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We make it a point to keep our patients informed on various dental issues. We have published informative articles on various types of dental treatments offered by Steven Schneider, DDS in San Diego, CA. Please read articles below and let us know if you have specific questions.

Oral Surgery Postoperative Instructions

What to Expect After Oral Surgery
Some teeth are imbedded or positioned in the jaw in such a way that bone surgery is necessary for their removal. This is especially true of impacted wisdom teeth. The removal of such teeth is quite different from the extraction of erupted teeth. The following conditions may occur, all of which may be considered normal in the first few days after surgery.
The area operated on will swell. The swelling will reach its peak about 36 hours after surgery.
Trismus (tightness) of the muscles may cause difficulty in opening the mouth.

You may have a slight earache and a sore throat may develop.
Note that you have been given a long-acting local anesthetic. This anesthetic may last as long as 8 to 12 hours. Even if your procedure involved I.V. sedation, you are still given local anesthetic although you may not remember even getting it. Therefore, you will experience numbness for several hours. Numbness around the corner of the mouth or in the lip or tongue on the side from which the tooth was removed may persist. This is called “paresthesia” and is generally a temporary condition which will resolve. It may persist for a few days to several months. In remote instances, it may be permanent. If numbness persists long-term, there may be surgical treatment available.

If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with a cream or ointment.

There will be a cavity or socket where the tooth was removed. This will eventually fill in with tissue. Black and blue or yellow discoloration may occur on the outside of the face near the area of the surgery. This occurrence is not unusual and will disappear within several days.

There may be a slight elevation in temperature for 24 to 48 hours. If this continues, please notify the office.

Instructions Following Removal of Impacted and Surgically Extracted Teeth
1. PAIN – Take your pain medicine as directed. Medication instructions must be followed very carefully including not exceeding recommended doses, not combining different medications unless specifically directed, and not driving, operating machinery, or making important decisions while taking medication that can cause drowsiness or impair judgment. Note that elevation of the head (i.e. not lying flat) and use of ice packs as described below will both contribute to relief of pain. Note also that some pain medications may cause dizziness. You should stand up slowly while taking these medications. If you are lying down, sit up first and then stand up slowly to avoid dizziness that could result in a fall. Do not drink any alcohol while taking pain medication.

2. SWELLING – To help minimize ordinary immediate postoperative swelling, apply an ice pack to the face over the operated area (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, repeat) for the first 36 hours following surgery. After 36 hours, discontinue the ice packs and begin moist heat compresses. It is not unusual to have additional swelling on the second or third day. Do not go to sleep with an ice pack or hot compress in place.

3. BLEEDING – A certain amount of bleeding is to be expected following the operation. Blood tinted saliva may be seen for about 36 hours. If bleeding occurs after you return home, place a small moistened gauze pad (about the size of a tea bag) or a moistened tea bag directly over the socket for at least 30 minutes, holding it in place with firm biting pressure. If your wisdom teeth have been removed, the correct position of the gauze pack will be behind the last tooth in the mouth. It may be necessary to repeat this procedure. If bleeding continues, please call the office. If bleeding is excessive, call the office immediately.

4. DO NOT DISTURB THE BLOOD CLOT – Its grayish or yellowish appearance and slight odor do not indicate an infected condition. Keep fingers, toothpicks, or other matter that may cause infection out of the mouth. Keep your tongue away from the surgical area. Do not smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or drink through a straw for 48 hours. These activities create suction in the mouth which could dislodge the clot and delay healing. Forceful spitting and excessive physical activity tend to increase and prolong bleeding as does bending over to pick up objects. A semi-reclining position and rest for the first few hours is recommended. Limit strenuous activity for at least 24 hours after the extraction. This will reduce bleeding and help the blood clot to form. Avoid vigorous exercise for the first 3-5 days. Contact sports should be avoided until healing is complete to avoid the possibility of jaw fracture.

5. MOUTH RINSING – Vigorous mouth rinsing may stimulate bleeding by breaking clots which have formed. Therefore, do not rinse the mouth for 24 hours following extractions. The exception to this would be the patient on anticoagulants who is prescribed tranexamic acid, as discussed below. After 24 hours, you may gently rinse the mouth with a warm salt water solution (½ teaspoon salt in an 8 ounce glass of warm water) 4-5 times a day for several days. If bleeding continues, stop all mouth rinsing and follow instructions in paragraph 3 above regarding bleeding. Do not rinse with commercial mouthwashes. After 24 hours you may gently brush the teeth.

6. ANTIBIOTICS – If antibiotics have been prescribed for you, take them in accordance with the instructions on your prescription. Discontinue the antibiotics immediately if a rash, hives, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing occurs. This may be the sign of a serious allergic reaction. The patient who experiences difficulty breathing or swelling and constriction of the throat, mouth and face area should call 911 or their local emergency medical service, as serious allergic reactions can be fatal if not treated promptly. Notify the office so that a different antibiotic can be prescribed. Any infection should be taken seriously and reported to the office.

7. DIET – It is important to maintain a good diet. A liquid to soft diet is advisable for the first few days. It is very important to drink plenty of fluids (6-8 glasses per day). Avoid drinking very hot liquids as these may cause resorbable sutures to break down too quickly. Nutritional intake is very important during the healing stages following surgery. Now is not a good time to go on a diet. You should supplement your vitamin and mineral intake with a supplement such as Centrum, which is available both in tablet form as well as liquid form. Calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and manganese are important for proper bone healing and can be obtained in a single product form such as Caltrate Plus. A complete nutritional supplement such as Ensure can be taken to insure complete nutrition. Be very careful with anesthetized areas so you do not bite your lip, cheek, or tongue. Do not chew anything until after the numbness wears off. However, you can begin liquids right away provided that they are not too hot. Hard, crunchy foods should be avoided until healing is complete to avoid the possibility of jaw fracture.

8. POST-OPERATIVE OFFICE CARE – Most patients are seen approximately one week after surgery for evaluation and suture removal. If you have any doubts concerning your progress and recovery, please feel free to call the office. There may be a slight elevation in your temperature for 24-48 hours. If this continues, or if any other unusual events such as persistent weakness, lethargy, or malaise occur, please notify the office immediately. You may be seen sooner than one week if you so desire. If pain or swelling occurs after the surgical site has apparently healed, return for an examination. When this type of condition occurs, it usually happens on the third or fourth day after surgery. It may be indicative of a condition called “alveolar osteitis” (dry socket) and is generally treated by placing a medication into the tooth socket with almost immediate relief.

Special Instructions for Special Circumstances
1. NAUSEA – If you experience any nausea with your pain medicine, try taking it with milk, yogurt, ice cream or a milkshake. In rare cases, an anti-nausea drug may be prescribed. In very rare cases when nausea is so severe that the patient cannot keep oral medications down, anti-nausea medication can be administered in suppository form. While significant post-operative nausea is uncommon, it is more common in women and in patients with a history of motion sickness and migraine headaches.

2. EXCESSIVE PAIN – If you still experience pain after taking your prescription pain medication, you may add ibuprofen (such as Advil or Nuprin) or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). The maximum adult daily dose of ibuprofen is 800 mg three times a day for a total of 2400 mg per day. The maximum adult daily dose of acetaminophen is 1000 mg four times a day for a total of 4000 mg per day. Keep in mind that many prescription pain medications (for example, Vicodin and Percocet) contain acetaminophen and some (for example, Vicoprofen) contain ibuprofen. If your pharmacist fills your prescription with a generic drug, note that the letters “APAP” on the label means that this product contains acetaminophen. Maximum daily doses include all sources of a drug added together. Acetaminophen taken in excess can cause liver failure and death, especially if combined with alcohol. Please be careful not to exceed the maximum daily dose.

3. ATTENTION WOMEN OF CHILDBEARING AGE – Women of childbearing age should keep in mind that all antibiotics have the potential to interact with birth control pills and lessen the effectiveness of the oral contraceptive. Although this has never been proven, alternative nonhormonal forms of birth control should be used after checking with your physician and should be continued for one full week after antibiotics are completed. You should also continue to take your oral contraceptives according to their directions while you are using antibiotics.

4. ANTIBIOTIC MOUTH RINSES – You may receive a prescription for an antibiotic mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine (Peridex, PerioGard, etc.). Do not use this rinse for 24 hours following extractions. After 24 hours, you should use this rinse after meals and before bedtime until the surgery site has healed. Do not swallow the rinse – swish it gently and then spit it out. Although extremely effective against micro-organisms, these rinses may cause staining of your teeth. This is not permanent staining and it can be removed with professional polishing. Staining can be minimized by thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice per day.

5. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR PATIENTS ON ANTICOAGULANTS AND PATIENTS WITH BLEEDING DISORDERS – If you are taking Coumadin (warfarin) or other anticoagulant medication or if you have a bleeding disorder, you may be given a special prescription for a mouthwash called tranexamic acid to minimize bleeding. Following the surgery appointment, rinse your mouth with 1 tablespoon for 2 minutes four times daily (every 6 hours) for 7 days. Do not swallow the rinse – swish it gently and then spit it out. Do not eat or drink during the first hour after using this mouthwash. Eat only a liquid diet on the first day after surgery. Contact the doctor if bleeding develops that cannot be controlled by compression by a gauze pad for twenty minutes while sitting upright.

6. SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS WITH IMMEDIATE DENTURES – If you have had immediate dentures placed at the time of surgery, it is extremely important that you do not remove these dentures for any reason until you are instructed to do so by the doctor. If the dentures are taken out too soon, there will most likely be additional swelling and it will be impossible to place the dentures in the mouth again. Please call the office for specific instructions as to when you should remove your immediate dentures.

7. BONE FRAGMENTS – During the healing process, small sharp fragments of bone may loosen and work through the gum. These fragments, which are not roots, usually work out on their own accord, but if they are annoying, return to the office so the dentist can advise or treat you.
8. SMOKING – Smoking will delay healing and may cause increased postoperative pain as well as the formation of a dry socket. Do not smoke for at least 48 hours after any type of oral surgery. This may be a good opportunity to seriously consider quitting smoking permanently.

9. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR DIABETIC PATIENTS – Diabetic patients should note that blood glucose levels should be checked more frequently for the first few days following oral surgery. If you are eating less than usual or not eating regularly, you may need to adjust your insulin dosage. Please consult with your physician for additional guidance.

10. SINUS PRECAUTIONS – POSTOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS FOR PATIENTS WITH SINUS INVOLVEMENT – Because of the close relationship between the upper back teeth and the sinus, a communication (also called a fistula) between the sinus and the mouth sometimes results from oral surgery. A communication between the sinus and the mouth often heals slowly. Certain precautions will assist healing and we ask that you carefully follow these instructions: Take prescription medication as directed. Do not smoke for at least two weeks. Smoking is a severe irritant and significantly delays healing. Do not forcefully blow your nose for at least two weeks, even though your sinuses may feel “stuffy” or there may be some nasal drainage. Try not to sneeze, as sneezing will cause an increase in sinus pressure. If you must sneeze, do so with your mouth open. Do not drink through a straw for at least two weeks. Do not forcefully spit for at least two weeks. Do not rinse vigorously for at least two weeks. Gentle saltwater swishes may be used as needed. Eat only soft foods for several days and chew on the opposite side of your mouth.

Slight bleeding from the nose may occur for several days after surgery. Please call the office if drainage or pain increases. It is very important that you keep all appointments until this complication has resolved. In rare cases, another surgical procedure may be necessary to close the communication between the mouth and the sinus.

10. ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR IV SEDATION PATIENTS – Since you may be drowsy following the appointment, a responsible adult must escort you home. Two adults should accompany children. Arrange to have the entire day off work and limit your activities for the remainder of the day. Do not drive, operate machinery, drink alcohol, or make any important decisions or judgments for 24 hours after the appointment as your faculties and abilities will likely be impaired. Have someone assist you in and out of the car on your way home and up and down the stairs. Stand up slowly; if you are lying down, sit up first and then stand up slowly to avoid any drop in blood pressure that might make you dizzy. If you experience any unusual reactions, report them to the office as soon as possible. Occasionally, the injection site of the IV may become inflamed and tender. This is caused by the anesthesia drugs irritating the vein. If this happens, apply moist heat to the area and the inflammation will eventually resolve.

Please feel free to call anytime you have a question or concern.

Post-Op Instructions – Extractions

The post-operative instructions listed below should be followed accurately in order to speed your recovery. Please avoid rinsing today. Beginning tomorrow rinse with warm salt water (one-half teaspoon salt to one cup water) every two to three hours for several days, then after meals and at bedtime for the next two weeks. You may also begin brushing your teeth tomorrow. Please note that a gradual increase in pain from days three to five is not uncommon. Keep your head elevated at all times for the first five to seven days following surgery. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Our office typically uses stitches that are designed to dissolve and fall out on their own. Depending on the type, this may occur within the first week or within two to three weeks.

