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.

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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.

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Dental Implants – How To Avoid Risk Of Failure

posted: September 26, 2018

The definition of “Seniors” has changed rather drastically over the past several decades. No longer deemed the inactive, rocking chair adult, today’s seniors are active — in sports, socially involved, and still learning and participating. And, their numbers are a force to be reckoned with.smiling dental implant patient

According to the U.S. Census, “baby boomers” (Americans born 1956 – 1964), are the fastest growing age group in the U.S.  Currently, 14.5 percent of the nation’s population are ages 65 and over. By the year 2029, the over-65 population is estimated to be 20 percent. (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2017/cb17-100.html)

It is also estimated that one out of every four 65-year-olds will live past the age of 90, and one out of 10 will live beyond the age of 95. (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html)

One contributing factor to this trend has to do with their determination to stay active and involved. This is one of the reasons why dental implants are so appealing when an individual is faced with tooth loss.

Whereas aging adults were once associated with dentures soaking in a glass by the bathroom sink, today’s senior prefers the stability and confidence of dental implants.

But, how old is too old for dental implants?

It is a common misconception that an individual is beyond the age for dental implants. As long as one’s periodontal (gum) health is good, there is actually no age limit on having a successful outcome when it comes to dental implants.

For seniors who may have experienced loss of multiple teeth, dental implants offer a successful solution for all adults. Too, they not only replace missing teeth, they resolve the many frustrations commonly associated with removable teeth such as dentures and partials.

Quite frankly, any age can expect a successful outcome when the implants are properly selected, placed and maintained. The failure rate is actually very low, with dental implants enjoying one of the highest of all implant-in-bone success rates – up to 98 percent.

However, like anything that is not a natural part of the body, there are issues that can complicate implant success, including:

  • Poor periodontal (gum) health: The leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. is periodontal disease. Gums that are healthy serve as a seal, preventing bacteria from reaching tooth roots and the structures that support them. When infectious gum disease attacks the gums and these structures, natural teeth may require removal. Similarly, dental implants also rely on healthy foundation. Just as a natural tooth cannot survive in a diseased environment, neither can a dental implant.
  • Clenching Teeth or Grinding: People are often surprised to learn that grinding or clenching teeth during sleep (known as bruxing) is a cause of implant failure. This condition, typically from bite misalignment, can exert such force that it can cause teeth to chip, crack or break. When the force of bruxing is applied to a recent implant, it can interfere with its ability to integrate with the bone in which it has been placed, eventually leading to removal.
  • Improper implant selection: There are many types of dental implants, each designed to accommodate specific needs. For example, some implants can be placed in bone that has experienced severe bone loss. Others support non-removable teeth, and so on. The implant best suited for each person should be based on the implant type that is best suited for their specific needs rather than only the types a dentist is trained to place. This is why it is important to have implant treatment coordinated by a dentist who has advanced training in all types of implant systems.
  • Improper Implant placement: For a successful outcome, a dental implant must be placed at a proper depth and angle so it can fully bear the load for biting and chewing. When an implant is placed incorrectly, problems can occur in the future with the only solution being implant removal.
  • Inadequate oral hygiene after placement: Just because a dental implant won’t get a cavity doesn’t mean that the formation of gum disease can’t occur. Just as natural teeth are at risk from gum disease, dental implants are as well. As a matter of fact, it is even more important to maintain good oral health after implant placement. The bacteria of periodontal disease causes infection in the gum tissues, leaving the structures that support implants at risk.
  • Smoking: Smoking creates a health risk throughout the body, particularly in the mouth since it is the entry point of tobacco’s toxic chemical mix. Oral tissues are highly absorbent, making the mouth especially vulnerable to the ill effects of these chemicals. Cigarette smoke is also very drying to oral tissues, which leaves the mouth more susceptible to the development and growth of oral bacteria.

While there are risks, the many advantages of dental implants far outnumber any downside. Dental implants add to everyday pleasures, including the enhanced ability to taste, bite and chew a diet of healthy, delicious foods. The stability of dental implants also restores confidence in social settings, allowing you to speak and laugh without worry.

Dental implants also halt the process of bone loss, helping the jaw bones retain a full, healthy shape. This prevents changes in facial appearance that can be aging far beyond one’s actual years.

The best way to fully understand the risks involved is through a no-charge consultation. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule. During this time, we can discuss the implant type that may be best for your needs as well as treatment time and costs. If comfort is a concern for you, we can also discuss sedation options, including oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep).

