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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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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How To Spend Less On Dentistry

posted: May 31, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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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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Daylight Savings Time Is Here Again. Is The Time Adjustment Worth It?

posted: March 09, 2017

Again, most of the nation is preparing for Daylight Savings Time’s “spring forward,” which begins in 2017 at 2:00am on March 12th. If the transition of losing an hour’s sleep each Spring seems like an extended period of jet lag, you are not alone. Losing just one hour of sleep can alter one’s energy level, alertness, motivation and hunger.

Daylight Savings Times began during World War I as an effort to conserve energy. The time changed back to normal after the war ended but was reinstated when World War II began. After the second world war, the time changed back again, sparking the terms “War Time” and “Peace Time.”

For many reasons, these time switches back and forth became a dilemma. Thus, the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966. However, individual states were allowed to opt out of daylight saving time, if desired.

Today, those passing on the time change include Arizona and Hawaii along with U.S. territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands. Residents of Utah may also drop Daylight Savings Time when it is brought to a vote in 2018. Across the globe, there is no Daylight Saving Time in South America, Africa and Australia or the majority of Asia.

The growing debate today is – Is there sufficient savings or other benefits to justify the mental and physical drag created by disrupting our sleep patterns?

Daylight Savings Time originated as an effort to make more efficient use of energy. When households set their clocks ahead in the spring, they found they could reduce awake time between sunset and bedtime. A century ago, it was felt that minimizing the awake hours after sunset would require fewer lights and a savings of energy needs per household.

Back then, light bulbs were the only thing that used electricity in most households. Today, think about the standard electricity-powered items that are ‘on’ at all hours of the day and night. For items such as televisions, computers, microwaves, refrigerators, heaters, air conditioners, hair dryers, and security systems, darkness has far less to do with usage. Light bulbs (which are also highly efficient today) are but a minute part of a home’s electrical consumption.

Some studies estimate the actual savings attributed to Daylight Savings Time is 1 or 2 percent. Is that worth it? If the transition of Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time seems to restore your internal clock to normal, you are not alone. Some studies question the need for DST for more reasons than its paltry savings.

Our internal body clock operates by circadian rhythms that coincide with the earth’s natural light-to-dark cycles and seasonal changes. When you set your clocks back each fall, your circadian rhythms instill an urge to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than the normal pattern of daylight and nightfall.

There are ways to ease into the DST transition, such as pre-adjusting your internal clock. A week before you ‘spring forward,’ get extra sunlight exposure in the morning. Before ‘falling back,’ absorb more late afternoon sun.

It’s not hard to feel the effects of getting too little sleep (or sleep of poor quality). Not enough sleep can cause daytime fatigue, feeling foggy, being more accident prone, nodding off easily and feeling less social. Even worse, sleep deprived drivers are said to be more deadly than drunk drivers.

Adequate, sound sleep is necessary to your health and supports your overall system Research has shown that REM sleep periods allow the brain to clean out toxins and regulate hormones. Without good sleep, you risk some pretty serious – and even deadly – health problems. Sleep disorders (such as Sleep Apnea) have been associated with heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, migraines and headaches, obesity, and impotency.

If sleep is alluding you, a simple FDA-approved oral appliance may be all you need to restore your sleep quality. These comfortable, custom-made mouth pieces can help to open air passages during sleep, restoring oxygen intake and restful, rejuvenating sleep. Heavy snorers also benefit greatly (as do their mates!) from these custom-made appliances.

Begin with a free consultation. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 to arrange a time to discuss the best options to help you overcome sleep problems affordably and effectively.

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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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Are Sex Life & Sleep Quality Related?

posted: November 14, 2016

All adults have periodic lulls in their libidos interspersed with spurts of “revved-up” mode. It’s natural that we are not “ready to go” all the time. However, new studies are showing just how much sleep disorders can zap the mood.

For example, a study published by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), found that young men who slept less than 5 hours per night for a week had 15% less testosterone than normal, or the loss of testosterone that results from aging 10 – 15 years. Naturally, the lower the testosterone level, the lower the libido.