DO NOT SMOKE. Smoking in any amount in the first few weeks can cause a dry socket and will dramatically delay wound healing. You may eat or drink what you feel up to once the local anesthetic has worn off. Avoid very hot foods or liquids for 24 hours. Soft foods like eggs, pastas, warm soups and yogurt are recommended. Drink plenty of fluids, but do not drink through a straw or create a sucking action in your mouth. The surgical site may continue to bleed slightly for a day or two. This is no cause for alarm. If heavy bleeding occurs, fold a piece of gauze (or use a wet or dry tea bag) and place over the bleeding area. Maintain firm pressure for 30 minutes.

Avoid frequent pack changes, rinsing, and spitting or physical exertion until the bleeding has ceased. DO NOT drink alcoholic beverages, drive or operate machinery for 12 hours following general anesthesia.

DO NOT combine pain medication with alcohol. Some discomfort is to be expected and you may be rather uncomfortable for the first few hours or days. Please:
  • Take the prescribed medication with food as directed.
  • Allow 45 minutes for the medication to work. Therefore, take the medication before the pain becomes too severe.
  • Take Ibuprofen (Advil) 800mg every six hours for minor discomfort or in between doses of pain medication to increase effectiveness.
Swelling is to be expected and usually reaches its maximum during the first three days. Apply ice to the side of the face 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off as often as possible for the first 48 hours. Frozen vegetable bags wrapped in dishtowels work nicely as they contour to the jaw. Change to heat (a heating pad or hot water bottle) 48 hours after surgery. Continue to use heat until the swelling has receded.

Bruising may occur, especially along the jaw line. This is not unexpected and should disappear soon. Keep lips moist with ChapStick or Vaseline to prevent chapping. Tightness of the jaw muscles may make it difficult for you to open your mouth for up to two weeks. If you have been prescribed an antibiotic and are currently taking oral contraceptives you should use an alternate method of birth control for the remainder of this cycle. If any unusual symptoms occur or if you have any questions concerning your progress, we may be reached 24 hours a day by calling 858-592-0234.

CEREC Post-Treatment Instructions

Congratulations! You have just received the finest dental restoration advanced technology dentistry has to offer. Your CEREC ceramic restoration has replaced a portion of the tooth that has been damaged over time. With proper care it should provide years and years of service, as though your tooth were virtually re-enameled.

Sensitivity
Mild to moderate sensitivity to hot or cold food or drink is expected following placement of any bonded dental restoration. Typically, this sensitivity gradually diminishes over a period of a few weeks. A very small percentage of bonded ceramic restorations display sensitivity that persists for longer periods of time. If this continues for more than six weeks, please inform us – it could be a sign that your tooth has nerve damage and may require further treatment to alleviate the problem.

Chewing
Avoid chewing hard foods for 24 hours in order to allow the bonding to achieve its maximum strength. Aggressive chewing on such things as ice or peanuts should be avoided for two weeks.

Your Bite
It is not unusual for your bite to be off-balance after a ceramic restoration is placed. We adjust the bite immediately after placing it, however the numb feeling often does not allow for proper refinement of the bite at the time of treatment. Please contact our office to schedule an adjustment if needed.

Hygiene Visits
To keep your warranty in effect, visit us for your routine hygiene visits. Often, small problems can develop around the restorations can be corrected, if found early. The most often cited reason for failure of any dental restoration is failure to return for your routine hygiene visits.

Preventative Procedures Brush and floss after eating and before bedtime. Rinse vigorously for at least 30 seconds daily with a recommended fluoride rinse product such as fluorigard or ACT rinse. The best time is just prior to bed. Use a fluoride toothpaste or a toothpaste containing chlorine dioxide such as Oxygene.

Composite Fillings – Post Treatment Instructions

Composite fillings set up hard right away. There is no waiting time to eat. Children should be observed until the anesthetic wears off. Due to the strange feeling of the anesthetic, many children will chew the inside of their lips, cheeks, or tongue which can cause serious damage.

Sensitivity to hot and cold is common for a few weeks following dental restoration. Usually, the deeper the cavity, the more sensitive the tooth will be. If you feel the bite is not correctly balanced, please call for an appointment for a simple adjustment.

The gum tissue could have been irritated during the procedure and may be sore for a few days along with the anesthetic injection site.

The finished restoration may be contoured slightly different and have a different shape than the original tooth. Your tongue usually magnifies this small difference and will become adjusted to this in a few days.

Fixed Crowns or Bridges – Post Treatment Instructions

You have just had some crowns or fixed bridges cemented onto your teeth. They will replace your missing tooth structure or missing teeth very well and should give you years of service if you will observe the following suggestions:
CHEWING: Do not chew hard or sticky foods on the restorations for 24 hours from the time they are cemented. The cement must mature to have optimum strength.

CONTINUING CARE: Visit us at regular intervals as discussed with your doctor or hygienist. Often problems that are developing around restorations can be found at an early stage and corrected easily, while waiting for a longer time may require redoing the entire restoration. Inadequate return for examination is the most significant reason for protheses failure. We will contact you when it is time for your appointment.

PREVENTIVE PROCEDURES: Use the following preventive procedures that are checked: Brushing and flossing after eating and especially before bedtime. Swish vigorously with Colgate FLUORIGARD or Johnson & Johnson ACT mouthrinse for 30 seconds daily before bedtime (.05% neutral sodium fluoride). Brush with Colgate Prevident or Gel Kam (0.4% stannous fluoride) daily before bedtime.(This is available in our office.) Use the Rotodent as advised by us. Use bridge cleaners as advised by us.

SENSITIVITY: Don’t worry about mild sensitivity to hot or cold foods. It will disappear gradually over a few weeks.

AGGRESSIVE CHEWING: Do not chew ice or other very hard objects. Avoid chewing very sticky “hard tacky” candy because it can remove restorations.

PROBLEMS: If one or more of the following conditions occurs, please contact us to avoid further problems: A feeling of movement or looseness in the restoration. Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods that doesn’t disappear in a few weeks. A peculiar taste from the restoration site. Breakage of a piece of material from the restoration. Sensitivity to pressure.
We have done our best to provide you with the finest quality oral restorations available today. However, as with a fine automobile or watch, only your continuing care and concern can assure optimum service longevity.

Porcelain Veneers – Patient Instructions

First 72 Hours
The resin bonding process takes at least 72 hours to cure in its entirety. During this time, you should avoid any hard foods and maintain a relatively soft diet. Extremes in temperature (either hot or cold) should also be avoided. Alcohol and some medicated mouthwashes have the potential to affect the resin bonding material during this early phase and should not be used.

Maintenance Routine cleanings are a must at least every four months with a hygienist, who should avoid using an ultrasonic scaler and the air abrasion systems. Use a soft toothbrush with rounded bristles, and floss as you do with natural teeth. If daily cleaning of plaque is a problem, use a mechanical plaque removal device (Interplak), because plaque-free maintenance of these restorations is essential to their longevity and the health of your teeth and supportive tissues. Use a less abrasive toothpaste and one that is not highly fluoridated. Although laminates are strong, avoid excessive biting forces and habit patterns: nail biting, pencil chewing etc. Avoid biting into hard pieces of candy, chewing on ice, eating ribs. Use a soft acrylic mouthguard when involved in any form of contact sport.

Mouthrinses
Acidulated fluoridated mouthrinses can damage the surface finish of your laminates and should be avoided. Chlorhexidine antiplaque mouthrinses may stain your laminates, but the stain can be readily removed by a hygienist.

Instructions for Complete Denture Patients

Patients normally look forward to the day when they receive their new dentures. They are happy about the prospect that former dental problems will soon be over. Then, the day arrive then the new dentures are inserted and they are frequently shocked that a new array of dental problems are just beginning. In order to receive the maximum service and satisfaction from new dentures, the patient must understand certain relevant and pertinent facts – whether they have previously worn dentures or not. Many misconceptions and erroneous ideas exist concerning the use and care of complete dentures.
Printed instructions have an important role in modern informed consent; and it is essential that the expectations of the patient and dentist are alike. It must be emphasized that both the dentist and the patient have an important role in the outcome of the complete denture service. The following patient instructions are based on the research and experience of many prosthodontists, over many years, and are intended to provide practical methots for mastering the use and care of new dentures.

Introduction
The art and science of prosthetic dentistry had advanced rapidly during recent years and new techniques and materials have greatly improved our abillity to replace missing tissues with functional and natural looking artificial appliances or prostheses. However, it must be remembered from the outset that no prosthesis or artificaial substitue, regardless of how painstaikingly fabricated, will ever function as efficiently as the original living tissues. Research has shown that the chewing efficiency of experienced denture patiens is, at best, less than twenty percent as efficient as the average chewing efficiency of patients with natural teeth.

Your mental atittude and adaptability are of utmost improtance to learning to use new dentures. Do not expect too much from them, especially at first. The dentist can only provide the denture treatment and then advise you. You must have the patience and perseverance to learn to use the dentures.
Just as learning to swim, or skate, or ski, or ride a bicycle can be traumatic experiences, so it may be learning to use new dentures. These are all physical skills that must be learned and no one is an expert in the beginning. The length of time required to learn to use dentures varies and depends on many factors such as age, general health, nuturtion, muscle tone, tissue condition, coordination, and mental attitude. Since no two patients are exactly alike, all patients cannot expect the same degree of skill or success in using dentures. However, it should be remembered that millions of other people have learned this skill and the odds are likely that you will too.
Please beware of relatives and friends who are denture wearers. Most dentures wearers consider themselves experts on the subject and are eager to give you advice based on their experience. Such advice can be inaccurate and harmful to you. Seek the advice of only one expert, your dentist, who has the training and experience to treat your specific problems.

Many denture patients would like to ignore the fact that they are, to a degree, handicapped. It is evident that a man with an artificial leg would have great difficulty becoming a professional football player. The denture patient must also learn to live with certain limitations. Since you will be wearing dentures from now on, it is no disgrace to use them in a manner that will help insure your ability to wear them in the future. Despite the limitations, your dentures will restore your appearance, speech and ability to chew – when you master their use.

The First Few Days
For the first days after receiving new dentures you should expect only to be able to keep the dentures in your mouth. Chewing should be limited to soft foods and the dentures should be worn all night the first night only. Dentists normally insist on an adjustment the next day. Movement of the dentures during function sometimes causes red spots to develop during the first 24 hours which would become painful denture ulcers, if not treated.

Some patients experiece an initial abundance of saliva which is stimulated by the presence of the new dentures. Soon the salivary glands will adjust to the presence of the dentures and resume their normal production. Until then, you should simply swallow more frequently.

Occasionally, patients experience a gagging sensation when they first begin to wear dentures. Gagging is a reaction that will gradually disappear as the dentures are worn. Do not insist that the upper denture is too long. Anatomic landmarks determine the exact length of the denture and the seal or suction will be destroyed if the denture is shortened. If this problem occurs, consult your dentist, but remember that this is a problem that you must largely overcome through perseverance.

Frequently patients have the sensation that the tongue is too confined and interferes with the stability of the lower denture. This is particularly true if the back teeth have been missing a long time or if a previous denture was not properly below the flattened, filling the space of the missing teeth. As the new denture is worn, the tongue will retain its muscle tone and become narrower and more rounded. The dentist may thin the tongue sides of the denture to help this problem.

Denture irritations or sore spots will invariably develop and will require adjustment by the dentist. These irritations are caused by movement of the denture during function. Time is available each week for such appaintments, so please call and reserve a time if problems develop. Never attempt to adjust or repair a denture yourself. If an area is particularly sore, leave the denture our as much as possible until the day of the adjustment appointment and rinse your mouth requently with warm salt rinses.
Difficulty in speaking is another hurdle which must be overome with patience and practice. Speech patterns will improve only after the tissues of the mouth become accustomed to the new dentures and control of the lower denture is learned. If you watch yourself in a mirror and say the sounds that give you trouble, this sometimes helps the speech “computer” adapt to the new dentures.

