Dental Procedures & Treatment Definitions

Conservative Cavity Care Blasts Away Decay

airabrasionAir abrasion is a relatively new decay removal and tooth preparation tool that we often use in place of the traditional dental drill. This innovative system allows us to conserve more of the patient’s natural tooth structure and reduce the risk of enamel micro-fracturing. Because the equipment does not produce vibration or heat, patients require little or no anesthetic. Air abrasion is quieter, faster, and more comfortable than traditional drilling.

So how does it work? Air abrasion applies the principle of kinetic energy to bombard the tooth area with a high-pressure stream of tiny aluminum oxide particles. As the particles bounce off the tooth’s surface, they blast away decayed tissue and prepare the tooth for a filling. The process requires only a minute or so per tooth. Air abrasion is a popular choice for children, as well as adults.

The Road to Health is Paved with Proper

The Downhill Slidtooth brushe

Although most people think they know the reasons for proper, daily tooth brushing, few people realize that clean teeth and healthy gums can protect against a variety of general, even life-threatening, health problems. When you don’t brush regularly, harmful bacteria multiply and plaque forms. Combined with sugar, saliva, mucus, and food debris, plaque creates a strong acid substance that eats away protective tooth enamel to cause tooth decay. A downhill slide can result.

Over time, the decay works its way below the enamel to infect tooth dentin, and this can cause pain and kill teeth. Meanwhile, plaque build up on tooth surfaces irritates gums, causing them to pull away from the teeth and expose the sensitive tooth roots. Loose gums form pockets where bacteria and infection gather. This nasty stuff can destroy the bone that holds teeth secure, resulting in tooth loosening or loss. Finally, chronic gum disease can break down the protective barrier between oral bacteria and your blood stream. This allows bacteria to enter your blood stream and increases the risk for a host of health problems like heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, diabetes complications, and pregnancy complications.

The Uphill Climb

Maintain good oral health by establishing a solid habit of brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush, using the proper technique and quality fluoride toothpaste, and flossing carefully once a day. What’s the best brushing technique? That depends on your personal dentition, but general guidelines apply to all patients.

First, choose toothpaste with the ADA seal of approval. You should spend at least three to four minutes brushing with a small, soft, angled brush in little, circular motions across all tooth surfaces and the gum line. Cover two to three teeth at a time, applying gentle pressure. Harsh brushing can damage gums and cause painful sensitivity. After brushing your teeth, remember to brush or scrape your tongue to remove germs and bacteria that harm teeth and cause bad breath. Finally, rinse your entire mouth with water and spit out the debris. Brush twice daily or after meals, and floss between teeth once a day.

For more thorough brushing, consider purchasing an electric toothbrush. Some models feature an automatic cut off or warning light that kicks into action when you brush too harshly. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months so that the bristles remain effectively positioned and clean. For fresh breath and further prevention of bad bacteria, follow up with an over-the-counter mouthwash.

The Crux of Bruxism

Some patients react to stress by grinding their teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. The constant pressure and motion can harm teeth, as well as muscles and tissues in and around the jaw. The condition, known as bruxism, can be remedied with a nightguard.

The Facts About Clenching & Grinding

Common symptoms of bruxism include a sore jaw, headaches, or earaches. Causes vary, but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, and other factors. Bruxism is most prevalent in women and generally found in about one-third of the population.

Individuals who react to stress with anger, pain, frustration, aggression, or competition are most commonly affected. People with bruxism may have other biting habits, such as biting fingernails, pencils, lips, or the insides of their cheeks.

Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth cannot only cause the aforementioned symptoms, but it may also contribute to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, which has a long list of side effects associated with pain in the head and neck. Teeth rubbing together consistently will result in surface wear over time, which will cause dental problems. Insomnia, eating disorders, and depression can result from bruxism left untreated.

