Dentures, Partials, Crown & Bridge – We Are Your Source.

posted: January 21, 2019

When it comes to replacing missing teeth these days, a number of adults make the decision to go forward with dental implants. However, dental implants are not always a preferred choice for individuals facing tooth replacement, nor advisable for some.

For example, the health of some individuals may hold potential problems when it comes to implant success. This is true for people undergoing cancer treatment or who take certain medications for osteoporosis. For some of these patients, the risks may be too high.

Additionally, some mouths are too small for implant placement at proper depths or angles. For instance, if a back tooth needs replacing and the bone mass is minimal, even bone rebuilding procedures may fail to overcome the challenge of the best positioning.

Although our office offers advanced skills and training in the diagnosis and placement of dental implants, rest assured that we also have advanced training and skills in other methods to replace teeth.

Our patients also have access to many features and advanced technology that optimize comfort, speed healing time, and minimize treatment time. Some procedures can be completed in just two visits.

In addition to dental implants, options to replace missing teeth include…

Crown-&-Bridge – A fixed bridge is held by teeth on both sides of the area where a natural tooth or teeth are missing. After adjacent teeth are prepared for crowns (also referred to as ‘caps’), a ‘bridge’ (typically an adjoined row of two or more replacement teeth) is affixed to crowns that are placed over prepared teeth on each side. With the support of crowned, natural teeth, a bridge restores appearance and chewing ability. In our Summerville dental office, we utilize CEREC 3D technology to create beautiful, ceramic crowns and bridges — in a single visit! In addition to a significant savings in time, this also reduces numbing requirements by half. These crowns and bridges have the look and feel of natural teeth and are created to blend with neighboring teeth.Partial Dentures – A Partial Denture fills the gaps from missing teeth for natural chewing ability and to curtail shifting of remaining natural teeth. Partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to gum-colored bases that are custom-formed to the contours of your natural gum shape (its height and width). Removable partial dentures typically attach to natural teeth with metal clasps or devices. Precision attachments are generally a more desirable option for many patients since, unlike those held with clasps, telltale signs of wearing an ‘appliance’ are not visible in a smile or while laughing.

Full Dentures – A Full Denture is typically removable and replaces all teeth as well as the foundation of gums that may have diminished over time. New denture wearers need time to get accustomed to their new teeth because even the best fitting denture can feel awkward at first. Some have difficulty eating for several days and may notice a slight change in facial appearance, increased salivary flow, or minor speech difficulty. However, once the patient has adjusted to this new feel, a denture can be worn comfortably and function with stability.

Replacing a tooth is a big decision, and affects a large number of adults. It is estimated that over 69 percent of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 years have at least one missing tooth.

It is also highly important to replace a missing tooth.

The arrangement of teeth is a balanced support system that provides proper support and stability. Not replacing a tooth can trigger a domino effect of continual oral challenges. Typical problems include drifting, shifting, and an increased risk of gum disease and decay.

In a normal, healthy mouth, there is a natural balance of alignment. Each tooth has three or four companion teeth. These include adjacent teeth on either side as well as the upper or lower teeth that meet them. Upper and lower teeth must work harmoniously to provide comfortable chewing function.

When a tooth is lost, the proper position of neighboring teeth is at risk. When teeth shift or tilt, it can lead to chipped, broken or fractured teeth. Eventually, this can cause problems with the TMJ (jaw joints), which may lead to headaches, migraines, worn teeth, and clenching or grinding during sleep.

Not replacing a tooth also places others at higher risks for being lost. Statistics show that a neighboring tooth is the most likely be lost next when subjected to the same conditions. With each tooth lost, the problems are magnified and the cycle of tooth loss continues. And, so do the associated decisions, costs, and treatment time for replacement.

For many reasons, we recommend dental implants whenever practical and desirable to the patient. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) five million implants are placed in the U.S. each year. They restore dependable biting and chewing, have a nearly 98 percent success rate, and are designed to last a lifetime (making them an excellent investment).

Still, we understand an implant is not the preferred or most practical choice for every patient. Once our patients know the options recommended for their needs, we respect the wishes of each and are committed to the best outcome for each.

If you need to replace missing teeth or an existing appliance, let’s discuss your options during a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, I’ll explain the advantages and challenges of each and the procedures involved. Call 843-871-6351.

While you’re here, we can also have our Insurance Coordinator and Financial Coordinator meet with you to determine easy payment plans according to your needs.