Mastication (Chewing)
The greatest problem by far is relearning to eat. Eating with complete dentures is quite different from eating with natural teeth. Natural teeth are embedded in bone and have individual sensory nerves capable of sensing pain, pressure and temerature. A denture, however, functions as a single tooth, is anchored to nothing, feels nother, and rests on soft, movable tissues covering the jaw bones.
If a denture is to remain stable during chewing, the forces of chewing must be distributed uniformly over the denture bearing surfaces. Forces applied to only one side of the denture will compress the tissue under that side, while tipping the other side away from the tissue and breaking the seal. Although some patient are proud of the fact that they can take bites out of such things as apples and corn-on-the-cob, it must be pointed out that dentures were never intended for biting things off with the front teeth. A denture is like a canoe – if you stand up in front of a canoe, it will tent to upset. The long term relust of this practice is damage to the underlying bone.
One solution to the problem of chewing with complete dentures is learning to chew simultaneously on both sides. Brittle foods such as saltine crackers may offer good practice. Place half a small cracker on one side and half on the other side. Attempt to chew slowly and thoroughly and then swallow. At first, this two-sided chewing may seem difficult because we tend to chew on one side onlay with natural teeth. Two-sided chewing can be learning and it is probably better to chew on both sides at once with complete dentures.

Get in the habit early, especially in social situations, of selecting foods which can be eaten with a knife and fork. Cut the food into very small bites which can be placed on the back teeth. Methodically chew on both sides at once until it can be swallowed. Gradually, this process will become natural and rarely will anyone be aware of your denture limitations – unless you call attention to them yourself. Some patients find that the use of commercial denture adhesives are helpful during this learning period and they often become accustomed to the confidence proveded by additional adhesion.

Certain foods are often avoided by denture patients, i.e., tough fibrous meats, tough breads and hard rolls. Tiny, hard particles that cannot be softened by saliva can be extremely painful if they get under the dentures. Examples are strawberry and raspberry seeds and particles of nuts and carrots. Sticky substances such as chewing gum and caramels can stick to the dentures and should be avoided.
Proper nutrition and fluid balance are important to both your general health and to your success in wearing dentures. Taking a daily mulitple vitamin is recommended. Avoid the usual tendency to overindulg in doft carbohydrates (sweets) that are high in calories and low in food value. A well balanced diet should contain some daily portion of the following types of food: low fat milk, cheese, bread, cereals, meats (especially fish or fowl), green and yellow vegetables, fruit and water (2 quarts per day).
Above all, wear the dentures at mealtime despite the difficulties. Do not become discouraged. Don’t fall back on the “crutch” of using old dentures or doing without. This will only prolong the adjustment period. Remember, millions have learned these skills and you can too.

Mouth and Denture Care
Dentures should remain out of the mouth for an eight hour period during each twenty four hours. This period is essential for the long-term health of the denture supporting tissues. Research had shown that certain pathologic conditions occur only if the dentures are worn continuously. The gums stay healthier and jaw bones shrink less with a daily rest period. Most patients find it convenient to rest the mouth during sleeping. Taking the dentures out at night has thus become the recommended procedure.
Dentures tend to collect even more food debris that natural teeth. Dentures must be removed from the mouth and cleaned after eating and before retiring at night. The complete denture patient should have two brushes, a denture brush for cleaning the dentures and a soft toothbrush for brushing the gums and tongue. The denture brush had a small tuft of bristles on one side which help clean inside the denture. Please do not use toothpaste on the dentures. The abrasives in regular toothpaste polish enamel without damage but can be damaging over time to the plastic denture bases and artificial teeth. Use a dentifrice made specifically for dentures, or simply soak them with liquid soap or plain water. Since the plastic denture material is breakable, it is an excellent idea to brush the dentures over a sink partially filled with water. Many dentures have been broken by dropping them into an empty sink.

Remember that tartar or calculus can form on dentures just as on natural teeth. Stain and tartar generally do not form on dentures that are thoroughly brushed daily. Remember also that “denture breath” is caused by unclean dentures in an unclean mouth.

Whenever dentures are out of the mouth they should be stored in clean water. Failure to keep dentures wet results in the material drying out and warpage can occur. Dentutres should be stored overnight in a denture cup and commercial denture cleaner may be used if desired. Such cleaners can make drntures taste and smell better but should not be considered a substitute for brushing.

Future Denture Service
As a child develops, his or her jaw bones grow for the purpose of supporting the teeth. When the teeth are removed, the body knows that bone is no longer needed, and the bone that supports the teeth immediately begins to shrink away. This shrinkage is greatest during the first year after teeth are removed but continues slowly in a chronic, progressive, and irreversible manner throughout life. The lower jaw shrinks four times faster than the upper jaw. Studies have shown that wearing dentures accelerates this process. It is generally accepted that changes in the jaw bones and soft tissues occur in six to ten years to require the construction of new dentures. However, there is wide variation among patients and sometimes the internal surface needs to be updated earlier by what is called a reline procedure.

For the reline procedure, and impression is made inside the denture between the current inside denture base and the existing ridge. Acrylic is reprocessed to refit the denture. This does not change the apperaance, teeth, or bite on the denture. While this will improve the fit of the denture, you may have to readjust to the relined denture just as if they are a new set of dentures and all thier associated problems.

Since we know the tissues of the mouth were never intended to support artificial dentures, and that dentures can damage these tissues, it is important for denture patients to be examined by the dentist at least once each year. Any unusual changes in the mouth should be reported to the dentist immediately. Patients who use tobacco and drink consist of an oral examination to evaluate the fit and bite of the denture, an oral cancer evaluation, and cleaning of the dentures.

There are some patients who never master the use of complete dentures. Perhaps they cannot learn to keep the lower denture stable enough to chew, or perhaps they cannot get accustomed to having the whole palate covered by the denture. In the past, little could be done for these patients. Today, such problems can often be managed through the use of dental implants. For example, as few as two dental implants can markedly improve the retention and stability of a lower denture. Implants are alawys a better alternative to traditional denture retention and support. However, some patients might need extensive and expensive bone grafting to receive implants thus making implant treatment complex and lengthy. Even if obtaining implant treatment is not easy, it is still a better alternative to traditional denture therapy.


Finally, with regard to denture breakage and repairs, please avoid super glue and do-it-yourself reline and repair kits. These products generally delay proper treatment and increase the risk of injury to your

Sleep Apnea-Snoring Device Information

You have just received your oral sleep apnea/snoring device. Initially, when the appliance is placed in your mouth you will, most likely, find it cumbersome. There will be an increase in salivary flow for the first few weeks of use which will slowly subside. Some patients experience minor gagging or awkwardness swallowing, but these sensations are not permanent. After wearing the appliance all night it is common to have some minor tooth or muscle discomfort. Many patients cannot touch their teeth together normally for up to 45 minutes. If this is a problem, lean on your hand for about 15 minutes each morning, as if you were the statue of “The Thinker” by Rodin. Most patients experience little if any discomfort after a few weeks of adapting to their intra-oral sleep apnea device.

Cleaning your intra-oral sleep apnea appliance should be done each morning with a toothbrush and toothpaste, brushing all surfaces – inside and out. Use of ORAL SAFE appliance cleaner is a very effective product and is available from Great Lakes Laboratories. Soft appliances may be stored dry.
The appliances can cause soft tissue irritation, minor tooth movement (lower anterior crowding) and, occasionally, it can dislodge ill-fitting crowns and fillings in the area where the metal clasps hold on to the teeth. If you experience significant joint or muscle pain lasting more than 2 hours or requiring analgesic medication, discontinue use of the appliance and call my office at (855) 464-0063 and make an appointment for reevaluation. Routine appointments for adjustment of the device consist of a series of appointments over 3-4 months.

A small percentage of patients actually increase their number of apneic and hypopneic events when using an oral appliance. If your symptoms seem to increase, contact my office immediately.

Be careful that you do not leave the appliance anywhere that a pet can reach it. Dogs find them wonderful chew toys and replacement of the appliance is not covered by medical insurance. Do not leave it in a car on a hot day, or in your luggage when flying.

If you have any questions about the use and care of you intra-oral sleep apnea / snoring device please do not hesitate to bring them to my attention at your next appointment or by calling 855-464-0063.

Scaling and Root Planing: Post-procedure Instructions

The dental prophylaxis just completed has been preventive in nature due to your thorough oral self-care. That means that there was no gum disease evident. The prophylaxis was completed quickly and with the minimum of trauma to your teeth and soft tissues. In this event, you should have insignificant postoperative discomfort in your mouth. Congratulations on a job well done. Keep up the good work. We would rather assist you in preventing periodontal disease than in curing the problems periodontal disease can cause.

A therapeutic prophylaxis has been completed. In this case, the gingival (gum) tissue showed signs of infection and inflammation and you may have had significant calculus (tartar) buildup. You may notice that your teeth feel different where the calculus was removed. The soft tissues may be sensitive or sore for approximately one day as they begin to heal. You may find that taking an over-the-counter pain reliever (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) will help during this 24-hour period. You may also rinse your mouth every few hours with warm salt water. Make sure that you brush and floss your teeth during this time period as you have been instructed. Be gentle, because the brushed areas may be sore, but be thorough! You do not want to have the periodontal infection begin again.

When you have had scaling and root planing, or other more involved periodontal procedures, you can expect your gingival (gum) tissues to be quite sore. This is normal when the gum tissues have been infected and inflamed for some time. The more severely they have been affected, the more discomfort you can expect. This soreness should go away very quickly. You may rinse with warm salt water every few hours until the soreness is gone.
You may also notice that the teeth have become sensitive to temperature changes after the scaling and root planing. This sensation frequently occurs when the surfaces of the roots of your teeth have been cleaned. Removal of the debris covering the roots and attached to the roots leaves the roots open to temperature stimulus. If the problem persists, please let us know.

When you examine your gums closely in a mirror, you will also observe that the color, texture, and position of your periodontal tissues will undergo a change as the healing takes place. The swollen, reddened gum tissue will shrink, become more firm, and return to a healthy pink color. Watch for these welcome signs of improvement and be encouraged by the healing process.

Please do not forget to brush, floss, and use other periodontal cleaning aids as you have been taught. It is important that you begin establishing proper oral self-care habits immediately. If you find that the recently treated areas are sensitive to the brushing and flossing, be gentle, but be thorough! With proper technique you cannot damage the teeth or gingival tissues.

Brush after every meal with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Rinse with a fluoride-containing mouthrinse once each day.

Use the oral irrigator with the periodontal attachment as instructed.

Use the periodontal cleaning aids as you have been shown.

Please return for your followup appointment. During this time, your periodontal tissues will be evaluated for the expected improvement and effectiveness of your oral self-care and to determine the possible necessity of further periodontal treatment. This appointment will include reprobing the periodontal tissues.

Because of your periodontal condition, we strongly recommend that you return for your next examination and preventive prophylaxis appointment.

If you have any questions about these instructions, please feel free to ask us.

Caring for Your Dental Implants

A thorough and conscientious program of oral hygiene is the single most effective way to protect the longevity of your dental implants.

Regular oral health visits as recommended by your dentists will detect minor problems before they develop into major concerns. Professional dental cleaning and implant maintenance by a hygienist at your recommended intervals is essential.

CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS
In general, care of your dental implants is much like the care you give your natural teeth. Those patients who enjoy the greatest success with implants are those who follow a program of immaculate plaque removal. These suggestions can help:
Brushing: When using a standard toothbrush, be sure to clean in and around all implant posts. Many people find that an electric toothbrush is easiest to use.

Flossing: When implants are not attached to adjacent teeth, you may floss implants as you do your natural teeth. However, several teeth may be attached together in an implant supported “bridge or bur”. In such cases, “floss threaders” or “Superfloss” are used to run floss under these areas for easy cleaning. Special “wide” floss may be recommended depending upon your individual implant structure.

Interproximal Brushes: While they are not a replacement for dental floss, these tiny dental brushes can offer additional help in cleaning hard to reach places.

Oral Irrigators: Can help in reducing bacterial plaque accumulation around both dental implants and natural teeth. A special mouth rinse may also be recommended.

Contact our office if you experience any of the following:
  • Looseness in a dental implant
  • Dull or sharp pain when chewing
  • Swelling or redness in the gums surrounding the implant site(s)

Endodontic Treatment (Root Canal) – Post-Operative Instructions

1. Root canal treatment can take 1,2, or more appointments, depending on the conditions present in each case. During that time any of the following symptoms may be present: sensitivity to hot or cold, sensitivity to pressure, or swelling.

2. Some tenderness can be expected after each appointment. It is best to start taking either an over-the-counter pain medicine (Advil or Motrin 200 mg., or Tylenol), or the pain medicine prescribed to you. These are most effective if taken before the office anesthetic wears off.

3. If an antibiotic has been prescribed to you, be certain to take it as directed. Be certain to finish all the pills regardless of how well you feel.

4. If swelling or pain is present after 2 days of your last appointment or is increasing, your medication may need to be adjusted. Contact the office immediately.

