Light Up The Room For The Holidays With Teeth Whitening!

posted: December 05, 2017

Holiday parties, business gatherings that provide social opportunities, family meals, gift giving and even bumping into friends while Christmas shopping…  all times for happy smiles. The holidays, more than any other time of the year, seem to be filled with smiles and laughter.

Do you feel good about the appearance of your smile?

If not, one of the fastest ways to improve a smile’s appearance is to whiten your teeth. Tooth whitening is also one of the most affordable ways to perk up a smile.

A confident smile tends to be shared often!

A bright smile heightens confidence when smiling. When you feel confident about how your smile looks, it makes you want to smile more often. According to research, the act of smiling creates a boost in manufacturing the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals, known as endorphins.

In addition to a more attractive smile, white teeth project the appearance of healthy teeth. When teeth are shiny and bright, people perceive them as clean and well-tended.

Whiter teeth can also create a younger look. The aging process can cause teeth to become more brown or gray. Whitening can trim years off one’s appearance.

Plus, a brighter smile can give you a face lift of sorts! When teeth are whiter, the eyes focus more on the smile. When you smile, facial muscles pull wrinkles and sags upward and smooth out fine lines.

A particular advantage of whiter teeth is how a bright smile can help to camouflage flaws. For example, crooked teeth are less prominent when they are a lighter shade.

For many reasons, whitening teeth can certainly make a significant difference in how you feel when you smile. While drug store whitening kits may seem to be practical options, our Nite White take home whitening system is safe, affordable and effective. The results are far more dramatic with far better longevity. Plus, these make terrific gifts for that special smile you love!

Call 843-871-6351 to learn more about tooth whitening. Make your smile sparkle and shine this holiday and beyond!

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Worried About Being Up Close During The Holidays Because Of Bad Breath?

posted: November 20, 2017

Nobody wants to be the person at a gathering who walks away, leaving others behind with a memory of ‘there goes the one who had bad breath.’ Bad breath can have a lasting impression, one that nobody wants. As holiday parties and family gatherings approach, there are steps you can take to ensure you are not remembered in this negative manner.

Bad breath is the accumulation of oral bacteria, which are living, eating and breeding organisms. Because anything that eats also produces waste, this is what they deposit in your mouth. Imagine these wriggling creatures using your mouth as their breeding ground and toilet — a motivating reason to brush often if there ever was one!

Although occasional bad breath is something we all deal with — after a morning of coffee or a tuna sandwich lunch, perhaps — persistent bad breath is a warning sign. Having bad breath on a frequent basis is a symptom of gum disease. Other symptoms you may also notice are sore and swollen gums, gums that bleed when brushing, and gums that deepen in color.

If gum disease is not the reason for your breath odor, there are ways to keep your mouth fresh throughout the day. These include:
• Dry mouth is the leading cause of occasional bad breath. The reason your mouth is stale and sticky when you wake up is because your gum tissues have gone for hours without oral bacteria being ‘rinsed’ out of the mouth. After a mouth has been closed all night, the tissues dry out and bacteria accumulate. As they multiply, they form a smelly, sticky film known as plaque.
• Another cause of dry mouth is the consumption of beverages that have a drying affect on oral tissues, such as alcohol or coffee.
• Sugary drinks give oral bacteria their favorite ‘food,’ helping them to reproduce more rapidly in your mouth.
• Some medications have side effects that lower saliva flow, which is your mouth’s natural cleanser. You may notice a drier mouth when you take an antihistamine, for example. Many medications for depression and some for urinary incontinence can have a drying effect.
• For those who tend to breath through their mouths, the regular flow of oxygen decreases the amount of saliva in the mouth.
• Poor oral hygiene is an obvious reason for bad breath. When oral bacteria accumulate in the mouth and are not removed through regular brushing and flossing, they continually reproduce. As your mouth fills with bacteria, plaque forms. As plaque multiplies, it becomes a hard substance known as calculus. This eats away at tooth enamel and gum tissues. In other words, bacteria are causing ‘mouth rot.’
• Diseases and illnesses that can cause dry mouth are pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, diabetes and acid reflux. Liver or kidney problems can also contribute to dry mouth.
• The worst cause of dry mouth is smoking. The chemicals in cigarette smoke are the worst culprits in causing a dry mouth.

If gum disease is not the source of your bad breath, simple measures to enjoy a fresh mouth are:
 – Brush regularly, at least two minutes per time. Use a tongue scraper daily to remove embedded bacteria, especially towards the back of the tongue. If you don’t have a tongue scraper, use your toothbrush after tooth brushing.
 – Either floss daily or purchase an electronic flosser.
 – Drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you take medications that are dying to oral tissues, purchase an oral rinse specifically designed to restore oral moisture.

Of course, it’s important to begin with a clean, healthy mouth. If you suspect gum disease or are behind on regular dental check-ups and cleanings, call 843-871-6351. Or, if preferred, begin with a private, no-charge consultation.

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Dental Fear Adds To Time & Costs Required For Eventual Treatment

posted: November 14, 2017

In addition to our web site, including regular blog posts, we take the time to communicate with our patients about the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth. Because research has shown links between the oral bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease and a number of serious health conditions, having good oral health has come to light as a necessary part of enjoying good, overall health.

Oral bacteria has been associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, impotency, erectile dysfuntion (ED) and some cancers. As research continues, the list grows longer. With this connection, you’d think people would be clamoring to get into dental offices and make good oral health one of their highest priorities. Yet, only 64% of adults ages 18-64 saw a dentist in the past year. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/dental.htm)

Why is it that so many people shy away from dental visits? While cost may be the blame for a certain percentage, my experience as a dentist who provides both oral and I.V. sedation tells me it often has to do with another issue – dental fear.

