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…
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
When it comes to dental implants, there can be some rather confusing information on the internet. Online “sales” for implants often promote unusually low prices, such as $999 offers. Yet, these enticing prices don’t always give people a clear picture of what their treatment costs will actually be.
Dental implants are a highly successful replacement system for missing natural teeth. This is largely because implants are held by the jaw bone, just as natural tooth roots were once. Through this sturdy foundation, biting and chewing stability for the attached teeth are restored.
However, there are particulars you should know if you are considering dental implants. Rather than be lured by a low price advertised online, keep the following in mind to get the most from your investment:
First, know your product. Dental implant systems are generally made up of 3 parts:
While that $999 price may cover the implanted piece, that’s of no good to you without the other components. Those will be added fees. However, there are additional things you should keep in mind.
Comfort options are very important during the dental implant placement process. Does the low price include Oral or I.V. sedation? If not a “mini-implant” placement (short implants placed at minimal depth), or if you need more than one implant, we recommend our patients to have Oral Sedation for optimal comfort and relaxation.
We include Oral Sedation in the cost of your implant placement, so you needn’t worry about an added fee for the comfort level you deserve. For those who desire a deeper level of sedation, we also offer I.V. Sedation, also known as “twilight sleep.”
Another consideration is the type of implant. Do you need a single implant or one that will support a bridge of two or more teeth? Some of these “deals” may have you paying for an implant for each missing tooth. However, one implant can typically hold more than one tooth.
Because the cost of dental implant treatment largely depends on the number of implants placed, having two or more teeth attached to just one implant can save you significantly in overall treatment costs.
It is highly important to select your implant dentist carefully. Does the dentist offering the low fee know which implant is best for you? Or, is he or she offering a particular type at a bargain rate?
Dental implants are not “one size fits all.” There are over 50 different types of implant systems, each designed to accommodate specific needs. If a type that is not right for you is selected and placed, you could end up with a failed implant.
When an implant fails, this means that it must be removed in order for the bone to re-heal and regenerate so a new implant can be placed. This takes additional time and expense, and the expense is in addition to what you’ve already spent. Having an experienced dentist with advanced training in all types of implant systems will help you enjoy an optimal outcome with minimal risks.
Also to be acknowledged is the look and feel of the implant restoration. Especially if the tooth could be visible in a smile, you want the replacement tooth (or teeth) to have the look and feel of a “real” tooth. The low price you may be getting, if the restoration is included in the cost, may not satisfy you when it comes to the appearance of your smile.
What all this comes down to is getting the most for your investment. This begins and ends with a dentist you can trust. Having your dental implant treatment overseen by an experienced implant dentist who is committed to your long-term well-being is more important that the risks you take placing low price as your main priority.
We are proud of our reputation for providing state-of-the-art technology, advanced techniques, and recommendations that come from an ethical commitment. We never over-treat or under-treat and respect the desires of our patients regardless of their preferences.
You are invited to schedule a no-charge consultation appointment to discuss your individual needs and goals. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and make recommendations. We can discuss various implant systems that will work best for you as well as comfort options, treatment time, and payment plans. If you have insurance coverage that may apply, we can also begin research on what you might reap from that.
Our ultimate desire is to provide each patient with an ideal outcome for a reasonable fee. We believe that our commitment to you will provide you with results that exceed your expectations. Too, the most frequent statement we hear from our completed implant patients is, “It’s the best investment I’ve ever made.” followed by, “I only wish I’d done this years ago!”
Please allow us to show you why our patients feel this way! Call 843-871-6351 to tap here to begin.Read More
As a dentist, I’ve realized one of my greatest joys is seeing the reaction of people once they see their “new smile” after cosmetic dentistry. For many who have spent years, or even most of their lives, concealing a smile with their hand or turning away from people when laughing, seeing them “light up” because of a beautiful smile is a moment I savor as much as the elated patient.
Cosmetic dentistry not only enhances the appearance of your smile, it tends to boost confidence and encourages you to smile more often. However, the skills and commitment to precision and exceptional quality greatly determine the overall results, and ultimately, the satisfaction of the patient.
Over the years, I’ve seen how poor skills and cheap material can leave an individual with “fake” looking teeth. For example, one new patient arrived after investing in closing a gap between his two front teeth. Rather than involve the bordering two or four teeth to distribute the balance, the dentist had merely filled in the gap, creating two very wide teeth. This left the man with “bunny teeth” that made him embarrassed to smile.
