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!

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Cost Of Dental Implants Is Actually A Bargain.

posted: May 09, 2018

For many reasons, dental implants have become the preferred tooth replacement option among today’s adults. They are the closest thing to natural teeth, even mimicking the stimulation needed to the jaw bone to halt the process of bone loss (known as resorption).

Yet, some people forgo this ‘preferred’ method for replacing teeth, most often due to cost. And, to make matters worse, some dental insurances do not provide coverage for dental implants, deeming them as ‘elective.’

Is it elective to be able to bite and chew foods that comprise a healthy diet? Is it elective to feel confident on the job or in social settings? Is it elective to have a smile that is as close to ‘worry-free’ as a smile can be?

Although we are doubtful that insurance companies will adjust their stance anytime soon, we would like to state that dental implants are not the costly treatment they are often perceived to be. In fact, when you look at the overall treatment expense and compare them to other tooth replacement options, you’ll see that dental implants are the wisest investment you can make. Here’s why:

One of the greatest benefits of dental implants is their longevity. Once dental implants are placed and the final teeth attached, your investment (with proper maintenance) should last your lifetime. Their longevity can be credited, primarily, to their construction.

Dental implants are made from the strongest metal known to man – titanium. This material, developed by NASA, was found to be highly compatible with living bone. This means that the body won’t reject it. Even better, the bone where titanium is placed will actually grow around it. This secures the implant in your jaw bone, giving it the same, dependable foundation as natural teeth once had.

Another marker of dental implant value is the ‘one-&-done’ factor. Teeth that are attached to implants do not experience cavities, will never need a root canal, and won’t create problems for neighboring teeth.

Dental implants may seem to be a more costly than crown-&-bridge combinations. However, unlike crown & bridge, dental implants do not reply on neighboring teeth to support replacement teeth. Dental implants use the same, sturdy foundation — the jaw bone — that natural teeth have.

And, because the crown-&-bridges process requires the crowning of neighboring teeth on each side, future costs can include root canals, crown repair, bridge replacement, etc.

As mentioned prior, the process of bone loss due to missing tooth roots can create a number of problems. Resorption impacts the health of existing teeth and weakens the strength of the jaw bone.

As bone loss continues, it can lead to changes in facial appearance that are aging far beyond one’s actual years. These include deep wrinkles around the mouth, jowls that form when facial muscles detach from the shrinking jaw bone, a pointed chin, and a mouth that appears collapsed into the face.

Dental implants halt this process of bone loss.

When you also factor in the quality of your result, including how long dental implants last and how well they’ll hold up over time, they are a true bargain. The cost, over the long term, provides your hard-earned dollars with the best outcome for long-term savings. Plus, the ability to eat the foods you love and laugh without worry is priceless.

If you are considering dental implants or any tooth replacement option, call 843-871-6351 to schedule a no cost, no obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll explain options best for you and answer your questions so you can determine how you wish to proceed.

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Dental Care In Summerville – What Makes Us Different

posted: April 15, 2018

“A rose is a rose,” is a common alteration of Shakespeare’s “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Both mean the same, basically, in that one rose is the same as all the others. However, we know that’s not the case. outside and inside office photo

One dental office or one 6-month dental cleaning may be far different in one office than the other. For example, one dental office may make comfort a high priority while another moves patients through care in a rushed pace with little regard to comfort.

In our office, we’ve taken a number of measures to ensure patients understand the difference as well as feel it. We hope that each patient comes to find, with each appointment, that it’s not one thing but a combination of things that make the difference.

Below, we’ve listed a few areas we know affords our patients with an elevated standard of care as well as a noticeably high level of comfort:

• Advanced Technology – We’ve carefully incorporated a number of state-of-the-art features that shorten treatment time, enhance results, and optimize comfort. These include Cone Beam Imaging (for 3-dimensional views of teeth, gums and supporting bone structures), CEREC 3D computerized technology (for one-appointment crowns and implant restorations), ‘Silent’ Drills (that eliminate the high-pitched whine of a drill, replacing it with a gentle whir), and Laser Dentistry (which reduces bleeding and speeds healing).

• Staff Longevity – I am so proud of the longevity of each team member. For decades, many have worked by my side and become “like family” to patients. Newer staff members have immediately sensed the unified team spirit here, feeling fully supported in their commitment to excellent patient care.

• Exceptional Comfort – In addition to oral sedation (a sedative in pill form), I am Certified to provide I.V. sedation (twilight sleep). This provides a deeper level of comfort through ‘sleep dentistry’ and erases most, if not all, memory of treatment afterward. In addition to sedation options, all measures are taken for the highest level of patient comfort possible, starting with a gentle touch and care that is paced to each individual’s specific need.