It is estimated that over seventy percent of American adults have some level of dental fear or anxiety. Of that number, about eight to twelve percent can be categorized as dental phobics. These are adults who have such intense fear of dental visits that they avoid dentistry until intense pain forces them into an office for treatment.

According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, authors of the book “Behavioral Dentistry” found that nearly half of American adults suffer with moderate levels of dental fear and 5 to 10 percent admit to avoiding dental care altogether as a result. (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/dental-fears.aspx)

As a nation with advanced health facilities and health care providers, our adults have an enormously high level of gum disease.

A study titled Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010 estimates that 47.2 percent, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease. In adults 65 and older, prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent.

How will we ever be able to address the prevalence of gum disease in the U.S. (and prevent the health conditions associated with it), unless we can get people to feel comfortable at the dentist?

Unlike that of a generation ago, dentistry today is far more sensitive to the comfort levels of patients. Yet, it is the dentist who must be committed to the comfort of his or her patients to a greater extent than merely a provider of comfort options. For example, I feel that pacing a fearful patient’s care in increments that are ‘do-able’ for the individual is equally as important as the sedation options available.

While I’ve offered oral sedation for many years, I became certified in I.V. sedation nearly a decade ago because of the unique needs of a certain number of new patients who had more intense levels of fear. Knowing that ‘twilight sleep’ was available was a more reassuring measure for proceeding into treatment since many were familiar with it through colonoscopies or other outpatient procedures.

Not only do we take patient comfort very seriously, we also take their safety seriously. All patients are closely monitored throughout treatment by trained staff members and advanced safety equipment.

I believe if we can assure fearful patients that their comfort needs can be met, we’d have a nation with healthier gums. By reducing the level of adults with gum disease, we would also be enhancing the overall health and well being of our American population.

If you have dental anxiety, fear or phobia, please know that you CAN have a dental experience that is comfortable. Begin with a no-charge consultation appointment to discuss your needs. You can meet our staff and share your concerns in a private consultation room that is removed from the clinical side of the practice.

For individuals who have fear so intense they are unable to come in for a consult, ask for a phone consultation. I’ll be happy to discuss the options we use and answer your questions. If desired, we can put you in touch with other patients who, like you, once struggled with dental fear and now have healthy, confident smiles!

Call 843-871-6351 to learn more or wish to arrange a consultation.

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Why Dental Implants?

posted: November 07, 2017

When an individual is missing natural teeth or facing the removal of a tooth (or teeth), I take time to help the patient understand his or her options for replacement as well as why replacement is needed (even when missing a back tooth that is not visible in a smile).

Like the legs of a table or wheels on a car, each tooth plays a role in proper alignment. When a tooth is missing, the tooth above (or below) will grow longer since it does not have an opposing force to help keep it in place. By the same token, the teeth on either side of the open area will begin to tilt out of their positions.

This misalignment leads to a number of problems, including chipped, cracked, broken and fractured teeth. Improperly aligned teeth also contribute to a misaligned bite that places stress or strain on the jaw joints, which is commonly referred to as TMJ disorder.

The TMJ (temporo-mandibular joints) hinge the lower jaw to the skull. When properly functioning, the joints rotate harmoniously every time the mouth opens, while chewing or speaking and even during swallowing.

Misaligned teeth transfer stress and strain to the the jaw joints. This can lead to night-time clenching and grinding, worn teeth, frequent headaches, migraines, dizziness, ear ringing and sore jaw joints.

Obviously, there is a domino effect when lost teeth are not replaced. At the same time, people who wear dentures or partial dentures may encounter an entirely different set of challenges.

When teeth are missing, the jaw bone that once supported their roots begins to shrink. This process is known as resorption. When the bone resorbs, it declines in height and mass. This reduced mass of bone creates a vulnerable foundation for remaining natural teeth. Statistics show that the next tooth you’re most likely to lose is one adjacent to a missing tooth.

Unbeknownst to many people, wearing dentures or partials actually contributes to the rate of bone loss. The pressure these appliances place on the bone speeds up the process of resorption. For those who sleep in their dentures, bone loss occurs at an even faster rate.

When the bone declines in mass, the denture or partial will eventually begin to slip or rub uncomfortable spots on tender gum tissues. This is because the appliance is custom-designed to the unique contours of an individual’s gum ridge. As the gum ridge flattens due to resorption, the fit becomes less and less secure. Over time, even denture pastes and adhesives will do little to hold the appliance in place.

We recommend dental implants for a number of reasons. The main advantage is how dental implants restore natural biting and chewing ability without requiring the support of neighboring teeth (as with some partials and crown-&-bridge combinations).

Additionally, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. They will not experience decay, require root canals or cause damage to neighboring teeth. And, because they recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw bone, bone loss is halted.

When it comes to dental implants, the only obstacle for some people is cost. Although the fees associated with implants are all ‘up front,’ the problems experienced with dentures and partials that require future expense will not creep up and need continual upkeep.

Dental implants are one of the most successful implant-in-bone procedures, with a nearly 97 percent success rate. When you place your treatment in the hands of an experienced dentist who is trained in all types of implants, you optimize your potential for a successful outcome. He or she can choose the type that is truly best for your individual needs.

In our office, we combine experience, skills and comfort. We offer oral and I.V. sedation and use advanced technology to maximize comfort and precision placement. Here, safety and comfort are priorities with our entire team and our track record is exceptional.

To discuss your individual needs, call 843-871-6351. We will be happy to make recommendations and discuss easy payment plans that require no down payment and are interest-free.

