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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Afraid Of The Dentist? We Can Help.

posted: January 01, 2019

Over the years, our Summerville dental office has developed a reputation for successfully helping adults who struggle with dental fears.

We understand that, for many fearful patients, it takes a great deal of effort to just come in for a consultation. Once here, however, they see that our office is structured to attend to their unique needs.

Our goal is to give all patients an environment where they can achieve a healthy, confident smile. For those who have avoided dentistry, we feel this enables many to have much-needed treatment BEFORE they are ‘forced’ into a dental office because of severe pain.

When regular dental care is avoided, it increases the risk for losing natural teeth and/or developing gum disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory disease that is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Gum disease is also associated with serious health problems. The bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammatory reactions far beyond the mouth. It has been linked to higher risks for heart disease, stroke, preterm babies, arthritis, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction (ED).

Some patients prefer to begin their care with the addition of Oral Sedation. This is in pill form and allows the patient to be fully relaxed throughout their care, even “dozing” in and out.

For those who prefer a deeper level of sedative, I am certified to administer I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep). Both forms of sedation erase most or all memory of treatment afterwards and have a practical recovery time.

Rest assured – patients who are sedated are closely monitored throughout treatment with advanced safety equipment and specially-trained staff members.

No matter what your fear level, you CAN experience gentle dentistry where you’ll feel relaxed before, during and after your visit. And, like many of our once-fearful patients, you can enjoy a healthy, confident smile without having a white-knuckled experience!

Dental fear affects over 70 percent of Americans, but it can be overcome. We have hundreds of formerly fearful patients who now have confident, healthy smiles. They know that dentistry can be performed without discomfort and enable them to achieve excellent oral health. You, too, can achieve this regardless of your level of fear.

We’ll begin with a friendly conversation in our private consultation room. This room is removed from the clinical side of the office. During this time, you can share your concerns and learn about options that can help you move at a pace that’s right for you. Call 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule a convenient time for this no-cost consultation.

In the right hands, you can have the healthy, confident smile you desire!

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Online ‘Deals’ For Dental Implants May Not Be The Bargain You Want.

posted: December 12, 2018

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:

  1. The implanted portion, which is positioned in the jaw bone to serve as a man-made tooth root.
  2. The “abutment,” which is a post that is secured inside the implanted piece. This is the part that your replacement tooth (or teeth) will be attached.
  3. The replacement teeth (also referred to as “restorations”).

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.

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

posted: October 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Could Healthy Gums Lower Cancer Risk?

posted: October 06, 2018

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.

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Dental Implants – How To Avoid Risk Of Failure

posted: September 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

But, how old is too old for dental implants?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

posted: September 18, 2018

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

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

Worn teeth from grinding

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

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

What causes this?

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

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

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

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

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

cerec machine

Single visit crowns, bridges and dental implant restorations

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

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

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

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

 

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How We Enhance Comfort For Every Dental Visit.

posted: August 22, 2018

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.outside and inside office photo

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:

  • Oral & I.V. Sedation – For many years, I offered oral sedation to help anxious and fearful patients relax. In pill form, this provide a very drowsy state and typically erases most (if not all) memory of the procedure afterwards. However, some people with deeper levels of dental fear need IV sedation. This sedative, also known as twilight sleep, provides a sleep state that some people prefer. I became Certified to provide IV sedation and also have specially trained staff members who use advanced safety equipment to oversee sedated patients throughout treatment.
  • Advanced Technology – Over the years, I’ve incorporated many advanced features into our office. Each is selected for its ability to provide optimal results while helping to minimize treatment time. Most also enhance patient comfort. For exadental camerample, our Cordless Drills make a gentle whirring sound rather than a high-pitched whine. Our CEREC 3D technology creates crowns and bridges in a single appointment, reducing numbing requirements by half. Our dental laser reduces bleeding, speeds healing time, and provides a more comfortable process for procedures involving gum tissues.
  • Modern Treatment Chairs – Some people are fine until they are reclined in a dental chair. Then, once on his/her back on a narrow surface with an open mouth full of tender tissues, it makes perfect sense that some uneasiness can result for those already anxious or fearful. For procedures that require an hour or more, we know the surface under you plays a big part in whether you relax or begin to get antsy. The treatment chairs we’ve selected are ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable fit and cozy support.
  • Special Features – We have found that some people do better when they are distracted from what’s taking place in their mouths. Our patients know they can watch a video, listen to music, avoid bright lights under darkened ‘shades,’ and relax under a warm blanket. Dentistry? What dentistry?!!!
  • Pacing Treatment Appropriately – One of the secrets to giving a ‘pain-less’ injection is going slow. By administering the medication at a slow pace, our patients often say they feel “nothing.” We also provide topical numbing to the area prior to injections. Too, some high-fear patients are more relaxed going through treatment in small stages. We respect that. Once these patients realize they can trust us to protect their comfort at every visit, moving forward at a faster pace can be arranged.
  • Good Communication – Sometimes, it’s the NOT knowing part that provokes the most fear. We have found that keeping patients informed of what is being done throughout the procedure helps. For others, they prefer the distraction of a movie or music. Our goal is to nurture the unique needs of each patient so they are more relaxed throughout their care.
  • Complete Care – Patients like that they can have all their dental needs tended to in one, convenient, comfortable location. Whether you need regular cleanings, cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, treatment for gum disease, a stop-snoring sleep appliance, or crown & bridge, we make all services available for all ages.

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.

While you’re here, we can also have our Administrative Manager discuss easy payment plans and review insurance coverages, if desired.

To schedule, call 843-871-6351 or tap here to begin.

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Three Questions About Gum Disease You Should Be Asking.

posted: August 06, 2018

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.

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

posted: July 17, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope to meet you soon!

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Dental Implants Made Simple

posted: July 10, 2018

When most people think about a dental implant, they envision a replacement tooth that is held by the jaw bone. This is correct since Dental implants are unlike replacement teeth supported by neighboring teeth (as in crown-&-bridge) or a denture that is contoured to fit the ‘ridge’ where tooth roots were once held.

However, a dental implant is not one piece, but actually made up of three parts. The first part is the implanted portion. This piece is similar to a hollow screw that is positioned in the jaw bone beneath the gum tissues. This is your tooth root replacement. This piece is designed to recreate the presence of a tooth root, which is beneficial for the bone that supports it as well as the replacement teeth that will be attached to it.

Once placed, the bone begins to grow around the implant, securing it in place. This process takes approximately 3-4 months and is known as “osseo-integration.” During this phase, patients are able to wear temporary teeth (or often, their existing denture or partial) comfortably.

The second and third components of dental implants are referred to as the abutment and the restoration. These are typically placed in the same appointment. After the phase of osseo-integration is complete, an opening is made in the gum tissue over each implant site. Into the implant, a post is secured and a replacement tooth (or bridge) is then attached to the post.

With the implant held by the jaw bone and the replacement tooth secured to the implanted portion, the look, feel and function of real teeth is restored. This means that your implants will have the same foundation as that of natural teeth so you can enjoy dependable biting and chewing strength and stability.

When more than one tooth is missing in the same area, a bridge of two or more teeth can often be attached to one implant. For those missing all upper and/or lower teeth, a full arch of teeth can often be secured to 4 to 8 strategically-placed implants. This is an appealing option for people who are missing all of their upper or lower teeth and want to replace the discomfort and frustrations of a ‘rocky’ denture.

This option also minimizes the expenses associated with dental implant treatment. Because the cost for dental implants is largely based on the number of implants placed, attaching a bridge of teeth or securing a full arch can translate into a tremendous savings.