In cosmetic dentistry, advanced training in the latest esthetic technology, techniques, and materials can make a significant difference in one’s outcome. Another example is how light is reflected off teeth and the opalescence of teeth. Opalescence describes a slight transparency around the outer edges of each tooth. These factors play a major role in creating a smile that looks like you were born with it versus one that looks like one that’s had “dental work.”
Porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, bonding, and teeth whitening are primarily the options used to enhance a smile. These procedures are often completed in just one or two visits.
Bonding is used primarily to repair chips or cracks, make selected teeth shorter or longer and cover tooth roots exposed by receded gums. The shade of the bonding material is selected to match neighboring teeth and painted on to natural teeth. After the material is properly shaped, a process hardens the material and it is polished for a flattering sheen. With bonding, most applications can be completed in just one appointment.
However, for the most natural look and best longevity, we recommend porcelain veneers or crowns. Unlike bonding, veneers have an edge when it comes to durability and longevity. While porcelain veneers are more expensive, many people feel they are well-worth the difference.
Porcelain veneers are like fingernail-thin shells, each custom-created to specific shapes and shades to enhance the teeth most visible in a smile. For both porcelain veneers and crowns, many are made by a dental lab we know mirrors our own commitment to perfectionism.
Most treatments are completed in two visits. The first visit removes some enamel from the front of the tooth for veneers. For crowns (caps), which cover the entire tooth, more enamel is removed so the protective porcelain crown can be placed to a proper height. Before you leave, we place temporaries on the prepared teeth so you can enjoy a natural look while your final ‘restorations’ are made.
At the second appointment (usually 2-3 weeks after the first), the temporaries are removed and the final veneers or crowns are adhered to each tooth with a special adhesive. Your bite is then checked for proper alignment.
We offer a free, no obligation consultation so you can learn the best options for your smile. During this time, we can also discuss affordable payment plans so you can enjoy your beautiful, new smile while making easy monthly payments.Read More
If you’re a parent, you probably remember nights of too little sleep, resulting in daytime hours where you felt tired, sluggish, and foggy. Stressful situations at work, relationship problems, and too much caffeine close to bedtime can all result in a night of tossing and turning. With insufficient sleep during the night, we all know we’ll pay the price the next day.
Yet, the problem of sleep loss can go much further, as research has found.
Occasional incidences of missing a full night’s sleep are a normal part of life. However, when sleep quality is compromised on a regular basis, its impact reaches far beyond being groggy the following day.
While it was once believed that the brain is at rest during sleep, scientists now know this is far from the case. It has been found that, during the state of sleep, the brain goes through a ‘spring cleaning’ process to remove build-up that interferes with the proper function of how it operates.
As your body’s central control center, the brain is designed to regulate every aspect of the body. During REM sleep, which is the level of restorative sleep the body needs every night, the brain is resetting its systems and cleaning out clutter that interferes with efficient operation.
It’s similar to a coffee shop that closes at night so it can clean the prep areas, rest rooms, dining section, restock the shelves, wash the serving pieces, and be ready for business the following morning. Imagine walking into a coffee shop that failed to take the time for these tasks. It wouldn’t be a very efficient or healthy environment, would it?
When lack of sleep reduces the brain’s ability to ‘clean its house’ on a regular basis, the repercussions don’t take long to emerge. The next time you have a night of inadequate sleep, take note of your hunger levels the following day. You will likely experience an urge to eat more, especially craving carbohydrates as the brain seeks ways to resupply quick energy to a sluggish system.
Feeling tired and sleepy the next day may not seem like a hazard, but imagine someone who is less alert at work or behind the wheel. It has been said that drivers with sleep disorders are more deadly than drunk drivers. Plus, you not only put yourself (and passengers) at risk, others on the road are at risk by merely being in your proximity.
While sleep apnea is a common cause of sleep loss, heavy snoring (often a precursor to sleep apnea) can also cause disrupted sleep to both the snorer and his or her mate. Heavy snoring requires greater energy during sleep and causes the airway passages to work harder under strain.