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Crowns In One Appointment Save Time, Enhance Comfort.

posted: October 30, 2017

Tis the season – already. Once November arrives, there seems to be a mad scramble to be ready for the holidays. Stores are already full of holiday decor, gift baskets and Christmas wrapping paper.

Early preparations help us to save time, being able to avoid crowded stores and last-minute panic as the holidays draw near. For those who are considering having dental treatment completed before the holiday dash, we can help by offering CEREC 3D single-visit crowns and implant restorations (replacement teeth that are attached to the implanted posts).

CEREC is a computerized process that takes precision measurements, creates a custom-designed crown, and actually manufactures it in one appointment. The process is comfortable and the results are beautiful.

cerec machine

Single visit crowns, bridges and dental implant restorations

First, we use a handpiece to take images of various angles of the prepared tooth to be crowned. This information is loaded into CEREC’s computer and I enter specifics for shade, etc.

Then, while the patient is still numb, a ceramic block is placed in CEREC’s milling unit. In an efficient process, the block is formed into the customized crown’s shape — all while the patient relaxes comfortably. In minutes, the final restoration is ready for placement.

What does this mean? The greatest advantage most people find is the savings in time. Rather than have an appointment to have the tooth prepared and a temporary placed AND return for a second appointment to place a crown created by a dental lab (often 2-4 weeks later), CEREC requires just one appointment for BOTH.

Not only does this eliminate the need for a second appointment, the patient avoids the need for a second numbing injection. No more waiting hours to overcome lip numbness a second time around!

The CEREC 3D process is quick, easy and provides a durable, beautiful result. Patients like that shade matching is precise and CEREC restorations provide excellent longevity.

Additionally, since wearing a temporary crown is not necessary, the worry of eating cautiously for fear it could dislodge (which often occurs at the worst of times!) is a non-issue. With CEREC, no temporaries are needed!

Today’s dental technology is designed to provide patients with exceptional results while maximizing patient comfort. We have found the CEREC process accomplishes both – with hundreds of patients quickly becoming fans of this advanced technology.

One of the reasons I agreed to serve as a CEREC Mentor to other dentists is because of the advantages to our patients. With every piece of technology we select, it is always with this goal — what is best for our patients when it comes to optimal outcomes and a comfortable experience.

CEREC 3D techology is just one of our many advanced features. To learn more about the state-of-the-art technology available in our office, please visit: http://www.smilesbyandrews.com/comfort-advanced-features/

Ready to tend to dental needs in half the time? You are invited to begin with a no-charge consultation. We’ll be happy to discuss options recommended for your needs and answer your questions. Call 843-871-6351 to schedule.

 

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Worn Teeth & Other Signs Of Bite Problems

posted: October 23, 2017

You’d expect problems to eventually emerge when forcing something to fit when it simply does not. For example, cramming your foot into a too-small sized shoe will eventually lead to problems with the toes and joints in the foot. You’d expect that – right?

This is also true for teeth that are crowded and crooked, which can lead ‘bite’ problems. Bite problems occur when the upper teeth do not rest properly on the lower teeth. The ‘misalignment’ of just one tooth, such as a tooth that is too long or short, can create disharmony in the fit of upper to lower teeth.

Although, visually, a patient may think their fit is an aligned one, the misalignment can lead to a number of problems. Bite problems can result in teeth meeting each other improperly. This can cause teeth to become chipped, fractured or broken. When a tooth breaks below the gum line, it will likely require removal.

Worn teeth from grinding

A misaligned bite can also lead to strain on the jaw joints, commonly referred to as TMJ. These joints, located in front of the ears, hinge the lower jaw to the skull. When these joints are stressed, the jaws may move during sleep in an attempt to find a relaxed position. This attempt to self-adjust can cause the jaws to shift, often triggering a grinding or clenching motion.

In addition to putting teeth at risk from grinding and clenching, TMJ disorder can lead to:

  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Sore jaw joints
  • Dizziness
  • Ear ringing
  • Limited ability to open the mouth

Worn teeth from grinding causes the tops of teeth to flatten out. This creates a straight line without the contours of natural teeth. Worn teeth from grinding also compromise the health of teeth in other ways. As teeth grind back and forth, tooth enamel is worn down, leaving them susceptible to decay and sensitivity.

While your 6-month checkups include an evaluation of your bite and detecting signs of abnormal wear, worn teeth are not always present when TMJ problems exist. Many people with TMJ disorder experience symptoms (such as frequent headaches or jaw joint tenderness) before their teeth show signs of wear.

If you suspect your TMJ is the source of the symptoms mentioned above, the problem will only worsen without correcting your bite alignment. We begin by using diagnostic measures to pinpoint if TMJ disorder is truly the source of your symptoms. If so, we will develop a treatment plan to restore proper bite alignment and alleviate stress from the jaw joints.

In some cases, we can correct minor problems through the reshaping of selected teeth. However, if more extensive reshaping is needed, crowns may be advised. In our office, we can provide one-visit crowns if this should be part of your treatment plan. (For more information on CEREC 3D crowns, visit: http://www.smilesbyandrews.com/comfort-advanced-features/). Severe misalignment may need orthodontic realignment to adequately restore the proper fit of upper and lower teeth.

Resolving bite problems early can help you avoid more extensive treatment time and expense. Begin with a free, no-cost consultation by calling 843-871-6351. During this time, we’ll discuss options that are appropriate for your individual needs. If desired, our Financial Coordinator can review payment plans are interest-free with no down payment required.

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Tend To Dental Needs Before End Of Year

posted: October 18, 2017

I was walking through a warehouse store the other day and noticed aisle after aisle of Christmas decor, gift baskets and holiday wrapping supplies. While Christmas and the end of 2017 seem far off (after all, it’s not even Halloween yet!), it’s actually only 67 days away.