A Solid Solution

How can you stop an unconscious habit? A thorough evaluation will allow us to check your teeth, tissues, and muscles. If we determine that you suffer from bruxism, we’ll create an orthotic appliance, also called a nightguard or splint, to prevent grinding and clenching. Many types of nightguards exist, and patients react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may. In many cases, simply wearing a nightguard will eliminate the problem. However, if the condition persists, we can prescribe alternative therapies to correct the issue.

Some practices that can relieve symptoms of bruxism include stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. If your teeth were damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ to be a factor, our team will repair and treat you to provide complete relief.

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Crowns: We Have You Covered

If you’re self-conscious about cracked, broken, decayed, or worn teeth, we can bring back your healthy, natural-looking smile with dental crowns, also called caps. A crown can return structure, strength, and function to a tooth with extensive decay or damage. Designed to fit snugly and function as a healthy tooth, a crown will protect your tooth from further damage and preserve the jaw’s correct natural alignment.

We use precious metal, porcelain pressed (or fused) to metal, or all-porcelain crowns. To maintain a fully white smile, we recommend all-ceramic crowns. Our precise color-matching system allows us to find the right shade of porcelain to blend with your natural tooth color. Porcelain crowns are also extremely durable and long lasting, and these benefits make them popular with dentists as well as patients.

Typically, we can design, fit, and place your crowns in just a couple of short appointments. Once a crown is placed, you can care for it as you do your natural teeth. Conscientious brushing twice a day and daily flossing will protect the base of your crown from bacterial growth. Be sure to see us at least two times each year for professional cleanings and a preventive exam, too.

DIAGNOdent uses a small laser to accurately locate decay, as well as areas prone to decay. Studies show that DIAGNOdentis more accurate than X-rays, and it emits no radiation because it is not taking an image, but rather scanning the teeth. The process is completely comfortable and requires no anesthesia.Diagnodent

Conservative dentistry is always the best option for patients. When we find decay early, teeth incur less damage and more natural tooth structure can be retained during restoration. DIAGNOdent can also find areas prone to future decay. Demineralization in teeth makes them susceptible to decay. By re-mineralizing with fluoride, patients may deter cavity formation.

Our team believes prevention is best for the patient because it will reduce your need for future reconstructive dental procedures. Modern advances in dentistry, like DIAGNOdent, allow us to give you the most conservative and precise treatment available, and you deserve it. Now that’s something to smile about!

Glimpse Your Future

When you decide to correct or enhance your smile, it’s often difficult to determine ahead of time exactly what kind of results to expect. After all, a smile is a pretty personal thing, and changing your smile can feel like changing your identity. That’s where cosmetic digital imaging comes into play. Digital imaging is computer software that allows us to take your digital photograph and manipulate it to reflect the procedures you’re considering. The result is a photo that shows you what your smile would look like after treatment. Whether you’re considering teeth whitening, straightening, bonding, veneers, or a complete smile makeover, digital imaging technology lets you see into your future.

The process is quite simple. Once your dentist has completed your oral exam and discussed your smile goals, a treatment plan will be created. Various digital photos of your current smile will be taken and change factors will be keyed into the computer. The computer will immediately generate one or more graphic images that accurately demonstrate how the changes will affect the appearance of your mouth, as well as your overall facial appearance. It’s a fun process, and it can instigate excitement similar to when a sonogram reveals the gender of a new baby. Plus, you can take a photo of the new you home to share with family or friends.

Informed patients make wise decisions, and digital imaging allows you the opportunity to actually glimpse your future before committing to treatment. What more could you ask for?

Dental Radiography
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What We See Is What We Get

We’ve invested in a new way of looking into your mouth—a procedure that’s fast, comfortable, and incredibly precise. Using digital radiography, we can clearly identify all external and internal anatomical structures and accurately diagnose your dental problems. Even more amazing, we can immediately translate that information into a large, clear, accurate image, projected to a monitor that patient and doctor can study together in the operatory. You won’t even have to leave your chair. Digital radiography’s technology improves and simplifies the way we care for our patients’ teeth, resulting in better dental evaluations and treatment decisions.