If you sleep with a heavy snorer, your own sleep is likely compromised. Being awakened over and over at night means your sleep is disrupted. The results can be similar to those who have sleep disorders – daytime fatigue, feeling groggy and less alert during the day, being hungry more often, craving carbs, being less energetic, and nodding off easily.
Imagine your life after having awakened from a restful night’s sleep. You feel ready for the day, have more energy, are more motivated, feel more alert. For those who have sleep apnea or snore heavily, the solution can often be as simple as a small, FDA-approved custom-designed mouth piece worn during sleep.
Oral appliances are small, comfortable and highly effective for those who have mild to moderate sleep apnea or snore. By moving the lower jaw forward just slightly, the airway passages are more open and normal breathing is typically restored.
These oral appliances are affordable with easy payment plans available. The most important thing is that you resolve your sleep quality for your own health (as well as the well-being of your sleep mate).
Life should be lived to its fullest each day! Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to arrange a free consultation. During this time, I’ll explain the process, anticipated costs, and answer your questions thoroughly. We are also Medicare Certified.Read More
Research has shown an indisputable correlation between the bacteria of gum disease and a number of serious health problems. This occurs because the infectious bacteria of gum disease can migrate to other parts of the body, triggering problems elsewhere in the body.
Oral bacteria are able to enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Once bloodborne, they have been found to trigger inflammatory reactions far beyond the mouth.
Periodontal disease bacteria are highly destructive. They destroy teeth, gums and bone structures that support tooth roots. This disease will only worsen without treatment. Symptoms include swollen and tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, receded gums that expose sensitive tooth roots, persistent bad breath, and gums that darken in color.
Eventually, pus pockets form on gums and some teeth may loosen. To no surprise, advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis, is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.
Findings now reveal that advanced gum disease can cause the release of inflammatory components, enzymes and other factors that have been linked to the development of some cancers.
Highly concerning, the National Institutes of Health estimates that nearly half of adults in the U.S. have some level of the disease, even though it is one of the most preventable of all diseases. It is hoped that the recent revelations that link oral bacteria to serious health conditions may lead to heightened awareness to its prevalence. And, thus, more efforts to avoid or successfully treat it.
For many years, it was suspected that chronic infections and inflammation are associated with a higher risk of developing cancer. This prompted more research to focus on deeper studies into the relationship between bacterial and viral infections and carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis is the process that causes normal cells to mutate into cancerous cells.
For example, one study of over 48,000 American men between ages 40 – 75 showed that participants with a history of periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of cancer than those without gum disease. This was after adjustments were made for risk factors such as smoking and diet.
It was also found that, of those with a history of periodontal disease, their susceptibility to certain cancers came with a 30 percent or higher risk. The study showed that a history of periodontal disease increased the risk of lung cancer by 36 percent, kidney cancer by 49 percent, pancreatic cancer by 54 percent, and caused a 30 percent higher risk of blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.
The study also showed that even non-smoking participants with periodontal disease still had a 35 percent higher risk of blood cancers as well as a 21 percent overall increased risk for cancer.
Chinese researchers also conducted a study of over 321,000 men and women, adjusting for those who were diabetic, drank alcohol and/or smoked. They found a much greater lung cancer risk in the participants who had periodontal disease with women who had gum disease having a higher risk of developing lung cancer than men.
If you have symptoms of gum disease, it is important that you have treatment promptly. In our office, we treat patients gently, respectfully and to the highest standards and make appropriate recommendations for the individualized needs of each patient.
Begin by calling 843-871-6351 to schedule a no-charge consultation appointment. If dental fear is an issue, we can discuss comfort options, including oral and I.V. sedation. We can also discuss payment plans that helps to finance treatment into easy, monthly payments.Read More
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.
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:
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).Read More
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
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.Read More
The health and appearance of your smile depends on a daily commitment of thorough at-home care. It also depends on regular involvement with your general dentist.
These visits are designed to remove plaque and tartar buildup that has accumulated between visits and catch problems at early stages. The appointments are spaced at 6-month intervals to keep you in a better position to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Not many people look forward to a dental cleaning or exam, although we actually have some who tell us they DO look forward to their oral hygiene visits. They enjoy seeing long-time staff members whom they’ve grown close to. Primarily, though, they like the clean feeling and bright smile they get from these twice-a-year visits.