Every year, it seems that Christmas comes earlier than it did the year before. Many of us tend to postpone certain things until the last months of the year such as annual physicals or carpet cleaning. Yet, one thing to be certain is on your end-of-year check list is “Tend to dental needs.”

Want to replace a crown-&-bridge with dental implants? Behind on dental cleanings? Would you like to improve your smile’s appearance? Has sleep apnea become a problem?

Scheduling delayed cleanings, dental treatment or consultations NOW can benefit you in two ways. First, early scheduling allows you to select appointment times that are most convenient for you. Because the final months of the year find many people remembering the needs of their smiles, the appointment days and times that you prefer may be booked when scrambling to schedule at the last minute.

Another advantage of early scheduling is in financing. For those who have unused dental insurance benefits and/or Health Savings Account (HSA) funds, early scheduling can help us arrange your treatment so you can maximize your benefits.

For example, some treatments require several appointments to complete. For those who have dental insurance, we can schedule initial appointments at the end of 2017 (taking advantage of this year’s coverage) and arrange appointments for completion to occur after the first of 2018 (providing you with the coverages of an entirely new year).

Additionally, we can combine these annual benefits with payment plans that break uncovered treatment into easy monthly payments. This provides an interest-free option with no down payment required. For those without dental insurance, these easy payment plans can be set up to blend in with almost any budget.

Achieving the healthy smile you desire can be affordable and conveniently arranged. If desired, call 843-871-6351 to request a free consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss the treatment you need or desire and determine the appointments and cost involved. Call today!

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Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You A WOW Smile!

posted: October 10, 2017

The mouth is an important part of each day. Through it, you receive nourishment, begin the digestive process, communicate verbally and relay emotions. Yet, when most of us think of our mouths, it is our smiles that stand out in the forefront.

Your lips, teeth and gums are components of your smile, which, according to studies, does far more than enhance (or detract from) facial appearance. Studies show that you can improve your psychological and physiological state by smiling, even when you fake a smile. Smiling is also said to improve immunity and helps you tolerate pain and frustration to a greater degree.

Certainly, a beautiful smile has an impact on one’s outer appearance. Yet, smiling also makes us feel good, even when we don’t feel like smiling. Research has shown that smiling increases endorphins, a chemical in your brain that gives you a natural high. When endorphins are released through smiling, it creates feelings of happiness.

It is also estimated that people who smile often lengthen their lifespans by two years, on average. On the flip side, those who frown more decrease their lives an average of a year.

Another benefit of smiling is how it pulls facial muscles upward. This gives you a more youthful appearance and smooths lines. You get a bit of a face lift just by smiling!

Our patients who’ve completed smile makeovers tend to smile more often and really SMILE from the inside out! While smiling comes easy for those who feel good about the appearance of their smile, a smile that has chips, gaps, breaks, stains and missing or crooked teeth can make people feel uneasy or even embarrassed. Some people cover their mouths to conceal the flaws that make smiling awkward.

If you are uncomfortable with smiling as fully as you’d like, today’s cosmetic dentistry can create a beautiful smile you’ll love to share. In our office, we use modern dental technology, the latest techniques and exceptional materials to create smiles with natural appeal that complement each individual. These include:

Porcelain Crowns & Veneers – Porcelain is the superior material when it comes to smile enhancement. This provides the highest degree of luminosity and longevity available. Porcelain crowns and veneers can beautifully recreate a smile for the most natural look and feel possible. Porcelain also resists staining and has a durability that is exceptional to any other material used in cosmetic dentistry. For the 6 or 8 teeth most visible in a smile, porcelain crowns or veneers can change an unflattering smile to one that you’ll want to share often!

Bonding – Teeth that are chipped, uneven, gapped, stained or poorly-shaped can often be correctly with the application of bonding. In bonding, a material is coated over tooth surfaces and and then shaped and polished to correct smile flaws. While not as durable or stain-resistant as porcelain, bonding provides good longevity at an affordable cost. It can be shade-matched to blend attractively with surrounding teeth and is typically completed in just one visit.

Teeth Whitening – Although some people believe that drug store whitening systems are helpful, their effectiveness is minimal compared to the systems available through a dentist. When you consider their cost, minimal effect and the frequency needed to keep your teeth white, drug store systems are hardly worth the time or investment. Our use-at-home Nite White tooth whitening system is highly affordable and provides a much higher degree of whitening with excellent longevity.

Gum Re-contouring – Your smile is not just teeth. Your gum tissues are also an important part of your smile’s appearance. Think of the gum tissue that arches each tooth like a frame for beautiful artwork. Having the gum line in a balanced order over teeth enhances the overall look of a smile. Using a dental laser, we can contour gum tissues to create an attractive smile in a process that is comfortable and requires minimal healing time.

Dental Implants – The gap in a smile left by missing teeth sends a negative message that can label an individual unfairly. For people who are missing one or more natural teeth, Dental Implants can restore the ability to smile attractively, speak and laugh confidently, and bite and chew comfortably. Since the teeth attached to the implants are custom-made crowns, we create an attractive smile in the process.

Cosmetic Dentures – When people are missing all upper or lower teeth, some choose to replace them with full dentures. Today’s dental techniques and materials make it possible to combine replacement gum tissue and teeth that results in an appealing smile and more youthful appearance.

A flattering smile can make a dramatic difference in one’s appearance, self-esteem and confidence level. Many procedures in modern cosmetic dentistry can be completed in just one or two visits. We also offer payment plans that fit most budgets and are interest-free.

Call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss the beautiful smile you desire.