In our office, we utilize advanced CEREC 3D technology to create single crowns, bridges, and even full arches of replacement teeth. These ‘restorations’ are made of beautiful ceramic that is natural-looking and durable. This also saves you a tremendous amount of time by eliminating waiting time for a dental lab. Additionally, there is no need for a second appointment for a dental lab’s final teeth to be placed.

In addition to restoring the ability to eat and chew securely and comfortably, dental implants help to halt bone resorption that occurs when tooth roots are no longer present in the jaw bone.

What is this?

Without the presence of tooth roots, the bone lacks necessary stimulation that helps to maintain its mass. Dental implants recreate this stimulation, preserving the bone’s height and mass.

In addition to placing neighboring teeth at risk, bone loss can create changes in facial appearance that are aging far beyond one’s actual years. These changes include deep wrinkles around the mouth, a pointed chin, jowls that form from detached facial muscles, and a mouth that appears collapsed into the face.

There are many types of Dental Implants, each designed to accommodate individual needs and preferences. We offer a free Consultation that allows interested adults to learn the types best for them and have their questions answered thoroughly.

During this time, we can also discuss affordable payment plans. These can break your treatment costs into easy monthly payments, often with no interest charged and no down payment required.

Call 843-871-6351 to schedule your no-charge appointment.

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Need New Dentures? Get A Natural Look With A More-Youthful Appearance!

posted: June 26, 2018

For a number of reasons, we often recommend Dental Implants to our patients when it comes to replacing natural teeth. For those who are missing all upper or lower teeth, several strategically-placed implants can often support a full arch. This restores biting and chewing comfort and dependability.

However, not everyone can afford Dental Implants or wants to undergo the procedures to have them. Here, we are respectful of all patients as to the tooth replacement option that is best for their preferences. Our goal is to provide each patient with an excellent fit and optimal comfort for all options in tooth replacement. For some, this may be through a full denture

People are often surprised to learn that today’s Cosmetic Dentures can restore the ability to eat comfortably and securely with the added benefit of providing a more youthful smile. In addition to having advanced training and skills, I use advanced dental technology and materials to create a natural look and feel with a secure fit and exceptional durability.

Cosmetic Dentures are able to provide a more youthful smile because the process begins with the custom-design of the gum base that supports the teeth. With the proper increase in the distance between the upper and lower jaws, Cosmetic Dentures can often provide a sort of ‘mini facelift.’ This helps to smooth out the wrinkles around the mouth and lift lower facial muscles that lessens facial sagging.

In addition to creating a more youthful look of the face, your smile will have a more flattering look as well. For each individual, we enhance the look and feel of the teeth in Cosmetic Dentures and design your smile according to your preferences. For example, we can create teeth to the degree of whiteness you desire. We can also design the height of teeth so they are at a more flattering height. Lastly, we can adjust the gum line (area that shows above each tooth) so it is to a level that is esthetically-pleasing.

You’ll also appreciate that Cosmetic Dentures will never LOOK like dentures! No one will suspect you are a denture wearer or are wearing ‘fake’ teeth. Rather than feel self-conscious with replacement teeth created by cheap denture clinics, the teeth in Cosmetic Dentures are made so you will never look like you wear dentures! The teeth will also provide the luminosity and opalescence of natural teeth, even reflecting light as natural teeth.

For patients who still have remaining natural teeth, we use the same artistry in designing Cosmetic Partial Dentures. These are created with a gum portion that blends naturally with existing gums and custom-designed teeth that have a highly-natural appearance.

In our dental office, we make the design of a beautiful smile part of the overall construction of Cosmetic Dentists and Partials. We want you to have a smile you feel good about; one that makes you want to share it often! Let’s discuss the tooth replacement option of your choice during a no-charge, no obligation consultation. Call 843-871-6351 to schedule.