Read More

Losing Teeth As You Age Can — And Should Be — Avoided.

posted: October 16, 2018

It is a misconception that losing natural teeth is a normal part of the aging process. Although previous generations may have assumed that tooth loss (and ending up in dentures or partials) was natural for adults as they grew older, we know today that this is far from true – and certainly not desirable.smiling dental implant patient

When teeth are missing in a smile, it compromises its appearance, often causing people to feel self-conscious when smiling. Yet, the repercussions of missing teeth go far beyond esthetic. It is now known that dental challenges caused by missing teeth can lead to a long list of problems.

The space left by missing teeth needs to be filled to avoid teeth drifting. Drifting teeth can lead to:

• Compromised chewing efficiency
• The tooth above or below the missing tooth growing too long
• Neighboring teeth moving out of alignment
• More challenges with food accumulation, accelerating bacteria growth
• Uneven chewing patterns, which strains jaw joints and can lead to worn teeth, tooth fractures and chips, clenching and grinding, and headaches
• Loss of jaw bone mass in the extracted area
• Facial changes and biting/chewing problems in the area of tooth loss
• Increased risk of tongue biting

Periodontal (gum) disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, it is easily preventable with simple measures applied on a daily basis. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing and twice-a-year dental visits can greatly reduce the risks of gum disease and subsequent tooth loss.

Those most at risk for tooth loss with the highest susceptibility to gum disease are:
•    Males over the age of 35
•    Adults who fail to have professional dental care
•    Not brushing teeth
•    Smoking
•    Having diabetes, high blood pressure or rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

Additionally, teeth most commonly lost due to gum disease are in the front of the mouth rather than back teeth. Health issues such as diabetes and arthritis can also make you more vulnerable to developing gum disease.

When a tooth is lost, it is imperative that it be replaced as soon as possible. We recommend dental implants because they restore the look and feel of a natural tooth. Dental implants also recreate the presence of a tooth root in the jaw bone. This helps halt bone loss, protects your facial structure, and preserves the natural alignment of your bite.

Missing natural teeth? We offer many tooth replacement options to restore the look, feel and function of a natural-looking, confident smile. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule a free consultation to discuss the choices that may be best for your individual needs.

Read More

Grinding Or Clenching Teeth Can Lead To Costly Repairs, And More.

posted: September 18, 2018

Sometimes, things can occur without being obvious for quite some time. For example, seeing a tire that has abnormally worn down on one side is an indication that it has been out of alignment for an extended amount of time. Or, losing a button means that the threads gave way a while back and gradually became looser and looser.

As a dentist, I occasionally examine a new patient and see signs of worn teeth. Sometimes, the individual has fractures or chips on teeth as well. These are typically indications of clenching or grinding teeth, which often occurs during sleep. It’s rather common, however, that the patient has no idea this has been taking place.

Worn teeth from grinding

Like a tire that’s just slightly out of alignment, minor disparities aren’t always noticeable. Eventually, however, the wear and tear does become obvious. Although it may take years for the signs to clearly emerge, like anything, the sooner you resolve the problem, the better.

Clenching and grinding of teeth is known as bruxing in the dental profession. This action often takes place while the individual is asleep, so they are unaware they are doing it. However, upon awakening, the person may notice jaw joint pain, headaches, difficulty opening the mouth fully, ear ringing, or dizziness.

What causes this?

The most common cause is bite misalignment. When the upper teeth do not meet harmoniously with the lower teeth, it can transfer stress or strain to the jaw joints.

These joints, which lie just in front of the ears, are the joints that hinge the lower jaw to the skull. Known as the temporo-mandibular joints (or ‘TMJ’), these joints are in nearly-constant motion. Every time you speak, eat, laugh, yawn, and even swallow, these joints move. If they do not move fluidly and in unity, they can become inflamed.

Like many parts of our bodies, the jaw joints strive for self-repair. The skin heals itself, the immune system fights infection, and broken bones reconnect. When an imbalance in the joints effects efficiency and comfort, they seek to find a more comfortable position when they have the least interference — during sleep.

During sleep, the jaws attempt to shift and ‘force’ themselves to find a place of harmony. This prompts the action of clenching teeth together or grinding them back and forth.

Although the alignment of teeth may seem unrelated to the balanced movement of the jaw joints, the results of disharmony can be pretty severe – and costly. Broken, fractured or chipped teeth can require crowns or even replacement of teeth. Worn teeth typically need crowning or repair of cavities that has occurred when the protective enamel of teeth has been worn down.

cerec machine

Single visit crowns, bridges and dental implant restorations

For our patients who need these repairs, they have the advanced technology of our CEREC 3D computerized process. This creates crowns and other ceramic restorations (crowns, bridges, implant teeth) in a single visit, saving the patient time and often reducing numbing requirements by half.

Once we verify that your bite is truly out of alignment (and the cause of bruxing), correcting it may be as simple as reshaping selected teeth. Some crowns may be needed and an oral appliance may also be advised. These appliances are custom-made to comfortably fit the unique contours of each mouth and do not interfere with sleep.