• Complete Dentistry – In addition to providing all phases of Dental Implants, you’ll find all levels of dental care are covered – for all ages and all needs. Everything from six-month checkups to root canals to tooth replacement to therapy to treat gum disease – our patients appreciate having all services in one, convenient location.

• Skilled, Ethical Care – Our patients know our recommendations are made based on what is in their best interests. By instilling a sense of confidence with each, they have faith in us to provide the best care according to their individual needs and goals. This has created strong bonds that we feel is the foundation of “exceptional dentistry.”

You should feel positive about your dental caregivers, at every visit. If you feel something is missing in your relationship with your dental office, consider scheduling a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we’ll discuss how our office may be compatible to your needs and desires, enabling you to achieve a healthy, confidence smile you’ll love to share.

Call 843-871-6351 to schedule. I look forward to meeting you and including you as one of our many happy patients!

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Lower Your Costs In The Dental Office By Re-Looking At Home Care Routine

posted: August 01, 2017

Very few of us were born with a perfect set of teeth. Most people need cavities repaired during their lifetimes and some even lose teeth. Over the years, many people need crowns, tooth realignment, repairs to chips, fillings and even root canals. Yet, the investment into having a healthy, appealing smile is one that sparks generally the same response with most patients of being well-worth it.

For some, however, there can seem to be an ongoing need of dentistry. Of course, this can be costly and time-consuming. This is one of the reasons we structure your 6-month cleanings and exams to help you prevent problems in the first place or catch those that do occur at early stages.

If you feel there is a revolving door on your dentist’s office, take a few minutes to re-examine your daily home care regimen. You may be surprised at how easily you can PREVENT problems.

• Are you brushing properly?

First, look at your tooth brush. It should be a soft to medium bristle tooth brush that’s replaced every 4-6 months. If the bristles are flayed out, however, you’re using too much force to brush. Lighten up so the tips of the brush are swirling over the tops and sides of teeth. Look in a mirror as you brush to make sure you’re not swiping over teeth with the sides of the bristles from pressing down too hard.

Next, be sure you’re using a toothpaste with fluoride, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel. Be sure you brush for at least two minutes twice daily, preferably in the morning and again before bedtime. When you brush, make sure it has been at least 20 minutes since eating or drinking anything (other than water). The reason for this is to also protect tooth enamel. This is because an acid attack begins in the mouth every time you eat or drink. Although this acid is designed to break down foods for digestion, it is also very hard on tooth enamel, actually softening it for 20-30 minutes. If you brush too soon, the abrasive toothpaste and bristles of a tooth brush can wear down enamel. When the protective covering of tooth enamel is worn down, your teeth are more susceptible to decay and other problems.

• Are you flossing daily?

Flossing is difficult for some people. Some people have large hands, some have manual dexterity issues and others simply can’t get comfortable with the technique. Our hygienists are pros at helping people find a comfortable, effective way to floss. However, for those who prefer an alternative, water flossers are now available to make the process both easy and effective. Brushing cannot dislodge some particles that become trapped between teeth, which makes flossing necessary. When debris is left behind, it begins to rot. This adds to oral bacteria levels in the mouth, which is essentially the origin of nearly every oral health problem. Flossing is a beneficial step to brushing to make the best of your time at the sink.

• Are you keeping your mouth moist?

Half of all adults take at least one prescription drug daily and one in five say they take four or more. Hundreds of medications have side effects that causes oral dryness. Add to this the fact that oral dryness can also be caused by caffeine, alcohol, smoking, spicy foods, aging, mouth breathing (including snoring) and some illnesses. When saliva flow is depleted, oral bacteria are not being rinsed efficiently from the mouth. This allows them to accumulate. Ideally, sipping filtered water during the day will help to keep your mouth moist. However, some oral dryness needs the aid of a mouth rinse to replenish moisture. These are available over-the-counter for a reasonable cost. Just be sure to pick one that does not contain alcohol. Again, alcohol is a drying agent to oral tissues.

• What are you eating and when?

We’ve all known someone who sips from a can of cola during the day or goes through several cups of coffee in the morning with added cream and sugar. Many of us like a snack in the afternoon or may even indulge in a bowl of ice-cream while we watch television at night. As mentioned prior, each time you eat or drink, an acid attack begins in the mouth. When these acids are fueled by sugar, carbs and even more acid (from coffee, colas, citrus, etc.), the potential for damage increases. Although it’s not my place to alter your diet, just be mindful of what you’re eating and how often you consume. A good way to lessen the ill-effects of snacks or long periods of cola sipping is to rinse the mouth with water periodically after indulging.

• Are you proactive when it comes to your smile?

When something is wrong with your oral health, it’s not likely to repair itself on its own. For example, when a tooth is full of fillings and a crown is advised, it’s recommended to help preserve the natural tooth. Should the tooth fracture below the gum line, it will likely require removal. This sets in motion a long list of decisions – and expenses – that could have been avoided had a crown been placed to protect the tooth. While some expenses in dentistry may seem harmless to delay, many can easily become more complex issues – with greater costs. Look at periodic repairs like crowns, bite guards, etc. as necessary maintenance, just as you would for an automobile. After all, replacing brake pads isn’t cheap but not something wise to delay.