As the most important member of your dental team, you need to understand the condition of your mouth, as well as our recommendations for treatment. Digital radiographs help us help you.

Reduced Radiation, Radical Results

Traditionally, dentists used X-rays to see what the naked eye could not; X-rays were developed in a darkroom with hazardous chemicals, and then viewed on a special light board. The developed X-rays had to be stored, which required large filing systems. By far, the worst part of traditional X-rays was the radiation exposure to patients. Digital radiography has completely transformed this process.

Now, when you come into the office for X-rays, a tiny sensor is placed in your mouth to detect small amount of radiation – up to 90-percent less than traditional X-rays required. This creates an detailed image of your internal oral structures that is immediately viewable on a chair-side monitor, carrying with it all the conveniences of other digitized images. We can rotate and magnify it, adjust it for contrast, and even color-code it for educational purposes. The digital images store easily and efficiently in our computer files, safe and sound. For insurance purposes, referrals, or patient education, digital X-rays can be easily, inexpensively, and accurately reproduced indefinitely.

Digital X-rays offer unparalleled benefits over traditional radiographs: they’re convenient, safe for the environment, provide a great opportunity for patient education, can be transferred and copied accurately, and best of all, they’re safer for our patients. If you have questions about digital X–rays, call us. We’ll do all we can to help.

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Composite Resins: Strengthen Your Smile

If you’re embarrassed about your smile because of decay or dark fillings in your teeth, you may be a good candidate for composite resins. A silicon dioxide-filled, tooth-colored plastic mixture, composite resins can restore teeth to an attractive, healthy state. Composite resins represent several advantages over traditional silver, or amalgam, fillings.

Because composite resins are not made of metal, we can blend and mix shades to find the perfect color to match your natural teeth. This means only you and your dentist will know you have fillings. Another pro is that the tooth/composite bond actually supports the remaining tooth structure, deterring breakage and insulating against temperature changes. Medium and small composites can last seven to ten years – that’s as long as the tried and true amalgams. Best of all, composite resins allow us to keep more of your natural tooth structure intact than amalgams. We believe in conservative dentistry – the more natural tooth structure you keep, the better teeth you’ll likely have in the future.

Some patients experience mild and temporary post-placement sensitivity from composite resin fillings. The only caution we usually mention is that coffee, tea, and other staining foods and beverages may discolor your composites unless you ask to have them coated with a clear plastic sealant.

A Stable Solution that Renews Your Smile

If you’ve lost teeth due to accident, injury, or gum disease, we can create a permanent bridge to restore your solid smile. A bridge not only fills the gap, but it also prevents re-positioning of remaining teeth. It can also correct a misaligned bite, improve chewing function and speech articulation, and provide internal structure for the face to give you a more youthful appearance.

What is a Fixed Bridge?

First of all, a bridge is a prosthetic tooth (or teeth) that attaches on one or both sides to teeth prepared with dental crowns. A fixed bridge is permanently joined onto the neighboring abutment teeth (crowned teeth) and consists of three basic units: the false tooth or teeth (called a pontic) and two abutment crowns. The style of bridge we suggest will depend upon the strength and health the abutment teeth, as well as the location of the gap in relation to the rest of your dentition. If healthy adjacent abutment teeth aren’t available, a surgically-implanted metal post, known as a dental implant, may offer a solid alternative. For a bridge that replaces many teeth, we may recommend a removable partial denture or implant-supported prosthesis. With proper care, a fixed bridge may last at least 8 to 10 years.

If you have questions about crown and bridgework or any other dental prosthetic, call us. We will be happy to discuss the options and schedule your evaluation.

Fight plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath in minutes.

Bad Bacteria
FlossingYou may not realize that even when your mouth is clean, bacteria lurk in the warm, damp cave, growing and eating incessantly. These naturally occurring microorganisms make a delicacy of even the most minute food particles, after which they deposit a sticky residue on the teeth called plaque. After you brush and floss, plaque accumulates throughout the day and night, especially in places where toothbrushes can’t reach. Left to harden into tartar, plaque build-up irritates gums and can trigger inflammation and gum disease. Sound like a nasty situation? It doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can virtually eliminate plaque by carefully brushing and properly flossing every day.