When bite misalignment is more severe, we may recommend orthodontic treatment. Although some adults cringe at the need to wear braces, ‘invisible’ options are available that can make treatment more comfortable and seem less awkward than the wires and brackets of traditional orthodontics.

Like a worn tire, the problems of misalignment will only worsen without repair. Let’s restore your bite to a harmonious position so you can avoid the discomfort, costs, and treatment time associated with TMJ disorders. Begin with a free consultation by calling 843-871-6351 or tap here to begin.

 

Read More

Gapped Teeth Often Repaired In Just One Or Two Visits.

posted: September 11, 2018

What do model Lauren Hutton, songstress Madonna, and actor Samuel L. Jackson have in common? They each share the trait of gapped front teeth. This trait, which actually is fairly common — affecting up to 25% of American adults, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) — is known in the dental profession as a diastema.

Having a gap between upper front teeth is a genetic trait and occurs more often in Black males who are more prone to the trait than females.

Once felt to cause an awkward appearance when smiling, adults today are more comfortable with a disastema, largely due to celebrities who have refused to

Model Lauren Hutton

let the trait interfere with smiling with pride. After all, can you imagine Lauren Hutton without her smile as it is or Michael Strahan smiling any differently than with his now-famous gap?!

We believe the most important part of smiling has to do with the health of a smile. When teeth and gums are healthy, smiling with confidence is a perk of good oral health. However, some smile traits can make smiling seem awkward for some individuals. In addition to gapped teeth, having a gummy smile (which exposes too much gum tissue above teeth in a full smile) can cause some to ‘hold back’ rather than smile joyfully.

If a diastema is causing you to feel less than comfortable when smiling, you’ll be pleased to learn that filling this space can often be done in just one or two visits, and very affordably. We begin by assessing the width of the gap. When the open space is minimal and the two front teeth are not wide, we may be able to focus treatment on just those two teeth.

However, filling a wider gap by trying to widen the two front teeth can result in “bunny teeth.” To avoid this, it may be necessary to involve more than just the two gapped teeth. The material that is used may also depend on the width of the gap. The one recommended for you will be explained. The two options typically used for correcting a diastema are:

• Bonding – This treatment uses a tooth-colored composite resin that is painted onto natural teeth. The material is carefully shaped to fill in the space between the teeth. The procedure often requires just one visit and numbing needs are minimal. The process begins with a careful shade matching so the composite resin blends naturally with the color of the teeth involved in treatment. Then, the teeth are ‘roughed’ and a conditioning material is applied so the bonding adheres properly. After the bonding has been shaped and contoured, an ultraviolet light is used to harden the material. Finally, the material is polished to a natural sheen.

Although bonding is an affordable option that can repair flaws in a single visit, its drawbacks should be considered. For example, bonding material isn’t as strong as porcelain, which is used in veneers and crowns. This makes bonded teeth are at greater risk for chips. Bonding material also stains or yellows more easily.

• Porcelain Veneers & Crowns  – The closest thing to the durability and longevity of natural teeth is porcelain. Superior to any other material used in cosmetic dentistry, porcelain restorations even reflect light as a natural tooth and can provide an opalescence so natural no one would suspect you’ve had ‘dental work’. Porcelain is highly durable (a particular advantage for front teeth) and more resistant to staining. For wide gaps, just four or six veneers can recreate a smile beautifully while eliminating the former space.

For some gaps between teeth, moving natural teeth into proper alignment through orthodontic treatment may be the best option. We work with several exceptional orthodontists and can request an evaluation to determine if your diastema requires this type of treatment.

Keep in mind that realigning teeth may not only close the space between your teeth, it may help to create a healthier smile. Teeth that are in proper alignment are easier to keep clean and help you avoid problems associated with misalignment, including TMJ disorder. This can lead to teeth that are chipped, broken or worn as well as jaw joint pain, headaches, migraines, ear ringing, dizziness, night-time clenching and/or grinding, and jaw popping.

Begin by scheduling a free consultation to discuss the options that may be best for you. During this time, I can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss affordable payment plans that can break treatment fees into easy monthly payments.

Call 843-871-6351 to schedule or tap here to begin. Also, check out our Smile Gallery to see a few smile makeovers!

Read More

Here, Technology Enhances Comfort, Saves You Time, Optimizes Treatment Outcome

posted: July 17, 2018

Let’s say you’re nearing the time when an ’empty nest’ in on the horizon. In anticipation of having extra space, you may have some ideas as to how free space could be reconfigured. A workout room? A media room? An office for a new in-home business?