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Replace Missing Tooth (Or Teeth) Several Ways

posted: October 02, 2017

Today’s dentistry offers many options for replacing teeth. And, with modern techniques, materials and technology, tooth replacement can create a natural look, feel and function.

In our office, we utilize advanced technology that can save patients time, enhance comfort and create an exceptional look and feel for virtually every need.

Creates replacement teeth in a single visit!

When it comes to replacing teeth, patients have many choices with a wide range of fees associated with each. Yet, like anything, having dentistry done for a ‘bargain rate’ means corners were cut somewhere. This typically results in compromises, sacrificing longevity, function and overall satisfaction.

Replacing a tooth (or teeth) is no place to go ‘cheap.’ Choose an option that is the very best for a reasonable cost. Choose your dentist carefully, according to skills and experience. If the treatment fee is beyond your means, ask about payment plans. In many cases, these help patients finance their treatment for no down payment with no interest charged. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of treatment while making monthly payments that fit your budget.

Today, the preferred tooth replacement option is a Dental Implant. Dental Implants restore a natural biting strength and stability since the implanted portion is anchored by the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots. After placement, we use the advanced technology CEREC 3D, which creates replacement teeth from a computerized image. While you comfortably relax, the replacement crowns (or ‘restorations’) are created and ready to attach to the implanted portion. The teeth created by CEREC provide an optimal look, feel and function with exceptional longevity. The attached teeth will not move when eating, will not slip when speaking or laughing or cause uncomfortable rubbing on tender gums. And, because implants do not rely on neighboring teeth for support, otherwise healthy, natural teeth do not require crowning to serve as supports to replacement teeth. However, with Dental Implants, the best advantage of all is their lifespan. Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime, making them an exceptional investment.

Crown-&-Bridge combinations are a familiar means of replacing one or several teeth in one area. However, a bridge can be placed only when it is bordered by natural teeth on each side. These adjacent teeth are crowned so they can support the bridge on each side. Today’s bridges are made of porcelain and designed to blend beautifully with adjacent teeth. In our office, we use CEREC 3D technology to create porcelain crowns and bridges in a single visit, which eliminates the wait time needed by a dental lab. No second numbing! No second visit! No wearing temporaries! With CEREC technology, you can leave your appointment with your final porcelain crowns and bridge ready for you to enjoy.

In our office, a partial denture also can be placed in a single visit. A ‘partial’ replaces several teeth and is secured to existing natural teeth. A partial consists of teeth on a base, which is contoured to fit the unique shape of your gums and blend attractively with natural teeth and gums.

For those who are missing all upper or lower teeth, a ‘full arch’ denture is the preference of some patients. Full dentures restore the look of a full smile with comfortable chewing and speaking ability. While not as ideal as Dental Implants, dentures offer a more affordable way to enjoy confidence when smiling, eating and laughing. Relines can be done should the denture begin to slip (due to decline in jaw bone mass, known as ‘resorption’).

Our goal is to create an ideal result for the tooth replacement option you prefer and to provide each patient with an outcome that makes them smile! If you are missing teeth, replacing them is vital. Missing teeth can lead to problems associated with bite misalignment and contribute to further tooth loss as well.

Call 843-871-6351 to arrange a no-charge, no obligation consultation appointment. During this time, I’ll discuss the options that are recommended for you according to your preferences. Our financial coordinator can also discuss payment options, if desired.

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Good Oral Health Especially Important For Diabetics

posted: September 26, 2017

The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes. That’s 9.3 percent of the population and is an increase from a 2010 estimate of 26 million.  This does not include the one in four who have diabetes yet don’t know it.

The CDC states, “Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels.  Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use.”

Based on health data from 2012, the National Diabetes Statistics Report was released in 2014 revealing that non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults. The age of those being newly diagnosed is also a particular concern. In the 2012 data, 208,000 people under the age of 20 were diagnosed with diabetes (both types). (https://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetesfactsheet/)

Sadly, the rate of those struggling with diabetes is expected to triple in the coming decade. A National Institutes of Health report states diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that compromises the body’s ability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes is a leading cause of death because of the vascular complications attributed to it.

The most common types of diabetes are Type 1 (insulin dependent) and Type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with symptoms typically emerging after the age of 45.

Signs of gum disease

Early symptoms of diabetes include bad breath and bleeding gums although the general public rarely associates one with the other. For scientific researchers, however, the emergence of diabetes through oral problems makes perfect sense.

Periodontal (gum) disease is said to be the sixth greatest complication of diabetes. Like diabetes, periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition.

Oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body.  Research has shown that gum disease is linked to other inflammatory diseases such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease.

With gum disease and diabetes, research has also shown that one tends to trigger the other. Gum disease has been found to occur more frequently – and with greater severity – in diabetics with poor glycemic control. On the flip side, properly managing glucose levels has shown to be helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.

Over 47% of American adults have some level of periodontal disease. Symptoms include gums that bleed easily when brushing, persistent bad breath, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, and tender and swollen gums. As gum disease progresses, the gums darken in color, pus pockets form and teeth loosen and may eventually require removal. Due to its widespread prevalence, gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Because diabetics have a particular vulnerability to internal inflammation, they are urged to be especially committed to good oral health. This begins by knowing the signs of gum disease, maintaining a thorough at-home oral hygiene regimen and having dental check-ups every 3-4 months.

Whether you are diabetic or not, you are urged to react to signs of gum disease promptly by having a thorough examination. Early symptoms are often ignored or deemed ‘normal,’ allowing gum disease to worsen and require more-extensive treatment. Remember – by the time obvious symptoms begin, the infectious bacteria are running rampant.

Call 843-871-6351 if you have questions or to arrange a no-charge, no obligation Consultation.