It’s really that simple: your toothbrush cleans the tops and sides of your teeth, while the floss cleans between them. Flossing also polishes teeth and controls bad breath. An extra two or three minutes spent flossing each day can give you a huge advantage in the war against those bad bacteria. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing twice and flossing once daily.

Two Techniques

Correct flossing is a fairly easy thing to learn: either via the spool method, if you’re quite dexterous, or via the loop method if you’re less nimble with your fingers. To use the spool method, simply pull off about 18 inches of floss, wind most of it lightly around your middle finger. Don’t pull tightly and cut off your circulation! Then wind the remaining floss around your other hand’s middle finger to take up the used floss as you go. Now, push the floss in between your teeth using your index fingers and thumbs. Gently bring the floss up and down several times around both sides of each tooth, making sure to reach below the gum line, forming a C around each tooth with the floss. Pull or push it against your gums carefully so that you don’t hurt them; avoid rubbing it from side to side.

To use the loop method, pull off an 18-inch strand of floss, then make it into a circle. Tie the circle with three secure knots, and place all of your fingers (not your thumb) within the loop. Next, use your index fingers to direct the floss through your lower teeth, and your thumbs to direct it through your upper teeth. Again, be sure to clean below the gum line, and make the floss form a C around the sides of each tooth.

If you’re not especially skilled with your hands, or if you have to floss someone else’s teeth for them, you may want to consider a pre-threaded flossing tool. These small plastic devices come in bulk packages at drugstores. They are rather inexpensive but very effective.

Styles of Floss

Don’t let the wide variety of flosses confuse you; simply choose the one that appeals to you the most so that you’ll use it. The style you choose is far less important than the fact that you do floss! Consider these distinguishing factors. Wide floss, also called dental tape, works well for bridgework or widely-spaced teeth. You may also find that waxed flosses slide more smoothly between tight teeth or restorations. On the other hand, unwaxed floss squeaks, indicating that you’ve gotten your teeth clean, and bonded, unwaxed floss is sturdier than unbonded, unwaxed floss.

The ADA offers a video clip to teach patients young and old how to floss and brush correctly. To view the clip, visit www.ada.org/public/games/animation/index.asp.

Maybe It Is Your Problem

It hides in your mouth, destroying gum tissue and teeth, and it can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and pregnancy complications. Don’t think it’s your problem? Conservative estimates report that up to 80 percent of the population unknowingly has gum disease in some form.Gum Disease

Seventy percent of adult tooth loss is attributed to gum disease. Recent research shows a link between patients who have gum disease and those who suffer from strokes, heart attacks, or complications with diabetes or pregnancy. Gum disease is silent in that early symptoms may be painless and mild, like swollen gums or bleeding while brushing. Regular dental check ups are vital because a professional can detect, treat, and reverse gum disease in early stages before major problems arise.

Cause and Effect

Several factors contribute to periodontal disease: plaque buildup, heredity, and lifestyle choices. By far, the most common and controllable factor is bacterial plaque, the sticky, colorless film produced by normal oral bacteria. Bacteria release toxins that break down the natural fibers that bond gums to teeth. When this occurs, pockets between the gums and teeth form, and more bacteria and toxins hide, flourish, and destroy your gums and teeth. Over time, this process can affect not only gums, teeth, and bone within the mouth, but also overall health. Bacteria in your mouth will be inadvertently ingested, and this can compromise your whole-body health.

Maintaining Good Periodontal Health

Regular dental visits at least every six months allow us to keep a watchful eye on the health of your gums. You should also brush twice a day, floss once a day, and use good mouth rinses at home. We will recommend the products that will optimize your oral homecare, and we can also show you the best methods for brushing and flossing. If you have overcome periodontal disease, we will recommend frequent check ups to ensure your mouth stays healthy for a lifetime.