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

 

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Many Ways To Improve The Appearance Of A Smile

posted: January 30, 2018

I remember a patient sharing with me the reason she decided to have a smile makeover. “A friend showed me a photo she’d recently taken and I thought ‘What a horrible picture,’ until I realized I’d been saying that about EVERY photo I’d seen of me for the past ten years.”

My sentiments exactly! We all want to think of ourselves as looking a certain way (which is usually younger and thinner!). As we age, that image we have of ourselves may age, too, but usually not at the same pace as our actual years!

When we find that our smile isn’t as bright or as wide as it used to be, could it be because it hasn’t aged very well?

The aging process tends to dull or darken the shade of teeth. Too, smiles with a few slightly crooked teeth in younger years tend to worsen with age, tilting more and bunching up. Teeth may also chip or become worn from night-time clenching or grinding.

None of these things help create a smile that is aging gracefully. They are flaws that cause many people to ‘hold back’ on smiling fully.

With a new year, consider a new YOU by achieving a more youthful, flattering smile. Modern dentistry offers exceptional techniques, materials and technology to create results that are beautiful, natural-looking, durable and long-lasting.

In our office, we utilize advanced technology that enables many procedures to be completed in just one or two visits. We even use a ‘silent’ drill that makes a gentle whir rather than the high-pitched whine people anticipate (and always dread hearing) in dental procedures.

Here, your comfort is always a priority. We offer a number of comfort options, including Oral and I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep) in addition to a gentle touch. Your safety is monitored by trained staff members throughout treatment and all sterilization meets or exceeds standards set forth by OSHA.

Yet, what sets us most apart are the results. Our patients are wowed by the fabulous results that a smile makeover has on their appearance, self-confidence, and feeling of outgoing-ness. Patients who have had smile enhancements tell me they smile more often, smile wider and feel more positive about their overall appearance. It’s not unusual for a patient who has completed smile enhancement to lose weight, update their hairstyle or become more involved socially.

For most smile makeovers, we use porcelain veneers and/or porcelain crowns. Porcelain is highly durable and resists stains better than any other material used in dentistry. It has a natural opalescence, even reflecting light as a real tooth. And, porcelain lasts a long time. It’s ‘staying power’ is excellent.

For those who are missing natural teeth, we can place porcelain crowns on implants or create porcelain bridges that are supported by porcelain crowns. We can also discuss whitening natural teeth prior to placing porcelain crowns or veneers to ensure you receive the preferred degree of whiteness that blends all teeth together attractively.

If you’d like to feel great about smiling, let’s discuss your smile during a no-charge consultation appointment. Call our friendly staff at 843-871-6351 to schedule.

 

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Why Dental Implants?

posted: November 07, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Cosmetic Dentistry Improves Smile’s Appearance, And More!

posted: August 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Missing Teeth? Many Options To Replace Them.

posted: August 17, 2017

A missing tooth is more than a flaw in the appearance of one’s smile. It can lead to problems with the proper alignment of neighboring teeth. When teeth tilt or turn out of their proper positions, the result can lead to chips, fractured or broken teeth, night-time grinding or clenching, worn teeth, headaches, migraines, jaw joint pain and more.

The best time to replace a lost natural tooth is immediately after it’s removed. However, today’s dentistry offers exceptional ways to replace teeth at any time, even though that have been missing for decades.

Through advanced materials, techniques and technology, replacing one, several or an entire ‘arch’ of missing teeth can be done to provide stability, dependability and comfort with an exceptional look and feel in the process.

Dental Implants – I recommend implants to most individuals because they are a ‘one and done’ investment. When properly maintained, an implant is designed to last a lifetime. They are the closest thing to natural teeth because the implanted portion is supported by your jaw bone, just as your natural tooth roots were once. This means they restore a natural biting strength and stability. The teeth attached to an implant will not move while eating and will cause no uncomfortable rubbing on gum tissues. And, because an implant does not rely on neighboring teeth for support do not need crowning. That means the integrity of surrounding is protected. Another bonus of an implant is its ability to protect bone mass. By recreating stimulation in the jaw bone, similar to what a natural tooth root provides, the process of bone resorption is halted. An example of this bone loss is the ‘granny look’ of long-time denture wearers. Bone loss thins and weakens the strength of the jaw bone. Dental implants preserve the jaw bone, helping you to maintain a healthy bone mass.

smiling dental patient

There are exceptional options in tooth replacement today. The goal is to restore smiling confidence!