5. If your bite feels high or if pain occurs with light biting, your bite may to be adjusted due to inflammation around the tooth. This is a short appointment. Please call the office immediately.

6. A temporary has been placed in the tooth. This restoration is not very durable and is prone to breakage or dislodgment if not treated carefully. Avoid sticky foods (gum, taffy, caramels, etc.), and hard foods (chewing ice, nuts and hard candy).

7. Floss your temporary restoration gently. Just clean and pull floss out to the side (do not bring the floss up), so temporary filling will not “pop off”.

8. The tooth is often very weak during therapy. Avoid biting on hard objects until the tooth is properly restored with a filling or crown after therapy is completed.

9. Hot food or beverage can be harmful to anesthetized tissues. Please avoid drinking hot coffee, etc., until the numbness wears off.

10. Should you have greater than expected sensitivity, discomfort on biting, if your temporary filling becomes loose or broken, please call the office immediately.

Self Care for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Your lower jaw meets the upper skull in front of the ear. The joint that connects then is called the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). Noises in the jaw joints are extremely common and the disk that separates the jaws has been estimated to be displaced in approximately 40% of the population. Like any joint (hip, shoulder, wrist), the TMJ can be strained or injured. The injury can be the result of a specific trauma to the jaw area or can result from prolonged smaller trauma (microtrauma) from oral habits.

Jaw pain and difficulty with jaw movement are common signs of problems with the jaw joint or jaw muscles. These problems as a group are called temporomandibular disorders, or TMD, and they can often improve with some basic home care. Heat or ice can reduce joint or muscle pain and relax the muscles.
  • Moist Heat: Moist heat can be especially helpful to sore muscles when applied to the painful area of the jaw for 15-20 minutes 3-4 times a day. A wet towel over a hot water bottle or a gel type heat pack can be used. A wet wash cloth heated in a microwave can also be used. Avoid burning the skin.
  • Ice: Ice treatment can also be helpful for a sore jaw joint. An ice cube can be placed directly over the jaw joint in front of the ear. Move the ice over the jaw joint for 4-5 minutes for 3-4 times a day. Avoid frosting the skin.

Soft Diet: A simple rule of thumb is to avoid chewing foods which aggravate the pain and/ or jaw clicking such as French bread, bagels, or steak. Cook foods of softer consistency and cut food into smaller bites. It is helpful to avoid biting off food with the front teeth. Place the smaller pieces of food directly in the back of the mouth and chew on both sides to avoid overloading one side.

Chewing Gum: Do not chew gum. Chewing gum places a lot of pressure on the jaw joints for extended periods of time.

Jaw Position: Normal rest position of the jaw is with the teeth slightly separated and the tip of the tongue in the roof of the mouth behind your front teeth. This is a relaxed position with no tense jaw muscles. The teeth should only touch when chewing and swallowing. Check your jaw position several times during the day to see if you clench your teeth.

Jaw Habits: Check yourself and ask your family or friends if you have any habits which might make your jaw problem worse. These include teeth clenching or grinding, lip or cheek biting, fingernail biting, pen biting, thrusting your jaw forward, resting your jaw on your hand, and bracing your jaw even with your teeth apart.

Dental Appointments: Avoid extended mouth opening at the dentist while you are having jaw pain. Let your dentist or hygienist know you have been having problems with your jaw.

Caffeine: Avoid excessive use of caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or colas, as these can contribute to jaw muscle tension and pain. Keep our caffeine use to 2 or less beverages per day. Sleeping

Position: Attempt to not sleep on your stomach, as this can put pressure on the jaw. Medications: Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or Tylenol can be helpful in reducing your jaw pain. Take these medications as prescribed on the product instructions.

Oral Hygiene – Post Treatment Home Care

We want you to keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. We are happy to explain and demonstrate proper home care. However, responsibility for your oral health ultimately lies with you. Yes, it is really up to you to keep things on the right track. If you do the following every day, you will significantly increase the likelihood of a lifetime of good oral health.

Floss
Floss is used to remove plaque and whatever else decides to take refuge on your teeth, both above and below the gum line. Plaque refers to the bacteria and other things that stick to your teeth. There is direct connection between plaque, gum disease and tooth decay. Therefore, if you don’t remove the plaque, you will get gum disease and tooth decay.
Glide Floss is one of top floss products currently available. It is designed not to shred or get caught on your teeth or fillings. Take about an 18 inch length of floss and wrap it around your 2 middle fingers. Hold about a 1 inch length of this floss between the thumb and forefinger of each hand, keeping it tight. Gently place this 1 inch tight piece between the tooth contact. When you reach the gum line, hold the floss against one tooth and move it into the space between the gum and tooth below the gum line. While keeping the floss in contact with the tooth, move it up and down along the side of the tooth, from just below the contact to as far as you can comfortably get below the gum line. It is important that you get the floss in the space between the gum and tooth, as this is where gum disease begins. Repeat this procedure for the tooth on the other side of the contact. As you move from tooth to tooth, use a fresh section of floss.
If you haven’t flossed in awhile, your gums may bleed at first when you do this. If you are doing it correctly (and at least once a day), your gums will start to heal and the bleeding should stop in no more than 2 weeks.

Brush/Toothpaste
Brushing removes plaque and food debris on the chewing, inside and outside tooth surfaces. After flossing, use a soft brush along with a fluoride containing brand-name toothpaste. For the inside and outside surfaces, hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth and gums and use a gentle back-and-forth motion. This technique will not only clean your teeth, it will also keep your gums healthy. It is important to have the brush contact the teeth and gums at the same time. On the chewing surfaces hold the brush flat and use a gentle scrubbing motion.
Brush for two minutes. That is a long time, but it will be much more effective than the 20-30 seconds that most people do. Since two minutes standing by the sink is much longer than most people think, you may benefit by using a toothbrush timer. Brush at least 2 times a day, especially in the morning and at bedtime.
When done, spit out as much as you can. Don’t swallow any of the toothpaste, and don’t rinse out with any water.

Scrape
A tongue scraper is great for removing bacteria and food debris on the tongue. These substances get stuck in the deep crevices of your tongue, and if not removed, the byproducts give you bad breath. After brushing, a tongue scraper followed by a rinse is frequently the best way to control bad breath.
The tongue scraper we give you has two sides, regular and soft. Usually you will use the regular side.
Hold the scraper with two hands, between the thumbs and forefingers. Bend the scraper so that it forms a “C”. Stick out your tongue and start scraping from back to front several times. You will notice a creamy film develop on the scraper. Rinse it off. Repeat the scraping and rinsing until the film coming off your tongue is clear.

Rinse and dry the tongue scraper. It is designed to last a long time.

Rinse
An antibacterial rinse is just that, a rinse that cuts down on the bacteria that causes gum disease and cavities, plus it reduces those bacteria and the bacterial byproducts that cause bad breath. After scraping your tongue, it is recommended that you use a non-alcoholic anti-bacterial rinse, such as BreathRx or Crest Pro Health Rinse. This will significantly decrease the bacteria and volatile sulfur compounds (the substances responsible for bad breath). It will improve the health of your mouth and you will be a delight to be near. Why a non-alcoholic rinse? Most mouth rinses (such as Scope) contain a high percentage of alcohol. Alcohol dries your mouth out. Just put some alcohol on your hand and observe how quickly the skin dries out. Using a mouth rinse with a high alcohol content may make your mouth smell nice for only a short period of time. Once the alcohol begins drying the tongue and gums, your breath can actually smell worse than before you used it. Therefore, an alcoholic mouth rinse is not recommended.

Use a very small amount (you need less than you think) of mouth rinse and swish for 10-15 seconds and spit it out. No rinsing with water.

Remember: You don’t have to clean all your teeth; only the ones you want to keep. Congratulations! You are on your way to excellent oral health.

Family Dentistry – Frequently Asked Questions on Reducing Dental Anxiety

Q. Why do you need to have regular dental care check-ups?
A. Regular check-ups are needed to monitor your overall oral health. In addition to checking for cavities, your dentist examines the health of your entire mouth and surrounding soft tissues, checking for pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions, oral sores, and gum disease.

Your oral health is connected with your general health. Dental care check-ups can alert the dentist to other medical conditions that have symptoms in the mouth such as diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, and hormonal irregularities. Regular 
dental care visits are vital to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other conditions affecting your mouth.

Q. What can you do to feel more relaxed during a dental care appointment?
A. With the combination of modern anesthetics and new conscious sedation dentistry technology and techniques, many procedures only have minimal discomfort or are now entirely painless. Dental care providers want their patients to have maximum comfort and approach their treatments with a relaxed attitude and less dental anxiety.

There are a number of ways to decrease dental anxiety:
  • Tell the dental care staff your concerns. Studies have shown that talking about your fears of possible discomfort actually reduces pain.
  • Use visualization to picture yourself relaxed, or repeat messages that have a calming effect.
  • Play your favorite music on a walkman you bring with you (some dental offices are equipped with walkmans, too.)
  • Arrange a signal with the dental care staff, such as raising your hand, if you need a break or feel discomfort.

Some dental care offices are now offering patients new options for stress-relief: hypnosis, self-hypnosis instructions, relaxation tapes, soft lighting, warm gel-filled eye masks, scented candles, and massaging pillows. These are helpful in reducing stress in patients that suffer from dental anxiety. Be sure to avoid the use of stimulants such as caffeine prior to your visit.

Q. Aromatherapy has a relaxing effect for many people. Is this effective for patients undergoing dental treatment?
A. Research studies conducted at Case Western Reserve University have noted that the use of aromatherapy has a significant positive effect on dental anxiety patients. Two-thirds of the patients receiving aromatherapy were more calm and relaxed than those patients without exposure to the scented fragrance oils.

Dentists are concerned about your comfort. Ask your dental provider if aromatherapy is available in the office to help reduce dental anxiety, or if you can bring your own for your dental care visit. Essential fragrance oils are available in health food stores, spas, and some grocery and drug store outlets.

Q. Are dental patients who are considered at risk for bacterial infections advised to take antibiotic medication prior to their appointments?
A. Certain medical conditions, such as heart valve problems or a recent total joint replacement, are considered at risk for infection at the site of the cardiac abnormality or joint replacement. This infection results from bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and working its way to these vulnerable areas.

Consequently, 
dental care procedures likely to result in bleeding from the gums or mucous membranes will require patients to take antibiotics prior to that procedure. Such procedures could include, but are not limited to, extractions, implant surgery, incision and drainage for oral infection, and professional teeth cleaning.

Guidelines have been established by the American Heart Association and the American Dental Association to provide dentists and physicians with information regarding appropriate regimens for antibiotic therapy. It also outlines those situations when antibiotic therapy is or is not indicated.

There also are other medical conditions warranting antibiotic therapy prior to dental procedures. Be sure to update your dentist regarding your medical history. Your dentist and/or physician will advise you of any special needs.

Q. Where can you receive dental services if you do not have the money to cover the related expense?
A. If you do not have either 
dental insurance or the money to pay for a dental visit, you should inquire about financial aid from various sources within your community.

You may need to make several calls, but the local dental society, the local public health department, or social service agencies may be able to direct you to sources of assistance. Also, check local hospitals, dental schools, and outreach clinics that may be able to provide dental services at a reduced fee.

Enjoy Your Dentists and the Dentistry Your Parents Never Had

What did your parents tell you about going to the dentist? Did they talk about how your dentists could help you take care of your teeth, gums and even your smile? Instead, they probably emphasized the negative: “It won’t hurt much,” or “Your toothache will be gone.”

For most of us, the stories we heard about visiting dentists described how the person in the white jacket helped relieve tooth pain. We didn’t hear about the dentists creating opportunities for good dental health and an attractive bright smile.

Comparing the dentistry your parents knew with the new dentistry that has emerged over the past ten to fifteen years is like comparing the computers of the 1950’s with today’s powerful desktop machines. The differences are vast. Yet, as dental care consumers, most of us have not updated our old stories. You haven’t added new chapters about the great possibilities for dental care and dental well-being that the new dentistry offers.

You can experience these new possibilities for oral and dental health by creating partnerships with your dentists and their dental teams. You can take advantage of innovations and advances in:
  • Treatment technologies and equipment
  • Specialization
  • New materials
  • Preventive techniques
  • Scientific knowledge
  • Cosmetic enhancements like invisible fillings
  • Integrated multi-specialty treatment teams

Today’s dental care teams have the knowledge, skills and information to help create a positive dental health future. A partnership is based on communication and mutual responsibility, and you can actively foster that first communication.
You can begin to partner with your dentists and their dental care teams by:
  • Asking about advancements in treatment technologies and materials.
  • Finding out what steps you can take to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
  • Creating a positive dental future through the recommended steps of flossing and brushing.
  • Taking an active role in contacting your dentists and dental care team at the first sign of any concern about teeth or gums.
  • Using your curiosity to make sure you understand the reasons for a referral to a specialist such as a periodontist or endodontist and the outcomes your dentists are seeking.

