Your Comfort Is A Priority In Our Dental Office

posted: June 06, 2017

I actually have a few patients who tell me they “love” coming here. They enjoy getting their teeth clean and shiny while getting caught up with staff they’ve become close to over the years. But, I know these patients are not what makes up the majority of dental attitudes in the U.S. Most people dread dental visits, for a variety of reasons.

The most common cause of dread is dental fear. Although our patients know our reputation for a gentle touch, traumatic experiences in a dental chair in years past can leave an individual with anxiety, fear or even phobia associated with dental visits. For a fearful patient, we understand that perceived pain can seem just as real as actual discomfort.

Years ago, I began offering Oral Sedation to help patients relax. This is in pill form and taken prior to the patient arriving at our office. Once here, they are seated in a comfortable treatment chair and covered with a warm blanket. By the time treatment begins, they are totally relaxed, almost to a dozing state.

Patients like Oral Sedation because it takes anxiety out of their visit and allows them to seemingly zoom through a lengthy procedure, often without memory of the procedure afterward. However, I felt some patients needed a deeper state of sedation, which is why I completed training and certification for I.V. sedation.

Also known as ‘twilight sleep,’ I.V. sedation provides a sleep state for patients who want a more intense state of sedation during dentistry. I.V. sedation also has an amnesiac effect. With both sedation options, patients are monitored for safety and comfort by trained staff members and advanced safety equipment.

Dental fear is not always to blame for dread of dental visits. Some patients dread dental visits simply because they don’t like the vulnerable feeling they get from being in a dental chair. Laying on their backs with their mouths open while procedures take place that they can’t see can make some people feel they have no control. Others react uncomfortably to certain smells, noises or sights such as seeing dental probes or an injection. Some patients avoid dental visits because they are concerned they’ll be lectured or made to feel guilty for not having regular dental checkups.

Quite frankly, I always dread my annual eye exam. Although I’m not afraid of experiencing pain, I don’t care to have my pupils dilated and always feel the amount of time for the exam and recovery from dilation knocks out half a day. Yet, my eyes are precious and I want to take good care of them, so I have this annual check.

It’s the same with dental visits. Yes, we all have other things we’d rather do with the time required but know that keeping teeth and gums healthy plays a major role in our overall health and well-being. Like caring for our eyes, making sure our smiles are in good shape is well worth the time required for these screenings.

In addition to Oral and I.V. Sedation, we use topical numbing, drills that hum rather than make a whining sound, and offer music or videos to patients who want a distraction during their procedure. Some procedures can also be performed with a dental laser. This reduces or eliminates bleeding, increases comfort and speeds healing.

Other features help take the dread out of dental visits here. Our CEREC 3D technology allows us to prepare a tooth for a crown, create the crown, and place it in the patient’s mouth – all in one visit. This not only speeds treatment, it cuts numbing requirements in half. And, with CEREC 3D, patients don’t have to wear those pesky temporaries while a dental lab creates the final porcelain result.

Our patients know us for a gentle touch, scheduling procedures so each patient moves at a comfortable pace, explaining what is taking place throughout each procedure, and trusting each member on our team to provide optimal care with exceptional comfort. If you have delayed care due to a sense of dread or fear, let us help you relax and see dental visits in a new light. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about getting a lecture here. We respect our patients and are always glad they come for care.

Begin with a no-charge, no obligation consultation. We’ll discuss your concerns and comfort options in a private consultation room. If desired, we can also put you in touch with patients who, like you perhaps, once had fears or a sense of dread and now smile throughout their dental care.

Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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Want To Avoid A Cavity? It’s Easy!

posted: May 30, 2017

Periodically, I have my car’s tires rotated and oil changed. I change the air filters in our HVAC vents every month. I fertilize our yard each year and apply a weed control. And, like most pet owners, I apply a monthly flea-&-tick preventative. You probably do the same.

Obviously, we do these tasks because we want to avoid future problems from occurring in the first place. By NOT tending to them, I know I could be looking at a lot of expenses and time, not to mention the desire to kick myself!

When a patient has a cavity, it’s typically because their oral hygiene routine at home was insufficient. Of course, some people are simply more susceptible to decay. These people have higher levels of a certain type of bacteria in their mouths which leaves them more prone to cavities and gum disease.

However, even those more susceptible to decay can still prevent its onset with simple measures and regular dental check-ups. Twice daily brushing (at least two minutes each time using a fluoridated toothpaste and soft bristle brush) and daily flossing are necessary. But, a few extra steps can make a world of difference.

Since the majority of the problems pertaining to the mouth originate with bacteria, decreasing their numbers is beneficial to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. In addition to brushing and flossing, there are other ways to keep oral bacteria to manageable levels.

You may be shocked at the amount of bacteria that are embedded in the grooves of your tongue. There are BILLIONS of bacteria in the tongue, with the greatest concentration in the back of the tongue. Uprooting these little creatures can be done by brushing the tongue after brushing your teeth. Or, you can use a tongue scraper, sold in many drug stores. Scrape from the back to the front several times, rinsing after each pass.

Swishing or gargling with mouthwash can also help. Just be sure to read the label of your mouthwash to ensure it is alcohol-free. Alcohol is very drying to oral tissues, which leaves the mouth more vulnerable to bacteria reproduction.

Speaking of a dry mouth, it can also be the result of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, smoking, a number of medications, and mouth-breathing (including snoring). Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day (colas and tea don’t count!). If you feel your mouth is frequently dry, you can replenish oral moisture with a special rinse made for this purpose. Several good options are available over-the-counter.

Sugar is the ideal food for oral bacteria, so try to limit sweets. This also applies to carbohydrates, which convert into simple sugar in the mouth. If you indulge, just be sure to swish afterwards.