Although designers and contractors could come in with a sketch pad and pencil, wouldn’t you be more assured with a visual proposal that gave a firsthand view of where, what, and how?

Today’s technology is designed to eliminate guesswork and provide the means to achieve goals without unexpected glitches.

This is true for dentistry as well. Advanced computerized technology has given dentists the tools to diagnose, treatment plan, and perform procedures with precision based on each individual’s needs and goals.

Dental offices can vary significantly when it comes to advanced technology. Not only does this equipment require a monetary commitment, most require intense training of the dentist and staff members in order to utilize each piece properly. While some of these advancements can seem rather intimidating, I’ve found that they can be of such benefit to our patients that the learning process becomes exciting.

Case in point – when I first invested in CEREC 3D technology, I took a couple of courses but avoided using it for months. When I decided to truly master it, I became so enthralled at the results that I pursued every advanced course I could take. Now, I am a proud Mentor for CEREC 3D, providing training assistance to other dentists who make this positive leap into the future of dentistry.

While my goal has always been to provide options that enhance patient comfort, save them time, and create optimal outcomes, it has also been important to select technology that is ‘green.’ At Smiles By Andrews, we have incorporated features that are environmentally-friendly, which minimize the use of chemicals, save water, and reduce waste.

What’s in this for you, the patient? Read on to learn about the many advanced features available to you in our Summerville dental office:

• Imaging With 3D Cone Beam Technology – This 3D imaging gives a clear view of the mandible and maxilla (upper and lower jaw) for intricate assessment for diagnosis and treatment planning. The process is fast and comfortable with patients exposed to minimal levels of radiation. This is used for patients in need of root canals, periodontics, orthodontics, dental implants, TMJ therapy, and crowns (caps) or bridges as well as surgical procedures. Cone beam imaging (3D X-rays) also provides images that pinpoint the mandibular nerve canal for pre-surgical planning for ideal implant positioning.

Dental Implants As Easy As 1 – 2 – 3 In One Dental Office! We have incorporated this technology so your entire implant treatment can be performed in one comfortable location in minimum appointments with exceptional outcomes!

  1. CEREC Omnicam uses a small camera to scan inside the mouth, capturing full color 3D digital images. These images are sent to computer software that is used to create crowns, bridges, partial and teeth for implant attachment, in minutes.
  2. For Dental Implant placement, CEREC 3D computer software creates a surgical guide that pinpoints precise locations, depths, and angles for each implant. This enhances implant success and eliminates the need for ‘flaps’ to be cut in gum tissue. These guides enable me to gently penetrate gum tissue at each implant location. By minimizing disruption to gum tissue, patients enjoy enhanced comfort with rapid healing.
  3. For the teeth attached to the Implants, our technology creates your final teeth with advanced technology, saving you time and ensuring a precision fit and ideal shade match.

• Single Appointment Crowns & Inlays – CEREC 3D creates beautiful, durable ceramic restorations (crowns, bridges, partials, implant teeth) using the latest in computerization, ready for placement in a single visit. No temporaries needed! No second appointment needed! No second numbing needed!. CEREC 3D also reduces numbing requirements by half.

• Laser Therapy – This technology is used for oral tissue treatment that causes no bleeding and reduces numbing requirements for precision gum contouring, bacteria removal, uncovering implants, repair of oral ulcers and other tissue related procedures.

• Digital X-Rays – Our digital radiology system reduces exposure to radiation by up to 90%, giving enlarged on-screen images instantly. Magnification aids in early diagnosis, which reduces treatment time and costs, and is more comfortable than traditional “bite wings”.

• Oral Cancer Detection – The VELscope System is a hand-held device that aids in early detection of oral cancer. The exam is non-invasive, painless, and takes only minutes. The process gives us a better visual of abnormal tissue that may be, or may lead to, oral cancer.

• IntraOral Imaging – This provides enlarged views of specific areas inside the mouth, giving patients greater understanding of problem areas and more involvement in treatment decisions.

• Computerized Charting – This advanced feature measures and stores your oral status while predicting vulnerable areas. Your oral health is recorded and stored at each visit, providing easy retrieval for future comparisons.

• Advanced Sterilization system – Using a process that meets or exceeds the guidelines set forth by OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), all instruments used in patient care are heat sterilized by advanced equipment and trained staff.

We are proud of the environment we offer to our patients. Experience the benefits of these features yourself! We are always happy to welcome new patients to our office and even offer a free consult for those who wish to ‘check us out’ before committing to an appointment. Just call our friendly staff at 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule.outside and inside office photo

While we are pleased to offer this technology, what our patients notice most is the respectful, friendly, compassionate environment we provide. Regardless of your need, we are committed to exceptional care with an emphasis on comfort.