Your parents didn’t have the choices or the opportunities that you have today for optimal dental health. The new dentistry can create more than a warm bright smile; it can improve your overall health.
The future of your dental health is in your hands just as the future of your bodily health is. Taking steps to increase your knowledge about the new dentistry will provide great benefits for you today and tomorrow.

By Brian DesRoches, PhD

FAQs on Dental Implants, Wisdom Teeth and Sealants for Children

Q. How does one care for primary teeth?
A. As soon as the first tooth erupts, primary teeth may be cleaned with a clean, wet wash cloth or wet gauze. The gums should also be gently wiped. If a toothbrush is used, it should be an appropriate size.

Q. Where does decay on the primary teeth occur most often?
A. With inappropriate or prolonged use of the baby bottle, decay may occur on the upper front teeth (incisors). The second most-often occurring site are the upper primary molars, which are found furthest back in the mouth. If there is no spacing between the primary teeth, there is a much greater chance of decay between the primary molars. These teeth should be flossed as soon as they come in.

Q. Why are dental sealants beneficial for children?
A. Dental sealants are applied by your dentist as protective coatings for the chewing surface of permanent molars. They protect the teeth from decay. Read on for more information.

Q. What is a dental implant?
A. A dental implant is a permanent artificial tooth replacement.

Q. What is the procedure for receiving dental implants?
A. 
Dental implants are inserted surgically in two steps. The first step is to insert a “post” into or onto the jawbone. This post will then become the “anchor” for the artificial tooth that will be placed over the “post”.

Q. How long is the procedure for dental implants?
A. Getting a dental implant is a two step process. Once the “post” is inserted into the jawbone, the patient will have between three and six months with a temporary restoration. During this period, the bone and gum area around the post will heal to create a strong and healthy bond.

Once this bond is complete, an additional set of smaller posts is attached to the original post and then the artificial tooth is secured to the posts. The entire procedure could take anywhere from three to ten months.

Q. Can I eat regularly while the implants are bonding?
A. While the “post” is bonding with your jaw and gums, your dentist will place a temporary artificial tooth on the post. During the bonding period, you will need to eat soft foods.

Q. Do implants require special care?
A. Yes and No. Dental implants need to be brushed, flossed and checked regularly by a 
dentist, just as you would do with your regular teeth. But dental implants don’t need special brushes or pastes.

Q. Can you eat and chew normally with dental implants?
A. Yes. Consider that natural teeth can absorb up to approximately 540 lbs. per square inch of biting pressure and properly placed dental implants can withstand up to approximately 450 lbs. per square inch of the same pressure.

Q. How long should a dental implant last?
A. With proper placement, excellent home care, regular dental visits, and good overall health, dental implants should be permanent.

Q. What are wisdom teeth?
A. Wisdom teeth are the third molars.

Q. Why is it necessary to remove wisdom teeth?
A. It is necessary to remove wisdom teeth to avoid problems, such as an impacted tooth destroying the second molar.

Q. Why do wisdom teeth cause problems?
A. Wisdom teeth generate problems because the shape of the modern human mouth is too small to accommodate these teeth, and they become impacted or unable to come in or move into their proper place.

Q. What problems occur from impacted third molars?
A. Partially erupted 
wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs that may cause infection. Cysts and tumors may grow on trapped wisdom teeth.

Q. How is a wisdom tooth removed?
A. Wisdom teeth are removed by surgery. The gum tissue over the tooth is removed, the connective tissue is stripped gently away from the tooth and bone, the tooth is removed, and the gum sutured.

Q. When are lasers used in dentistry?
A. Lasers are used in oral surgery, gum surgery, tooth whitening, cancer sore treatment, and the treatment of gums that have been diseased.

FAQs on Dentures, Seniors Dentistry and Woman’s Oral Health Needs

Q. How do you clean your dentures?
A. In cleaning your 
dentures you should first rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Then moisten your toothbrush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage.

Q. Why do your teeth seem darker as you age?
A. Your teeth may seem darker because plaque can build up faster and in larger amounts as you age. Changes in dentin can cause your teeth to appear a little darker as well.

Q. Why does your mouth seem dry?
A. Dry mouth is a common problem among seniors. It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of some medications.

Q. Are seniors more susceptible to gum disease?
A. Yes. The severity of gum disease may be increased due to ill-fitting dentures or bridges, poor diets, poor oral hygiene, other medical diseases, and even some medications.

Q. Why do seniors lose their sense of taste?
A. Seniors tend to lose their sense of taste because age decreases the sense of taste and smell. Certain diseases, medications and dentures can also contribute to the decrease of your sense of taste.

Q. Should seniors be worried about cavities?
A. Yes. The majorities of seniors have tooth-root decay and are more susceptible to cavities.

Q. Why should women be more careful with their oral health?
A.For many women, dental care depends on their different stages of life that are directly related to surges in sex hormone levels. Your 
dentistmay request to see you more frequently during hormonal surges.

Q. How do oral contraceptives affect women’s oral health?
Gingivitis may occur with long-term use of oral contraceptives because they contain estrogen or progesterone. Women who use oral contraceptives are two times as likely to develop dry sockets and require dental care more often.

Q. How does pregnancy affect oral health?
A. There is an increase in the amount of plaque on your teeth due to 
pregnancy because there is an increase in estrogen and progesterone.

Q. How does morning sickness affect oral health?
A. The acid in vomit causes tooth erosion. Women can neutralize the acid by using a baking soda and water paste and rubbing it on their teeth. Rinse the paste off after 30 seconds and then brush and floss.

Q. What is the likeliness of having tumors during pregnancy?
A. Women are at risk for developing pregnancy tumors that are benign growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated. The tumors usually shrink soon after the pregnancy is over.

Q. How does plaque build-up affect pregnant women?
A. If plaque is not removed it can cause gingivitis and women with periodontal disease may be at risk for pre-term, low-birth weight babies.

Q. What problems occur for girls experiencing puberty?
A. The surge in hormones that occurs during puberty may cause swollen gums, especially during menstruation. Herpes-type lesions and ulcers can also develop. They may also experience sensitive gums that react more to irritants.

Q. What are intraoral cameras?
A. An intraoral camera is a miniature video camera that the dentist places in the patient’s mouth so that together they can view any dental problems that the patient is having. The image from the camera is enlarged and sent to a monitor for viewing.

Q. What is the purpose of intraoral cameras?
A. The purpose behind intraoral cameras is to allow the patient to see the specific area that needs treatment so that they are more likely to understand the dentist’s recommendation and accept it.

Q. How can CD-ROM be beneficial in dentistry?
A. CD-ROM is beneficial in dentistry because patient education will be much simpler with information stored on CD-ROM. Procedures can be explained to patients in advance and post-operative instructions can be provided for them to take home.

How Pregnancy Affects Your Dental Care

Thinking about your baby and prenatal care is normal during pregnancy; however, thinking about your oral health and dental care may not be forefront on your mind, but dentistry is still very important. Women need to pay special attention to their teeth and gums especially during pregnancy to avoid the increased risk of dental problems.

Your Changing Body and Changing Dental Care Needs During Pregnancy.
Pregnancy brings a change in oral health and hormones, especially increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are linked to plaque buildup on teeth. Plaque that is not removed can cause gingivitis and swollen gums that are tender and prone to bleed. Most pregnant women experience 
gingivitis to some degree, but it doesn’t usually surface until the second trimester.

If you had gingivitis before becoming pregnant, your condition will likely be aggravated; untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious problem — periodontal disease. Swollen gums that become irritated can also lead to pregnancy tumors, benign growths that will usually shrink and disappear without treatment. However, if the tumor causes discomfort or interferes with chewing or brushing, the dentist may suggest removing it.

Special Preventive Dental Care Tips for Pregnant Women
  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and after each meal, if possible.
  • If brushing your teeth causes morning sickness, rinse with anti-plaque and fluoride mouthwashes or water.
  • Pay close attention to your gum line and keep it clean.
  • Floss daily.
  • Focus on nutrition, including plenty of vitamins C and B12.
  • Visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning in both your first and second trimesters to control plaque and maintain good oral health.

Handling Dental Care Emergencies During Pregnancy
If you experience dental emergencies causing pain, you can be treated at any time; however, consult your doctor if anesthesia is required or a medication is prescribed to you. Avoid X-rays during 
pregnancy, unless they are critical to emergency treatment.

It is recommended to schedule elective procedures after your baby’s birth. While you’re expecting, have great expectations for maintaining good oral health. By doing so, you’ll keep your beautiful smile and share it with your baby!

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

New Dental Care Technology And Your Teeth

The world of modern dentistry is embracing exciting advances in technology for increased patient comfort, care, and convenience. Here are some ways dentistry is taking oral care into the new millennium.
  • Air Abrasion: High-speed delivery of “blasting particles” to a decayed tooth can replace the drill in many cases. The fine stream of air and aluminum oxide provides dentists with a more precise tool for removing decay quickly, without damaging surrounding sections of the tooth. This exciting dental treatment is also a plus for patients because it normally doesn’t require any local anesthesia. While air abrasion may not be suitable for large areas of decay or the removal of silver fillings, it can be used to repair tiny cracks, remove stains, and smooth the tooth surface so that bonding materials adhere to the tooth.
  • Intra-oral Cameras: A tiny camera inserted into the patient’s mouth allows the dentist to show the patient the exact nature of the problem. The image is enlarged and sent to a monitor that the patient and doctor view together. When patients can see the specific area in need of treatment, they’re more likely to understand and accept the dentist’s recommendation.
  • Lasers: Research continues at a fast pace in laser dentistry. Lasers have been used for years in a limited capacity, but their role in oral surgery is likely to increase.
  • Digitized X-rays: Computerized technology will allow a small sensor inside the patient’s mouth to take the X-ray and immediately display it on a computer screen, eliminating film and darkroom processing, and reducing the radiation exposure for the patient.
  • Computers: There is a growing recognition of the role that computers can play in dental care. In the future, patient records may be kept on computer disks, including visual images captured on intraoral cameras. A computerized workstation beside the patient’s chair will give the dentist the ability to view the patient’s history from disk. The dentist might also use a voice-recognition system to ask the computer to assist in finding that data, or generate a “before and after” image so the patient can preview the result of dental treatment before it is done.
  • CD-ROM: Patient education will be a snap with information stored on CD-ROM. Procedures can be explained to patients in advance and post-operative instructions can be provided for them to take home.

With a new hi-tech face on modern dentistry, patients can look forward to a new face in dentistry and greater comfort with more byte!”

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Seniors — Age Brings Changes In Dental Care Treatment

It’s an indisputable fact – our bodies change as we get older and so does our need for dentistry. These changes take different forms in different people, depending on our inherited physical traits, our lifestyle and nutritional habits, and our medical conditions.

Age brings changes in oral health and your need for dental care, too. There are some specific areas where seniors need to pay close attention to protect and extend their oral health.
  • Tooth Color: Plaque is an invisible layer of bacteria that forms on our teeth, and can trap stains at any age. But as we get older, plaque builds up more quickly and is harder to remove. At the same time, the tissue that lies underneath the tooth enamel, called “dentin,” is changing, and those changes can make teeth appear darker. Finally, decades of consuming coffee, tea, or tobacco leave stains that build up over time.