And, try to limit snacking. Every time you eat or drink, the mouth endures an acid onslaught for 20-30 minutes. This acid, which helps aid digestion, is powerful enough to soften tooth enamel. This is why we caution patients to delay brushing for a half an hour after eating.

Find flossing awkward? Then, don’t! Instead, purchase a water flosser. These are great for people who find flossing difficult, such as those with large fingers or limited manual dexterity. Water flossers are just as effective as string floss when used correctly.

Finally, don’t delay your six-month dental cleanings and exams even if nothing hurts! Just because you don’t FEEL any problems doesn’t mean that oral bacteria is not hard at work damaging teeth and gum tissues. Remember, most diseases begin silently. This is just as true for periodontal (gum) disease or the formation of a cavity.

By keeping oral bacteria to a minimum, you can prevent a cavity. When you prevent a cavity, you save time and money. Plus, your breath will be fresher and your dental cleanings will be more comfortable. When gums are healthy, dental cleanings are easier with less probing and scraping needed.

We want you to have a healthy mouth and a confident smile. If you’ve delayed dental check-ups, call (843) 871-6351 to arrange an appointment. You’ll be welcomed here with respect and warmth.

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Wobbly Dentures? Here’s Why.

posted: May 22, 2017

No adult wants to lose a tooth. When an adult loses ALL upper or lower teeth, however, it’s much worse. This leaves an individual with a long list of decisions and future costs. While dentures may seem to be a less-expensive option compared to Dental Implants, their upkeep and replacement costs over the years are just the beginning.

A denture is primarily designed to replace the presence of teeth. This helps the patient to speak and eat. It’s what happens beneath the gums that can create the greatest challenge when it comes to dentures.

When teeth are removed, so are their roots. Without tooth roots present in the jaw bone, the bone lacks necessary stimulation and nourishment to remain healthy. Thus, a process known as resorption takes place. This is essentially the gradual and continual decline of jaw bone mass.

A new denture is designed to contour to the unique shape of your ‘gum ridge,’ which is the raised arch where tooth roots were held. Because a denture, when first made, is generally a snug fit, it takes several years for bone resorption to be noticeable.

Resorption causes this ridge to gradually flatten. A denture that was shaped to conform to the height and width of a gum ridge won’t have the same surface to support it 2-3 years later. Additionally, the pressure of wearing dentures actually speeds up the rate of bone loss. For those who sleep in their dentures, the round-the-clock pressure accelerates it even more.

Biting and chewing with a denture that moves is uncomfortable. This causes people to apply (and reapply) denture pastes and adhesives to compensate for the loose denture that now rubs tender gum tissues. As the bone ridge continues to flatten, the denture becomes more ‘rocky’ or ‘wobbly’ when eating certain foods.

Generally, people with loose-fitting dentures resort to a diet of soft foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. These are typically lacking in the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals needed for good nutrition. As a matter of fact, denture wearers are known to take more medications and have more gastro-intestional problems than people who have their natural teeth.

Yet, it’s not just eating difficulties that cause challenges for denture wearers. Fear of embarrassing slips or clicks can deter many denture wearers from joining friends and family when food is the centerpiece of a gathering. Since many events are surrounded by food, this fear lessens social interaction that is an important component of healthy aging for adults. Studies have shown that lack of social causes a decline in overall health.

One such study conducted by the Population Research Center at University of Texas at Austin found that “older adults who maintain high levels of social activity or ramp up their social life as they age might be protected from increases in physical and cognitive issues over time.” (http://www.cfah.org/hbns/2011/socially-active-older-adults-have-slower-rates-of-health-declines).

A temporary fix for dentures that slip is a reline. This reshapes the denture so it more-closely conforms to the reduced height and width of the gum ridge. As the gum ridge continues to decline (and it will), relines will be needed on a more frequent basis each time.

For many reasons, many of today’s adults are opting to replace missing teeth with Dental Implants. Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw bone, halting bone loss. And, since Implants are supported by the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots once had, they provide the same, dependable foundation as that of natural teeth.

When it comes to the disadvantages of Dental Implants, the only deterrent seems to be cost. Yet, Dental Implants are a one-time expense. When properly selected, placed and maintained, they are designed to last a lifetime. Not surprisingly, Implants enjoy one of the highest success rates of all implant-in-bone types, including knees and hip joints.

If you can use terms such as ‘rocky’ or ‘wobbly’ to describe the fit of your denture, you should know that this will never improve. Quite frankly, bone loss will continue and eventually be visible to others. Remove your dentures and look in a mirror for an honest view of how bone loss may have caused facial changes that are aging you far beyond your actual years.

Typical signs of bone loss are deep wrinkles around the mouth, jowls that form from the detachment of facial muscles, a mouth that seems to collapse into the face and a chin that points. This creates a very unflattering ‘granny look.’ Who wants that?!!! There is a solution.

Because Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots in the bone, they can halt bone loss. There are many implant types that are affordable and support non-removable teeth. They restore a look and feel that is natural and worry-free. Eating and laughing with friends will be a pleasure again. And, with proper care, your implants will last your lifetime, making them an excellent investment.

Considering Dental Implants? Begin with a private, no-charge, no obligation consultation. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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Does Flossing REALLY Make A Difference?

posted: May 16, 2017

Is flossing really beneficial? There is a debate on flossing, even in the dental profession.

There are debates on past studies that claim flossing provides little benefit. Some in the dental profession feel study participants were not followed long enough to determine true effectiveness and that proper flossing techniques were not monitored. However, there is no debate regarding the benefits of keeping bacteria levels in the mouth to a minimum.

Why do we recommend flossing? Brushing teeth doesn’t always remove all debris and bacteria in the mouth. The additional action of flossing helps to remove food particles caught between teeth that a tooth brush is unable to reach or dislodge.

Daily flossers reap the most rewards. Flossing every day can remove trapped particles before they begin to rot. Rotting food is what ‘feed’ oral bacteria, enabling their rapid reproduction and growth. Make no mistake, it is oral bacteria that is the root source of the majority of problems in the mouth.