Dental Implants: Nature’s Rival

Now patients who are missing teeth have a strong, beautiful alternative to bridges, partials, or full dentures. Dental implants will improve your smile and your lifestyle. They look, feel, and function like natural teeth because of a titanium anchor attached to the jawbone. Implants can also anchor bridges, partials, or full dentures to eliminate slipping.

After a thorough evaluation, your dentist can tell you whether you’re a candidate for dental implants. They require adequate bone structure for placement. The first stage of the procedure involves oral surgery in which a titanium post is implanted into the jawbone for each missing tooth or for the new teeth that will anchor a bridge or denture. Nature will take its course, allowing your bone tissue to fuse with the titanium post. This creates a solid foundation.

Once the dental implants are secured, your dentist will attach a handcrafted, permanent crown to each post. The restorations will match your natural teeth and blend seamlessly with your smile.

By imitating an entire natural tooth, from the root up, dental implants offer a prosthetic that closely mimics nature. The result? Dental implant patients enjoy restored function, which allows a healthy diet of hard-to-chew foods. Speech may also improve. Strong and secure, your new smile will boost your confidence, enhance your appearance, and improve your quality of life.

Intra Oral Cameras Turn Patients into Partners

People seldom have a clear idea of the actual status of their dental health. Even with lights and mirrors, a patient can’t see what the dentist can — that is, until now.

We use intraoral cameras, so when you visit the dentist, you can sit comfortably back in the chair and get ready for the show. The dentist or hygienist will insert a pen-sized, camera-tipped wand into your mouth. Covered with a disposable plastic sheath for contamination prevention, the wand simply takes a video of the inside of your mouth and transmits the images via cable to a computing unit. The computing unit enlarges the full-color images and sends them to a TV screen that you can comfortably view from the dental chair. Aha! There it is — your mouth on the screen. The dentist can point out problem areas and explain his recommendations for treatment, so you’ll become an informed partner in your dental care instead of a clueless bystander.

Seeing your dental problems may seem overwhelming at first, but consider the experience the first step toward a healthier, fresher smile. The camera may reveal the early stages of potentially serious problems, allowing you the opportunity to prevent small problems before they escalate. This is especially helpful with gum disease and conditions that cause damage without causing pain. The camera’s honest survey can also show you how your regular home hygiene routine is paying off. The dental hygienist or dentist can recommend ways to improve your homecare based on their findings.

If you want to learn more about the technologies that enhance patient care in our office, call us today. We’re always happy to explain the new innovations in dentistry and how they can improve your dental experience.

IV Sedation for Relaxed Dentistry

Think it’s impossible to relax at the dentist’s office? Reliable intravenous (IV) sedation techniques let you rest comfortably while receiving the dental care you need and want. If fear of the dentist keeps you from necessary treatment, ask us about IV sedation to ease you through any procedure.

While mostly used for oral surgeries or time-consuming procedures, IV sedation can alleviate severe anxiety and phobias associated with dentists, needles, and drills to make any dental procedure pleasant. In addition, patients with sensitive gag reflexes and those with TMJ or other neuromuscular disorders that make it hard to keep their mouths open for long periods of time often benefit from IV sedation. We will consult with you to determine your anxiety level and decide whether IV sedation is safe for you, based on medical history and present health conditions.

The sedative dosage we administer correlates to the intensity of your anxiety or discomfort. IV sedation allows us unprecedented control over relaxation levels, so we can tailor the sedation to your specific needs. Depending on the amount of sedative you receive, you will feel extremely relaxed, drowsy, or you may fall asleep completely. Typically, patients remain conscious and can respond to questions but do not experience extreme nervousness or discomfort, remembering little about the appointment afterwards.

