FAQ

Anxiety Control

    Are you fearful of going to the dentist?

    If you have wanted to fix your smile or deteriorating oral health but fear or gagging has made it impossible, we can help. With sedation dentistry, it is possible for you to have years’ worth of damage repaired in a few visits, comfortably. You will be sedated just enough to be unaware of the treatment in a quiet, comfortable environment. We can correct pain, rotting teeth, an unpleasant smile, inability to chew, digestive and systemic problems associated with an inability to chew, bad breath, bleeding gums, etc.

 

Bad Breath

    Are you concerned about bad breath (halitosis)?

    While bad breath might be a symptom of some other disorder, it most likely stems from dental decay and periodontitis.

    Periodontitis is a disease affecting gums and bone that support the teeth, and it results from inadequate tooth brushing and flossing. In this disease, the irritated gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets between the teeth and the gums. These pockets fill with bacteria and pus which give off a foul odor.

    Patients with bad breath need a complete dental evaluation. If gum disease and/or dental decay is diagnosed, it can be treated readily. The patient will no longer have an infection in his or her mouth, and he or she will no longer have the embarrassment of bad breath.

    If you have questions regarding halitosis, please call our office.

 

Cosmetic Dentistry

    Black and unsightly silver fillings

    Many people have had silver fillings placed into their teeth because they had “cavities”. These silver fillings are called amalgams. Amalgam fills the space where the decay in the tooth has been removed.

    However over time, the amalgam corrodes and leaks, which blackens the silver and many times the tooth, too. This is easily seen as soon as a patient opens his or her mouth and is usually a source of embarrassment for the patient.

    Composite fillings are made of a porcelain-like material that actually bonds to the tooth for a tight seal. They are strong and stain-resistant, and they are color-matched to the natural tooth, making them “invisible.”

    Composite fillings also lack the sensitivity that is often associated with silver amalgam fillings. They are especially suited for smaller cavities and for patients who may be allergic to metal fillings.

    Please don’t hesitate to call our office with any questions you may have about the benefits of replacing silver amalgam fillings with invisible composite fillings.

    Fix discolored, dark or stained teeth with bleaching

    Tooth bleaching involves the placement of a bleaching solution on the teeth to eliminate stains and discoloration. The solution is held in place by a custom-made, see-through tray that fits over the teeth – much like a mouthpiece worn by a professional boxer.

    Bleaching is a safe, effective and relatively easy means of producing a whiter smile.

    Two bleaching methods are available: power bleaching with a laser, done at our office, and at-home-bleaching, which provides for home use (not to be confused with over-the-counter bleaching products available in your local drug store).

    The difference between the two is the strength of the whitening agent and the time it takes to get effective results. Power bleaching usually takes three to six visits, while home bleaching may take up to four weeks of regular use.

    Sensitive teeth, or those that are chipped, eroded or weakened by cavities, should be repaired or protected before they are bleached.


    Repair broken teeth with dental bonding

    Bonding can yield dramatic results in a single office visit. Essentially, bonding hides any natural flaws through the placement of a thin plastic coating on the front surface of the teeth.

    After treating the tooth surface, a putty like bonding material is applied that is then sculpted, shaped and colored to suit the patient’s needs. A high-intensity light causes the plastic to harden after which the new surface is smoothed and polished.

    Bonding can lighten stains, close gaps and even alter crooked or malformed teeth. It can be utilized to change the shape or color of a single tooth or if necessary to revamp the entire smile.


    Poor self-image, resulting in low self-esteem

    The appearance of the teeth has a dramatic effect on both the person’s attractiveness to others and on their own self-image and self-esteem. Studies have shown that a person’s appearance will have a strong effect on their social and career success, by influencing how others perceive them.

    While the appearance of the teeth is one of the most important contributors to facial beauty, it is also probably the most often neglected when improvements to appearance are sought. A person with low self-esteem connected to their facial appearance can often be greatly helped by cosmetic dental procedures.

    Dental makeovers have become more common, less invasive, and more effective in correcting deformities and cosmetic dental problems. The effect of these procedures can be nothing short of dramatic both in terms of appearance and also in terms of correcting, at least partially, personality deficiencies caused by poor self-image. Ugly teeth are no longer a matter of fate; they are now becoming a matter of choice.


    Porcelain veneers

    Porcelain veneers are often used for the same reasons as bonding (to lighten stains, close gaps and even alter crooked or malformed teeth). They are considerably more durable and stain resistant than bonding.