Oral bacteria reproduce rapidly and are the source of most oral problems.

As a matter of fact, you can actually ‘feel’ the presence of oral bacteria accumulation in less than a day. For example, from the time you brush your teeth in the morning to before brushing again at night, you’ll notice a sticky film on teeth. This film is known as plaque and is simply a coating of oral bacteria that has accumulated during the course of a day.

Plaque coats the teeth, tongue and gums. When not removed on a frequent basis (within 48 hours), plaque can form into cement-hard bacteria colonies that attach to teeth. This is known as tartar (or calculus) and what your hygienist is scraping off teeth during dental cleanings. Once formed, tartar cannot be brushed or flossed away.

Obviously, keeping oral bacteria levels to a minimum is an important part of avoiding problems such as cavities and gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing are the best ways to accomplish this. However, with the proper techniques, you can make your time at the sink far more effective.

Brushing should be done using a soft to medium tooth brush and fluoridated tooth paste. Use a swirling motion rather than scrubbing back and forth. Go over all sides of each tooth thoroughly, using about two minutes to brush your entire mouth. When finished with teeth, use your tooth brush to brush your tongue. This will dislodge millions of embedded bacteria here.

After brushing, rinse thoroughly. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth moist. If you frequently have a dry mouth, use an oral rinse specifically designed to replenish oral moisture.

When it comes to flossing, it, too, must be done correctly to be truly beneficial. Researchers at the University of Washington School of Dentistry found that when children between ages 4 and 13 had their teeth professionally flossed 5 days a week for a year and a half, there was 40% decrease in cavity risk. By comparison, the same age group who flossed on their own experienced no such benefit.

Yet, with all the advantages of flossing, a great many people fail to do so. Some find the maneuvers awkward, especially men with large fingers. Some people have issues with dexterity, such as arthritis sufferers. Most, however, have simply never mastered the technique. For those who are in the habit of daily flossing, however, it takes less than two minutes. For the vast amount of oral bacteria that flossing prevents, this small devotion of time is well worth it.

For those who cannot floss comfortably, many dentists recommend water flossers. They are easy to use, affordable and often more effective than the flossing techniques of adults and adolescents who struggle to perform the act.

In spite of daily flossing and twice daily brushing, other factors can impact your potential for a healthy mouth. For example, every time you eat, an acid attack begins in your mouth as the initial stage of the digestive process. While this acid is designed to help break chewed foods down in preparation for digestion, it is hard on tooth enamel. As a matter of fact, for 20-30 minutes after eating, the acid can actually soften enamel, leaving it vulnerable.

For people who snack often during the day, this eating frequency creates a higher risk for oral problems since they endure more acid attacks during the day. However, it is the people who sip on colas during the day that are at the highest risk. The acid in soda combined with sticky sugar from the drink becomes even more potent when mixed with acids in the mouth. For people who drink sodas between meals, this creates a perfect storm when it comes to cavities and other problems.

As a dentist, I see patients frequently who have lost teeth due to insufficient oral hygiene. Could they go back in time, flossing would probably be seen in a different light. When string flossing is too difficult, make a water flosser part of your oral hygiene routine.

As the debate continues on the benefits of flossing, there is no harm in taking an additional measure for fresher breath, fewer cavities and the prevention of gum disease (the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss).

Want a recommendation on a water flosser? Call our office at 1-877-966-9009 to learn more. Or, if you’d like to become adept at flossing, arrange a hygiene appointment with one of our Registered Dental Hygienists. They will help you find a comfortable way to floss effectively.

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Do I Need To Replace A Tooth That’s Not Visible In A Smile?

posted: May 10, 2017

A smile with a missing tooth detracts from one’s appearance, which is why most people want to replace it as quickly as possible. It also sends a message to others that creates a lasting impression.

The appearance of a smile has a significant level of importance. Studies have also shown that lasting impressions are made within the first three seconds of meeting someone. According to a Kelton Research study of over1,000 American adults, nearly 30% of those surveyed say the first feature they notice when meeting someone new is their teeth. Twenty-five percent of these cite teeth as what they remember the most later.

Adults are now gaining greater awareness of how their smile can impact their potential for employment or advancement in today’s competitive job market. For those who are re-entering the dating scene, an appealing smile can help project a more youthful appearance and upbeat personality.

During an annual meeting of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), speaker H. Asuman Kiyak, PhD discussed the psychological issues affecting people who have experienced the loss of a tooth and addressed how this loss can affect quality of life.

In addition to appearance, the social relations component of quality of life is altered with missing teeth. Results from a survey distributed to nearly 20,000 AGD members revealed that over 86% of responding dentists cited social embarrassment as one of the greatest problems associated with tooth loss, causing over half to avoid social interaction because of it.

Combine these emotional issues with the fact that a tooth neighboring a missing tooth area is at the highest risk of being the next you’ll lose. Additionally, without natural tooth roots to keep the jaw bone stimulated, the bone will begin to melt away. This bone loss can change facial appearance as the bone declines in height and width.

It is easier to protect a tooth than replace it. This is why we recommend crowns or inlays for the ultimate in longevity and durability. In our office, we can prepare your tooth and place a crown or inlay in a single visit. Using CEREC 3D technology, we are able to create beautiful ceramic crowns, bridges and implant replacement teeth. This precision, in-office process means patients avoid having to wear a temporary or return to have a dental lab-created crown placed.

However, when a tooth is lost, there are several options for replacing it. From dental implants to crown-&-bridge combinations to partial dentures, these provide a natural look and feel with excellent longevity.

Your smile says a lot. Don’t let a missing tooth send the wrong message or disrupt the health of other teeth. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 for a free consultation to discuss your best options.