As with any procedure we perform, your physical safety remains one of our top concerns. To prepare for an appointment in which you will receive IV sedation, do not eat or drink anything for eight hours prior to your procedure, except for prescription medications, unless advised otherwise. While you are under sedation, we closely monitor blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. After your dental work, we stop the IV and let you rest comfortably for 15 to 20 minutes before discharge. If necessary, we prescribe pain management medication after your visit, particularly after an oral surgery. You must arrange to have a responsible adult drive you home from your appointment and remain with you until drowsiness wears off. You should be able to resume normal activities the day after the appointment.

We understand your fear about visiting the dentist, as well as your desire for healthy, beautiful teeth. We can help you achieve the smile of your dreams with the compassionate care you deserve. Ask us if IV sedation is right for you!

mouth cancerOral cancer kills more people nationwide than either cervical or skin (melanoma) cancer, and only half of patients diagnosed will survive more than five years. One American dies every hour from oral cancer. The most common risk factors are tobacco use, frequent high quantity alcohol consumption, constant sunlight exposure, habitual cheek or lip biting, or poorly fitting dentures. Although 80 to 90 percent of oral cancers are found in people who use tobacco and/or drink alcohol excessively, 25 percent of oral cancers occur in people who have no risk factors at all.

Your dentist could very well be your number one soldier in the fight against oral cancer. Statistics show in about 10 percent of patients, dentists notice a problem area even before the patient notices. During a regular dental check up, your dentist will examine your entire mouth, searching for a flat, painless, white or red spot or small sore. Other signs of oral cancer can include:

  • A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal.
  • A color change of the oral tissues.
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small, eroded area.
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.

Two tests can determine if a trouble spot is cancerous. A brush biopsy is a painless test performed on areas that look harmless or do not have a clear cause. This test can detect potentially dangerous cells in the early stages of the disease. A scalpel biopsy, which requires local anesthesia, is usually performed on suspicious areas.

Remember to schedule regular check ups for everyone in your family. Two visits per year are recommended for general care. If, between visits, you notice any unusual changes in your mouth, call your dentist immediately. Together you and your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer.

For more information about oral cancer, support groups, or treatments, visit www.oralcancerfoundation.org.

Oral Sedation: Taking Fear Out of DentistryOral Sedation

Among the most common phobias, visiting the dentist causes many people severe anxiety and stress. Often, fearful patients forgo necessary dental care to avoid a visit to their dentist. If you find yourself feeling panicky at the thought of having your teeth worked on, you should know that a safe, comfortable relaxation method exists. Oral sedation alleviates anxiety, so you can face dental appointments with confidence.

What exactly does oral sedation entail?

If you fear dental appointments, call a dentist to determine if oral sedation is available for you based on your medical history and current medications. If you’re a good candidate for oral sedation, the dentist will select an appropriate anti-anxiety or sedative drug for you to take at a pre-determined time before your appointment. These safe, widely-prescribed drugs diminish anxiety and help patients relax.

Your anxiety level will help the dentist determine dosage, which in turn determines your consciousness level during the appointment. Some patients become so relaxed they drift off into a restful sleep during their dental procedures. Throughout your appointment, we will closely monitor your vital signs to ensure your safety. When you choose oral sedation, you must have a responsible adult who can drive you to and from your appointment and spend some time with you after the appointment until the sedative wears off completely.

Why choose oral sedation?

In general, patients choose oral sedation if they:

  • experience severe anxiety and fear when faced with dental instruments
  • put off important dental treatment because of fear
  • have a sensitive gag reflex
  • have trouble feeling numb after receiving local anesthetic
  • cannot rest comfortably in a dentist’s exam chair due to neck or back problems

What risks and side effects are associated with oral sedation?

The anti-anxiety medications used to achieve oral sedation have been prescribed and studied for years, so potential side effects are widely documented. These drugs are generally safe for most patients and have a low incidence of side effects, which tend to be minor.

Typically, patients who receive oral sedation experience:

  • Retrograde amnesia, in which they recall little to nothing about the dental procedure
  • Decreased post-operative soreness
  • Dry mouth

A very small percentage of patients may temporarily have hiccups after using oral sedation drugs.

