Have you ever wanted to be the architect of your own smile? Do you look in the mirror and pinpoint exactly what you’d change about your teeth, if you could? Veneers are your opportunity to do, just that!
There are certain qualities a veneer candidate’s mouth must possess. These qualities are as follows:
- Good overall health
- Absent signs of tooth decay and/or gum disease
- Not a habitual teeth grinder
- Properly aligned bite, teeth are more or less in normal positions
- Sufficient tooth enamel in order to support the veneer
After you have become an approved veneer candidate, we will become partners in designing your ideal smile! Veneer qualities can be described as: durable, hard, strong, translucent and glassy. Most people may not know this but veneers actually are fairly translucent and act like a contact lens would on your eye. This translucence allows for the natural tooth color to come through, yet that the lab technician can bake your approved hue into your set of veneers can enhance the shade. There are three aspects to the shade selection process.
- Color Tone – the natural tones of teeth are: red, blue and yellow
- Chroma – the intensity of the hue
- Value – the darkness or lightness of the hue
You will still be able to eat hard food (such as an apple) and maintenance of your new veneers will not differ from your current tooth care routine. Brush and floss as normal, simply avoiding abrasive toothpastes. A good home care regimen will insure your veneers lifespan.
If you’re thinking about veneers you should call us so we can help you decide if this cosmetic service is right for you! It’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always dreamed of.
Nobody likes coming to the dentist to have a cavity filled! Many of our patients ask us how stop a cavity before it happens. Many people have heard of fluoride but wonder how it works and if it is safe. We wrote this blog to answer your questions about fluoride and to help you understand its benefits and how to use it effectively.
Fluoride occurs naturally in certain foods. You might be surprised to learn that it can be found in black teas and raisins, and in our water sources, such as lakes and rivers. And, because it provides such good protection from tooth decay, it has been added to dental products to help prevent cavities.
Fluoride works for both children and adults. It’s true! Before teeth even erupt through the gums, fluoride taken in from certain foods and supplements makes tooth enamel stronger and therefore more resistant to decay. After teeth erupt, brushing with fluoride toothpaste helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel, reversing early signs of cavity formation. In addition, the fluoride you consume becomes a part of your saliva, constantly bathing your teeth with tiny amounts of the cavity fighter. While it is critical for infants and children to be exposed to fluoride when primary and permanent teeth are forming, new research indicates that topical fluoride is just as important in fighting tooth decay for adults!
Use the correct amount of toothpaste to benefit your teeth. While all toothpaste removes plaque (a thin film of bacteria that can cause gum disease and tooth decay), only toothpaste with fluoride can prevent tooth decay by making teeth stronger. Make sure you’re using the correct amount of toothpaste with your children!
- For very little ones, under 3 years of age, parents and caregivers should begin gently brushing teeth as soon as they come into the mouth with an amount of fluoridated toothpaste the size of a few grains of rice.
- For children ages 3 to 6, a pea-size amount of toothpaste is best. Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day and make sure to supervise children to help instill good habits.
Some mouth rinses also contain fluoride. You may already be protecting your teeth with fluoride without even knowing it! However, mouth rinses should not be used with children under the age of 6, as they may not be able it use it appropriately.
You may have fluoride in your water. Your community may have chosen water fluoridation (simply adding fluoride to drinking water) as a public health benefit. Water fluoridation is safe, effective, and healthy. The Center for Disease Control has noted water fluoridation as one of the ten best public health achievements of the 20th century.
For your best dental hygiene routine, ask us during your next visit about the right fluoride products for you and your family. Your oral health is our priority so we want to answer any questions that you have. Armed with the right information, your family can have healthy teeth for life. Contact our office to schedule your next visit! We can’t wait to see you soon!
When compared to the costs of other tooth replacement options, boy do dental implants seem expensive! Yet you may be surprised to learn that, in the long run, dental implants can be more affordable than their traditional counterparts. Understanding this procedure and the factors that determine the costs can help you decide if dental implants are a good investment for you!