I understand people who don’t look forward to dental check ups, however. I feel the same way about my ophthalmologist. I know I need an annual eye exam and like the doctor and staff very much. But, the process isn’t something I deem pleasant, even though I appreciate its importance.
One of the reasons many of our patients are such long-time patients is because they trust us. They know we will never over-treat or under-treat, recommend treatment according to their specific needs, respect their preferences, and make their comfort a high priority at every visit.
Comfort is a big deal when it comes to dentistry. There are many individuals who avoid dental care altogether because they have such intense dread or fear associated with these visits. Dental fear or anxiety is said to affect over 70 percent of the American adult population.
To lessen the worries of anxiety or fear of being in pain, we have taken a number of measures. We pride ourselves on having a relationship of trust with our patients — they trust us to keep them comfortable and minimize the potential for discomfort. Yet, we know that comes with time. New patients simply don’t walk in and perceive that; they need to experience it to just know it’s part of our commitment to care.
Below are just a few of the ways my team and I optimize your comfort in our Summerville dental office:
For adults who have fear, anxiety, or even dental phobia, we have been able to help the majority to achieve a healthy, appealing smile while being relaxed and comfortable. Here, we know you can learn to dread less and smile more!
Consider starting with a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we will discuss your concerns, make recommendations for your specific needs and goals, and give you a firsthand look at the exceptional Summerville SC environment we offer for your very best smile.
To schedule, call 843-871-6351 or tap here to begin.Read More
Through decades of research and findings from countless studies, there is no doubt that your oral health plays an integral part of your overall health. Not only does oral bacteria overload lead to tender, bleeding gums, it causes cavities, bad breath and some serious health problems far beyond the mouth.
Studies have shown that oral bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream. Once bloodborne, it can cause inflammatory reactions that have been associated with a long list of diseases and health conditions. These include stroke, heart disease, preterm babies, diabetes, arthritis, and some cancers.
Still, with all these findings, it’s perplexing that nearly half of American adults have some level of periodontal (gum) disease. I believe the problem lies in the fact that gum disease can begin – and even exist to a certain extent – without obvious symptoms.
To help our readers be in a better position to avoid (or respond promptly to) gum disease, I hope the following Q&A will help in your appreciation of good oral health:
What is gum disease? Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. It forms from accumulated oral bacteria. Like any infection (which is bacteria that is straining the capability of the immune system), it causes redness, tenderness, and swelling. Because it is hidden inside the mouth, gum disease is easier to ignore than if the same were to occur on a skinned knee. Early-stage gum disease causes the gums to bleed when brushing, tender gums, and frequent bad breath. As it progresses, gums swell and turn red. The gums loosen their grip around the base of teeth. Eventually, persistent bad breath occurs and may be accompanied by pus pockets that form on gum tissues. As the bacteria eats away at the structures that support tooth roots, the need for tooth removal can occur.
Why should I worry about gum disease? As if the discomfort, bad breath, and rotten teeth weren’t enough, many people are unaware that gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. When a tooth is lost, it creates a domino effect that can lead to more tooth loss. Replacing teeth can be expensive. For some tooth replacement options, it typically causes bone resorption. This is when the jaw bones that once supported natural tooth roots begin to shrink in mass. A thinning jaw bone is what causes a denture or partial to slip or rub uncomfortably on tender gum tissues. (Dental implants, fortunately, mimic the presence of tooth roots. This halts the process of resorption.) Additionally, as mentioned prior, gum disease bacteria can enter the bloodstream and contribute to a number of serious, even deadly, health problems.
How do I prevent gum disease? Although I’d like to say that twice-daily brushing and daily flossing is sufficient, that’s only part of the equation. It is necessary to keep the mouth moist. Aging and the side effect of many medications can be very drying to the mouth. This mean that oral bacteria are not being washed away efficiently. Also, American diets are full of sugar. Sugar is especially challenging in the mouth, triggering acids that can damage almost immediately. Too, just over 52 percent of the adult population visit the dentist every six months. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), over 20 percent (in 2014) stated they only saw a dentist every “few years.” (https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/health-policy-institute/dental-statistics/patients) Your dental check-ups are structured to remove built up oral bacteria that has hardened on teeth (known as tartar, or calculus). Seeing your dentist every six months helps you to prevent, or greatly minimize, the risks associated with gum disease.