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Tooth Loss & Aging – Replacement With Dental Implants

posted: May 05, 2017

In 1900, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was less than 48 years. (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus15.pdf#014). In 2015, life expectancy had risen to approximately 79 to 81 years, depending on gender. We are not only living longer, today’s adults are staying more active. As we age, we all desire to have the physical ability to enjoy our mature years. However, like an aging vehicle, our bodies require a certain amount of upkeep. And, that includes our smiles.

Natural teeth are designed to last a lifetime. For most Americans, however, some tooth loss is not uncommon as we age. For adults over the age of 65, over 46% have lost more than six teeth. Of that same age group, 27% are missing all of their natural teeth.

The high number of missing teeth has often been blamed on our eating and drinking habits. Many of us grew up consuming sugary foods and sweetened beverages high in acidity. The penalty came in the form of cavities and other oral problems. While fillings could repair areas of decay, some teeth reached the max load to sustain fillings and a crown (or ‘cap’) was necessary to hold the remaining tooth structure together. The ultimate goal is to hang onto those natural teeth.

Ongoing oral health maintenance is a must in order to keep natural teeth and prevent the development of periodontal (gum) disease. While your twice-a-day brushing and daily flossing help, your 6-month oral hygiene check-ups are an important part of keeping natural teeth. These visits rid your mouth of accumulated calculus (or ‘tartar’), which are actual hardened colonies of oral bacteria.

Let’s stop for a minute to consider just what oral bacteria in the mouth are and their potential to reek havoc in your mouth. Consider that bacteria are living, reproductive organisms. They live by thriving on soft tissues in the mouth. Since they eat, they also create waste. Simply put, these organisms are breeding and defecating in your mouth. Not a pleasant thought!

Saliva is designed to remove a certain amount of bacteria from the mouth. This, coupled with your at-home brushing and flossing routine keeps oral bacteria to a manageable level for most people. However, when saliva flow is insufficient, oral bacteria are able to hang around long enough to eat, breed, and emit waste. It’s no wonder that having a dry mouth causes bad breath.

Dry mouth is not uncommon for aging adults. Not only is it a symptom of the aging process, it is a side effect of many medications, including those for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety and depression.

Keeping natural teeth for a lifetime is possible, now even more so than ever. A study showed that people who have their natural teeth live an average of ten years longer than denture wearers. Denture wearers are also shown to have more gastrointestinal problems, take more medications, and be less involved socially than adults who have their own teeth.

Having your “own teeth,” however, has a different definition than a generation ago. This is thanks to Dental Implants. Decades ago, replacing natural teeth was done with a crown-&-bridge combination, partial denture or full denture. Although these prosthetics replaced the presence of teeth, they did little to restore the ability to bite and chew comfortably. This is where Dental Implants came in, giving one back their “own teeth.”

Dental Implants are positioned in the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots. This provides replacement teeth with the same foundation as natural teeth have. They restore your ability to eat, laugh, speak and even sneeze.

One of the biggest advantages of Dental Implants is their longevity. With proper placement and care, they are designed to last your lifetime. And, because implants are held by the jaw bone, they do not need the support of neighboring teeth.

If you’ve begun to lose natural teeth, the odds of continued tooth loss rise with age. You can halt this process with proper maintenance and replacement of teeth with Dental Implants. Begin with a no charge consultation appointment by calling toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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Oil Pulling? Stick With Brushing & Flossing.

posted: May 01, 2017

I was recently asked about oil pulling. Although I’d heard of it, I decided to do some research to get better informed.

The internet is full of followers who apparently claim the action “pulls” bacteria and toxins from the body through the mouth. Oil pulling, an ancient folk remedy, involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in the mouth for at least 5 and up to 15 minutes and spitting it out. The most common oil for this practice is coconut oil although sesame, olive and palm oils are also used.

Those who practice Ayurvedic health holistic medicine feel this daily action helps to balance the energy in the body that affects our physical, physiologic and mental state. Some believe it also lowers susceptibility to disease. However, most who practice oil pulling do so for perceived oral health benefits.

Oil pulling loyalists claim it improves gum problems, removes plaque and even whitens teeth. Like a number of claims on the internet, however, what is truth and what is fiction may conflict with what is best for your oral health.

In the pro column for oil pulling is research that shows oil pulling does help to reduce bad breath and oral bacteria. Even so, one study compared oil pulling’s effectiveness to no more than that of over-the-counter mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, which is a common ingredient.

In the con column, the American Dental Association (ADA) cites a “lack of science” and does not recommend oil pulling as either a supplement to oral hygiene nor as a replacement for standard oral health treatments. They feel research results have been based on too small samplings with no adjustments for demographic variations. They also cite the failure of previous research to incorporate blind testing.

While the ADA monitors how future research is conducted, they are firm that some past studies have fallen short in their claims of oil pulling’s benefits. They stated, “scientific studies have not provided the necessary clinical evidence to demonstrate that oil pulling reduces the incidence of dental caries, whitens teeth or improves oral health and well-being.”

The main concern in the dental profession is that the act of oil pulling has caused some devotees to forego traditional oral care regimens of twice daily brushing and daily flossing. These time-honored actions have proven to be effective maintenance for good oral health. As a dentist, I’m concerned that people who substitute this routine in favor of oil pulling are at higher risk of dental decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

If oil pulling is done in addition to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home, I don’t see a potential for harm. However, there are many unsubstantiated claims on the internet and I hope that people choose to stick with safe, time-tested methods for maintaining a healthy mouth.

This reminds me of when baking soda was lauded as an inexpensive alternative to toothpaste. We now know that baking soda is far too abrasive for teeth and gum tissues. Consistent users actually wore down healthy gum tissues and eroded protective tooth enamel, leaving them vulnerable for cavities and gum disease. Although there is no indication that oil pulling will do harm, I feel it is best done in conjunction with a thorough brush-&-floss routine.