What is a Dental Implant? A dental implant is a permanent replacement for lost teeth. It is made of an artificial tooth firmly held in place by a tooth root made of titanium (which is biocompatible) that is surgically placed into your jaw. Dental implants help stabilize the jaw and the bone around it to avoid future bone loss and maintain the shape of your jaw. They never have to be removed and feel more natural and comfortable than dentures. And unlike bridges or crowns, which are cemented in, the chances of slippage or shifting are eliminated. With implants, talking and eating become worry free.
Steps In a Dental Implant Procedure. We will first use extensive imaging to determine bone health, height, and thickness to assess your bone and teeth structure carefully. The surgery itself is done in our office in separate stages. First, the implant is surgically placed into your jawbone, completely hidden within your gum tissue. Once the implant has integrated into your bone, a healing process of about 4 to 6 months, the next stage is the placement of the abutment, or the post that penetrates the gum and will connect the replacement tooth to the implant. The final stage involves attaching your artificial tooth (made from impressions of your natural tooth) to the abutment. If more than one tooth is being replaced, a removable bridge is used, as it is more affordable than implanting each tooth separately. For a bridge, it takes only one implant on either side to span an area holding several teeth. The bridge snaps into place for a more permanent and natural fit than dentures.
Factors That Affect the Cost. While dental implant surgery is a safe and routine option, it is a complex procedure that takes time and expertise to be done effectively. There are many factors that will influence the final costs including what X-ray and CT scans are necessary to evaluate and assess the implant area and the brand and material of the post, abutment and artificial teeth. However, the biggest cost factor is the complexity of the surgery itself. For example, how many teeth are we replacing and what is the location? Will additional procedures, such as bone grafting or sinus elevation be required? We do our best to make sure that your estimate includes all of the possible costs of each of the steps of your procedure.
While dental implants may seem expensive, they are often more affordable in the long run than traditional restoration methods such as crowns and bridges, which are more vulnerable to damage and usually require repairs or replacement every few years.
Dental implants are known to have a 95% success rate when completed by professionals with the right experience and training, such as us! Because dental implants offer a permanent solution, are natural and comfortable, and require little maintenance, they are a cost effective choice for most of our patients.
It’s estimated that 125 million Americans are missing at least one tooth. If you are one of them, you may be considering dental implants for tooth replacement. We think it’s important for you to know what factors make a person a good candidate for such a procedure. Here are a few things to consider.
Most People Are Good Candidates. Dental implants can replace one, several, or all of your teeth. They can be used in place of bridges or dentures. Good candidates have healthy gums and are old enough so that their jawbone has stopped growing. You should also have enough bone to support and anchor the implants. Even if you have lost bone in your jaw, however, you may still be a good candidate for implants. In fact, dental implants may be recommended to prevent further bone loss. In these situations, bone can actually be rebuilt with grafting procedures as part of the implant process.
Evaluation. Successful implantation starts with a thorough evaluation of your jaw, teeth, mouth and overall health. You will receive a mouth X-ray and possibly a Computed Tomography (CT) scan. This will help us identify areas of bone loss and carefully see the shape of your sinuses and nerve location to make accurate assessments for your treatment. We will also do a thorough medical evaluation, as your overall health and history plays a big role in how well your implant will heal and fuse to the bone.
People At Risk of Poor Outcomes. Uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, smoking, alcoholism, or uncontrolled gum disease are all risk factors that can adversely affect your outcome. You may still be a good candidate with one of these diseases, but we’ll want to thoroughly assess your situation and work with you and your doctor to increase your overall health and functioning. People who take certain medications, such as steroids or drugs that suppress the immune system may not be suitable candidates, either. And people with certain habits, such as people who severely grind or clench their teeth may put too much pressure on the implants, causing long term damage.
Overall, dental implants have a very high rate of success and patients tell us how happy they are with the outcome. If you are considering implants, we can complete a careful examination to determine what options are best suited for you. Call us today to make that appointment!
Many people think that a painful tooth means they need a root canal treatment. While that is sometimes true, it’s not always the case. In fact, there are many other reasons that teeth can hurt!
Here, we offer a guide to some common types of tooth pain and what that pain may be trying to tell you:
Sensitivity to hot and cold foods:
If the pain is short-lived, you probably do not have a serious problem, but more likely a loose filling or a small amount of gum recession that has resulted in root surface exposure. Use sensitive teeth toothpaste and a soft brush with an up and down motion. If this doesn’t help after a week or so, give us a call.