As a dentist in Summerville, I’ve been pleased to offer a “dental home” where our patients know we will treat them thoroughly, respectfully, and with gentle hands. We keep our fees affordable so all individuals can enjoy the benefits and confidence of a healthy smile.
If you suspect you have gum disease or have not had a dental cleaning in over six months, call 843-871-6351 to schedule an appointment. If preferred, ask to begin with a no-charge consultation appointment. During this time, we’ll discuss your unique needs and how we can assist you in achieving the smile you desire.Read More
Summer in the South means fun in the sun! With summer comes lighter clothing that, unfortunately for most people in the U.S. these days, is more revealing. That’s because over one-third of Americans are fat. Well, more than fat; they’re obese.
The latest estimates show that 40 percent of the population is obese, according to a March 2018 article in the NY Times. Over 7 percent are classified as severely obese. (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/health/obesity-us-adults.html)
Diet is certainly a factor. Americans are known to be over-consumers of sugar. And, while the American Heart Association recommends daily intake of sugar to no more than about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men, the average U.S. adult consumes over 19 teaspoons daily on average.
Fortunately, Americans are becoming more aware of “you are what you eat.” Consumption of sugar has gotten more press these days, emerging as a key contributor to the weight problem of Americans.
Yet, losing weight is a tedious process. While diet and exercise are part of the normal requirements for weight loss, sleep quality has been found to be an influencing factor by crisscrossing brain signals.
Apparently, having the willpower to bypass the dessert cart may be more challenging if you have a sleep disorder. Studies now show that Sleep Apnea can contribute to improper alterations in hormones that regulate satiety and hunger. This means that the brain is actually working against our efforts to lose weight when we are sleep deprived.
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder that deprives the body of sufficient oxygen during sleep. People who have Sleep Apnea can have pauses in oxygen intake, not breathing for up to a minute. These pauses can occur hundreds of times over the course of a night, which robs the heart and brain of sufficient oxygen. Not only does this present a tremendous health risk, it tips the brain’s ability to regulate hunger controls out of whack.
In addition to lacking the energy and drive to exercise, Sleep Apnea sufferers also endure a reaction in the brain that revs up carb cravings for a quick fix of energy. It’s difficult to opt for a handful of raw almonds when your brain is pushing you to down a few Oreos.
Consuming sweets and carbohydrates gives us a temporary energy surge. Because the brain knows this will perk you up, carb cravings are triggered by the brain. The combined “need” to consume carbs and lack of energy results in guess what? Right – weight gain! For those who are trying to lose weight under these conditions, they are fighting an uphill battle.
Research has found that the brain is actually very active during sleep. In REM sleep, the brain is busy removing toxins and other elements that have accumulated during the day. During this time, the brain can restore itself to peak efficiency to properly regulate hormones and other functions in the body. Some hormones trigger hunger cravings and others signal feeling full.
The intake of sufficient oxygen levels during sleep allows the brain to reset itself to keep these hormones operating efficiently for the coming day. When you wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep, your brain has no need to trigger carbohydrate cravings to pull you out of sluggishness. Nor does it need to urge you to eat more when you really don’t need it.
In addition to fatigue, sleepiness, feeling foggy and food cravings, Sleep Apnea has been linked to a number of serious health problems. These include heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s disease, a
Once diagnosed, a common therapy for many Sleep Apnea sufferers is a CPAP device. This is a mask worn over the face that is attached to a fan that pushes air into airway passages. Although CPAP is an effective oxygen delivery system, it is estimated that only 22% of those who have been prescribed CPAP are consistent users. This is due to patient claims that they can’t move around comfortably in bed, the mask makes some feel claustrophobic, and some find the devices noisy, inconvenient and embarrassing.
For mild to moderate levels of Sleep Apnea, we offer an FDA approved, custom-designed oral appliance that eliminates the need for CPAP. Our Oravan mouth pieces are comfortable and will not interfere with sleep. They are also effective for heavy snoring (a common precursor of Sleep Apnea).
If you are a heavy snorer or suffer with Sleep Apnea (or sleep with one), these problems will not resolve on their own. Begin by calling 843-871-6351 for a free Consultation. During this time, I’ll explain the small, comfortable Oravan mouth pieces we will custom-design for you. You’ll quickly find that you can sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.Read More
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.Read More
It’s pretty obvious that a beautiful smile has advantages. Not only does an appealing smile enhance facial appearance, it tends to boost self-confidence and self-esteem. People with attractive smiles are also perceived by others to be more successful and smarter.