Daily brushing and flossing are important, particularly first thing in the morning and just before bed, to combat the plaque that builds up overnight. You may also want to consult your dentist about using commercial rinses that remove plaque.
  • Dry Mouth: Many seniors experience a reduced flow of saliva, sometimes as a side effect of medications such as painkillers or decongestants. For some, the lack of moisture inside the mouth can lead to sore throats, a burning sensation, hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing. In addition, if you leave dry mouth unattended, it can damage teeth, since saliva’s natural rinsing keeps bacteria washed away from teeth and gums. Sugar-free chewing gum and hard candy will stimulate natural saliva, and artificial saliva and oral rinses will provide much-needed relief. Ask your dentist which commercial products are the best for you.
  • Cavities: If your gums begin to recede, the portion of the tooth that used to be below the gum line is now exposed. Roots are softer than tooth surfaces and are susceptible to decay; they are also likely to be sensitive to hot and cold beverages and food. Most people over age 50 suffer from some form of dental care disease. Make sure you take good care of teeth and gums with daily brushing and flossing. A word of caution: your gums may be starting to thin. Brush thoroughly but gently to keep from tearing your gums.
  • Fillings: Your fillings are getting older, too. They can weaken or crack, or your tooth may decay around the edges of the filling. As a result, bacteria can seep into your tooth, causing more decay. Regular check-ups will give your dentist the chance to keep an eye on your existing fillings.
  • Gum Disease: Daily cleaning and good nutrition are critical for healthy gums. When gums become infected and diseased, they set off a chain reaction that can result in losing teeth or weakening the jawbone. Either condition creates more problems for your health and increases your medical costs. Contact your dentist if your gums become red or you have bleeding gums.
  • Good Nutrition: What you put into your mouth has a direct impact on the health of your mouth — and the health of the rest of your body. As you age and your lifestyle changes, keep your nutritional goals in mind. Balanced meals are one the best ways you can contribute to your own good health.
  • Regular Exams: The dentist will check your mouth, teeth, and jaw for any problems. You should also mention any sores, swelling, or pain you might be experiencing or if you have diabetes or other medicat conditions. Regular checkups enable the dentist to spot problems early. Early resolution of problems will help you keep your natural teeth.

Good dental care, regular check-ups, and good nutrition are the keys to really keep you smiling in your golden years!

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

The New Dentistry and Medicine – A Partnership for Your Oral Health

A world of opportunities for dental health awaits us in the new dentistry. Using the old dentistry, dental care professionals did their best to provide a high quality of service given the state of knowledge and technology at that time.

Through advancements in treatment, research, and the desire of the dental care profession to do more and do it better, the new dentistry has emerged giving you a better smile. It is based on a foundation with specific characteristics that are of great benefit to us as consumers.
  • Efficiency: Your time and your resources are valuable to you, and your dentist recognizes this. New dentistry treatment techniques and methods have considerably reduced the amount of time that the dental care now takes. The return on your investment in dental health is excellent.
  • Comfort: Not only are the dental chairs and the dentistry office environment more comfortable and pleasant, improvements in the use of local anesthetics and new equipment provide more comfort than ever before.
  • Collaboration: The dental relationship is now based on the value that you can derive from your dentistry team and what you want for your dental future rather than just on the techniques and procedures your dentist can do. Through dental continuing education, your dentist has the skills and knowledge to help you make decisions for your dental health in a positive and informed way.
  • Predictability: New materials and advances in treatment provide you with opportunities to maintain your dental health throughout your life. With the innovative cosmetic and specialized dentistry approaches to reclaiming teeth that formally would be lost, your dentistry professional can help create and maintain teeth and gums. Predictable treatment, effective prevention methods, and the longevity of treatment are now part of any treatment plan.
  • Thoroughness: Advances in assessment and diagnosis now enable dentists to make thorough evaluations of your overall dental and oral health. The outcome is a plan for your health that will give you peace of mind, knowing you can have a well-informed dentistry plan in place.
  • Prevention: This characteristic of the new dentistry has received much publicity in recent years. It has been proven over and over again that there are several measures that you can take as a consumer of dental care to create and maintain your dental health in collaboration with your dental team. It bears repeating again — flossing and brushing combined with regular dental hygiene checks are your greatest allies in maintaining your teeth and a bright smile.
  • Precision: The new dentistry utilizes instruments and technologies that are far advanced from what was available even 15 years ago. Both general dentists and specialists have access to technologies that provide precision in diagnosis and treatment. The value for you is higher quality care.

The dental profession has established a strong foundation for a pleasant smile and a healthy dental future for all of us. Dentistry improvements are continuously being made to this foundation. You can choose to avail yourself of these improvements by asking your dentist, “What can help me to maintain my dental health?” They have the knowledge and the desire to help you.

By Brian DesRoches, PhD

Toothache – Why Won’t My Tooth Pain Go Away?

Technology in dentistry now offers attractive options in dental fillings for cavity restorations in dental care. Called composites, these new tooth-colored dental fillings are excellent choices for front teeth and other repairs that might be visible. Composites duplicate the natural appearance of a tooth in restoring decayed teeth or repairing a defect and giving you a more attractive mouth.

What Dental Care Material Is Used in the Composite Filling?
Dental fillings composites are made from a mixture of microscopic plastic and ceramic resin particles. Another type of 
tooth-colored dental fillings used in dental care are called a resin ionomer, which releases fluoride useful for preventing tooth decay.
Besides Their Cosmetic Value, What Other Benefits Do Composites Provide in dental care
The bonding process used in restoration provides strength to the tooth, making it more structurally sound. It also seals the tooth, decreasing the chance of sensitivity to hot and cold. Some composites made with materials releasing fluoride are ideal for treating root decay, a condition when gums recede, exposing tooth roots to more cavity-causing plaque. These fluoride-releasing materials also are useful dental fillings for decayed baby teeth.

What Is the Process for Dental Care Treatment?
Following removal of the decayed area, a mild acid solution is used to prepare the tooth’s surface for bonding and dental fillings. A bonding agent is then brushed over the surface. Several layers of the composite are applied during the next dental care process. For a natural appearance, the 
dentist matches the color of the dental fillings composite to the tooth.

Then, it is chemically hardened or cured with a special light and finally polished for a natural-looking finishing touch.

How Durable Are these Dental Fillings?
In a five-year clinical study of dental care, some of the resin materials demonstrated 100% effectiveness for adhesion and retention. Like other types of dental fillings, they may require periodic replacement. While the material is very durable, they may not perform quite as long as silver fillings or amalgams for their resistance to the rigors of grinding and chewing.
Scheduling dental care on a regular basis is an important part of good oral hygiene. Your 
dentist will check your fillings each time to ensure their performance.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

What Occurs In Your Mouth During A Dental Care Examination

During a dentistry examination, the dentist examines the mouth mucosa (soft tissues) for any abnormalities or pathology (including oral cancer), the teeth for tooth decay (dental caries) or defects, the gum tissues for periodontal (gum) disease, the neck for swollen lymph nodes, the amount of plaque, tartar (dental calculus), and debris on teeth, as well as the need to replace any missing teeth or dental prostheses.

The dental examination begins with a complete dental care and medical history, including medications the patient currently is taking. The skin of the face and neck is examined for any abnormalities, especially pigment changes. The lymph nodes in front and behind the ears, under the floor of the mouth and chin, and the midline of the neck, sides, and back of the neck are palpated to determine if any swelling or tenderness is present.

Inside of the mouth, the lips, cheeks, gums, and roof of the mouth are inspected and palpated. During this process, the tip of the tongue is placed on the roof of the mouth just behind the upper teeth for inspection of the front floor of the mouth and sides of the tongue.

The back floor of the mouth, the area behind the lower wisdom teeth, and the back sides of the tongue are inspected by grasping the tip of the tongue with a small gauze sponge and pulling the tongue forward and toward the opposite side of the mouth.

To inspect the back of the throat, soft palate, and tonsil area (sides of the throat), the tongue is depressed with a dental mirror or tongue blade and then a deep breath is taken by the patient.
To detect swelling on the floor of the mouth, the area inside the mouth is felt with the finger of one hand while a finger of the other hand feels below the chin. Salivary gland enlargement, saliva flow, or xerostomia (dry mouth) are determined by milking the major salivary glands to assess the quantity and consistency of saliva.

Today’s 
dentist has many analytic tools available to pinpoint dental and oral diseases. The basic tools are the dental instruments, lights, and radiographs (X-rays). Depending upon the dentist and the individual’s dental needs, additional diagnostic tests are available. Testing for essential proteins and buffering capacity can evaluate the protective ability of saliva.
To determine mouth caries risks, microbiological testing of saliva can measure the level of caries-producing organisms. Periodontal susceptibility tests, which test for the DNA of gum disease-producing organisms, can be performed to assess an individual’s risk for gum disease.

If removable 
dentures are present, they are checked for bite, retention, stability, and overall fit. Dental impressions or models also may be taken to study the mouth and tooth structures to initiate fabrication of prostheses. Photographs may be exposed for a variety of reasons, including before and after treatment comparisons.

The level of oral hygiene and home care practices are assessed and reviewed. Recommendations for home care devices and products may be made. Instruction and methods for maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen can also take place.

Once basic information about oral health status is gathered, the 
dentist will be better able to discuss dental treatment alternatives that are available.

By Denise J. Fedele, DMD, MS

Child Dental Emergencies

Uh-oh! A Dental Emergency! If a dental emergency should happen to your child, please remember to act quickly. Stay calm – a parent’s apprehension can be transmitted to the child. Bring the child to us with the tooth replanted or kept moist in transit. We’ll take care of you immediately.

A child, learning to ride a two-wheeled bicycled, loses her balance, falls, hits a rock and knocks out a front tooth. What do you do?

If the tooth is replaced in the tooth socket immediately, the chances are good that this tooth can be maintained for many years.

Do something and do it now
The success of this replantation procedure is directly related to how soon the tooth is replaced in its socket. If possible, just rinse the tooth with tap water and gently replace the tooth in its socket and come to the office. Otherwise, wrap the tooth in a clean, moistened cloth-or put it in a cup of water or milk-and get to the 
dentist, now. Never scrape the tooth or allow it to dry out.

Remember, time is of the essence
If the tooth is left out of the mouth for more than 30 minutes, the chance for successful replantation drops significantly.

We consider replantation successful if we can keep the tooth in position at least during a child’s growth period. By maintaining the space, the replanted tooth prevents tipping of adjacent teeth. If it’s necessary to replace the injured tooth, it’s much easier to do it when the child is older – when all the permanent teeth are in.

The good news is that we have bonding and 
dental implant techniques today for tooth replacement-and new materials to fill in for a lost tooth.

Computerized Dental Radiography

These days, computers are really changing the way we live and work. You’ve probably experienced their impact in your own home. And believe me, technology is also helping raise our dental practice to a new level of safety, accuracy, and comfort.

Keeping up with all these advances is a full-time occupation that’s as important as my work at chairside. One of the most promising of these breakthroughs is an improvement on the oldest evaluation technology we have – dental x-rays.

For close to a century, dentists have used x-rays to detect cavities and damage invisible to the eye. We’ve long been aware of the drawbacks. Though x-ray radiation is slight, many patients find it a cause for concern. And reading the negative requires a skilled, professional eye-which means my patients can’t see what I see.

That’s why my office uses a Computed 
Dental Radiography System as an x-ray alternative. A computer enhances a “photo” of your teeth and shows it instantly on a screen. This new system requires 90% less radiation than the old film x-rays, and can magnify the image up to 300 times. It’s as easy to read as a snapshot. When I discuss something I see in your mouth, you’ll be able to view it right along with me.

This is an exciting time to be a 
dentist. We’re re-thinking and refining virtually every aspect of our dental practice, and I wanted to pass a bit of it along to you.

Dental Care And A New Diagnostic Tool For Mouth Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, about 30,000 new cases of mouth cancer are diagnosed annually in the U.S. About half of those who have oral cancer die within five years. Early detection can make a dramatic difference in treating the cancer at curable stages and reducing oral cancer deaths.

Early detection capabilities recently have been enhanced by a new computer-assisted mouth cancer screening tool. A nationwide study of 945 patients ranging in ages from 18 to 83 was conducted by dentists at 35 U.S. academic dental care sites.
Brush biopsy specimens were obtained from oral lesions as part of the extensive research, testing the accuracy of computer-assisted diagnostic equipment. The brush biopsy caused little or no bleeding and no anesthetic was required. The computer-assisted image analysis was used to identify suspicious cells in the samples.

The computer analysis properly identified every case of pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions as confirmed by lab tests from their traditional tissue evaluations. Additionally, it also correctly identified some lesions that were benign in appearance, but were actually found to be pre-cancerous or cancerous. Had it not been for this new diagnostic equipment, these lesions would have escaped detection and the patient would not have received any additional oral cancer testing.
“Early evaluation of oral pre-cancerous lesions can have a dramatic impact on oral cancer mortality rates,” says Dr. James J. Sciubba, DMD, PhD, professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at State University of New York at Stony Brook, who also serves as a spokesperson for the study. Early-stage mouth cancers are not easily detectable by visual inspection and may be overlooked.

The oral cancer scanner provides 
dentists a new evaluation tool that can lead to a significant reduction in cancer deaths. An estimated 8,100 people will die from mouth cancer this year. This new dentistry tool has shown remarkable merit as a reliable dental health device. By providing an accurate diagnosis, it has become a crucial weapon in the fight against oral cancer.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Dental Emergencies and First Aid Procedures

The following first aid procedures are important steps for handling dental emergencies or facial injuries. They provide temporary relief and help in their proper repair or healing. As with any injury, always follow up with personal care from your dentist or physician.