A healthy mouth, once established, is actually easy to maintain with proper at-home care and regular dental check-ups. Begin with an examination by calling 843-871-6351 and let’s create a smile you love!

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High-Tech Dentistry Enhances Comfort, Saves You Time

posted: April 24, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dental Implant OR Crown-&-Bridge?

posted: October 21, 2016

When patients are considering their options for replacing teeth, I like to explain the methods best for their needs as well as the advantages and challenges associated with each. When considering a Crown-&-Bridge combination versus Dental Implants, the deciding factor for many people is the higher cost of implants. Although a porcelain Crown-&-Bridge is a sound investment, several reasons make Dental Implants the wiser investment.

When a bridge is used to replace missing teeth, it is designed to attach to existing teeth for support. The natural teeth on both sides must be crowned for this purpose. Once a natural tooth is shaved down to hold a crown, it will forever require a crown to protect it.

Additionally, the section of gum tissue under (or above) the bridge can diminish in height. This is due to bone resorption that occurs when tooth roots are missing from the jaw bone. Resorption describes the declining mass of bone where natural teeth were once held. When this occurs to a certain extent, a gap may become visible between the bottom of the bridge and the top of the gums.

As the bone shrinks, the potential for losing the teeth supporting the bridge increases. On average, the next teeth you’ll lose are teeth adjacent to areas of missing teeth. Because Dental Implants recreate the presence of tooth roots, they can halt the process of bone loss so you maintain a healthy bone mass.

When a Dental Implant is placed, it does not need the support of adjacent teeth. Dental Implants are held by the jaw bone, providing the same, dependable foundation as your natural tooth roots once had. This restores stable biting and chewing.

For those who are missing several teeth in one area, one Dental Implant can often support a ‘bridge’ of teeth. Because the cost of implant treatment is largely based on the number placed, this helps to curtail the overall expense.

Dental Implants are made from a material that integrates well with living bone. Properly chosen, placed and maintained, your implants should last your lifetime. And, they are designed to be a one-time expense since Dental Implants will never need root canals, do not decay and do not compromise the well-being of adjacent natural teeth.

Although the initial costs are higher since placement is a surgical procedure and due to the materials used, the advantages of Dental Implants, when compared to other tooth replacement options, are hard to beat.

If you are considering replacing teeth with a Crown-&-Bridge combination or Dental Implants, please call toll free 1-877-966-9009 to schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation. We’ll discuss the options that will work best for your needs.

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Today’s Root Canals No Longer Joke-Worthy!

posted: March 02, 2016

Root canals have been the brunt of jokes for so many years, it’s hard to remember where their reputation began as a ‘worse than’ comparison. Quite frankly, I think ‘worse than a colonoscopy’ is far more deserving!

Of course, anytime a dental procedure includes drilling into a tooth, a sense of dread is normal. Fortunately, today’s root canals are fairly simple procedures that are similar to that involved in a filling. When a root canal is needed, however, it can save a natural tooth. This is highly beneficial in a number of ways.

Every tooth plays an important role both above and below the gum line. Saving a natural tooth, with its tooth roots firmly embedded in the jaw bone, is the best way to prevent future problems from occurring to other teeth. These tooth roots help to maintain jaw bone mass and keep other teeth in their proper positions.

A root canal is performed when the nerve in the tooth’s interior becomes infected. Infection can be the result of a crack, cavity or other injury to the tooth. Symptoms often include pain and swelling in the area of the affected tooth.

A root canal can save the tooth by removing dead nerve tissue and infection inside a tooth. The infection occurs in an interior tunnel of the tooth that holds the its nerve, blood vessels and other soft tissues. Also contained here is the pulp chamber, which runs down a canal in the center of each root.

The pulp holds nerves that carry signals to the brain. The pulp is what tells you when hot or cold has touched the tooth. The pulp also helps to nourish and hydrate the tooth, providing resiliency and strength.

Root canals are performed with the area thoroughly numbed. If desired, oral or I.V. sedation are available for total relaxation during the procedure. Using modern technology and advanced techniques, the process takes far less time today than in years past.
Root Canal
We begin by making a small opening in the top of the tooth to expose the pulp. Using special tools, we remove the infection and clean the tooth’s canal. After the canal is cleaned and dried, we fill the pulp chamber with a special material.

Once the tooth is repaired, a crown is the best way to prevent further damage while protecting the tooth’s integrity.

Now, that didn’t sound so terrible, did it? So, the next time you hear about someone having a root canal, don’t winch. This procedure is now one that is surprisingly comfortable! No joke!

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