According to Kelton market research, one 2012 study (shared online by Cision PR Newswire: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/first-impressions-are-everything) included over 1,000 American adults.
Participants were asked to react to photos of people with varying smiles. The results indicated that those with straight teeth were deemed 57 percent more likely to get a date than those with crooked teeth.
Nearly 30 percent of those polled reported the first facial featured they noticed was an individual’s teeth. And, almost 75 percent stated they would trust someone with a nice smile over and above those who had a good job, attire, or vehicle.
As a dentist, I have seen firsthand the difference an attractive smile can have on an individual’s self-esteem, confidence level, and being socially comfortably. Research also shows that a beautiful smile can make an individual feel happier and even extend their lifespan.
Studies have found that the simple act of smiling causes the release of endorphins in the brain, chemicals that create sensations of happiness. Apparently, even when we ‘fake’ a smile, these endorphins react the same way. (A good reason to smile when you’re down!)
It has also been found that people who smile often extend their lifespans by up to 3 years, while frequent frowners lose a year, on average. Smiling seems to be a way to live longer and be happier during your life!
I have had many patients who have been fortunate to have naturally beautiful smiles. Genetics has been their greatest asset in addition to having proper dental care during adolescent years as their adult teeth developed.
For many, the advantages of orthodontic treatment (braces) as teens and the benefits of frequent dental visits provided a leg up in the resulting appearance and health of their adult smiles.
However, many people weren’t born with a beautiful smile. Some experienced breakdown over the years, resulting in crooked, decayed, chipped or discolored teeth. Genetics may have given them teeth that were misshapened or gums that interfered with the flattering framing of teeth, such as in a ‘gummy smile.’
Everyone seems to desire a smile that makes them feel good from the inside out. However, the only deterrent for some when it comes to cosmetic dentistry is the cost for treatment.
In our office, we understand that budget constraints may hold people back from the smile they desire. That is why we offer several payment plans, most that are interest-free with no down payment required. These allow the individual to enjoy their new smile while making affordable, monthly payments.
Another issue that holds some people back is concern over achieving a natural look. No one wants to invest in cosmetic dentistry only to end up with a smile that looks fake. In our office, we create beautifully shaped and shaded crowns (caps) and veneers that have an exceptionally-natural look and feel, even reflecting light as natural teeth. And, using the durability of porcelain for dental crowns and veneers, the longevity is outstanding.
Our dental technology is also the most advanced available, enabling us to create precision-made restorations in a single appointment. With CEREC 3D technology, you often avoid the need to wear a temporary while waiting for a dental lab to create your final result. This also means that treatment time is reduced and numbing requirements are reduced by 50 percent.
Is fear of dentistry holding you back? We can help with that. In addition to offering oral sedation, I am certified to administer IV sedation (twilight sleep). While both provide relaxation and an amnesiac effect, highly fearful patients find that IV sedation provides the deeper level of a sleep state that is reassuring for their needs.
As a dentist, there are few things as satisfying as handing a patient a mirror to view the final results of a smile makeover. Their expressions alone are worth a thousand words. I’ve had patients cry with tears of joy when seeing their new smile and how it lights up their entire face.
We offer free consultations for people who wish to discuss esthetic dentistry options. During this time, we can also discus projected fees and payment plans. Call 843-871-6351 to schedule your consultation.
I can’t imagine that any adult over the age of 30 wants to look older than they are. Most of us are hoping to go into our elder years with people saying, “Oh, you certainly don’t look your age! I would have guessed you no more than age xx.” (preferably 10 or more years less than we really are!)
Mere flattery or not, we love to hear that we are aging well. And, American adults are willing to invest heavily in keeping a more-youthful look. According to a 2015 article published in Markets & Trends entitled, “U.S. Skin Care Market to Reach Nearly $11 Billion in 2018,” they estimate nearly $11 billion will be spend on skin care in the U.S. this year. (http://www.gcimagazine.com/marketstrends/segments/skincare/US-Skin-Care-Market-to-Reach-Nearly-11-Million-in-2018-311287121.html)
While we slather on expensive creams and color our hair, an unfamiliar factor (to many) that contributes to the appearance of more years than we’re due is the decline in jaw bone mass from tooth loss.