Bitten Tongue/Cut Lip
Clean gently with a cloth. Apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. If bleeding is severe, go to an emergency services provider. After bleeding has subsided, rinse with warm salt water.

Broken Jaw (Possible)
Don’t move the jaw. Secure it in place by tying a scarf, necktie, or towel around the jaw and over the top of the head. Apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. See your 
dentist or emergency services provider immediately.

Broken Tooth
Rinse the mouth with warm water. Try to remove any dirt, blood, or debris from the injured area using sterile gauze or a clean cloth and warm water. Apply cold compresses on the face next to the injured tooth to reduce swelling. See the dentist immediately. Place the broken piece in a small container of whole milk.

Knocked-Out Tooth
Annually, more than two million teeth are knocked out accidentally; more than 90% of them can be saved with proper treatment.

Holding the tooth from the crown (top part), rinse off the root. Don’t scrub or remove any attached tissue fragments. Gently hold the tooth in its socket. (Young children may accidentally swallow; use your judgment.) If this isn’t possible, place the tooth in a cup of cold whole milk. Avoid using low fat milk, powdered milk, or milk products like yogurt. Never put the tooth in mouthwash or alcohol. Avoid scrubbing the tooth or touching the root end. Get to the 
dentist immediately (within 30 minutes) and take the tooth!

Objects Trapped Between Teeth
Try gliding dental floss between teeth (dental tape is often useful in removing shredded dental floss.) Sometimes tying a small knot in the floss may help, too. Avoid using any sharp or pointed objects. See a dentist if object can’t be removed.

Toothache
Toothaches can result from different causes. Rinse mouth with warm water. Remove any food trapped between teeth with dental floss. Avoid applying aspirin on the tooth or 
gum tissues. If a cavity is suspected, insert a small cotton ball or cotton tip soaked in oil of cloves (eugenol). Do not cover a cavity with cotton if there is facial swelling or pus. See a dentist as soon as possible.

Always consult with a dentist if you have questions regarding any dental problem.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Dental Waterlines

Have you heard about biofilm? Our dental office monitors it daily. Possibly you’ll catch something on TV about biofilm as some sort of newly discovered health threat. It’s neither, really. Here are the facts:

Most of our 
dental equipment is connected to long, flexible tubes that deliver water to your mouth. We call these tubes dental waterlines. Every day, fresh water rushes through them. But overnight or over the weekend, water trapped in these long tubes has the potential of being colonized by a thin layer of microorganisms.

Those microorganisms are biofilm. It’s just as important we keep our waterlines free of biofilm as it is you keep your teeth free of plaque through regular brushing.

We’ve known about biofilm for years. Every morning, all our waterlines are cleared before the first patient arrives. Our dental chairs are equipped with check valves that make sure waterline delivery goes only one way-into the mouth and down the drain.
All this to combat a health hazard that is so far only theoretical-we have no evidence of illness related to water from a 
dental waterline. Even if it existed, the marginally higher bacteria counts wouldn’t necessarily pose a hazard to healthy patients. Bacteria is everywhere-in drinking water, the air we breathe. Getting rid of it is the job of our immune systems.

News organizations love to discover what they believe to be health threats, because it keeps viewers tuned in. But biofilm (if it exists at all) is something we’ve known about and protected patients against for years.

Dental X-Rays

Taking X-rays seriously
We do believe the judicious use of 
dental x-rays is in our patients’ best interests. And you deserve to know why.

X-rays aren’t just another part of our office routine. We rely, first and foremost, on a clinical examination-that is, we look inside your mouth. Then we ask ourselves, what information do we expect to find with X-rays that will benefit this patient? If there is no good answer, we won’t recommend X-rays.

X-rays: What you should know
New X-ray equipment reduces the size of the beam, and eliminates “scatter”-photons bouncing around the room. Fast film requires much less exposure time. Lead aprons are almost 100% effective against exposing other arts of your body to radiation. We monitor our equipment faithfully to keep timers precise, everything up to snuff.

We work with X-rays every day-they are our “eyes.” There would be a very different kind of 
dentistry without them.

As a consumer, you can protect yourself, too!
Feel free to ask us why you need an X-ray. Don’t insist on it just because “it’s time.” Let us know when you are having X-rays for medical reasons. If you move, or we refer you to a specialist, ask for your X-rays to be sent to your new doctor.

Dentist Office Fear? Find a Dentist Who Makes You Feel Comfortable

The dentist office may feel like a scary place to many people, but there’s no reason to dread a dental appointment. In fact, the consequences of avoiding the dentist’s office can be a lot more frightening!

The dental office is where you’ll get the regular dental hygiene that will prevent future dental problems. A 
dental hygienist will give you a teeth cleaning about twice a year. Kids can get fluoride treatments, and patients with gum disease can get periodontal cleaning. Every dental patient also gets a dental exam by a dentist, who looks for any current dental health issues or signals of future oral health problems.

If you don’t already have a 
dentist, you should seek to find a dentist office where you will feel safe and comfortable. Look for a dentist who is caring and experienced, a staff that is friendly and supportive, and an atmosphere that is welcoming and relaxing.
During your first dentist appointment with a 
new dentist, you’ll probably get your teeth cleaned The dentist exam will be quick and easy, and you may also get dental x-rays. If the dentist sees teeth problems that need to be addressed, you’ll work together to develop a treatment plan.

Early Dental Practices

Every science has its beginnings in myth and folklore. Early dental practices, in particular, are deeply tied to the mysticism surrounding the teeth and tongue. Because the mouth is the center of speech and nourishment, diverse cultures treat dental events in their lives with respect.

There is a universal human belief that teeth confer power. These remedies and practices were intended to cultivate that power-by keeping teeth for a lifetime. The same spirit-much refined-motivates modern 
dentistry.

Toothache
For relief, boil earthworms in oil and pour into the ear on the side where there is pain (Pliny, 77 AD).
Pour juice of onions by drops into the mouth, bite a piece of wood struck by lightning (ibid.).
Put tobacco in the armpit; hold a heated root of a birch on the cheek; or hold a small frog against the cheek or lick a toad’s abdomen (Norwegian folklore).
Lay roasted parings of turnips, as hot as they may be, behind the ear; keep the feet in warm water, and rub them well with bran, just before bedtime (John Wesley, 1747).

Tooth Extraction
“Round the tooth to be drawn, he fastened a strong piece of catgut; to its other end he affixed a bullet. Then he charged a pistol with this bullet and a full measure of powder. The firing performed a speedy and effectual removal of the offending tooth” (Dr. Monsey, 1788).

In the US and Europe, the blacksmith did extractions, presumably because they had the “proper tools.”
“If one had a 
tooth extracted, it must be burned, because, if a dog got it and swallowed it, one would have a dog’s tooth come in its place” (Dr. Holmes, 1862).

Tooth Cleaning
To clean the teeth, rub them with the ashes of burnt bread (Poor Will’s Almanack, 1780).

To stable and steadfast the teeth, and to keep the gummes in good case, it shall be very good every day in the morning to wash well the mouth with red wine (London, 1598).

In parts of England, the superstition persists: one prevents a toothache by “clothing one’s right leg prior to the left” (G.P. Foley, 1972).

Tooth Growth
To make the teeth of children grow hastily, take the brain of a hen and rub the gums therewith. It shall make them grow without any sorrow or diseases or aching (London, 1934).

Roast the brains of a rabbit and rub a small amount on the gums (US, 1942).

Find A Dentist To Help You Answer Why I Have A Toothache

There are many causes of toothache and pain in the area of the mouth. When experiencing pain and/or swelling, it is important to see your dentist to have the area evaluated. The pain and/or swelling is most often related to a disease process that originates within a particular tooth.

The pulpal tissue within the tooth can be irritated by bacteria, external traumatic events, repetitive or extensive dental care procedures, or even periodontal disease causing a 
toothache. When this irritation occurs, the pulpal tissue reacts by becoming inflamed.

Since the pulpal tissues and the tissues supporting the tooth have a rich supply of nerve fibers, the inflammatory process can cause pain as these nerve pathways are stimulated. Additionally, the pulp tissue is encased inside tooth structure and it cannot swell and expand in reaction to injury like tissues in other areas of the body.

When the injured pulp tissue attempts to swell within the confined 
root canal space, the pressure buildup can cause a significant toothache.

Pain originating from the dental pulp can be either “spontaneous” or “elicited.” Spontaneous pain occurs without an identifiable stimulus, whereas elicited pain occurs only in specific situations. Elicited pain requires a specific stimulus such as drinking cold or hot fluids or biting on the tooth.

As is typical anywhere in the body, the initial stages of a disease process do not always cause symptoms. Millions of teeth have irreversible pulpal disease yet the patients have no clinical symptoms.

Most of these situations will become evident when the 
dentist obtains a thorough history, does a clinical examination, performs specific tooth tests, and takes a series of well-angulated radiographs. It is important to note that pulpal disease can refer pain to other areas within the head and neck.

If the results of the endodontic examination indicate that root canal disease is not the source of the patient’s toothache, then the dentist must consider other possibilities. When attempting to identify the source or cause of facial pain and/or swelling, the dentist must consider that the symptoms could actually originate in a tooth (endodontic disease), the gum tissues (periodontal disease), the muscles (myofacial pain), the joints (TMJ), the sinuses (sinusitis), or even the surrounding vascular (blood vessels) or nerve tissues.

Facial pain requires an accurate diagnosis so that the proper treatment can be recommended. At times, various medical and dental specialists may need to be consulted before an accurate diagnosis can be determined.

By Clifford J. Ruddle, DDS, in collaboration with Philip M. Smith, DDS

Find A Dentist To Stop Bad Breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a signal that something is not right inside your mouth. It may be as simple as the need to pay more attention to your daily oral hygiene, or it may indicate tooth decay, gum disease, or another medical or dental health problem. Whichever it is, bad breath is a red flag: take another look at your mouth!

Commercial products claim they will make your breath fresher, but the only way to make sure your breath permanently fresh is to practice good oral hygiene. In fact, too many breath mints and hard candies with sugar will lead to tooth decay. If you are constantly using breath mints, breath sprays, or mouthrinses in an effort to cover up your bad breath, realize that you may have a medical or dental care problem that needs addressing.

There are a number of reasons you may experience a bad taste in your mouth, and even be able to smell your own breath. Food may be lodged between your teeth if you are not brushing at least twice daily and flossing regularly. Food particles can be very tiny and can wedge themselves between teeth and below the gum line.

Brushing after meals is important and flossing is imperative to get at the particles that the brush can’t reach. Brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper, even if it feels odd at first. Bacteria collects on the tongue and can contribute to bad breath. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before you wear them again.
If you neglect your daily hygiene over time, bad breath can become a symptom of more serious dental health problems. Teeth that are not cleaned properly become a place for bacteria to reside as food particles stay in your mouth and decay. Bacteria attack your teeth and gums and cause cavities and gum disease. If this is happening, gum disease will cause an unpleasant odor.

If you are brushing and flossing on a regular basis, but are still experiencing bad breath, you may have teeth that are crooked or crowded, and it may be hard for you to clean between them. If you wear dentures that do not fit properly, they may be trapping food or irritating your mouth. Your bad breath is may be caused by another medical problem: drainage from your sinuses, gastrointestinal problems, kidney or liver problems, or other medical conditions.

Here’s what you can do to investigate on your own. Write down what you’re eating and notice whether your breath smells bad because of certain foods. Garlic and onions actually cause odor, but the odor is coming from your lungs as you breathe, not from your mouth itself. The odor from these foods is temporary, and will be gone once the food is out of your bloodstream.

Are you dieting? Hunger can contribute to bad breath, because of the chemical changes as your body turns fat and protein into the energy it needs. Are you taking prescription or over-the-counter medications? Add these to the record of what you’re eating to see whether there’s a relationship between your medications and your bad breath. And don’t forget to tell your dentist if there’s been a change in your overall health since your last visit.

Are you suffering from dry mouth? Saliva provides constant rinsing in your mouth and washes away food particles. Your 
dentist may recommend more liquids, or sugarless candy to stimulate natural saliva, and perhaps some of the commercial products that are available to combat dry mouth.

If bad breath continues after you have done your best job of regular brushing and flossing, go see your dental care professional. He or she can tell you whether the odor is caused by an oral problem; if it is not, then your dentist will suggest you see your doctor for a physical check-up.