Another study of college-aged females conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School showed that, for every extra hour of sleep, their liklihood of being in sexually active increased by 14%. Additionally, a 2009 study tested over 400 men who suspected they had sleep apnea. Of those who were actually diagnosed with the disorder, 70% also had erectile disfunction (ED).

Sleep Apnea is a a sleep disorder that causes breathing pauses during sleep. These pauses can last for up to a minute and occur hundreds of times per night. Typical symptoms of Sleep Apnea include: daytime fatigue, feeling less alert and more sluggish, nodding off easily during the day and being less motivated to be physically or socially active.

Health repercussions are worse. The oxygen deprivation in the blood (compromising heart and brain efficiency) contribute to weight gain and obesity, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, migraines and impotency. Drivers who suffer with Sleep Apnea have been said to be more deadly behind the wheel than drunk drivers.

It has been noted that patients who undergo surgery to correct abnormalities that contribute to apnea see improvements in intimacy. Those who start CPAP therapy also report an increase in sexual activity. These devices consists of a mask worn over the face during sleep that forces air into airway passages. However, it is estimated that only 22% of those prescribed with CPAP are consistent users. Why is this?

CPAP isn’t for everyone. Many users claim it makes them feel claustrophobic, unable to move around in bed, bothered by the noise and inconvenient (especially for those who travel). Fortunately, for adults with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea, the solution may be a simple, FDA-approved oral appliance worn during sleep.

Oravan Sleep Appliances - Small, Comfortable & Affordable

Oravan Sleep Appliances – Small, Comfortable & Affordable

In our office, we use the Oravan system for those who can’t or don’t wish to wear CPAP. This is a custom-designed mouth piece created to fit the unique contours of each mouth. They are small and comfortable and won’t interfere with your ability to sleep. While effective for many levels of Sleep Apnea, they can also be used to treat heavy snoring, a common precursor of Sleep Apnea.

Sleep Apnea is nothing to ignore, but it can be easily managed without surgery or wearing a bulky contraption over your face throughout the night. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 to learn more about overcoming Sleep Apnea or ask to schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions so you can determine if this is right for you.

If you have Medicare, we are also Certified providers. If not, we have several easy payment plans that allow you to make affordable, monthly payments without interest and no down payment. Just ask to speak with our Financial Coordinator while you’re in our office or over the phone.

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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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Headaches? Migraines? Bite Misalignment May Be Cause.

posted: August 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worn teeth from grinding

Worn teeth from grinding

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

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

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Don’t Feel Rested After Sleeping All Night?

posted: August 03, 2016

We’ve all occasionally heard the phrase, “I need my eight hours!” And, for good reason. Adequate sleep is necessary to feel rested and energetic the next day. It also provides the brain with time to do some necessary housekeeping.

During sleep, the brain is NOT dormant. It goes through a process to eliminate toxins and regulate functions that keep our bodies in check throughout the day. Without sufficient REM sleep (which is our deep sleeping time), we drag through the day and our brains function with reduced capacity.

Lack of sleep makes us more accident prone, forgetful, sluggish and less motivated. As a matter of fact, drivers who suffer with Sleep Apnea (which causes pauses in breathing during sleep) have been said to be more dangerous behind the wheel than drunk drivers.

Sleep Apnea affects more individuals than many suspect. This sleep disorder has been diagnosed in an estimated 9% of females and 24% of males. It is also estimated that as many as 80% of Sleep Apnea sufferers go undiagnosed.

When the brain is not only deprived of sufficient sleep time, but necessary oxygen as well, there is a long list of repercussions that can follow. These include heart attack, stroke, obesity, migraines, impotency and more. Alzheimers Disease has also been associated with Sleep Apnea in some studies.

However, common symptoms typically arise in obvious ways. Daytime fatigue, feeling foggy or unenergetic, being more accident prone and nodding off easily while sitting are all warning signs of insufficient sleep. Sleep Apnea may very well be the true source of these problems. Heavy snoring is often a precursor of Sleep Apnea.