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Snoring No Laughing Matter

posted: September 23, 2017

I remember watching a “Three Stooges” episode when I was young and laughing at the different sounds that Moe, Larry and Curly Joe made while sleeping. Their snoring was comedic, but I know, as an adult, that snoring can be more than a nuisance, it can be a health risk.

For those who sleep with heavy snorers, they know that sleep quality can be greatly compromised. Some mates end up sleeping in separate rooms so at least one escapes the disruptions caused by the noise. Some snorers can be coaxed to “turn over,” which can put a halt to snoring. However, some snoring is so intense Many factors, such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, a cold, and your weight, can lead to snoring.

When you doze off and progress from a light sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they partially block your airway and vibrate.

Snoring effects up to 25 percent of women and 45 percent who are categorized as habitual snorers. Snoring is also the most common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), effecting up to 95 percent of patients. However, snoring is a poor predictor of OSA because of the high prevalence of snoring in the general population. In addition to snoring, OSA is associated with a number of serious illnesses, including arterial hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952752/

What causes snoring?
The following can affect the airway and cause snoring:

Anatomy – Due to individual anatomy, one may be more prone to snoring. For example, a low, thick soft palate creates a more narrow airway. The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful airflow becomes. This causes tissue vibration to increase, which causes your snoring to grow louder.

Sleep Position – Sleeping on the back narrows the airway passages from gravity’s effect on the throat.

Weight – Being overweight means extra tissues in the back of the throat, which can narrow the airway.

Nasal Problems – For people who have chronic nasal congestion or a deviated septum (crooked divider between the nostrils), the uneven path of airflow can lead to snoring.

Elongated Uvula – When the piece of tissue than hangs down from the soft palate is longer than normal, it can obstruct airflow, which increases vibration sounds.

Drinking Alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol before bedtime can cause the throat muscles to over-relax.

Yet, the most intense snoring is associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the throat tissues partially or completely block the airway, which halts the breathing process during sleep. Eventually, the pause in breathing (which can last for up to a minute each time) causes the person to wake up, which often begins with a loud snort or gasping sound.

Louder snoring associated with more severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was actually evaluated through one study of over 1640 habitual snorers who were referred for evaluation of sleep apnea. In the study (published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine), the average age was 48 with the average BMI of 31 with 65 percent of study participants being male.

With the intensity of snoring, also assessed were body mass index (BMI), neck size, sleep stage, and body position. It should also be noted that the male participants were older, heavier, and had larger neck circumferences than the females.

Using AHI grading (apnea-hypopnea index), the severity of OSA was measured as none for less than 5, 5 to 15 for mild, 15 to 30 for moderate, and severe being 30 to 50 with very severe registering over 50. The results showed that snoring intensity increases progressively across all categories of AHI frequency with the intensity of snoring increasing as OSA becomes more severe. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/basics/complications/con-20020286)

While snoring is no laughing matter, sleep apnea can be deadly. Sleep apnea has been associated with heart attacks, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, liver problems and complications following surgery.

Oravan Sleep Appliances – Small, Comfortable & Affordable

For people who are heavy snorers or suffer with mild to moderate sleep apnea, there may be a simple, effective solution.

We are certified to create custom-fitted oral appliances that open up air flow by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. These appliances are FDA approved, small and do not interfere with sleep.

These are ideal for people who have tried CPAP devices and find them too cumbersome, noisy or confining. We use the Oravan system, which has an ideal track record for comfort and ease of use. For those who have tried our Oravan system, many agree with this user:

“I am sleeping soundly and have no problems using the mouth piece. This has helped me get rid of that bulky CPAP and my wife is thrilled!”

If you’d like to discuss the Oravan system for yourself or someone you know, call 843-871-6351. Consider beginning with a no-cost consultation. I will be happy to answer your questions and discuss costs. We can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, if desired.

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Your Comfort Is Always A Priority

posted: September 14, 2017

A dental visit isn’t on the top of most lists when it comes to ‘favorite things to do.’ Dentistry, for some, conjures up thoughts of being uncomfortable, surrounded by sounds of a drill or visions of sharp instruments. Some patients anticipate discomfort so much they actually feel pain without being touched.

I understand that it can make one feel vulnerable to lay back on a narrow treatment chair. Plus, the mouth is a sensitive area and, since the patient can’t see what’s taking place, this gives an anxious patient an even higher feeling of vulnerability. Even for 6-month dental cleanings.

In one study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, over 100 adults undergoing dental cleanings were assessed on a scale to gauge dental anxiety. In the conclusions was “They were anxious because they expected pain, women being more anxious than men.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21959662)

While women had slightly more anxiety, the levels of anxiety were not significantly different between gender nor age groups.

As a dentist who has dedicated a career to helping patients feel relaxed and comfortable during dental visits, I know that a dental visit can be a pleasant experience. My team and I are proud that the majority of our patients would readily agree.

Yet, we also understand how some can’t help but be anxious when it comes to dental procedures. For people who have dental fear, often as a result of a traumatic dental experience in the past, we strive to build a relationship of trust, which is the foundation of any good dental visit, in my opinion.

While we incorporate many features to make a patient’s visit more comfortable, start to finish, the basis of a good dental visit comes from the patient KNOWING that they are in hands that are gentle and care about them. This is why we carefully select new technology and use new techniques that enhance patient comfort.

For example, our drills are unique in that they don’t make the high-pitched whine that have some patients white-knuckled in the treatment chair. Our drills make a gentle whirr that is much more relaxing. Yet, these devices do a superb job with precision and efficiency.

In addition to ergonomically-designed treatment chairs, headsets with music, and wall-mounted monitors, patients can opt to have sedation added to treatment. This includes oral sedation, which is in pill form and provides a relaxed state throughout treatment. I am also certified to administer I.V. sedation, which is often referred to as ‘twilight sleep.’