    The veneer is actually a thin piece of porcelain similar in size to a fingernail. Once it is “bonded” onto the tooth, it becomes extremely strong. It also blends in with the remaining tooth structure so that it is unnoticeable to the naked-eye. Once in place, it looks, feels, and functions just like a regular tooth.

    Porcelain veneers can be utilized to change the shape and color of a single tooth or if necessary, revamp an entire smile. Porcelain veneers can also be used to correct teeth that have been worn from clenching and grinding.

 

Dental Caps and Crowns

    Cracked, worn, discolored or broken teeth

    For over 100 years, dentists have been using silver-mercury amalgam fillings to restore decayed or broken teeth. The only other alternative was gold and that was too expensive for most folks. Now there is a new and economical way to restore teeth using tooth-colored resin fillings. The resin is made up of glass particles in a plastic matrix. The doctor bonds the putty-like material to the tooth with a high-intensity light. This hardens the material and allows it to be shaped and polished for immediate use.

    Once completed, the tooth has a natural appearance and is actually stronger than before due to the strength of the adhesive agent used to bond the resin to the tooth. Resin restorations not only look better, but they are stronger and last longer than the old silver-amalgam fillings. Resin restorations can range from $150 to $350 per tooth.

    Please call with any questions you may have about the benefits of resin restorations.


    A Crown for a Tooth

    Teeth are often restored with fillings of silver or composite plastics. These materials can often accomplish the aim of replacing the part of the tooth that has been lost in a strong and good-looking manner.

    However, there comes a point where the damage to the tooth has removed too much structure to hold a filling. The restoration must be done by a technique that will attach to the remaining tooth, stand up under heavier use and meet more elaborate cosmetic requirements.

    The crown is the dental restoration that can strengthen and restore the entire top of a tooth. The crown can also be part of the attachment of a fixed bridge for the replacement of teeth. The tooth is strengthened because it is covered from the outside with a casting of metal or ceramic that will wrap up and splint the tooth.

    The chewing of the tooth can be improved because it can be reshaped to match more efficiently with the opposing teeth. A crown can improve cosmetics by the use of modern ceramic processes that produce translucency and color that is more natural than has ever been possible.

 

Dental Emergencies

    Accidental tooth loss by injury

    Knowing the Proper First Aid

    • If the tooth is loose, even extremely so, but is still attached in any way, leave it in place; do not remove it.
    • If it is out of its socket completely and unattached, but still in the victim’s mouth, it is best to have the person hold it there, if possible, until a dentist can attempt re-implantation.
    • If it is out of the mouth, do not let it dry out. Handle it as little as possible.
    • Do not attempt to disinfect the tooth, or scrub it, or remove any tissue attached to it.
    • If it is recovered from the ground or other soiled area, rinse it off in lukewarm water. Preserve it in milk until a dentist is available. If milk is not available, lukewarm water will suffice.
    • Time out of the socket is critical in the long-term success of re-implantation. After 30 minutes, the success potential begins to decline. However, re-implantation is still possible after several hours, so the attempt can still be made even if the tooth has been out for a long period.

 

Dental Insurance

    I don’t have enough money to fix my teeth.

    In 1960, the average maximum benefit paid by insurance carriers was $1,000 per year. In 2012, the average is still approximately $1,000 per year. Can this be true? Yes! An ever-increasing number of patients cannot gain access to needed dental services because the maximums have not even kept pace with inflation. Is there a solution?

    We can provide you with various financing plans to suit your needs. If your credit is not optimal, you can use someone with good credit to apply for you or cosign for you.

    It IS possible for you to achieve healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.

 

Prenatal Dental Concerns

    Dental disease during pregnancy

    Many mothers have experienced gum disease, dental pain and/or tooth extraction during or shortly after their pregnancy. This is often seen as being a “normal” side effect of being pregnant. However, dental disease, which is an infection of the teeth and/or gums, is not “normal” for any patient.

    There are three basic events that happen during pregnancy which make the patient more susceptible to dental disease. First, hormonal changes may make the gums more susceptible to gum disease.

    Second, pregnant women tend to eat smaller, more frequent meals, exposing their teeth and gums to sugars and acids more often. Third, cravings for “junk foods” and inadequate oral hygiene pose an increased threat to the teeth and gums.

    Pregnant women should be advised to schedule a dental evaluation and receive preventive dental care. Personalized oral hygiene instruction should also be given to fight disease and promote overall good health for the mother and her baby.