Ever heard the term ‘granny look?’ Although this is the extreme of a shrinking jaw bone, it is pretty descriptive when it comes to an aged appearance that no one wants. It conjures up an image of an older woman who has a pointed chin, deep wrinkles around the mouth, and a mouth that seems collapsed into the face.
This all occurs when the jaw bones that supported natural teeth no longer have tooth roots to provide stimulation. When the roots are removed, the jaw bone doesn’t receive the nourishment and stimulation needed. Without this, they slowly begin to shrink. This process is known as resorption.
As the bone shrinks from a missing tooth or teeth, neighboring teeth are at higher risk. Due to various factors, the next tooth to be lost is typically one that is adjacent to a missing tooth.
Bone loss is not always obvious for people who wear dentures or partial dentures. They tend to look in the mirror when their denture is in place, which plumps up the face. However, it is what’s taking place below the gums that causes changes in facial appearance. These changes will only become more severe with time.
Bone loss contributes to deep wrinkles that form around the mouth with the corners of the mouth turning downward, even in a smile. As it continues, the mouth appears to collapse into the face and jowls form from the detachment of facial muscles.
For those who wear dentures or partials, the pressure this places on the ‘ridge’ actually accelerates the rate of resorption. This is the gum-covered arch that the denture or partial rests upon. For those who sleep in these appliances, the 24/7 pressure speeds the rate of resorption even more.
As resorption continues, the gum ridge begins to flatten as it’s foundation shrinks. Denture wearers often first notice bone loss when their denture begins to move while eating. Eventually, even denture adhesives are unable to prevent uncomfortable rubbing or slips while eating. Speaking and laughing also becomes overshadowed by the fear of embarrassing moments.
Because dental Implants recreate stimulation to the jaw bones that support them, they are able to halt the rate of bone loss. Additionally, because they are placed in bone, just as tooth roots were once, they provide the same dependable foundation of natural teeth.
Dental implant systems have also evolved so they are able to accommodate specific needs. For example, some types can be placed in adults who have experienced severe bone loss. The All-On-4 implant system requires only minimal bone to adequately support a full arch of teeth on just four implants.
Regardless of the implant type selected, a dentist who is trained and experienced in all implant types is your best choice for a successful result. In our office, our patients know their implant treatment is backed by advanced training in all implant types with both oral and I.V. sedation (twilight sleep) available.
Using the cutting edge technology of CEREC 3D, we are also able to create replacement teeth at the same appointment our patients are having their implants placed. This eliminates waiting for a dental lab to create your final restoration (replacement teeth) and a second appointment to place them. It also cuts numbing requirements in half.
Dental Implants restore biting and chewing comfort as well as the ability to speak and laugh confidently. Call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free, private consultation. During this time, I’ll make recommendations based upon your specific needs and goals. We can also discuss treatment costs and easy payment options.Read More
After years of wearing a denture, many people realize the fit is not as dependable as when it was first made. It begins to slip while chewing and also rub sore spots on tender gum tissues.
The reason for this is due to bone loss. When natural tooth roots no longer exist in the upper or lower jaw, the bone begins to shrink, or ‘resorb.’ Resorption is also the reason a once-secure fitting denture feels less and less so after each year.
Most people are not aware that wearing a denture places pressure on the jaw bones, which speeds up the process of bone loss. For those who sleep in their dentures, the rate is accelerated even more.
Initially, after a denture is first made, patients may be advised to wear it 24/7 until becoming used to its presence in the mouth. However, after an adjustment period, you should remove it before bedtime. Studies have also shown that people who sleep in their denture have a higher risk for pneumonia. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4541085/)
For people who do everything possible to care for their dentures, however, there is no way to prevent bone resorption. In addition to the looser fit with each passing year, changes to facial appearance will begin to take place.
These changes include deep wrinkles that form around the mouth, having the corners of the mouth turn downward (even while smiling), a more pointed chin, having a mouth that seems collapsed into the face, and jowls that form as facial muscles detach from bone structures.
A temporary fix to loose dentures is a reline. This reshapes the gum base portion to fit the less prominent contours of a declining gum ‘ridge’ to which it was originally fitted. Yet, the problems will reappear as bone loss continues.