 

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High-Tech Dentistry Enhances Comfort, Saves You Time

posted: April 24, 2017

Our patients enjoy one, comfortable office for nearly every dental need, from regular cleanings to dental implants and everything in-between. In addition to added relaxation options of Oral and I.V. Sedation, our office features some of the most advanced dental technology available to reduce treatment time and optimize comfort.

Just some of the advanced features you’ll find in our Summerville dental office include:

Dental Radiology With 3D Cone Beam Technology – This 3D imaging covers the whole dentition area (all teeth and jaws, from ear to ear), giving a clear view of the mandible and maxilla (upper and lower jaw). This provides an intricate review of diagnostic requirements and is ideal for treatment planning of endodontics (root canals), periodontics (treatment of gums), orthodontics (tooth realignment), dental implants, TMJ (jaw joints) and dental prosthetics (crowns, bridges, partials, dentures and teeth attached to implants). Cone beam images also pinpoint the lower jaw nerve canal for pre-surgical planning for ideal implant positioning. The imaging process is fast and comfortable and exposes patients to minimal levels of radiation.

One Appointment Crowns & Inlays – CEREC 3D creates beautiful, durable ceramic restorations using the latest in computerization, ready for placement. The tooth is prepared and, while the patient relaxes for a brief time, their ceramic crown or bridge is created and ready for placement — no dental lab needed (that takes weeks). CEREC 3D also eliminates the need for temporaries and reduces numbing requirements by fifty percent.

Laser Therapy – Treatment of gum tissues using our laser is ideal for precision gum contouring, bacteria removal, uncovering implants, repair of oral ulcers and other tissue related procedures. Additionally, the laser causes no bleeding and reduces numbing requirements.

‘Silent’ Drill – We use handpieces that sound like a gentle whirr – with no high-pitched sound of a drill. This handpiece also has better precision and is much quieter.

Digital X-Rays – This digital imaging (x-ray) system reduces exposure to radiation by up to 90% while providing enlarged, on-screen images instantly. Its magnification aids in early diagnosis, helping to reduce treatment time and costs. Patients also like that this fast process is more comfortable than traditional “bite wings”.

Oral Cancer Detection – As a standard part of a patient’s annual examination, we use the VELscope Early Detection System. This is a hand-held device that aids in early detection of oral cancer. The exam is non-invasive, painless and takes only minutes. This process gives a better visual of abnormal tissue that may be, or may lead to, oral cancer.

CASEY Patient Education – To enhance patient communication and their involvement in treatment decisions, we use wall-mounted video technology in treatment suites. These also feature step-by-step information on the latest dental procedures.

IntraOral Imaging – To enhance patient understanding of areas in need, this technology gives enlarged views of specific areas in the mouth that can be easily viewed by the patient while in the treatment chair.

Computerized Charting – At each visit, a patient’s oral health status is recorded and stored, providing easy retrieval for future comparisons. This not only measures the patient’s oral status, it helps in predicting vulnerable areas. This allows patients to be proactive so preventing problems in the first place can occur.

Sterilization System – In our office, all instruments used in patient care are heat sterilized. Our process meets or exceeds the guidelines set forth by OSHA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

We are also proud that many of the features in our office are environmentally-friendly, helping to preserve precious natural resources and reducing the use of chemicals.

For a firsthand look at our advanced features, and to learn more about the patient benefits of each, feel free to ask. We are also happy to help you understand your options!

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How Gum Disease Forms

posted: April 21, 2017

Every time I have to take my car in to be serviced, I spend the morning in the service department’s waiting area fretting over the time I’m having to devote to this task. Yet, deep down, I know this time helps to prevent me from having major issues with my car. By keeping the car maintained properly, I avoid the need for repairs that can be costly and much more time-consuming to resolve.

Prevention is a wise step. Like your auto, preventing problems with your oral health helps you to avoid the need for costly and time-consuming repairs in the future. When you calculate the time it takes to avoid dental problems in the first place, it comes out to approximately 5 minutes a day – a minimal investment to save much.

Problems in the mouth can occur far easier than many people realize. Take, for instance, periodontal (gum) disease. When gum disease begins, initial symptoms aren’t always obvious. Once it’s fully underway, warning signs (such as bleeding gums when brushing) are often ignored.

The development of gum disease is a shorter path than most people are aware. The stages of how gum disease begins and progresses are as follows…

•  Oral Bacteria: The mouth is a warm, moist environment that takes in an enormous amount of bacteria every day. Like other parts of our bodies, however, the mouth is equipped to handle a certain load of bacteria. The problem begins when too much bacteria accumulate and reproduce beyond control.

•  Plaque: Without proper brushing, flossing, diet and sufficient saliva flow, oral bacteria can amass rapidly. From the time of your morning brushing to before you brush at bedtime, their accumulation has formed a sticky film you can feel on teeth. This film, which also coats gums tissues, is known as Plaque.

•  Calculus Or Tartar: In just 48 hours, plaque can harden into calculus (also known as tartar). This is actually a colony of oral bacteria that attaches to teeth and is what your Hygienist is scraping from teeth during cleanings. Like plaque, tartar will reproduce and grow as the bacteria feed on tooth enamel and gum tissues.

•  Gingivitis: This is the initial stage of gum disease. At this level, gum tissues are under attack and feel tender. Your breath will be bad and your gums may bleed easily when brushing. You may also have an aching sensation in some areas, suspecting a cavity. If proper measures are taken promptly, you can reverse the progression of gingivitis from developing into gum disease. If not, gum disease will worsen, requiring more involved treatment.

•  Periodontal Disease: Once oral bacteria reach this level, they have created an infectious state for the gums that what a normal immune system can combat. The gums become inflamed and tender. At this level, they may also deepen in color and pull away from teeth, exposing darker root segments. You’ll have persistent bad breath and pus pockets may form on the gums. Without thorough treatment, teeth will loosen and may eventually require removal.