 

Preventive Dentistry

    Crisis treatment

    Many people don’t see a dentist on a regular basis. They go only when they feel they have a problem. We call this “crisis treatment” as opposed to “preventive treatment”. While these patients may feel they are saving money, it usually ends up costing much more in both dollars and time. The reason for this is that most dental problems don’t have any symptoms until they reach the advanced stages.

    An example is tooth decay. We hear all the time, “Nothing hurts … I don’t have any problems.” But tooth decay doesn’t hurt! Until, that is, it gets close to the nerve of the tooth.

    Then a root canal and crown are usually necessary, instead of the small filling, which could have been placed several years ago when the cavity was small. We can usually detect a cavity three to four years before it may develop any symptoms. It is not uncommon to see a patient with a tremendous cavity but they have never felt a thing!


    Dental decay “cavities”

    Fluoride has been a great benefit to patients of all ages in helping prevent dental decay. Regular brushing and flossing lowers the chance of developing “cavities.” However, the most decay-prone areas of teeth are the grooves and depressions on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, which require further preventive care.

    To prevent decay, a plastic-like coating called a sealant should be painted on the chewing surfaces of all the back teeth. Studies have shown that sealants can reduce tooth decay by as much as 90% to 100%.

    The American Dental Association recommends that sealants are placed as soon as the first adult back teeth come in at age 6 or 7. Sealants should continue to be used as each adult back tooth comes into the mouth. All back teeth that need to be sealed are present by age 13. Sealant application is simple, fast, and painless.

    Please call our office with any questions you may have about the benefits using a sealant in preventing dental decay.


    Diet and dental health

    Diets low in certain nutrients will reduce resistance to oral and dental infections, that is, periodontal disease (gum disease) and decay. A healthy immune system is essential to controlling periodontal disease.

    Counseling in the Four Basic Food groups will improve dental health and general health. The consumption of sugar, especially in sticky forms or in a baby bottle while sleeping, contributes to the rapid development of dental decay.

    The trace nutrient fluoride may not be adequately supplied by bottle or municipal water supplies. Supplementation with oral tablets and topical application will reduce the incidence of dental decay by more than 60%.

    Together, a balanced diet, daily use of fluoride, effective brushing, and sensible eating habits can reduce the risk of, or even prevent, infectious dental disease.

    Please don’t hesitate to call our office if you need more information on diet or fluoride supplementation and its relationship to dental health.


    Dry mouth

    More seniors today have retained their own teeth, avoiding the trauma of removable dentures. Many are on medications creating dryness of the mouth as a side effect. Without the natural benefit of saliva to decrease bacterial action, we see an increase of cavities on the root surfaces of these patients.

    Anyone with autoimmune diseases or on a medication causing a dry mouth effect should be encouraged to see their dentist for regular dental cleanings and topical fluoride rinses.

    For more information regarding dental problems of the elderly or dental solutions to dry mouth resulting from autoimmune problems, please call our office.


    Mouth guards

    Why should you wear a mouth guard? While mouth guards are not mandatory equipment in all sports, their worth is indisputable. Mouth guards cushion blows to the face and neck. A mouth guard should be part of every athlete’s gear, no matter the sport. Even adults or weekend athletes need to protect their smile and preserve their health.

    Do: Wear a mouth guard at all times when playing sports. Wear a mouth guard custom fitted by your dentist, especially if you wear bridges or braces.

    Don’t: Wear removable appliances like retainers when playing sports.

    There are two types of mouth guards:

    • Custom-Made: designed by a dentist and made on a cast of your teeth. These cause very little interference with speaking or breathing. They provide the best protection and fit over braces and fixed bridges. They also cost more.
    • Ready-Made: purchased at most sporting goods stores. They are the least expensive, the least effective and least comfortable.

    Please call our office if you would like to “play it safe” and wear a comfortable mouth guard to protect your teeth.


    Some dental problems are easy to see!

    One of the easiest problems to spot is a build-up of plaque. Plaque is the soft, sticky layer of bacteria, which is constantly forming on the teeth. Usually it is invisible to the naked eye, but when a person is not brushing adequately, it can build up to where it appears to be a thick whitish coating on the teeth at the gum line. If not removed, it can lead to gum disease.

    Another potential problem that is easy to spot is missing teeth. Many patients assume that if they are still able to eat, they are okay.