Crown-&-Bridge – When replacing one or several teeth in one area, some people prefer a bridge that is supported by natural teeth on each side. To support a bridge (of one or more teeth) the natural teeth on both sides are crowned. Then, the crowns connected to the replacement tooth or teeth being replaced. In our office, we use the state-of-the-art computerized technology of CEREC 3D. This technology can take measurements and create ceramic crowns and bridges while you wait. By eliminating the need for a dental lab, this means you don’t have to wear a temporary and won’t need a second appointment to have the final ‘restoration’ placed. And, this process cuts numbing requirements in half! CEREC 3D means you can walk out of our office with your final crown-&-bridge ready to enjoy, all in one visit!

Partial Dentures – A partial denture is designed to replace several upper or lower teeth. Typically, a partial connects replacement teeth to a framework, which is then secured to existing natural teeth with a fit that is stable and comfortable. Because a partial is created to the contours of your gums and custom shade-matched, it will blend attractively with natural teeth and gums.

Full Dentures – For people who are missing all of their upper or lower teeth, a ‘full arch’ denture can be made to restore the look of a full smile. While not as secure as Dental Implants, they are made to fit comfortably for chewing and speaking. Dentures offer a more affordable way to enjoy a full, comfortable smile that restores confidence when speaking or laughing with others. Relines can be done periodically should the denture begin to slip (due to jaw bone resorption).

We believe every patient should enjoy a confident, comfortable, and attractive smile. We want you to understand all your options so you can select the best tooth replacement for your needs and goals.

Call 843-871-6351 for a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll discuss the best options based on your needs and preferences. While you’re here, our financial coordinator can go over payment options. Some require no down payment and are interest-free.

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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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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.

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Why Dentures Become Loose

posted: February 06, 2017

I once heard someone say, “Growing old isn’t for sissies.” While all ages have issues to deal with, mature aging comes with any number of physical hurdles. Along with things like knee and hip problems, dental problems are especially commonplace when it comes to getting older.

Over the years, it is not unusual for teeth to chip, fracture, become worn or develop cavities. As these problems pile one on top of the other, it is easy to see why tooth loss occurs. Unfortunately, the loss of one tooth triggers a domino effect. Odds are that the next tooth you will lose is one adjacent to the one lost.

When an individual has all their upper and/or lower teeth removed, a denture is created to restore the ability to speak and eat. Although a denture replaces the ‘presence’ of teeth, a new, more complex problem is occurring underneath the gum tissues.

Without natural tooth roots in the jaw bone, a process known as resorption begins. This is the decline in jaw bone mass where natural tooth roots were once held. Without their presence to nourish and stimulate the jaw bone, the bone begins to shrink.

When a denture is first made, it is designed to conform to the unique contours of the ‘gum ridge.’ The ridge is the raised arch of bone that is covered with gum tissue and is where your tooth roots were once held.

As the bone shrinks, this ridge begins to flatten out. Thus, a denture that was originally custom-made to securely wrap the contours of your gum ridge is left with an ever-shrinking surface to hold it.

To overcome slips and uncomfortable rubbing, people apply denture pastes and adhesives. As movement becomes more frequent, applying the pastes and adhesives occurs more frequently as well.

Trying to bite and chew with a denture that moves is uncomfortable. When a denture slips, it can rub sore spots on tender gum tissues. Small seeds or food particles, such as nut pieces, become easily trapped under the denture and cause a painful piercing to gums.

When eating becomes too difficult, many people start to bypass foods that supply them with adequate nutritional needs of fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein. A crisp apple, corn on the cob, or a thick steak are difficult for dentures to manage. This often forces people to switch to soft foods that dissolve quickly in the mouth.

To avoid embarrassment from denture slips, people also start to decline invitations or social gatherings that are surrounded with food. Because social interaction is a healthy part of the adult aging process, becoming less social causes another set of problems for aging adults.

In a study conducted by the Population Research Center at University of Texas, it was 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).

If you are struggling with a denture that moves or creates fear of embarrassment, there is a solution – Dental Implants. Because Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots in the jaw, they halt bone loss. And, because they are firmly secured in the jaw bone, they provide the same, dependable foundation that your natural teeth once had.

Dental Implants, with proper selection, placement and care, are designed to last your lifetime. And their success rate is exceptional, higher than any other implant-in-bone type, including knees and hip joints.

There are many implant types that can accommodate various needs, even severe bone loss. Some, such as the ‘All-On-4’ implant, are affordable and support non-removable teeth. Easy payment options are also available, most interest-free with no down payment required.

While there is no way to avoid aging, it is nice knowing there are ways to overcome dental problems associated with growing older through modern developments such as Dental Implants. With Dental Implants, eating a healthy diet, feeling confident in social settings, and maintaining healthy jaw bone structure are ways we can go from one year to another with confidence.

Ask for a no-cost, no obligation consultation by calling toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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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!

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