Sleep Apnea: Now, Rest for the Weary

Are you tired, stressed out, and moody because of interrupted sleep? Sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops for periods of 10 seconds or longer, can interrupt deep sleep that makes people feel rested. Non-surgical dental appliances have proven more effective than surgery for many sleep apnea patients.

What is Sleep Apnea?

>When a sleeping person stops breathing for 10 or more seconds, they have “apnea.” OSAS, or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, is one type of sleep apnea. Lack of adequate breath during sleep reduces airflow, causing the brain to tell the body to wake up and breathe. In some cases, sleep apnea patients only move into a lighter stage of sleep, while other times, patients wake completely.

What’s the Problem?

Many factors may contribute to airway blockage, from the size of passages and oral or airway structures, to swelling of passageways or position of the tongue. Disrupted deep sleep can affect mood, health, and cause daytime sleepiness. The added stress and fatigue can cause lack of concentration, loss of memory, and accidents in the workplace or while driving. Other health risks include high blood pressure and heart problems, and even a risk of premature death. The sleep apnea patient’s snores can disturb a sleeping partner’s rest, too.

Non-Surgical Sleep Apnea Therapies

A few tests can determine whether you suffer from OSAS, and non-surgical therapies may alleviate the problem. A nasal mask (cPAP) can deliver air to keep nasal passages open during sleep. Even more effective, patients may now wear dental appliances that reposition the tongue or mandible (lower jawbone). A Swedish study showed that the anterior mandibular positioning dental device (AMP) is actually more effective than surgical therapies. The same study stated that adverse health effects and appliance repairs were rare.

According to experts, sleep apnea is an under-diagnosed condition, and more men than women suffer. If your sleeping partner says you snore or stop breathing while asleep, or if you experience daytime sleepiness, contact us for a consultation. A sleep apneadevice may improve your quality of life. It’s just another way your dentist can help you smile.

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Powerful Potential for Surgery

LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, a complicated string of words that basically means a single wavelength beam of highly concentrated light energy.

Lasers have transformed medical surgery by offering minimally-invasive alternatives to traditional scalpel incisions and sutured closures. The laser’s intense, narrow wavelength has precise, predictable, and powerful reactions when it contacts hard or soft tissues of the body. Laser light is extremely efficient, producing very little heat as it acts on its target. This makes it ideal for oral surgery, since it seldom affects tissues other than those it targets. The laser provides precise control over the depth and extent of cutting, while simultaneously minimizing bleeding and sterilizing the treatment area.

Versatility and Applications

However, a laser can also cure (harden) dental materials, scan teeth to detect decay, vaporize decay and prep teeth for fillings, and activate whitening gel to brighten smiles. Currently, dental applications include gum disease treatments, gum re-contouring, root canal cleaning, decay detection and elimination, bonding material curing and strengthening, incision cauterizing and tissue fusion, lesion reparation, biopsies, and super-fast teeth whitening procedures.

If you have questions about the lasers we use, please call us. We enjoy helping patients understand all of the interesting innovations we implement for their comfort and care. precise treatment available, and you deserve it. Now that’s something to smile about!

Bringing Out Your Very Best Smile

Have you noticed that people at the office, your neighbors, and even some of your family members have amazingly white teeth? Do you want a set of pearly whites that rivals those of a Hollywood star? You deserve to express your inner beauty to the world with confidence, and we’d love to help you!

Professional-grade teeth whitening, an effective way to brighten smiles, takes less than an hour with in-office treatment. The simple procedure requires no anesthesia, and it’s perfectly safe. After preparing your mouth, we will apply a gel to your teeth and activate the whitening process with a special light. You’ll leave our office with a smile that’s up to 10 shades whiter.

You may prefer to whiten at home, and we can help with that, too. We’ll create custom trays to make home teeth whitening comfortable. Each night for a week or two you’ll need to apply our professional-grade teeth whitening gel to the trays, and then wear them at night. Within just a few days, you’ll notice a difference, and by the time treatment is complete, you’ll smile with confidence. Take-home trays can also touch up and maintain in-office whitening.