I hope to meet you soon!

Read More

How To Spend Less On Dentistry

posted: May 31, 2018

Every time I go to have my oil changed or tires rotated, I know the time and money required is to prevent problems or extend the life of my investment as much as possible. It makes handing over my credit card a little easier since I’m willingly taking steps to avoid larger expenses that could have been prevented.

This is why your 6-month dental check-ups and cleanings are so important. By removing built-up tartar, you can avoid the time and expense for cavity repair and gum disease treatment. However, these visits can help you avoid much greater expenses, some you may not realize.

For example, during these appointments, we check your bite alignment. Why is this important?

Every tooth in your mouth is designed to interact with neighboring teeth. For instance, an upper front tooth is bordered by teeth on each side as well as one below it. The teeth on each side help to keep adjacent teeth in their proper positions. The one below it – the one it ‘meets’ – helps to keep it at a proper length. Without the tooth below, the upper tooth would elongate. Without the teeth on each side, the tooth would turn or tilt.

It doesn’t take much to create a domino effect when it comes to the balanced alignment of how the upper teeth meet lower teeth. When just one tooth moves out of position, the others can bear the brunt of misalignment or malocclusion.

While a tooth that has become crooked may seem to create like a minimal flaw in your smile’s appearance, the problem can go much deeper than esthetics. For example, bite misalignment can lead to teeth that break, chip, or crack. It is also what leads to TMJ (jaw joint) disorder.

TMJ disorder can result in frequent headaches; migraines, ear ringing; dizziness; night-time clenching and grinding; jaw popping, and sore facial and neck muscles. Because some of these symptoms are seemingly unrelated to bite alignment, many people spend years seeking relief, going from doctor to doctor, trying different medications, and undergoing procedures – all coming up short of actually resolving the true source of the problem.

Another check we perform during your dental hygiene visits is to look at the condition of your gums.

Periodontal (gum) disease can begin without obvious symptoms, symptoms that YOU may not notice. However, we are trained to catch early warning signs such as gums that are pulling away from their tight seal around teeth. Gums that bleed easily during ‘probing’ are also signs we note.

Yet, when it comes to your gum tissues, which cover the entire oral cavity, there ae additional problems that we can address during your oral hygiene visit. One, in particular, is to examine any lumps or bumps that can indicate oral cancer.

During your exam, you may notice us feeling around inside your mouth. We look under your tongue and on the inside of your cheeks. What we’re looking for are unusual areas that can be early signs of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers due to its dreadful survival rate. If caught early, treatment requirements may be minimal. During this exam, we check for discolored spots, lumps, and growths that may indicate the need for a biopsy.

Other problems that your gum tissues can reveal are oral fungal infections, such as thrush. This can be an uncomfortable condition that is contagious. Even pregnant females can pass this on to their unborn babies. We can also note the emergence of things like canker sores and recommend ways to minimize their discomfort and duration.

If signs of a cavity exist, we can address the problem before it becomes a bigger problem! Filling a small cavity is a much simpler procedure than having to crown a tooth that has a large cavity. And, it is less of an expense.

We can also help in the prevention of tooth loss by checking teeth that are showing signs of break down. When a tooth is cracked, fractured, or overloaded with fillings, the potential for losing the tooth increases.

Tooth removal is necessary when a tooth breaks off below the gum line. To save the tooth, we can advise an inlay or a crown (cap) to help prevent the need to remove it (resulting in time and expense to replace it).

One of the most effective ways we can support patients during their cleanings and exams is to provide easy-to-follow recommendations and instructions for their at-home care. For example, if we note that a patient is being less-than-thorough with certain back teeth, our hygienists can discuss holding the toothbrush at a different angle. Or, the hygienist may advise using an oral rinse to replenish moisture if ‘dry mouth‘ seems to be a challenge.

So you see, these 6-month check-ups are important ways to have a healthy mouth and enjoy a bright smile between visits! They can help you save time and money by helping you avoid problems, or minimize those that do occur.

If you’re behind on your regular dental cleanings and exams, call 843-871-6351 to schedule. New patients are always welcome. And, remember – patient comfort is a high priority at every visit!

You may wish to begin with a free consultation. During this time, we can also have our Financial Coordinator discuss easy payment plans, some with no down payment required and interest-free.

Read More

Could Headaches Or Migraines Be Coming From Misaligned Bite?

posted: April 26, 2018

A friend once shared that, after enduring years of back aches and pain, an orthopedist determined that the cause was one leg being shorter than the other. It wasn’t obvious to her but the slight disparity had led her on a long, frustrating journey of doctors’ visits, medications, diagnostic tests, and out-and-out guesswork.