Heat sensitivity after an appointment:
Some types of dental work can inflame the pulp inside your teeth, causing sensitivity for several weeks. If it lasts longer than that, let us know.
Sharp pain when biting:
Sometimes sharp pain can be caused by a loose filling, other times it may signal that there is a crack in your tooth. Either of these scenarios requires evaluation by a professional, so please give us a call.
Pain/Sensitivity lasting longer than 30 seconds:
Often this means that the pulp (innermost part of your tooth) has been damaged. Without intervention, you may lose this tooth so it is important to call us to find out if you may need root canal treatment.
Frequent, dull aching in the jaw.
This can happen when excessive grinding of the teeth happens (bruxism), or it could even be a sign of a sinus headache or infection. Please call us for more information.
Severe pain, pressure or swelling of the gums:
This may mean that you have an abscessed, infected tooth that may have spread to other tissues in the mouth. This is a serious situation that requires an immediate call to our office for instructions.
In our practice, we hear many great questions about periodontal disease and gums in general. So, to help educate our patients better, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions for you here:
Q: Is periodontal disease contagious?
A: Yes and no. The disease, which is an inflammatory response to bacteria under the gums, itself is not contagious. However, that bacteria can be spread through saliva, which could in turn cause periodontal disease in another person. To be safe, don’t share utensils or toothbrushes in your house.
Q: Can children get periodontal disease?
A: No. Periodontal disease has only very rarely been found in children and adolescents. However, it’s never too soon to adopt good healthy gum habits! Teach your kids to brush twice and floss once every day.
Q: Do I need antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria?
A: Possibly. A number of factors go into our determination about whether a patient needs topical antibiotic treatment after a periodontal cleaning. If you do need it, it will be applied under the gums during treatment.
Q: Are diabetes and periodontal disease related?
A: Yes, periodontal disease is a common complication of diabetes, most likely because diabetes makes a person more prone to infection. New evidence also shows that good perio health may have a positive effect on blood sugar levels as well!
Q: What about heart disease?
A: This is less clear, however several studies have shown that gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease as well.
As always, we are here to help. If you have additional questions that don’t appear on this list, give us a call!
Can drinking coffee really help prevent oral cancer? What about different types of foods? Numerous studies have been published that claim certain foods and drinks can prevent oral cancer but when it comes to a disease that will affect 43,250 people this year, it’s important to get the facts.
Oral cancer, also referred to as mouth or head and neck cancer, occurs when there is a problem with the lifecycle of a normal, healthy cell. Cells are supposed to grow and divide into new cells as your body needs them but when this process goes wrong, your body over produces cells. These extra cells can cause a tumor to form. Depending on the type of cells in the tumor, it could be cancerous or benign.
Some studies may say they have proof that a specific food or drink helps to prevent mouth cancer but in reality the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid certain risk factors like smoking and drinking. Drinking in excess accompanied by smoking makes you highly susceptible to the disease and should be avoided.
Most oral cancers start in the tongue in what are called the flat cells and they can spread to other parts of the body if they aren’t caught early (in doctor lingo, cancer of these flat cells is called squamous cell carcinoma). Interestingly, when these oral cancer cells spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs, they are still considered oral cancer cells rather than lung cancer cells. Where these abnormal cancer cells begin is what they will always be referred to as, regardless of where they spread.
Doctors still don’t know why one person gets oral cancer while another person does not, but it is important to note that oral cancer is NOT contagious. Avoiding risk factors and eating healthy is key to preventing oral cancer. Make sure to visit us regularly so we can check for signs of oral cancer!
Regular oral pathology exams are extremely important when it comes to preventing head and neck cancer. When you visit us make sure to ask about the exam if you haven’t had one before or have noticed anything strange on the inside of your mouth. It’s also good to perform an oral pathology check on yourself from time to time. Let’s go over how to do an at-home check and what you should be looking out for.