Most patients will experience dramatic results with either teeth whitening method, though not all discolorations can be lightened with the treatment. Whitening treatments are most successful in removing yellow, brown, or orange tinges incurred from aging, coffee, tea, or smoking. However, dark gray tones from fluorosis, smoking, or tetracycline use may not whiten as dramatically; artificial materials such as silicants or porcelains do not whiten at all. Patients with sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, or worn enamel typically do not respond well to teeth whitening. For these cases, cosmetic procedures such as veneers may provide the best solution for a movie-star smile.

Managing Stress to Help Your Jaw Rest

TMJ TherapyYou may spend most of your life unaware of the important little triangular-shaped joints located in front of your ears. Lined with cartilage, these joints move with a smooth, gliding motion. Under normal conditions, they join your lower jaw and temporal bone, allowing your mouth to open and close easily. However, stress or an improper bite can cause the joints to dysfunction, exposing nerve endings to create pain. In fact, the temporomandibular joint is highly sensitive to overall physical, emotional, and psychological stress. It is affected by the mechanics of your bite and the condition of your jaw muscles. A little extra stress, a little extra fatigue, a little change in your bite, and you may temporarily knock the whole system out of balance. The resulting TMJ disorder, or TMD, can create a variety of mild to severe symptoms, from jaw clicking and minor discomfort to sharp pain in your temple, ear, neck, and shoulders.

The condition is very common in our culture, so we evaluate every patient for TMJdysfunction at their regular dental exam. If we detect a problem, our goals are to arrest it, protect teeth from further damage, and correct underlying bite misalignment. Therapy may involve fitting you with a physiologic bite appliance, suggesting ways to alleviate stress, and recommending symptom relief measures. Typically, TMJ patients need to avoid chewing gum or hard, chewy food, take small bites, and alternate chewing between both sides of the mouth. Good nutrition will help the joint heal more quickly; good posture will also help relieve discomfort. A straight back, relaxed neck, and side-sleeping position are also helpful. To relieve soreness, light temple and jaw massage will stimulate circulation and relax the muscles. If pain is present, we suggest alternating moist heat and cold for 20 minutes to further increase circulation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or analgesics can be very helpful as well.

For more information about TMJ, TMD, or neuromuscular dentistry, call our office. We want help you receive the relief you deserve.

Transform your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

Are you proud of your smile? Do you look at magazine models and television stars wishing you had the same confident grin they have? If your front teeth are discolored and stained, chipped, cracked, slightly misaligned, or have metal fillings, consider porcelain veneers. Made from thin sheaths of porcelain layered atop each other, veneers can completely cover the front of your teeth to create a perfectly shaped, dazzlingly white, absolutely gorgeous smile. The most modern porcelain veneers look completely natural, too.

After a comprehensive exam, we will develop a cosmetic plan to make your weak smile strong. Porcelain veneers, also called laminates, are long lasting, stain resistant, and require only two visits for the complete treatment. In fact, you’ll leave the first appointment with a set of temporary veneers while your custom final porcelain veneersare being crafted at a lab. A popular brand of veneers is Lumineers because they require no tooth reduction and are reversible.

To see what your smile would look like with porcelain veneers, we recommend you review our before and after cases, request a diagnostic wax up, or ask us about digital imaging, a computer program that will create an image of you with your new porcelain veneers. These tools can help you decide if porcelain veneers would be a good choice for your smile. Because we custom craft each patien;s veneers, you can choose the shape, color, and style that best compliments your appearance and the image you want to achieve.

Dental care for porcelain veneers is no different from regular dental care. Clean and floss your new smile daily, visit us regularly for professional care and maintenance, and consider wearing a night-guard to prevent teeth grinding while you sleep. If you’re ready for a smile that can boost your self confidence and enhance your image, ask us about veneers today.