Nearly half of American adults have some level of gum disease, which is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, gum disease is one of the most preventable of all diseases with simple measures.

A small investment of time is all you need. Brush your teeth twice each day (at least two minutes each time). Floss daily and drink lots of water. Limit snacking, sweets and caffeine and have regular dental check-ups and cleanings.

The discomfort of gum disease, treatment costs, time in treatment, possible tooth loss and replacement decisions (and associated expenses — all of these can be avoided with a small investment of time each day. With proper care, you can easily enjoy a healthy, confident smile with minimal upkeep needed!

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 1-877-966-9009. Begin with a no-cost consultation to discuss how you can achieve a worry-free smile.

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The Appeal Of All-On-4 Dental Implants

posted: April 17, 2017

I remember when GPS devices first came out. Although these plug-in devices were a tremendous bonus in finding destinations (saving both time and gas), advancements now provide an even better solution. Today, I use my smart phone to verbally ask for directions and then follow a voice’s clear and concise instructions.

Although we live in a day and age where things are made easier, we have also come to expect ideal results. From the speed of accessing information on the internet to the images from our home’s security system on our smart phones, advancements have provided us with exceptional options. This is also the case for Dental Implants.

Over the past 4 to 5 decades, Dental Implants have been perfected so various systems conform to fulfill individual needs. Today, people seek out types that provide optimal function, are non-removable and affordable. As implant systems have evolved, they have met the demands of today’s consumer superbly.

In the past, removable types were the less expensive option versus ‘fixed’ versions. For denture wearers who detested having to take their teeth out at night, removable systems were unfortunately the more affordable. This left the patient having to choose between more budget-friendly removable implants or opt for a non-removable implant that was sometimes a strain for modest incomes.

Added to the removable vs. non-removable dilemma was the issue of bone loss, or ‘resorption.’ Resorption occurs when tooth roots no longer exist in the jaw bone. When bone mass declines, it can deplete the foundation needed to support the implanted portions. For patients who had experienced a great deal of bone loss from years of missing teeth, the remaining amount of jaw bone was often insufficient to support Dental Implants.

In the past, when the jaw bone became too thin to support the depth of a traditional implant, bone grafting was needed before implant placement. This required taking a piece of hip bone and grafting it to the thin jaw bone. In less severe cases, a bone rebuilding material could be applied to the area of bone decline.

tooth implants full jaw

All-On-4 Dental Implants

As modernized systems have evolved, a new type of implant design is fulfilling the goals of non-removable teeth while overcoming the challenges of bone loss. With placement at unique angles, the All-On-4 system can sufficiently support implants even when severe bone loss has occurred. Plus, they support non-removable teeth.

As far as affordability, the All-On-4 system is probably the best value in today’s selections of full arch implants. Since only four implants are needed to support an upper or lower arch of teeth, this minimizes treatment costs.

The All-On-4 process is also simple with only one procedure needed for implant placement and the attached teeth – done in just one appointment! As always, patient comfort is a priority and oral or I.V. sedation (‘twilight sleep’) are available.

If you’ve considered Dental Implants but were discouraged by the complications of bone loss or not wanting to settle for removable teeth, All-On-4 may be your answer. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 to schedule a private, no-cost, no obligation consultation to discuss your needs and preferences.

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Poor Sleep Quality Can Interfere With Sex Life

posted: April 12, 2017

Life happens. With busy schedules, pressures from the workplace, and unanticipated complications of everyday living, not feeling ‘up for’ sex some nights is common. However, for more than 12 million Americans who suffer with sleep apnea, disrupted sleep creates a much more complicated issue when it comes to a healthy sex life.

Feeling fatigued, sleepy and foggy during the day are common symptoms of sleep apnea. This comes from the body receiving insufficient oxygen during sleep, due to frequent pauses in breathing. When sleep disorders cause frequent loss of sleep, it can lead to weight gain and depression. However, as the amount of true REM sleep declines, so does the sex hormone that REM sleep is structured to boost.

A study of over 400 men revealed that nearly 70% of those with sleep apnea had erectile dysfunction compared with 34% for men without sleep apnea. In another study, 80 women with sleep apnea were compared to 240 women without sleep apnea (both groups being less than age 65). The findings showed dramatically higher rates of sexual dysfunction than for those who did not suffer with sleep apnea.

CPAP therapy is a commonly prescribed remedy for sleep apnea. The device includes a mask worn over the face that is attached to a fan that forces air into the throat. In addition to improving oxygen levels in the brain and heart, improved oxygen flow also helps the sex drive. For patients who begin CPAP therapy, an increase in sexual relationships is commonly reported.

However, when it comes to consistent use of CPAP devices, it is estimated that only 22% of those who have CPAPs are consistent users. Many users complain about discomfort, feeling claustrophobic, unable to move around in bed, bothered by the noise or embarrassed to wear them.

The solution for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea may be an FDA approved, comfortable oral appliance worn during sleep. In our office, we use Oravan, a small, custom-designed device that adjusts the position of the lower jaw so the airway is less constricted. Through this therapy, many who have mild to moderate sleep apnea are able to forego CPAP and enjoy restored, sound sleep.

Begin by calling for a free consultation, during which time I’ll answer your questions thoroughly. Call 1-877-966-9009 to schedule.

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A Beautiful Smile Shines From Inside Out!

posted: March 28, 2017

Think about how you FEEL when you smile at someone. Do you feel glad to show your smile? Do you feel your appearance improves when you smile? Do you feel you create positive feelings amongst those who see your smile?

Smiling does more than relay a happy message to others. Your smile should make you feel good because you know it is a positive reflection on you.

We all know that an attractive smile can enhance overall facial appearance. However, when people feel confident with the appearance of their smile, they tend to smile more. Research has shown that the benefits of an appealing smile extend far beyond what can be seen.