Step 1: Know what you’re looking for. Oral cancer signs include:
- A difference in color in one particular area
- A change in texture
- Lumps of any kind (especially if it’s something you haven’t noticed before)
Step 2: Take a bright light such as a flashlight and while looking in a mirror, check the following:
- Cheek walls
- Top and bottom of mouth
- Back of throat
If you notice any of the above signs, give us a call immediately to schedule an appointment. It’s also beneficial to perform an extra-oral screening. When performing an extra-oral exam on yourself, you want to feel for any lumps or bumps. Here are the steps for doing this exam at home:
Step 1: Place your hands on the back of each side of your jaw under your ears. Open and close your jaw while feeling for any bumps.
Step 2: With your hands in the same position work your way down your neck.
Step 3: Turn your head to the right and feel your left side-neck muscles. Turn your head left and feel your right side neck muscles.
Step 4: Grab your gullet and swallow.
Step 5: Put your chin down and with your palms facing away from you feel the underside of your jaw with your fingers.
We hope we don’t have to see you in the office if you’ve discovered something wrong but we are here to help. We can catch the early signs of oral cancer! If you feel anything strange, call us to schedule an appointment.
What’s involved in a dental implant? Do they hurt? Can anyone get them? There are a lot of questions surrounding dental implants but one thing is certain; they’ve been reconstructing smiles for over 35 years with amazing results. But what’s the fuss surrounding dental implants and are they really worth it? Lets answer some question to help you decide for yourself.
Can anyone get a dental implant? Anyone who is healthy enough to get a dental implant can get one as long as they have enough bone to hold the implant. This is where bone grafting comes in for those who have been told their jawbone won’t hold an implant. Keeping up with regular oral hygiene is also an important factor and heavy smokers may be told it’s not a safe option.
What exactly is a dental implant? A dental implant replaces your tooth root with a metal rod. It provides a solid structure on which to place a new tooth that is made to match your real teeth. Dental implants not only improve the overall look of your smile but they’re durable, convenient, and easy to take care of.
What are the steps to getting a dental implant? As your doctor, we will want to develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on your specific needs. Once we have agreed on a treatment plan, the next step will be the placement of the implant in your jaw. The implant is made of titanium and once placed the jawbone will actually begin to grow around it. In about six to twelve weeks the implant will have completely bonded to your jaw and it will be time to attach a small post that connects your new tooth to the implant. We create a mold of your bite that allows us to create your new tooth. This replacement tooth is then attached to the post and the implant process is complete!
Lastly, how painful are dental implants and are they difficult to take care of? Most patients have said they experienced very little discomfort when receiving their implant. Many have even said the process is much less painful than a tooth extraction. Mild pain that may occur for a few days after you receive your implant can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. Dental implants require the same care as your real teeth but generally they are much easier to clean and you don’t have to worry about cavities.
We hope this answers some of the questions surrounding dental implants. If you’re missing a tooth or teeth, give us a call to ask more about the procedure. We’ve seen many patients leave happy and comfortable with their improved smile!
Traditionally, the methods used for periodontal treatment included scaling and root planing, a way of physically removing plaque and tarter deposits beneath the gum line. We now have, however, an additional tool for treating periodontal disease: the laser.
Laser treatment for gum disease is the use of laser light energy to vaporize bacteria and infected tissue in a deepened gum pocket. During the procedure, topical local anesthetic is provided.
It is important to note, however, that laser gum therapy is not usually prescribed as a treatment alone. Most often it is used in conjunction with scaling and root planing. You may be wondering, “What benefits does laser treatment provide that are not afforded by traditional periodontal therapies?”
Here are the five top reasons why we recommend laser periodontal treatment to our patients when it is an appropriate treatment option:
- Less pain = less anesthesia. Because laser treatment is less invasive, it tends to cause less discomfort. This means that usually, the only pain blocker needed is a simple topical anesthetic.
- Sterilization: Simply put, lasers sterilize the treatment site as they work and leave a sterile wound behind when finished, reducing the risk of further infection.
- Minimal Bleeding: A bonus for anyone, especially those taking blood thinners, laser gum therapy causes less bleeding than scaling and root planing.
- Less Swelling: The less invasive nature of laser therapy equates to less swelling in patients.
- Almost No Post-op Pain: Because swelling is minimized, we send you home with less discomfort.
Ask us how we can help you take good care of your gums with a combination of laser and traditional periodontal therapies.