The body is a miraculous structure. Yet, it relies on a delicate balance in order to operate as intended. Just as the balanced length of our legs affects the smooth flow of our posture, gait, and stance, so does the balance of how your teeth fit together. A slight disparity here, too, can cause problems that radiate far beyond the mouth.

When the upper teeth do not properly align with the lower teeth, it’s not always obvious – initially. Problems tend to occur at a gradual pace. For example, teeth that slowly become crowded and crooked may eventually fail to meet harmoniously while chewing. This can lead to a number of problems, including chipped, worn, broken, or fractured teeth. And, the condition can contribute to seemingly unrelated problems.

Misaligned teeth can cause the TMJ, or jaw joints, to be strained. These joints, located in front of each ear, are what hinges the lower jaw to the skull. When these joints move together fluidly, they function without stress or strain when speaking, laughing, and eating.

However, when the bite is not properly aligned, it can lead to issues that disrupt the balance that is needed for ease of function. These problems are known as TMJ disorder, which can lead to:

• Headaches
• Migraines
• Clenching and/or grinding teeth during sleep
• Aching jaw joints
• Dizziness
• Ear ringing
• Jaw popping
• Sore facial, shoulder or neck muscles
• Difficulty opening the mouth fully

Misaligned teeth also create a higher risk for cavities and gum disease along with breaks that can result in tooth removal. For example, when upper teeth and lower teeth do not meet properly, one may ‘hit’ a neighboring tooth awkwardly, typically while eating. When a tooth breaks below the gum line, a crown can no longer save the tooth and it must be removed. A lost tooth leads to many decisions and costs for replacement.

In cases of mild bite misalignment, treatment requirements may be as simple as the reshaping of selected teeth. Some cases may involve the crowning of certain teeth in order to restore proper balance. Other cases may require orthodontic treatment to fully resolve the problems related to bite alignment.

Misaligned teeth will not improve without correction. At the very least, improperly aligned teeth will increase your potential for developing cavities or gum disease. Over time, however, many of these cases lead to problems that cause the problems mentioned prior, includign migraines, dizziness, or worn or broken teeth.

If you have crowded, crooked teeth or are experiencing problems associated with TMJ disorder, restoring proper bite alignment can give you a healthier foundation for your teeth and gums, help you avoid TMJ-related problems, and may even enhance the appearance of your smile.

Begin by calling 843-871-6351 to schedule a no-charge consultation. I’ll explain ways we will evaluate your bite and determine if your bite alignment is the true source of your symptoms. If so, we can develop a treatment plan to help you overcome the problems in the most conservative way possible.

 

Read More

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.

Read More

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: https://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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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!

Read More

Headaches & Migraines May Be Due To Bite Problems

posted: March 06, 2017

I was driving behind a car a few days ago and noticed that one of its back tires was obviously out of alignment. The wheel seemed to shimmy madly as the other tires hummed along in harmony. Even though the car’s driver may not have felt the effects of her misaligned wheel, the premature wearing down of the tire will become obvious before long.

Having things in alignment is also beneficial when it comes to your smile. When upper teeth do not fit harmoniously with lower teeth, the delicate balance of teeth, jaw joints and facial muscles can be disrupted, often more than is obvious.

A bite that is misaligned can lead to strain in the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) or jaw joints. These joints are just in front of the ears and hinge the lower jaw to the skull. An improper bite can cause the jaws to move during sleep in an attempt to find a relaxed position. However, this effort to self-adjust tends to transfer one problem to another. As the jaws shift, the teeth tend to clamp together. This, in turn, triggers a grinding motion.

Grinding and clenching can lead to frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaw joints, dizziness, ear ringing, and limited ability to open the mouth. Misaligned teeth ‘hit wrong,’ making them more likely to experience cracks, breaks and chips. Even worse than these costly problems is the susceptibility of teeth breaking below the gum line. When this occurs, the tooth will likely require removal.

TMJ disorders can compromise the health of your teeth in other ways as well. As teeth grind back and forth, tooth enamel is worn down. This leaves teeth vulnerable to decay and sensitivity.

Worn teeth, a common sign of bite misalignment, cause the tops of teeth to flatten out. This creates a straight-across line without the natural contours typical of teeth. Worn teeth are also shorter than they should be.

Example of worn teeth from grinding.

In our office, your 6-month checkups include an evaluation of your bite and noting signs of abnormal wear. However, many people experience headaches, dizziness or jaw tenderness before their teeth reveal bite misalignment.

Patients are urged to communicate these symptoms since they may be related to bite problems. Unfortunately, many people are not aware that these symptoms are common signs of jaw joint disorders. They often go from doctor to doctor seeking relief, only to be treated with prescription medications that merely mask the true problem.