Studies have found that smiling causes a release of the brain’s ‘happy’ chemicals, known as endorphins. And, apparently, you cause the same reaction even when you ‘fake smile’ and smile when you don’t feel like it. That smile still causes a release of these endorphins.

Another bonus of smiling is its ability to make us look younger? Smiling pulls facial muscles upward, providing a mini-face lift, of sorts. It smooths out sags and softens wrinkles. Look in the mirror and smile to see for yourself!

Naturally, smiling comes easy for those who feel good about the appearance of their smile. Unfortunately, most of us weren’t born with a naturally-attractive smile. When a smile is flawed with chips, gaps, breaks, stains and missing or crooked teeth, smiling can make people feel uneasy or even embarrassed. Some people will even cover their mouths to conceal the flaws that make smiling awkward.

If you are uncomfortable with smiling as openly as you’d like, modern dental techniques and materials offer exceptional ways to enjoy a confident, flattering smile. These include:

Porcelain Crowns & Veneers – Porcelain is the ultimate when it comes to smile enhancement. This material gives the highest degree of luminosity and longevity available in dentistry. 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 help of bonding. In bonding, a material is coated over tooth surfaces and shaped to correct smile flaws. While not as durable or stain-resistant as porcelain, bonding gives 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.

Whiteners – TV ads tout the effectiveness of drug store whitening systems. Yet, the true level of whitening is often minor and lasts for a brief amount of time. When you consider the costs for frequent touch-ups, the expense typically outweighs the results. Our take-home Nite White tooth whitening system provides a much higher degree of whitening with excellent longevity, and it’s at an affordable price.

Dental Implants – The gap in a smile left by missing teeth often 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 can create an attractive smile as part of the process. In our office, we can create your implant crowns in just one visit using the computerized technology of CEREC 3D. These custom-made replacement teeth are beautiful and durable with a natural look and feel.

Cosmetic Dentures – When people are missing all their upper or lower teeth, some choose to replace them with full dentures. Modern techniques and materials in dentistry make it possible to create an attractive look that blends replacement gum tissue and teeth to fill out the mouth, resulting 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 of the procedures in modern cosmetic dentistry can be completed in just one or two visits. Our payment plans make it possible for most budgets to make affordable monthly payments while enjoying the benefits of a beautiful smile they love to share.

Find out what is best for you. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 to schedule a no-charge consultation to discuss the smile you desire.

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Afraid Of The Dentist? Let Us Help Before You Have Emergency Needs.

posted: March 24, 2017

As a dentist with a reputation for patient comfort, we occasionally see a new patient who is ‘forced’ into dental care because the pain has become so severe he or she can no longer avoid treatment. Sadly, many have already lost natural teeth and are at risk of losing more. Most have some level of gum disease.

When teeth are lost, a destructive cycle begins. It is a fact that, when a tooth is lost, the next you’ll lose is one adjacent. Too, natural tooth roots nurture and stimulate the jaw bone that supports them. When a tooth root no longer exists, the bone goes through a process known as ‘resorption.’ This is a shrinking of bone mass that can affect the health of neighboring teeth and contribute to changes in facial appearance.

A declining jaw bone leads to deep wrinkling around the mouth and jowls that form from the detachment of facial muscles. Bone loss also causes the mouth to appear collapsed into the face and the chin to point. This creates what is referred to as a ‘granny look.’

In addition to a higher risk of tooth loss, adults who avoid dentistry are at higher risk of gum disease. Periodontal disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Even worse, the infectious bacteria of gum disease can become bloodborne through tears in weakened gum tissues.

Research has found the bacteria of gum disease can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. This potent bacteria has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers, preterm babies, memory loss and erectile dysfunction (ED).

A healthy smile is good for you, inside and out! In addition to supporting your overall health, studies have shown that smiling causes the release of endorphins, the brain’s ‘happy’ chemical. And, this occurs even when you ‘fake’ a smile. Too, people who smile frequently are estimated to add up to seven years to their lifespans.

A number of studies have been conducted over the years to show the power of a smile. (See: http://www.naturalhealth365.com/smiling.html/ for a summary of several). Yet, smiling occurs easily when an individual feels good about how their smile looks. When a smile is clean and healthy, it’s easy to smile even if some ‘flaws’ exist (such as gapped, crooked or chipped teeth).

My team and I pride ourselves on our commitment to combine exceptional care with a gentle touch. For patients who have high levels of fear, however, it is a challenge to just walk in the front door. During consultations, it is not uncommon for both men and women to become tearful as they recall traumatic experiences in a dental chair. These memories are so deeply embedded that many will endure severe pain rather than see a dentist.

Dental fear is nothing to be ashamed of and can be overcome. We realize that perceived pain can seem just as real as actual pain for those who had traumatic episodes in the past. However, we know that these fears can be overcome by many. We have hundreds of once fearful patients who now walk in with a smile and leave smiling, knowing their oral health is in excellent shape. You, too, can achieve this regardless of your level of fear.

For many anxious or fearful patients, we add Oral Sedation to treatment. This provides total relaxation during treatment and is helpful for patients who have lengthy appointments. For a deeper level of sedation, some patients prefer I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep). This requires a longer recovery time but allows patients to sleep through their visits. Both sedation options erase most or all memory of treatment afterwards.

No matter what your fear level, you can rest assured that your comfort is always a priority in our office. We want you to feel relaxed before, during and after your visit. And, like many of our formerly fearful patients, we know you can achieve a healthy, confident smile without having a white-knuckled experience!

Begin by calling toll free 1-877-966-9009 to arrange a no-cost consultation. This is a friendly discussion in our private consultation room, which is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, comfort options will be discussed as well as how we can structure your care at a pace that’s comfortable for you.

Don’t let your fears destroy your smile. In the right hands, you can achieve the healthy, attractive smile you’ve imagined.