We have helped many patients overcome the problems associated with Sleep Apnea and heavy snoring. Using the Oravan system, we custom-design a small oral appliance that is worn during sleep. It moves the jaw forward slightly to open the airway, allowing for easier oxygen intake during sleep. And, because the appliances are made to fit the unique contours of your mouth, they are comfortable and will not interfere with sleep.

oravanOravan oral appliances are FDA approved and effective for most people with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea. They are also beneficial for people who cannot get used to a CPAP device. In CPAP therapy, a fan pushes air into the throat via a mask worn over the nose and mouth. A large percentage of CPAP users feel they are noisy, cumbersome, inconvenient (especially for travel) and even embarrassing.

If you feel you may be suffering with Sleep Apnea, this will not improve on its own. Worse, it will continue to deprive your body of much-needed oxygen, resulting in many debilitating problems and health risks. On Medicare? We are also certified to assist those who are covered.

Regain your active life again and reduce your risk for serious, and even deadly, health problems. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 for a free consultation. I’ll explain the process and answer your questions so you can determine if this is right for you.

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Crowns Coming Off? Several Reasons Are…

posted: July 19, 2016

When a tooth is crowned (‘capped’), it places a ceramic covering over the remaining natural tooth. This may be done after a cavity has been removed and the tooth remaining requires more surface restoration than a filling or inlay can provide.

Crowns are custom-designed to a precision size, shape and shade. They are created to not merely blend esthetically with adjacent teeth but interact properly. For example, a crown should meet the teeth above or below as well as fit harmoniously with the teeth on each side. Without this unity, bite misalignment can occur.

A crown is secured to the prepared tooth with an adhesive that is very strong. It prevents the crown from loosening when flossing, eating or chewing gum, for example. So, when there are rare instances when a patient calls to say a crown has come off, after examination, we find it is typically due to clenching or grinding. These are common symptoms of bite misalignment.

When upper and lower teeth do not meet harmoniously, the lack of unity can create strain on the TMJ, or ‘temporo-mandibular joints.’ When these joints are strained, you may also experience headaches (which often lead to frequent migraines), sore jaw joints, difficulty opening the mouth fully, dizziness and ear ringing.

People with bite misalignment are often unaware that they have it. Most reactions tend to occur during sleep, such as clenching teeth and/or grinding teeth back and forth. This is due to the jaw joints’ attempt to self-adjust in an attempt to find a position that is less strained.

To understand this, consider an individual who has one leg shorter than another. While their gait will compensate to support walking and running without obvious interference, symptoms will eventually arise. These are usually in the form of low back pain, hip pain or knee strain.

Bite misalignment can be likened to other skeletal imbalances in the body.

Bite misalignment can be likened to other skeletal imbalances in the body.

While you may not feel your bite is ‘off,’ the results of bite alignment can lead to the need for costly repairs to chipped, broken and worn teeth. And, in some cases, the re-cementing of crowns or veneers.

If a crown should come off, carefully rinse the crown and wrap it so it is protected and safe. Call our office immediately and, if after hours, you will be given instructions on reaching us or a doctor who is on-call.

If it will be several days before you can have the crown re-cemented, most drug stores sell a temporary adhesive designed to keep the crown in place until it can be reattached securely. DO NOT USE MATERIALS SUCH AS ‘CRAZY GLUE’ OR OTHER PERMANENT AGENTS!!! These not only seep dangerous chemicals into the mouth, removing them from the natural tooth portion underneath the crown can require extreme measures that take away from the remaining tooth. When this is needed, a new crown will be needed as well.

When using temporary adhesive materials (available in the dental care aisle of drug stores), remember to proceed gently in these areas. Until you can get into our office for reattachment, chew on the opposite side of the loose crown and brush gently in that area. Delay flossing around the tooth. When swishing, don’t use much force during swishing or spitting. Again, proceed gently.

Verifying bite alignment is a painless procedure. And, for those who have straight teeth, many are surprised when told their bite alignment is off. However, it’s not necessarily crowded, crooked teeth than contribute to misalignment. Teeth that are too long, too short, or even missing teeth can throw the alignment of a bite just enough that the TMJ reacts with symptoms that can eventually require resolving.

If you are experiencing headaches, jaw tenderness, worn teeth, or other potential signs of bite misalignment, call our office to request a Consultation appointment. I am happy to explain the process to evaluate your bite alignment and methods to restore your bite to its proper position.

Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.

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