The first step is to determine if TMJ is the true source of your problem. If so, we will pinpoint the source and develop a treatment plan to restore proper bite alignment and alleviate stress from the jaw joints.

In some cases, minor reshaping of selected teeth can correct bite problems. However, if more extensive reshaping is needed, crowns may be advised. If misalignment is severe, orthodontic realignment may be needed to restore the proper fit of upper and lower teeth.

Remember, like a worn tire, worn teeth are a sign of a bigger problem that will only worsen without adjustments. Resolving bite problems early can help you avoid extensive treatment time and expense.

For a free, no-cost consultation, call 1-877-966-9009. During this time, we’ll discuss options that are appropriate for you. If desired, you can also meet with our Financial Coordinator to discuss payment plans that allow you to resolve your problem while making affordable monthly payments.

Read More

Natural Teeth Are Worth Keeping!

posted: October 26, 2016

There are many misconceptions when it comes to our smiles. For example, people often assume that seeing blood in the sink when brushing is a good sign. (It’s NOT!) When seeing a new patient who has a problem tooth, however, one of the most troubling things I can hear is, “I’ll lose my teeth as I age anyway so just pull it.”

While our grandparents may have assumed they would eventually end up in dentures, today’s dentistry knows better. Using proper techniques for twice-daily brushing, daily flossing and keeping the mouth moist means you should be able to enjoy a naturally-healthy smile for a lifetime.

Studies have shown there are tremendous benefits to keeping your natural teeth. Since teeth are positioned in the jaw bone, they help to maintain its mass. Without tooth roots that keep the jaw stimulated, the bone begins to shrink. This can lead to eventual tooth loss.

Aging and tooth loss do NOT go hand-in-hand.

Aging and tooth loss do NOT go hand-in-hand.

It is a fact that people with their natural teeth live ten years longer than denture wearers, on average. This is likely due to the ability to eat a healthy diet and feeling confident to stay socially active. Because of the worry that surrounds denture wearers when it comes to eating and laughing, the sense of insecurity causes many to avoid social situations.

Want to keep your teeth for your lifetime? You can! Be committed to the following steps and you will greatly increase your potential to have a naturally-healthy smile:

• Think the brush-&-floss routine is a dated way to keep teeth healthy? It’s still the gold standard in keeping oral bacteria to a minimum. Brush with a soft to medium bristle tooth brush using a fluoridated toothpaste. (Never use abrasive substances to brush, such as baking soda, which can wear away precious tooth enamel.) Use a swirling motion rather than scrub teeth back and forth. Floss daily or use a water or electronic flosser. Finish up by brushing your tongue or using a tongue scrapper to uproot millions of oral bacteria embedded in the tongue.

Straight teeth are easier to keep healthy. When teeth are crowded and/or crooked, bacteria can easily accumulate in tight angles that become bacterial breeding grounds. Straight teeth are not only easier to keep clean, they support proper bite alignment. This minimizes your potential for stress on the TMJ (jaw joints). Strain on these joints can lead to headaches, night-time grinding and clenching, worn teeth and cracked or chipped teeth.

• Keep your mouth moist. A dry mouth provides an ideal environment for oral bacterial growth. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and limit foods and beverages that are caffeinated and drying to oral tissues. These include coffee, tea, colas and chocolate as well as spicy foods. If you take medications that are drying to the mouth, ask your Doctor about less-drying alternatives. Also, consider using an oral rinse formulated specifically to replenish moisture. Sugarless gum can help to promote saliva flow as well.

• Limit carbs and sugar. The acids produced in the mouth by carbohydrates and sugary foods and beverages super-charge bacterial growth and are damaging to tooth enamel. Limit these for the good of your smile and your waistline!

• Be committed to your 6-month exams and cleanings. These visits are designed to create a periodic ‘clean slate’ for teeth. During these visits, our Hygienists remove calculus (or tartar) that form the cement-hard bacterial colonies attached to teeth. We also perform an annual Oral Cancer screening using early-detection technology. These screenings are very important since Oral Cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers with one of the worst survival rates.

Our goal is to help you keep your natural teeth healthy and IN your mouth all of your life! When problems arise, we will recommend treatment to protect and extend the life of your teeth. However, when teeth are lost, we can explain your best options for replacement and to avoid putting other teeth at risk.

If you feel you have a mouthful of problems or have already lost natural teeth, let’s halt the process. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 for a no charge consultation. Here, we’ll discuss how we can restore your oral health for a lasting, healthy smile!

Read More

Headaches? Migraines? Bite Misalignment May Be Cause.

posted: August 24, 2016

The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 22% of American adult females suffer from migraines or severe headaches while 10% of adult males do. If you suffer with frequent headaches and/or migraines, you are in the company of nearly 50 million Americans.

