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Natural Awakenings Coastal Carolinas

Cape Fear Smiles Expansions, Enhancements at Award-Winning Practice

Feb 28, 2023 06:14PM ● By Randy Kambic

L to R: Dr. Norma Cortez, DDS, PA, Dr. Clifton Ball, DDS, Dr. Alexander Hicks, DMD

The practice of Dr. Norma Cortez, owner of Cape Fear Smiles, specializing in general and cosmetic dentistry, has earned several recent awards including Best Dentist Office in the 2022 Star News’ Best of the Best Shore Picks. Not resting on her laurels, she is expanding and enhancing her services on many fronts, all consistent with providing an oral systemic system and recognizing the connection between nutrition and teeth health.

Already with an undergraduate degree in biology and a Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the native of Peru is currently pursuing certification with the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine.

“Upon completion, I will be doing biological extractions, cavitations and compatibility tests,” says
Cortez, who moved to Wilmington in 2011 after graduating and began practicing in Burgaw, North Carolina, until 2015 when she brought her practice to Medical Center Drive.

She welcomed Alex Hicks, DMD, to her staff last September. “He became certified in SMART (safe mercury amalgam removal technique) in December and so did I in January,” Cortez adds.

Other staff members also include Melanie Goforth-Moore, DMD, a Brunswick County native; and Clifton Ball, DDS, an orthodontist.

More state-of the-art equipment is also on its way to the practice. “I’m buying a centrifuge to provide the platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) technique for biological extractions and cavitation,” she remarks. PRF can decrease inflammation, pain and infection.

Cape Fear Smiles already has such cutting-edge technologies as both CBCT (cone beam) and iTtero 3D scanners. The importance of getting children off to an early start in appreciating the
importance of good dental health is evident in two special initiatives. “If a child comes to a six-month wellness check and cleaning and we don’t find any cavities, he or she becomes part of
our No Cavities Club! Kids love to be winners and to feel praised for doing the right thing. Moms feel good for helping kids with their oral hygiene and for watching their diet and nutrition. It’s a win-win for the whole family!”

Their HealthyStart System, a holistic, nonsurgical, orthodontic treatment to help children’s jaws and airways grow and develop properly, is designed to help prevent problems such as Sleep  Disordered Breathing. Uniquely designed oral appliances, when worn for a few hours each day or
while sleeping, encourage nasal breathing and discourage mouth breathing as a child’s teeth and jaws develop.

“The goal is to help your child develop an airway that is wide and open so that they
can breathe easily during both their waking and sleeping hours,” she says, adding that it may also reduce the need for extensive orthodontic treatment with braces or other oral appliances in the future.

Providing pediatric dentistry is a personal passion for her: “My husband and I have two kids ourselves. I love speaking to parents directly about what’s best for their children’s dental health.”

Her general philosophy: “The mouth is the beginning of the digestive system. What affects the mouth (teeth, gingiva, tongue) can affect other parts of the body. Some bacteria can be swallowed, aspirated and they can go through the blood stream to colonize other areas. Also,
what affects other parts of the body can affect the mouth; diabetes can increase the chances of part of your body being inflamed. That can lead to periodontal disease. Because of that, we need to collaborate with other health care providers of other specialties to put the pieces together
for our patients. Communication is key among providers.

“The basics of any preventable disease is nutrition. And cavities are not the exception. Cavities
are preventable. By understanding how important nutrition is and what we need to eat to maintain a good oral microbiome, we can prevent cavities. Also, we need certain vitamins and minerals to help with the remineralization process that occurs in our teeth. They are made of hydroxyapatite that contains calcium and phosphorus. However, we need fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, E, D3 and K2, to carry those minerals to our bones and teeth. Such a diet can increase
the rate of remineralization and, therefore, decrease cavities. Also, we should drink distilled water without the toxins in our tap water, but add minerals to it.”

Cape Fear Smiles, 716 Medical Center Dr., Wilmington. For more information or to make an appointment, call 910-763-0931 or visit
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