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Factors That Contribute To The Need For Dental Repairs

posted: March 20, 2017

One of the reasons we wash our hands during the day is to prevent the harmful effects of germs we’ve been exposed to. By minimizing germ exposure, it’s much easier to avoid getting a cold or the flu than endure the misery and loss of time these illnesses cause.

The same is true for dental problems. You’d rather avoid a cavity than need to have one repaired – right? Although daily home care and regular dental cleanings help to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, certain factors can heighten our susceptibility.

By knowing what can place you at higher risk for cavities, gum disease and other oral health problems, you can avoid many. These include:

• High Levels Of Bacteria – We all have bacteria in our bodies. However, there are two types (abbreviated as SM and LB) that have been found to be particularly harmful to teeth. People who have higher levels of these bacteria have proven to also have

a higher risk for tooth decay. Additionally, these bacteria are contagious and can be passed to another through food sharing or kissing.
Inadequate Saliva Flow – Saliva is the mouth’s natural rinsing agent, helping to continually move bacteria out of the mouth. Certain medications, age, or particular foods and beverages can contribute to dry mouth. A dry mouth offers an ideal breeding ground for oral bacteria growth and reproduction. The more bacteria in the mouth, the higher your risks for the formation of cavities and gum disease. Plus, a dry mouth leads to stinky breath!
Deep Pits & Grooves – The pits and grooves of back teeth provide havens for oral bacteria. Some people have very deep pits and grooves, creating a warm, moist hideout that is ideal for bacteria growth. The same is true for crowded, crooked teeth. Their tight angles make brushing less effective and provide nooks for bacterial buildup.
High Sugar Diet – Bacteria in your mouth thrive on refined sugar. From this, an acid is produced which attacks tooth enamel. When this acid combines with the digestive acids in the mouth that occur each time you eat or drink, you get a double whammy that actually softens tooth enamel for 20 or so minutes after eating. This leaves teeth especially vulnerable to oral bacteria.
Exposed Tooth Roots – Aging, too rigorous brushing, or bite misalignment can cause gum tissues to pull away from teeth. This can expose the darker, sensitive portions of a tooth’s root. While this distracts from the appearance of a smile, it also increases the potential for tooth decay.

Rather than devote the time and expense to repair cavities or gum disease, take easy measures to prevent them in the first place!

1). Wetter is better! Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. If you take medications that are drying, ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are alternative medications that have less drying side effects. Limit alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods — all drying to the mouth. And, the worst cause of oral dryness – smoking. Your smile is another reason to kick the habit!

2). Keep oral bacteria levels under control with the help of antibacterial rinses. While these aid in replenishing oral moisture, those containing chlorhexidine also help to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth.

3). If your teeth have deep grooves and pits, ask your dentist about sealants to cover and protect these areas. Vulnerable teeth can also be protected with inlays, onlays or crowns. Crowded or crooked teeth can be straightened with orthodontic realignment. However, crowns or veneers may be sufficient in restoring proper alignment to selected teeth (and a more appealing smile in the process!).

4). Limit snacking between meals. Anytime you eat or drink (other than water), your mouth reacts by producing a digestive acid that attacks tooth enamel. Try to stick with the ‘3-squares’ rule and limit sugar and carbohydrates. Because the acid from refined sugar is most harmful to teeth and gums, limiting sweets will help you avoid oral problems (AND keep your waistline in check, too!).

5). Be committed to your daily oral care regimen at home. Twice daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Use a soft to medium tooth brush and fluoridated toothpaste, brush at least two minutes per time and avoid using a scrubbing motion. Be highly committed to your 6-month cleanings and exams. These appointments are structured to create a ‘clean slate’ in your mouth so you can maintain a healthy smile between visits.

We want to help you avoid the need for dental repairs and time in the treatment chair! During your next visit, ask how you can have a healthier smile, fresher breath, and spend less on dental repairs. Or, call us to arrange a no-cost consultation: 1-877-966-90009.

 

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Full Dentures & Partial Dentures

posted: March 13, 2017

We are well-known for the many Dental Implants we place. While we have a large number of patients who prefer this popular form of tooth replacement, we also have patients who wear full dentures and partial dentures successfully.

Dentures and ‘partials’ can replace teeth comfortably and securely with the proper design and fit. In creating dentures, we begin by examining the unique contours of the patient’s mouth and make molds to use as guides. With today’s advanced techniques and materials, the results are not only natural-looking, they feel natural as well.

We also look for ways to enhance the appearance of a smile. For full dentures, we can create a more youthful smile by adjusting the height of either the teeth most visible in a smile or the gum portion. This elongation gives a bit of a face lift. It can even smooth out wrinkles around the mouth and soften sagging areas under the cheeks.

With partial dentures, we beautifully match the shade and shape of surrounding teeth with your new teeth. And, the gum portion is made to blend naturally with existing gum tissues — so no one needs to know you’re wearing a partial but you!smiling dental implant patient

Today’s designs also provide a stable, secure fit. New materials help to ‘grip’ more securely so movements while biting and chewing are often eliminated or minimized. The more comfortable you are while eating, the better you are able to chew. This not only allows you to eat foods you love, but helps in the digestive process. The more-thoroughly you chew, the easier your system is able to break foods down.

We want every patient to be pleased with their tooth replacement option. While dentures and partials do have some drawbacks, many people are very pleased with the look, feel and function. Should dentures begin to move while eating, a reline may help to resolve the problem and restore chewing stability.

We feel every patient deserves a healthy, confident smile. If you wish to discuss any tooth replacement option, please know we provide all types. While we are not a denture ‘clinic,’ we ARE a complete care dental office dedicated to the best results for affordable fees.

Let’s discuss how you can achieve a great smile during a no-charge consultation. Call 1-877-966-9009 to schedule. If desired, we can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment plans, most with no down payment required and interest-free.

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