I.V. sedation is especially helpful for patients who have high levels of fear associated with dental visits and also for ‘dental phobics.’ Dental phobics are those who typically avoid dental care until something becomes so painful they have no other alternative. Many experience rapid heartbeats or even break out in a sweat just walking into a dental office.

Both sedation options erase most, if not all, memory of the dental procedure. With both, trained staff and specific safety monitoring equipment are used throughout the procedure.

Today’s dentistry can provide people with confident smiles that are healthy and beautiful. Why let anxiety or fear prevent you from a smile that can be an advantage to appearance, self-confidence and self-esteem? Arrange a free consultation to discuss your smile. We’ll meet in our private consultation room and sit in comfortable arm chairs as I answer your questions and explain your options for a smile that will complement your appearance and overall health.

Call 843-871-6351 to schedule.

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All On 4 Dental Implants Overcome Obstacles, Affordably!

posted: September 11, 2017

Dental Implants are nothing new. You may be surprised to learn that they’ve been around since ancient Egypt. Through archeological digs, it was found the Egyptians carved shells or stones into tooth shapes and placed them in jaw bones where natural teeth had been lost.

An excavation in Honduras showed the Mayan civilization from 600 AD used a similar process. During a 1930’s dig, a human jaw bone was found that had tooth-shaped shell pieces positioned in sockets of missing teeth.

As attempts at dependable tooth replacement continued, implant versions made of metal and gold were discovered in ancient cultures in North and South America, the Mediterranean and Middle Asia.

However, successful developments actually made significant inroads during the World War II period after it was noted that certain metals showed consistently successful results.

Progress soared after titanium was developed by NASA. Using titanium, a Swedish surgeon found that the jaw bone would grow around implants to secure them in place.

The first titanium implants were placed in a mid-30’s male patient in 1965. He had four lower implants inserted and had fully functional teeth for over 40 years (the remainder of his life), enjoying the same benefits as his natural teeth.

So, here we are in 2017, with Dental Implants having one of the highest success rates of any implant-in-bone types (including hips, knees and joints). With proper placement and maintenance, Dental Implants are designed to last your lifetime!

Today, there are also many types of implants designed to accommodate various needs and goals. One of the most recent has been the All-On-4 Dental Implant system.

The beauty of this implant is how it overcomes the obstacles of bone loss and allows for the immediate attachment of teeth. And, it is one of the most affordable implant systems!

Bone loss occurs when natural tooth roots no longer exist in the jaw bone. As the bone declines in mass, the fit of a denture or partial changes. Over time, this creates a challenge when eating and laughing as the denture moves, often rubbing uncomfortably on tender gum tissues.

However, successful implant placement in the past required a certain height of bone mass. To accomplish this with prior systems, bone rebuilding procedures were needed to restore bone to a sufficient height before implants could be placed.

tooth implants full jaw

All-On-4 Dental Implants

The All-On-Four system is designed so that unique angles are used in placement. Using just four implants, they are designed to support a full arch of teeth by distributing the load evenly. Since the cost of Dental Implant treatment is largely based on the number of implants used, this also keeps costs to a minimum.

For people who have struggled with dentures for years, an especially appealing feature of All On Four is that the teeth attached are non-removable. Just like natural teeth, they do not come out of the mouth to clean or while sleeping.

I have been involved with implant dentistry for many years and have found the developments in design, materials and placement techniques an exciting part of dentistry. My implant patients who have opted for the All-On-4 system have been especially pleased.

We all hope to keep our natural teeth for a lifetime, but for those who have lost all of their upper or lower teeth, Dental Implants provide an exceptional option for tooth replacement — one that restores the ability to eat, laugh and feel confident every day!

If you’ve considered replacing missing teeth, call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss the type of implant system that will work best for you and I’ll answer your questions. We can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment options, if desired.

NOW is the time to enjoy a smile that enhances the many pleasures of life — savoring food you love, laughing with friends and family, and waking up with a smile. Call today to arrange a free, private consultation.

 

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School Has Begun. Avoid Injuries To The Smiles You Love.

posted: August 29, 2017

With the beginning of the school year, contact sports have parents and grandparents cheering from the sidelines. The last thing we expect is to see a player with a broken tooth, tooth that has been knocked out, or fractured jaw. If that player is one of our own, it’s even worse.

I’ve treated all ages of dental patients over the years, including tending to the unexpected injuries of players from football, baseball, basketball, hockey (field and ice), soccer, gymnastics and even tennis. I’ve seen lips and tongues bitten deeply from activities such as swimming, biking and skiing.

No matter how minor, accidents that involve the mouth can be painful and may cause permanent damage. This is why we encourage wearing a custom-made mouth guard as often as practical.

The advantages of wearing a custom-made mouth guard include:

For a mouth guard to work in the first place, it must be worn in the first place! When a mouth guard is fitted to the unique contours of the mouth, it is typically worn more often since the fit is comfortable.

• Having a mouth guard that is made of superior material significantly lessens the damage that could have occurred. It also is less bulky and more comfortable to wear.

• A mouth guard can lessen the impact of trauma to the jaw in a head injury.

• Having a properly-fitted mouth guard can prevent knocked out teeth or broken or chipped teeth. It can also prevent biting the tongue, lips, or inside of the cheek. 

• For patients who wear braces, a mouth guard can prevent cuts and gashes to tender gum tissues inside the mouth.

While we hope you never have to deal with an injury to the mouth, knowing what to do should one occur can help to lessen the severity to a large degree. Below are quick tips so you can pursue the best course of action:

CUT OR BITTEN TONGUE, LIP OR CHEEK – Apply cold compress to affected areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes or cannot be controlled by simple pressure, go to a hospital emergency room.