    But very often, losing just one tooth can lead to the loss of support, and teeth begin to drift into the empty space, causing a change in the bite. It also forces the remaining teeth to carry an additional load, sometimes past their ability to adapt. In most cases, when even one tooth is lost, the remaining teeth suffer and are more likely to be lost as well.

    We specialize in the treatment of problems such as these. Call our office for the care you need.

 

Replacing Missing Teeth

    Lost teeth impact total health

    In the past, the loss of teeth (edentulism) was dismissed as a natural part of the aging process, and dentures were considered a normal sign of old age.

    While such ignorance is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, there is still not a general awareness of the seriousness of edentulism. Multiple tooth loss is most commonly caused by periodontal disease, i.e. gum and bone disease. Periodontal disease has a high statistical correlation with chronic debilitating disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

    So it is not very surprising that studies now show a shortened life expectancy by as much as 10 years for persons who have lost their natural teeth, when compared to those who have kept their teeth.

    In addition to longevity, quality-of-life differences are just as significant. The functional efficiency of dentures has been measured to be only 20 percent of that of natural teeth. Can there be any doubt that nutritional deficiencies will be much more prevalent in those without their natural teeth?

    Loss of teeth often causes a feeling of loss of wholeness and a sense of deterioration and aging. Given these factors, preservation of the natural teeth is integral to whole-person wellness.

    Replace missing teeth with dental implants

    “Well, you know Doc, it’s just a back tooth. No one will see it so I’ll just get rid of it. It’s not going to make a difference.”

    The plain truth is that it will make a difference. The loss of just a single tooth can set a course that can destroy an entire mouth. “Well, if that’s true, tell me more. I sure don’t want to lose the front ones that I smile with.”

    Teeth will drift and tip into a space that is created by missing teeth. Just like two gears of a car that are not properly aligned, pretty soon you’ve got a whole lot of problems.

    “Well, I don’t like that. What can I do?” If it sounds like I’ve heard this conversation a few times, you’re right. If I’m going to keep a patient happy, I need to provide options at this point.

    One of the options would be an implant. This is the replacement of a tooth with a false root that is surgically placed. It is then followed by the careful construction of a crown to replace the missing tooth to prevent teeth from shifting and thereby causing further tooth loss.

    If you have any questions about missing teeth and possible implant treatment, please call our office.

 

Sedation Dentistry

    Are you a candidate for sedation dentistry?

    If you just want to be more comfortable during your dental treatment you may or may not be a candidate for sedation dentistry. Because of advances in dentistry, materials, instruments, techniques and chair-side manners it is even less challenging to have dental treatment completed. Most patients are so surprised with what their new experience is at their first appointment that they realize they will do fine with their visits to our office. We will make your treatment more comfortable and complete it in a fewer visits. So if you have neglected your oral health because you haven’t had the time, don’t worry. We will help you achieve healthy teeth and gums in few visits.

    You ARE a candidate for sedation dentistry if:

    • Your oral health is deteriorating because you are afraid or terrified of the dentist or dental treatment
    • Your oral health is deteriorating because you are afraid or terrified of needles
    • You have had a traumatic dental experience
    • You have difficulty getting numb
    • You gag and it prevents you from getting dental treatment
    • You have complex dental problems

    Questions and Answers about sedation dentistry

    Q: Will I be numb?
    A: Yes. You will be numb before work begins.

    Q: Will I be unconscious?
    A: No, you will be in a deeply relaxed state, and you will be responsive.

    Q: Will I be monitored?
    A: Yes, one of our team is always with you and your vital signs are monitored during the entire visit.  You are never alone.

    Q: How long will I be snoozing?
    A: The time you are relaxing will vary depending on your needed treatment.

    Q: Will someone need to accompany me?
    A: Yes, due to the sedative effects of the medication, you will need someone to drive you to our office and home again.

    Sedation dentistry facts

    Sedation dentistry really works. Many people have avoided the dentist due to a bad past experience, fear of pain, fear of needles or fear of people working on their teeth. Others can’t get numb and experience the all-too-common situation: “The doctor gave me 10 shots, couldn’t get me numb and told me it was all in my head and caused me a great deal of pain.” Still others have a severe gag response that doesn’t allow them to have anything in their mouth without gagging. In the right hands sedation dentistry is safe. Depending on your level of fear or your concern, you may require only a confidence-building conversation with the doctor, a modern method of numbing (making the procedure painless), nitrous oxide gas, a pill form of sedation similar to that used in a standard surgical procedure, or a more-involved method through intravenous (IV) sedation. Not all people who have had a bad experience at the dentist need to be sedated.