In the past, people who had experienced severe bone loss were required to first have a bone graft, often using a piece of hip bone to rebuild the jaw bone where implants were to be placed. As dental techniques advanced, bone rebuilding materials were developed that could regenerate bone mass, preventing the need for the more-involved surgical grafting procedure.
Fortunately, in 1998, a new dental implant system was introduced that enabled implant placement in even severely resorbed bone mass. All-On-4 dental implants relied on specially designed implants placed at unique angles. This technique evenly distributed the load among four implants.
There were additional advantages to the All On Four system. First, the procedure itself was less complex than traditional implant placement, making it possible for the patient to recover quickly. Too, teeth could be attached immediately after placement. So, not only could the patient walk out of the dentist’s office and meet a friend following the procedure, they could enjoy lunch together!
For many, the best advantage of all is in the lower cost as compared to many other implants systems. Because only 4 dental implants are needed to support a full upper or lower arch of teeth, treatment costs are typically quite lower than traditional implant types.
While All On 4 dental implants won’t work for every individual who is missing teeth, they are a beneficial option for a number of patients who wish to be rid of a bothersome denture. If you’re one, call 843-871-6351 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.Read More
Dentistry is an exciting field. I love that I can replace missing teeth in our patients with the durability and stability of Dental Implants. I am always pleased to watch a patient get that first look at their new smile after a cosmetic dentistry. Yet, I am thrilled that research is now proving the links between our oral health and our overall health.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Consider that the majority of the bacteria that enters the body comes in through the mouth. When gum disease weakens oral tissues, the potent bacteria can enter the bloodstream.
Years ago, researchers found that many serious diseases were the result of systemic inflammation. This occurs when the body’s immune system goes haywire and turns on itself. This chronic inflammation has been blamed for heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, erectile dysfunction (ED) and a series of other problems.
What the researchers began to note was how oral bacteria could contribute to inflammatory triggers. For example, an article published in 2010 by the Journal of Oral Microbiology, they point out that “individuals with periodontitis (advanced gum disease) are reported to have an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarction, and atherosclerosis” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3084572/)
The surge of research surrounding the link between periodontal disease and serious health problems has reached as far as showing connections with Alzheimer’s disease, preterm babies, some cancers (including lung, oral and pancreatic cancers), and contributing to elevated PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) levels.
Now, researchers are fast-tracking studies surrounding microbes. These have been found to be mixes of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Although it sounds like an icky cesspool, these microbes are much like the bacteria in our guts.
For those of us who take a daily probiotic capsule, we do this so the good-guy bacteria in our digestive system can keep the bad-guy bacteria in check. It’s a similar issue with microbes. Researchers have determined that microbiome send signals to certain parts of the body. These signals can help with the efficiency of certain functions, but like bad-guy bacteria in the gut, they can also misfire. It is in the misfire that has become the focus of many studys. What causes them to misbehave?
Getting back to the bacteria in your mouth, we’ve acknowledged that it is plentiful and can enter the bloodstream. When certain strains of periodontal disease bacteria settle in at certain points, a chain reaction begins, none of it good. One study found that the makeup of the bacteria found in advanced gum disease was almost identical to tissues taken from arthritic joints. And, findings also showed that the successful treatment of gum disease could create significant reductions in arthritis symptoms. (https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/comorbidities/gum-disease/ra-and-gum-disease.php)
When it comes to the devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, scientists are looking diligently for potential sources. In one study, a team at Chung Shan Medical University used data from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database to examine whether patients age 50 or older with chronic periodontitis had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Although no overall link was determined between periodontitis and Alzheimer‘s, they found that “people who had the chronic gum inflammation for 10 or more years were 70 percent more likely than people without periodontitis to develop Alzheimer’s disease.” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-alzheimers-gum-disease/long-term-gum-disease-linked-to-alzheimers-disease-idUSKCN1AX2F0)
Certainly, we want fresh breath and bright smiles, which are good reasons to brush and floss. However, these findings are pretty telling that a healthy mouth contributes to a healthy body, and vice versa.
If you’re behind on regular dental checkups and cleanings, let’s get you seen sooner than later. You may be doing a lot more than avoiding cavities! Call 843-871-6351 to schedule, or ask to begin with a free, no obligation consultation. During this time, I can discuss a program that may be appropriate for your needs as well as comfort options and easy payment plans.