BROKEN TOOTH – Rinse dirt from the injured area with lukewarm water. Place cold compresses over the injury. Save any broken tooth fragments and call our office immediately for instructions.

KNOCKED OUT PERMANENT TOOTH – Rinse the tooth without touching the root portion while you handle the tooth as little as possible. Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket and bite gently on a clean gauze or cloth to hold the tooth in place. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup of milk or water and call us immediately. Seek treatment quickly! Time is critical in saving a tooth.

FRACTURED OR BROKEN JAW – If a fractured jaw is suspected, go immediately to the nearest emergency room. First, however, prevent the jaws from moving by using a tie, towel or handkerchief to tie underneath the chin and over the top of the head.

BROKEN ORTHODONTIC BRACKETS OR WIRES – Cover sharp or protruding portions with cotton balls, gauze, or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, try to reach the orthodontist for immediate care rather than attempt to remove the wire yourself. If you cannot reach your orthodontist, call our office and we will assist in an appropriate manner.

Never hesitate to contact us for an emergency need. Our answering service will direct you if after hours.

To inquire about a custom-fitted mouth guard, call 843-871-6351. The health of your smile (and the smiles precious to you) depends on YOU!

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Cosmetic Dentistry Improves Smile’s Appearance, And More!

posted: August 23, 2017

Our body language says more about our moods, feelings and overall state than we may realize. In an article in April 2016’s Prevention magazine, some secrets were revealed by the author of “What Every Body Is Saying.” Joe Navarro is a retired FBI agent who shares some of the hints we give off. (https://www.prevention.com/mind-body/read-body-language)

For example, when we really like a person, our toes will point towards that individual each time we are around them. The same is true when we don’t like a person. Our feet tend to turn away from them. Apparently, feet are what Navarro refers to as “the most honest body part.”

However, what does our smile say? Studies have shown for years that a first impression is made in 4-5 seconds. And, it’s a lasting impression. Someone with a warm, open smile projects a positive self-image and draws us in. We find our own moods being affected when encountering these people.

What does a smile with flaws say to others? While we tell ourselves we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, people do it all the time. Today’s society tells us to assess others based on inner qualities, still we know that appearance plays a major role in how we are perceived.

This was shown to be the case in a conducted by Kelton Research for Invisalign of over 1,000 American adults. (http://keltonglobal.com/invisalign_smile_study-breakout_report/) Using pictures of both men and women with straight and crooked teeth and varying tooth issues, participants were asked for honest opinions without being aware that they were comparing people with straight teeth to crooked teeth.

According to their findings, Americans perceive people with straight teeth to have more desirable qualities than those with crooked teeth, including attributes such as being happy and professionally successful.

Nearly 30% stated the first thing they notice when meeting others is their teeth. About 24% say a smile is also what they remember most afterward.

In the Kelton survey, respondents felt that people with straight teeth were 45% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job and 58% more likely to be successful and wealthy. When compared to people with crooked teeth, those with straight teeth were also deemed 57% more likely to get a date based on their picture alone.

As a dentist, I’ve heard many reasons why people decide to have smile enhancements, often after years of concealing their smile with a hand or smiling with lips only. And, it’s not just crooked teeth that make people feel awkward about their smiles.

Discoloration can cause uneasiness when smiling as well as teeth that are worn, chipped, broken or missing. Showing too much gum tissue above teeth (known as a ‘gummy smile’) can also cause people to “hold back” from smiling fully.

Sometimes, it’s a special event in one’s life that causes an individual to say, “Now’s the time. I’m doing this.” I’ve had women share how they felt they’d always put their family’s needs first and decided “it’s my turn.” I’ve had men tell me they felt their teeth were holding them back from climbing the career ladder or being able to get a date. As the survey above shows, this may very well have been the case.

Regardless of the reason, the reality is how a smile makes you feel from the inside out. People who feel confident with the appearance of their smiles tend to smile fuller smiles, and more often. This projects a self-image that is positive and happy, and it’s often contagious! Smiling at someone often brings a smile back!

If you’ve considered cosmetic dentistry, one of your concerns may be, “Will my new smile look like I’ve had dental work?” The answer is NO! When you place yourself in the right hands, an experienced, highly-skilled dentist who uses the finest materials and dental lab will give you a look and feel that is natural.

Today’s porcelain crowns and veneers are designed to have a natural luminosity and opalescence. This means that light can penetrate the tooth at some edges and reflect light naturally, just as natural teeth do. You’ll have no signs of ‘dental work.’

Additionally, a well-trained dentist can have each tooth involved in treatment shaped to complement facial features. Look for dentists who are members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Another concern may be the cost of treatment. Cosmetic dentistry is an elective procedure, meaning the fee is out-of-pocket in most instances. However, our office offers several payment plans that can break the total fee into easy monthly payments. Most plans are interest-free with no down payment required.

Many smiles take shape with the placement of just 6 to 8 veneers or crowns. Some only need 4. What is going to provide you with the best results can be discussed in a free consultation appointment. Call 843-871-6351 to arrange a time when we can privately discuss your best options.

And, if fear has prevented you from achieving the smile you desire in the past, we can help with that, too. I am certified to administer I.V. sedation (‘twilight sleep’) and also offer oral sedation. Both provide total relaxation and erase most, if not all, memory of treatment afterward. Plus, we pride ourselves on our gentle touch. If you’d like to speak with other patients who have overcome their dental fears in our care, let us know.

Your smile should reflect you at your best! It can! Let’s discuss the options that can help you enjoy smiling — a full, happy smile — soon!

 

 

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