General Dentistry

Cottingham Family Dentistry, in Columbia, SC, offers general dentistry as well as other services. We also serve Blythewood, SC and surrounding areas. No matter your age, good oral hygiene is extremely important for everyone. This is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean in order to prevent such issues as cavities, tooth decay, infections, and gingivitis. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to diabetes, sleeping disorders, and respiratory infections due to gum bacteria. There are a few procedures in general dentistry that can assist in maintaining good oral hygiene and be used as preventative measures to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

  • Basic Cleanings-It is very important have a frequent focus on having plaque removed from you’re your teeth and gums on an occasional basis. Cleanings should be scheduled every 6 months or so. This can prevent gum disease, tooth decay, etc.
  • Fillings-Along with cracked, damaged, or broken teeth, fillings are used to treat cavities. Areas of decay will be removed and “filled” with a tooth-colored filling.
  • Tooth Extractions-For severely damaged teeth, tooth removal may be needed. With recovery time typically being only a few days, this procedure is well worth the damage it prevents in the future.
  • Root Canals-When a tooth is badly decayed or becomes infected, a root canal may be the best treatment. Without the treatment, the surrounding tissue may become infect

Teeth Whitening

Cottingham Family Dentistry, in Columbia, SC, offers teeth whitening as well as other services. We also cater to Blythewood, SC and surrounding areas. Tooth enamel can become discolored and stained over time. More of a cosmetic procedure rather than a health one, teeth whitening can improve your smile in a short amount of time. This leads to a boost in your confidence and comfort to display your smile more often. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow-ish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth, teeth whitening will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile.

Dental Implants

Cottingham Family Dentistry, in Columbia, SC, offers dental implants as well as other services. We also cater to Blythewood, SC and surrounding areas. A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is anchored in the gums or jawbone to replace a missing tooth. With our teeth not guaranteed to last a lifetime, it is critical to your overall health and to the health of your other teeth to replace missing teeth. Dental implants have been a solution for failed or missing teeth for more than 50 years and can be done on any patient regardless of their age. Not only can missing teeth lead to loss of self-esteem due to poor appearance, but ignoring missing teeth can lead to a loss in chewing ability, as well as tooth loss. Dental implants are an effective treatment choice for missing or failing teeth, and are generally more effective than other alternatives. Now, one must also have enough bone to support the implant as well. The use of dental implants for treatment of missing teeth has proven to be the most effective and durable restorative option, but they are other safe and effective options if this is the case.


Cottingham Family Dentistry, in Columbia, SC, offers veneers, dental crowns, and dental bridges as well as other services. We also serve surrounding areas such as Blythewood, SC.

One of the most modern cosmetic options for perfecting your smile are veneers. Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth. They are an option for correcting stained, chipped, decayed or crooked teeth, and to close spaces or gaps between teeth. Porcelain veneers are used by attaching them directly to the existing tooth structure. This is a great option for perfecting your smile.

Placing veneers is usually an irreversible process, because it’s necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your tooth to accommodate the shell. Your dentist may recommend that you avoid some foods and beverages that may stain or discolor your veneers such as coffee, tea or red wine. Sometimes a veneer might chip or fracture. But for many people, the results are more than worth it.

Crowns & Bridges

Dental crowns, also called “caps,” preserve the functionality of damaged teeth. Crowns may be used to protect a cracked tooth, restore functionality of a tooth with excessive decay, or replace a pre-existing crown. It can also cover a tooth to help restore it to its normal shape and size. A crown can make your tooth stronger and improve its appearance, which of course can lead to an improvement to your self-esteem. In addition, it can help strengthen a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t enough tooth remaining to hold the filling.

Crowns can also be used to attach bridges, protect a weak tooth from breaking or restore one that’s already broken. If your dentist recommends a crown, it is probably to correct one of the aforementioned conditions.

A dental bridge spans the space where one or more teeth have been lost. It is anchored by crowns on existing healthy teeth for support. Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth and literally “bridges” the gap where one or more teeth used to be. They can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials.

Unlike a removable bridge, which you can take out and clean, a fixed bridge can only be removed by a dentist. An implant bridge attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue. Depending on which type of bridge your dentist recommends, its success depends on the foundation. So it’s very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong. If you’re missing one or more teeth, you may notice a difference in chewing and speaking; actions that affect our daily lives. Bridges can help restore your smile and assist in making those actions easier.

Root Canals

Cottingham Family Dentistry, in Columbia, SC, offers root canals as well as other services. We also serve Blythewood, SC and surrounding areas. Root canal treatment is the removal of the infected nerve of the tooth. The treatment is necessary when the pulp (soft tissue inside your teeth containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue) becomes inflamed or diseased. This can be caused by a having a deep cavity, repeated dental procedures, a cracked or broken tooth, and an injury to the tooth (visible or not). During root canal treatment, your dentist or endodontist removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed. If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result, and your tooth may have to be removed.

A restored tooth could last a lifetime if consistent maintenance and care is provided. However, regular checkups are necessary; a tooth without its nerve can still develop cavities or gum disease. Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile.


Cottingham Family Dentistry, in Columbia, SC, offers tooth extractions as well as other services. We also serve Blythewood, SC and surrounding areas. An extraction happens when a tooth needs to be removed, usually because of disease, trauma or crowding. If an extraction is needed, your dentist will first numb the area to lessen any discomfort. After the extraction, it will be advised that you follow a post extraction regimen. It is there for your benefit and future comfort. In most cases a small amount of bleeding is normal. Your mouth will slowly fill in the bone where the tooth root was through the formation of a blood clot.

Here are some tips to follow to make recovery easier:

  • Avoid anything that might prevent normal healing.
  • Don’t smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously.
  • Avoid drinking through a straw for 24 hours.
  • Follow the diet your dentist suggests.

For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently. Swelling may happen as well. If this occurs, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag and call your dentist right away. Pain medication also may be recommended. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual, but try not to clean the teeth next to where the tooth was removed.


Cottingham Family Dentistry, in Columbia, SC, offers dentures as well as other services. We also serve Blythewood, SC and surrounding areas. Dentures are removable appliances that can replace missing teeth and help restore your smile. If one has lost all of their natural teeth, whether from gum disease, tooth decay or injury, replacing missing teeth will benefit your appearance and your health. Dentures make it easier to eat and speak better than you could without teeth—actions that are important to our daily life.

When you lose all of your teeth, facial muscles can sag, making you look older. Dentures can help fill out the appearance of your face and profile. They can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that your appearance does not change much. Like your teeth, your dentures should be brushed daily to remove food particles and plaque. Brushing also can help keep the teeth from staining and helps maintain your natural appearance.

New dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place. It is not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness from these actions. You may find that saliva flow temporarily increases and as you become accustomed to the dentures, these problems should go away. Follow-up appointments with the dentist are generally needed after a denture is inserted so the fit can be checked and adjusted.

Even if you wear full dentures, you still have to practice good dental hygiene. Brush your gums, tongue and roof of your mouth every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your tissues and help remove plaque. In addition, be sure to schedule regular checkups.

Types of dentures:

  • Conventional – This full removable denture is made and placed in your mouth after the remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed, which may take several months.
  • Immediate – This removable denture is inserted on the same day that the remaining teeth are removed. Your dentist will take measurements and make models of your jaw during a preliminary visit. You don’t have to be without teeth during the healing period, but may need to have the denture relined or remade after your jaw has healed.
  • Overdenture – Sometimes some of your teeth can be saved to preserve your jawbone and provide stability and support for the denture. An overdenture fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth after they have been prepared by your dentist. Implants can serve the same function, too.