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Smokers! We Are Here To Help You In A Lecture-Free Zone!

posted: June 18, 2018

I have a friend who struggled for years to quit smoking. He tried every kind of patch, gum, and hypnosis available to try to kick the habit. He eventually did, but I remember him telling me that the lectures and chastising he received from (mostly) well-meaning friends, family and strangers had very little impact on his decision to quit.

Cigarettes are manufactured to be addictive. In a 2006 ruling from a lawsuit filed by the federal government, it was found that cigarette makers deliberately misled the public about the dangers of smoking. (https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/content/what_we_do/industry_watch/doj/FinalOpinion.pdf)

The ruling cited that the tobacco companies intentionally designed their products to be addictive, even while knowing their use led to harmful, and even deadly, effects.

For most smokers, they’re aware of the health risks associated with smoking. However, many are unaware of the risks that smoking poses to their oral health. Yes, gum disease and tooth loss are more prevalent in people who smoke.

The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) warns that:

• Smokers have double the risk for gum disease compared to nonsmokers.
• The more cigarettes an individual smokes, the higher their risk for developing gum disease.
• The longer you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease.

The CDC also warns that smoking can make treatment for gum disease less effective. (https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/periodontal-gum-disease.html)

With these challenges in mind, we want to help smokers be aware of their unique needs while providing an environment that supports their ability to prevent the development of periodontal (gum) disease and subsequent tooth loss.

In our office, we see each individual as, well… just that – an individual. Every mouth is different. And, the lifestyle and habits of each patient is different as well. Some of our patients eat too much sugar, which is a challenge in the prevention of cavities and gum disease. Others are infrequent brushers, leaving their mouths more prone to bad breath, cavities, and gum disease. Some are arthritic and have difficulty managing thorough at-home oral care.

For every patient, we strive to help them work around these particular issues so their smile is always healthy and bright. Being committed to good oral health means you can avoid the time and costs associated with treatment for cavities, gum disease, and even tooth replacement.

If you smoke, here are some at-home tips to help you keep your smile in good shape:

• Cigarette (and cigar) smoke is very drying to the tissues in the mouth. This provides an environment for the accumulation of oral bacteria that attack tooth enamel and gum tissues. The goal is to keep your mouth moist throughout the day. Drink lots of plain water (or add cucumber slices or fresh mint as smile-friendly additives). Swish water around your mouth after each cigarette. This will moisten the oral tissues and remove some of the oral bacteria from the mouth. You may also want to begin using a mouthwash that is specifically-designed to replenish oral moisture. These are available over-the-counter in most stores’ pharmacy section.

Brush thoroughly twice a day. Spend two minutes each time you brush (even if you use an electronic toothbrush). Be careful to reach all sides of every tooth, especially back teeth. Use a soft to medium toothbrush and a toothpaste with fluoride. This will help toughen up tooth enamel. Consider finishing up by brushing the tongue with your toothbrush. There are ka-zillions of bacteria embedded in the tongue and this will help management bacteria levels. Swish and spit several times after.

Flossing is another area that we try to avoid lecturing. However, this action gives you a ‘leg up’ when it comes to managing bacteria in the mouth. If you find the process uncomfortable, our hygienists can show you easy techniques so you’re doing an effective job in a minimal amount of time (less than 2 minutes). If preferred, use a ‘water flosser.’ Our patients (whether they smoke or not) really like these. They are affordable and easy to use. Too, studies have shown that they can be just as effective as manual flossing. (Read one article on the studies in Dental Economics: https://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-101/issue-30/features/water-flosser-can-address-futility-of-floss.html)

• Your regular dental check-ups (cleanings and exams) are designed to remove the buildup of oral bacteria (that forms plaque, which can harden into tartar). If you smoke, your gums are more susceptible to the hazards of cigarettes. For some patients, we arrange their dental cleanings to occur every 4 months rather than every six. This additional visit helps many of these patients avoid problems in the first place.

