of dentistry, the shortage of dentist across America - though this may not be evident in Charlotte - and the benefits of this choice over traditional medicine for a working mother. Two weeks later when I returned for a filling, she told me she thought I would make a great dentist and offered me a position as a part-time assistant after school.

I continued to work for her throughout high school and on my breaks from college. I was still unsure of my choice to leave medicine behind through my dental school application process. This is why I decided to attend Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Harvard treats dentistry as an extension of general medicine and even combines the classes for the first two years.

This knowledge basis not only fulfills my passion for biology, but also makes me a more well-rounded provider, especially when considering the systemic effects of negative oral health and the effects of certain medical conditions on your oral health.

Q. Tell us a little bit about Queen City Dental.

A. Queen City Dental is a small family dental practice located in the University area; I am both the owner and only dentist. It was created on the principle that comprehensive, quality care should not come at the expense of a caring and involved provider.

Our staff's main goal is to make you comfortable, as if you were being treated by family. We want each patient to see that we are knowledgeable about their dental needs and capable of following through with the treatment options that best suit their life.

Q. What makes your office different from other local offices?

A. As many medical offices leave that small family feel behind, transitioning to corporate life, Queen City Dental strives to return the caring office we all look for. When you come you will always recognize the faces of our small and consistent staff. Everyone not only knows you by name, but knows your family and life.

Compared to other offices you'll see our wait times are lower and we aren't consistently shuttling patients in and out of the office. We believe that you are more than just a set of teeth, you are a person and deserve to be treated as an individual. As such, we all work together to make sure you understand every aspect of your oral health and dental needs.

In fact, unlike other offices, we will never use a tv or a computer program to explain a procedure to you. Every recommendation and every explanation will result from a dialogue between you and me. I firmly believe that as individuals we should all understand what is happening in our own bodies.

Q. What types of procedures do you perform?

A. I perform the full range of general dentistry. This means that I do everything from deep cleanings, fillings, crowns, bridges, restoration of implants, root canals, extractions, and dentures.

Cosmetic dentistry is also a passion of mine! I love seeing the transition in people's smiles and their joy as they finally reach their dream smile. These procedures include whitening, cosmetic fillings, veneers and crowns and Invisalign therapy. Finally, as a mother myself, I also thoroughly enjoy treating children.

With that said, as a general dentist, any procedure that may be exceptionally difficult or vary from the norm, I typically refer to a specialist.

Q. What ages do you see?

A. I will see children as young as 1 year old - the American Dental Association recommends your child is seen by a dentist within 6 months of their first tooth erupting into their mouth - to the elderly.

Q. What age do you recommend going to the dentist for the first time?

A. The American Dental Association recommends your child visits a dentist within the first 6 months following their first tooth erupting into their mouth. Though this may seem young, these early appointments are integral in discussing healthy oral habits with parents to ensure no problems develop in the future.

I feel these appointments are exceptionally important for first time parents or those who have older children with dental issues. In addition, initiating visits at from such a young age is a great way to expose your child to the dental experience. This will help get them comfortable in the dental chair and with the staff, if and when they do need treatment rendered.

Our goal here is preventative care, while ensuring your child never has a traumatic experience in the chair.

QC Dental photo
The American Dental Association recommends your child visits a dentist within the first 6 months following their first tooth erupting into their mouth.

Q. What types of foods are bad for your teeth and gums?

A. This is actually two very different questions as the bacteria that causes dental decay is very different than the bacteria that causes gum disease/gingivitis. In the former case, you want to avoid any food with excessive sugar or acid. This means candy, ice cream, soda, fruit juices and honestly almost every beverage that is not water.

The bacteria that causes decay thrives on glucose, vastly multiplying. In addition, as the bacteria consumes the sugar, it creates an acid byproduct that eats away at the enamel of your teeth allowing it to invade your tooth: a cavity. Acidic foods like sour candies, sodas, lemons and even orange juice also eat away at your enamel exposing the inner layers of the tooth, which are much more susceptible to invasion by bacteria.

You also want to be cautious with exceptionally hard foods, like firm nuts, ice, hard granola and popcorn. The constant stress on teeth from chewing such hard foods frequently cause fractures within the teeth and fillings making them more likely to crack and break.

In regards to your gums, there isn't any food that is specifically pleasant for the bacteria that causes gum disease. In fact, this bacteria simply thrives on the accumulation of food debris along your gum line. So brush and floss regularly!

Q. Any misconceptions about tooth health you want to dispel?

A. One giant misconception for kids is that fruit juice is better for your teeth than soft drinks. Fruit juices contain the same, if not more, sugar than soft drinks. Thus the effect on your teeth is the same. While I'm on the subject, people who will sip on soda or sugary drinks all day or nibble on foods all day are constantly bathing their teeth in sugar.

The biggest misconception, though, is that dentistry is painful! With modern day anesthetics there is no reason profound numbness cannot be achieved while having dental work done. It is true, what works for one person may not be enough for someone else, but I always tell my patients to raise their hand if they feel anything. I can easily give you a little more. You do not need to be in pain!

I would say generally 75% of my patients don't even know when I've given them the anesthetic. I'm putting away the needle and they are still waiting for the pinch!

Q. Are there any foods that are good for your teeth and gums?

A. Anything that is low in sugar will help keep your teeth healthy. With that said, no one is perfect, even I love my ice cream! So be conscious of what you are eating.

If you are having something high in sugar, simply drink some water afterward. Using a sugar free gum during the day, particularly those with Xylitol, are great at reducing the bacterial load in your mouth. If you are having fruit juice, cut it with water.

Personally, I love using carbonated water for this! Another useful tip is to replace your sports drink with plain coconut water. Its not only delicious, but has all the same nutrients and vitamins as those other drinks, without any of the added sugar.

Q. What type of tooth paste do you recommend for children and why?

A. I can't say enough good things about Fluoride. The fact of the matter is, most children need very little dental work, if any, especially when you compare them to what our parents needed when they were young. This is all thanks to fluoride. It not only helps to remineralize enamel, making less susceptible to that bacterial invasion, but helps to reduce the bacterial load in our mouth.

I feel it is so important for our children in the fight against tooth decay. The only thing is you need to be cautious that your child is able to spit it out when you are done brushing. If not, use a very small amount, just enough to wet the tips of the bristles until they are older.

You can get more information at: http://www.QueenCityDental.netand