Pain from headaches and migraines can be debilitating, interfering with daily activities, work, parental responsibilities and social involvement. Unexplained pain is often attributed to other aspects of the patient’s life, such as stress, eyesight, hormones or posture. Adults are often prescribed drugs or referred for ongoing therapy while some are told it’s all in their head. While many sufferers spend years searching for a solution, they (and many physicians) often fail to connect the dots between headaches and dental anatomy.

The position of how upper and lower teeth meet is a typical cause for headaches, jaw pain, sore muscles, neck and back pain, limited range of motion of the neck, poor posture, stuffy and ringing ears, grinding and breaking teeth, dizziness, fatigue and more. All of these symptoms can be due to one’s bite being off, perhaps by only a millimeter (1/25th of an inch).

Your dental make-up is an intricate composition of muscles, joints and teeth and plays a major role in your overall comfort and health. Because humans are incredibly adaptable, the body’s muscles, bones and joints can function although these are not in ideal alignment. This is as true with the bite as with other parts of the body, such as when one leg is shorter than the other. However, there are times when the body cannot adapt, which is just as true with dental problems.

In dentistry, we understand that the temporo-mandibular joints (TMJ) need to have a comfortable resting position for the joints, muscles, bones and teeth. When this occurs, all structures work together harmoniously without stress or strain.

In addition to the jaw joints, the unity of teeth is just as critical.  The forces of the bite must be distributed in a balanced way. If the bite is tilted, for example, these forces are misdirected. This can cause stress or strain on jaw joints and on facial, neck and shoulder muscles. In addition to headaches and migraines, bite misalignment can lead to worn, chipped or broken teeth. A common symptom is also grinding or clenching teeth while sleeping.

Worn teeth from grinding

Worn teeth from grinding

By incorporating proper bite alignment into restorative and esthetic procedures, we can help patients avoid problems or correct those they may have been dealing with for years. It’s a delicate balance in the mouth when it comes to the muscles, joints, bones and teeth working together. I’ve seen patients who’ve suffered from migraines for years, simply because of one crown being too high.

If you are suffering with headaches, migraines or other symptoms such as ear ringing or dizziness, schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss the diagnostic process and potential treatments to resolve your problem — for good! Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.

Read More

Headaches? Sore Neck Muscles? Ear Ringing? Misaligned Bite May Be The Cause.

posted: April 04, 2016

When someone has one leg that’s shorter than the other, you may not see them limp. While their gait has adjusted over time to accommodate the unevenness, the body seems to have adapted – right? Actually, the disparity will eventually lead to problems elsewhere. These may emerge as hip problems, back strain and knee aches.

Proper balance is important when it comes to the human body’s skeletal system. It is actually a delicate balance and, when off-kilter, tends to trigger problems that extend far beyond its location.

Your jaw joints (temporo-mandibular joints, or TMJ), part of your skeletal system, are an important part of this overall balance. These joints are located on each side of the head, beside the ears, and connect the lower jaw to the head. The joints serve as hinges, and if you think about it, move almost constantly. Every time you eat, drink, speak, yawn, snore, laugh, sneeze, chew gum, or smile, those joints are in motion.

These hinges are the body’s “ball in socket” type. Yet, because of their near-constant motion, a fluid motion is vital. And, highly dependent on its movements is the alignment of your bite.

You may not realize how drastically the placement of upper teeth to lower teeth impact your jaw joints. Yet, it takes very little to throw proper alignment off and cause problems that seem to run amok.

When the jaw joints are strained due to an improper bite, they can cause night-time grinding and clenching. This can lead to headaches, migraines and teeth that are worn, chipped or broken.

TMJ Disorder can also contribute to facial pain, tender jaw joints, jaw popping, ear ringing, dizziness and sore head, shoulder and neck muscles.

Like mentioned previously, this is all a delicate balance and it doesn’t take much to disrupt the unity of the bite, jaw joints and all the structures that connect to it. Fortunately, bite misalignment can often be corrected simply. In cases caught early, we can sometimes reshape selected teeth that are interfering with proper bite alignment. An oral appliance worn during sleep is also helpful for many. In more severe cases, some teeth must be crowned or orthodontics may be advised.

If you are experiencing symptoms related to TMJ Disorder, the problems you are having now will only worsen without correction. You may not even be aware that your frequent headaches or ear ringing is connected to your jaw joints. However, responding sooner than later will help you resolve the associated problems and avoid potential problems (and more extensive treatment) later on.

Call 1-877-966-9009 for a free consultation. Here, we’ll discuss your symptoms and ways we can resolve your problem – for good!

Read More