We want to support you in finding the best way to have fresh breath, healthy gums, and teeth that create a fabulous smile! If you are behind on regular dental visits, you may want to begin with a no-charge consultation. During this time, we can discuss ways we can help you have a confident smile.

If dental fears have prevented you from having regular dental care, we can also discuss ways to help you achieve the smile you desire through oral or I.V. sedation. You’ll also find that our entire team is committed to providing a comfortable experience with a gentle touch, at every visit!

Call 843-871-6351 to schedule or learn more.

 

 

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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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Do You See Dental Care As A ‘Pain?’

posted: May 24, 2018

When I go to the eye doctor for my annual eye exam, it’s usually one of my least favorite items to check off my healthcare to-do list. Having my pupils dilated, that puff of air shot at my eye ball, and sitting still while a bright light blares into each eye is no fun. However, I see my vision as not only a vital part of living a full and active life. As a dentist, having good vision is vital.

Having an annual eye exam is an appointment most people want ‘over and done with’ quickly. But, like many medical screenings and checkups, we know it’s wise to take the time. Dental checkups, although not something most people look forward to, are also important to your health and well-being. Plus, these twice-a-year dental visits are structured to help you avoid or minimize time and expenses for treatment that can occur without regular care.

Fortunately, these visits typically require only an hour or so of your time. In our office, we try to minimize wait time and use advanced skills and technology to create more efficiency while optimizing comfort. This certainly makes dental visits more appealing for all patients. Yet, for people who do struggle with dental fear, these visits require far more of them than just setting aside the time needed for each visit.

I have decades of experience helping patients who have anxiety or fear (and even dental phobia) to be able to relax through dental treatment. Some have been able to overcome their fears altogether. While I don’t claim to convert them into dental appointment ‘fans,’ I will say that a large percentage go from a sense of dread and ‘white knuckled’ tension to walking in with a smile and leaving with a smile, having completed their appointment without dealing with the grip of fear.

In our nation, periodontal (gum) disease effects over 47 percent of adults – a staggering statistic when you consider how easy it is to prevent. Gum disease occurs from the over-accumulation of oral bacteria that cause inflammation. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Yet, oral health is not the only thing compromised because of gum disease.

These potent bacterial organisms can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. Research has shown they can cause reactions that have been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, preterm babies, some cancers, erectile dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease. As more research is conducted, new findings keep connecting oral bacteria to more and more health problems, some that are deadly.

With that said, our nation sadly has far more people who are nervous or afraid of dental visits than not. It is estimated that over 70 percent of adult have some level of dental anxiety or fear. Because this fear prevents some people from being able to receive regular dental care (often delaying treatment until pain forces them), it’s to no surprise that so many suffer with gum disease. As mentioned prior, it’s nearly half of our adult population.

Although we offer both oral and IV sedation (twilight sleep), all patients (in our office) enjoy the benefits of a number of comfort options. In addition to a gentle touch, we’ve invested in a wide variety of advanced technology that reduces treatment time and enhances comfort. (Even our drills are designed to eliminate that dreadful, high-pitched whine, with a gentle humming sound instead).

We also pace each patient’s care to match individual needs. Some people are happy to move through treatment in one or two appointments while others wish to proceed in small steps. We are also careful to communicate what is being done in their mouths, and why. This is reassuring to patients, especially those with fear issues. They may ‘perceive’ pain when there is unknown action taking place that they can’t see.

We encourage anyone who has dental fear or anxiety issues to begin with a private conversation at no charge. This consultation is just a chat. I take the time to learn the unique concerns of each individual and make recommendations based upon those concerns. From there, we can determine the most comfortable way to proceed. Or, they may choose to do nothing for the time being. The choice is in the hands of the patient. We are not here to nudge someone into treatment, but rather to support them when they are ready.

If you would like to schedule a private, no cost consultation, call 843-871-6351. From the very first conversation on the telephone, I’m certain you’ll understand why so many once-fearful people have chosen us to help them achieve healthy, confident smiles.

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