    Most patients are so surprised with what their new experience is at their first appointment that they opt for no sedation at all, despite the challenge. Regardless of what method is used, the environment will always be as quiet and comfortable as physically possible.

    The time of your sedation will vary depending on the necessary treatment but normally we will try to accomplish as many procedures as are practicable in as few visits as possible so that you do not have to return repeatedly and so that you are sedated or anesthetized as few times as possible.

    Important note: Most people who haven’t been to the dentist in years are normally embarrassed about going to the dentist: What will they think? They are going to think less of me … They are going to lecture me … They are going to think…

    Many times, patients have tried to go to the dentist only to be made wrong, scorned or made to feel less than their worth by the dentist. This will not happen in our practice. We understand that, analytically, you’ve known you have needed to go to the dentist, but that something beyond your control has kept you from getting the necessary help.

    On the contrary, if it has been difficult for you to go to the dentist for whatever reason, and you finally decide – despite the challenge – to come in and bring yourself to health, it speaks volumes about your character. We will congratulate you, and if necessary hold your hand every step of the way. We are not here to make you feel wrong or lecture you; we are here to help and get you back to health, and that is what we will do. Frankly, we don’t care what your teeth look like. One bad tooth looks the same as 20 bad teeth. We will help you achieve healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime. Pick up the phone now and call.

 

Senior Dental Concerns

    Dental health for seniors

    Burning mouth and seniors

    Burning mouth usually occurs in individuals over 50, but can affect others as well. There are several reasons why it occurs.

    • Denture Problems: A new denture, or one that doesn’t fit well, can irritate your entire mouth.
    • Reduced Salivary Gland Function: This will cause the mouth to become dry, inviting oral discomfort, difficulty eating or swallowing, loss of taste, and a burning mouth. Salivary gland dysfunction sometimes comes with age. But there are saliva substitutes and rinses to protect your oral tissues, and soothe burning sensations.
    • Medications: These often dry the mouth (because of side effects).
    • Vitamin Deficiency: There is some evidence linking burning mouth syndrome to Vitamin B deficiency.
    • Candida Infections: This is a common oral fungus, usually apparent to the eye but sometimes undetectable. A topical antifungal agent can be prescribed.

    Cancer treatment related complications in the mouth

    Each year about 600,000 people with cancer develop treatment-related complications in the mouth ranging from lesions to chronic dry mouth to bone disintegration. If serious, these complications can be life threatening. While many are unavoidable, some can be prevented or minimized.

    It is recommended that whenever possible, a pre-therapy dental evaluation with a full set of mouth x-rays be performed. Any decay, gum disease and abscesses should be treated, if time permits, prior to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

    Even patients who have no pain or dental disorders need a thorough cleaning. The goal should be to have the patient’s mouth in optimal health prior to beginning anticancer therapy.

    If you have questions regarding cancer treatment and your dental health, please call our office.

    Denture problems

    Many denture wearers breathe a sigh of relief when they get their first pair of dentures, because they think their dental problems are over. What they soon realize, however, is that they have just traded some old problems for new ones.

    Even the best dentures can’t compete with natural teeth in ability to chew food efficiently and comfortably. As the years go by, the supporting ridges that remain after teeth have been removed gradually change and get smaller.

    For most patients, the dentures need to be “relined” or “refitted” every two to four years so that the denture will conform to the changing ridge. A large change in weight can also alter the shape of the mouth, causing changes in the fit.

    If you have questions about your dentures, please call our office.

 

Snoring Help

    Sleep apnea and loud snoring

    Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous disorder with fairly benign symptoms such as loud snoring at night, and morning headaches or daytime bouts of sleepiness. The cause? Intermittent periods throughout sleep when you actually stop breathing.

    Breathing cessation, or apnea, lasts from seconds to nearly a minute. When breathing resumes, the brain senses lack of oxygen and wakes you up. The snoring is loud, sometimes explosive.

    In the morning, the build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood causes headaches. The lack of deep, relaxing sleep can leave one drowsy and usually grouchy, during the day.

    During sleep apnea, the upper air passages in the mouth and throat are obstructed (no one is sure why). One form of treatment that has proven successful is wearing an acrylic appliance during sleep to keep air passages open. It’s comfortable and easy to use.

    For more information regarding sleep apnea, please call our office.

 

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