Regular dental check-ups with a 
dentistry professional will help keep your mouth healthy and working well. Your dentist can stop problems before they cause trouble, including problems that cause bad breath.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Four Questions Your Dentist Wishes You Would Ask

The technology and treatment options for consumers of dental care have greatly improved over the last 20 years. The new dentistry now provides you with the opportunity of maintaining your natural teeth throughout your life. One of the ways this is accomplished is by referral to a dental specialist to treat specific dental problems.

When dentists refer you to a specialist, your understanding of the problem and decision for treatment is vital in determining a specialized dental plan. The plan for your dental health and your general dentist’s overall goals often depend on these specialized resources.

When you are referred to a dental specialist, he or she becomes a part of your dental team. Although your specialist will give you information about the reasons for the referral and the treatment, there are also some active steps you can take to increase your participation in the 
dentistry treatment and healing process.

A query of dental specialists indicates that there are some questions that they would like you to ask to enhance the treatment outcomes they seek as a result of your dental plan. Answers to the following questions will often augment the information provided by your general 
dentistand enable you to clarify any further questions you may have about the specialized treatment you are receiving.
  • What is the cause of the condition that you are treating?
  • What treatment gives you the best overall outcome and how will it help you?
  • What can you do after treatment to help the healing process?
  • What can you do to control the condition in the future or make sure it doesn’t happen again?

These four questions will help you gain insight into the disease process that led to the need for dental care treatment and the prevention and self-care measures you can incorporate into your life to avoid future problems. With this information, you can also work with your general dentist and the dental team to maintain your dental health plan.

Specialized dental care for your dental needs is one of the ways the new dentistry has brought innovations in diagnosis and treatment to benefit consumers.
By Brian DesRoches, PhD

Healthy Eating For Good Oral Health Can Stop Tooth Decay

What you eat affects your health destiny. You can dramatically impact your dental health by eating a well-balanced, healthful diet. Research has shown that poor nutrition jeopardizes our oral health, which puts you at risk for a number of serious dental problems.

The Food Factor For Good Oral Health
Our food choices can make a big difference in two of the most common diseases today: tooth decay and gum disease. Certain foods, especially those containing sugar, are directly linked
to increased levels of cavity-causing bacteria.
Tooth decay results when acids from the bacteria attack the teeth forming cavities. While diet doesn’t directly cause 
gum disease, a condition affecting the supporting tissues of the teeth, researchers believe the disease is more rapid and severe when poor nutrition is a factor. Gum disease is a serious problem, since it can lead to tooth loss if untreated.
Diet and Dental Health
The American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health recommend eating a well-balanced diet including plenty of the following:
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • a good variety of breads and cereals
  • dairy products
  • fish
  • chicken
  • dried beans
  • peas
  • meat
Enjoying a variety of foods is the best way to get all the important nutrients needed for keeping healthy. Beware of fad diets that exclude entire food groups. This can cause nutritional deficiencies.
Snack Smart To Avoid Tooth Decay
Snacking is a favorite pastime, but certain snack choices promote tooth decay such as soft, sweet, sticky foods. Select nutritious snacks better for your teeth and general good health, especially colorful, juicy fresh fruits and crisp, crunchy vegetables. Choose your snacks based on any other dietary concerns, such as low cholesterol, low-fat, or low sodium diets.
If you snack on crackers, cookies, or chips, it’s better if you eat them in combination with other foods, such as cheese with crackers, rather than alone. This is because these foods, when eaten alone, tend to produce more bacteria in the mouth leading to tooth decay. Remember, each time you snack, oral bacteria is activated. Drink plenty of water to rinse away some of the disease-causing bacteria. If possible, brush your teeth after snacking.
Select from the wide variety of foods for healthful eating — that are good for you and your teeth and be sure to 
check-in with your dentist.
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Laser Dentistry

I’m proud to offer you laser dentistry for the treatment of many types of cavities. The laser works by emitting a specialized light that targets and destroys dental decay.

Drills are very powerful, and the vibration and the large hole produced can cause discomfort, making some type of anesthesia almost always necessary. With a laser, the light works to destroy and remove decay with no uncomfortable tooth vibration and resulting discomfort. Because the laser is so precise, the decayed part of the tooth often can be selectively removed, leaving a more healthy part of the tooth. Rather than that loud drilling sound, you hear only a gentle tapping.

More Benefits of Laser Dentistry: Clinical studies show that 96% of all patients-both adults and children-required no anesthesia when the laser was used to remove dental decay. No time is spent waiting for Novocaine to take effect or wear off. Multiple teeth and sections of your mouth can be worked on in ONE sitting instead of having to return multiple times to have a cavity filled.

Laser treatment has proven to be appropriate and safe in over tens of thousands of applications throughout the world, and works well for young children as well as adults. Laser of technology allows us to take the fear out of going to the 
dentist and gets the patient actively involved in their own dental care.

Learn How Plaque And Gum Disease Relate To Older Adults

The proverbial way of referring to older people as being “long on the tooth” suggests that it is predetermined that as we get older our teeth get “longer” or “no longer.” This is not true.
Periodontal disease, plaque and loss of teeth is not an inevitable aspect of aging. Loss of attachment or bone support around a tooth is the result of a bacterial infection. What is true is that as we get older, we have more exposures to these infectious organisms, and more probability of being infected and developing periodontal disease. Half of the people over 55 have periodontal disease.

Risk factors that make older adults more susceptible to periodontal disease include:
Systemic diseases: Certain systemic diseases such as diabetes may decrease the body’s ability to fight infection and can result in more severe periodontal disease. Osteoporosis also can increase the amount and rate of bone loss around teeth. Systemic illnesses will affect periodontal disease if it is a pre-existing condition. To reduce the effects of systemic diseases on the oral cavity, maintain meticulous plaque control and visit your dental care provider routinely for examinations and professional cleanings.

Medications: Heart medications can have a direct effect on the gums by creating an exaggerated response to plaque and resulting in gum overgrowth. Antidepressants may create dry mouth and reduce the saliva’s ability to neutralize plaque.
Immunosuppressants and other disease-fighting medications may reduce the body’s ability to combat infection, increasing the risk for periodontal disease. The 
dental care provider needs to be aware of any medications you may be taking and you need to maintain meticulous plaque control and visit your dental care provider routinely for examinations and professional cleanings.

Dry mouth: Lack of saliva can result from the use of certain medications or as a result of illness. If there is not enough saliva available to neutralize plaque it can result in more cavities and periodontal disease.
Also, dry mouth, or xerostomia, can make dentures more difficult to wear and may also complicate eating, speaking, or swallowing of food. Oral rinses or artificial saliva can be very helpful with these problems.

Frequent sips of water or eating candy may be helpful as long as it doesn’t contain sugar. Fluoride rinses and gels are helpful in reducing or preventing the cavities that can be caused by having a dry mouth.

Dexterity problems: Physical disabilities can reduce dexterity and the ability to remove plaque on a daily basis. Poor oral hygiene can increase the risk for cavities and periodontal disease.
Electric toothbrushes and floss holders are helpful in improving plaque control. Frequent professional cleanings combined with oral anti-microbial or fluoride rinses also may be helpful in reducing the incidence of cavities and 
periodontal disease.

Estrogen deficiency: Older women may have some special concerns in relation to periodontal disease. Scientific studies have suggested that the estrogen deficiency that occurs after 
menopause may increase the risk for severe periodontal disease and tooth loss. Estrogen replacement therapy may reverse these effects.

It is important to keep teeth as we age because every tooth has an important function in chewing and speaking. They affect our appearance and self esteem.

Having dentures or loose or missing teeth can restrict our diets, resulting in poor nutrition and systemic complications. With the advances in modern dentistry and with current prevention and treatment techniques, we must count on keeping our teeth for a lifetime — no matter how “long” that may be!

New Dentistry, A Partnership For Your Health And Well Being

A world of opportunities for dental health awaits us in the new dentistry. Using the old dentistry, dentists did their best to provide a high quality of service given the state of knowledge and technology at that time.
Through advancements in treatment, research, and the desire of the dental profession to do more and do it better, the new dentistry has emerged. It is based on a foundation with specific characteristics that are of great benefit to us as consumers.
  • Efficiency: Your time and your resources are valuable to you, and your dentist recognizes this. New dentistry treatment techniques and methods have considerably reduced the amount of time that the dental care now takes. The return on your investment in dental health is excellent.
  • Comfort: Not only are the dental chairs and the dentistry office environments more comfortable and pleasant, improvements in the use of local anesthetics and new equipment provide more comfort than ever before.
  • Collaboration: The dental relationship is now based on the value that you can derive from your dentistry team and what you want for your dental future rather than just on the techniques and procedures your dentist can do. Through continuing education, your dentist has the skills and knowledge to help you make decisions for your dental health in a positive and informed way.
  • Predictability: New materials and advances in treatment provide you with opportunities to maintain your dental health throughout your life. With the innovative cosmetic and specialized dentistry approaches to reclaiming teeth that formally would be lost, your dentistry professional can help create and maintain teeth and gums. Predictable treatment, effective prevention methods, and the longevity of treatment are now part of any dental plan.
  • Thoroughness: Advances in assessment and diagnosis now enable dentists to make thorough evaluations of your overall dental and oral health. The outcome is a plan for your health that will give you peace of mind, knowing you can have a well-informed dental plan in place.
  • Prevention: This characteristic of the new dentistry has received much publicity in recent years. It has been proven over and over again that there are several measures that you can take as a consumer of dental care to create and maintain your dental health in collaboration with your dental team. It bears repeating again — flossing and brushing combined with regular dental hygiene checks are your greatest allies in maintaining your teeth and a bright smile.
  • Precision: The new dentistry utilizes instruments and technologies that are far advanced from what was available even 15 years ago. Both general dentists and specialists have access to technologies that provide precision in diagnosis and treatment. The value for you is higher quality care.

The dental profession has established a strong foundation for a pleasant smile and a healthy dental future for all of us. Dentistryimprovements are continuously being made to this foundation. You can choose to avail yourself of these improvements by asking your dentist, “What can help me to maintain my dental health?” Your dentist has the knowledge and the desire to help you.

By Brian DesRoches, PhD

Research Your Dentistry and Dental Care Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is endodontics?
A. 
Endodontics is the area of dentistry that specifically deals with what is called the pulp within a tooth.

Q. What is dental pulp?
A. The dental pulp is a soft tissue comprised of tiny arteries, veins, nerves and lymph vessels for the tooth.

Q. Where does the term root canal come from?
A. The tooth is comprised of three basic components. The first component is the crown/enamel, which is seen by the naked eye.

The next level of the tooth is dentin, which is under the enamel and the “housing” for the dental pulp. The final component is the dental pulp and is the core of the tooth. This bulk of the dental pulp is in the center of the tooth or the pulp chamber, and is connected to the Mandibular Canal through the 
root canals. The root canals are like veins for the dental pulp.

Q. What does the procedure root canal mean?
A. Root canal has become a term for a procedure involving the dental pulp. When the dental pulp has been exposed and damaged, it must be treated professionally and this process is usually referred to as getting a root canal.

Q. What does a root canal procedure entail?
A. Once the dental pulp has been infected, it must be removed from both the pulp chamber and the root canals. Once it has been removed, the pulp chamber and root canals are thoroughly cleaned and enlarged. Based on the level of infection, the dentists may choose to clean the area more than once. After the area is free of infection, the dentist will fill the root canals and pulp chamber with a filling that will prevent any bacteria from entering the area. Finally, the dentist will place a crown over the tooth to restore it to its original shape.

Q. What causes dental pulp to become damaged or infected?
A. Normally, when a deep cavity occurs, it exposes the dental pulp to the bacteria inside the mouth. When exposed to this bacteria, the dental pulp can become infected and thus cause the inside of the tooth to be infected.

Q. What can happen if infected dental pulp is not treated?
A. Overtime, the infected pulp will die. At the same time, pus from the infection will develop at the base of the tooth and cause an abscess to form. If this occurs, it is not uncommon for the abscess to cause the bone holding the tooth to deteriorate. If this deterioration becomes too severe, the tooth will fall out.

Q. What role does the computer play in the dental care industry?
A. In the future, patient records may be kept on computer disks, including visual images captured on intraoral cameras. A computerized workstation beside the patient’s chair will give the 
dentist the ability to view the patient’s history from disk.
Also, the dentist might use a voice-recognition system to ask the computer to assist in finding that data, or create a “before and after” image so the patient can preview the result of dental work before it is done.

Sterilization of Dental Equipment

The times are trying enough without having to worry about a visit to the dentist. There is much talk about the transmission of disease in any given medical environment. Well, we’re here to say dentistry in our practice still is a safe and healthful experience. And it’s not just a matter of trust.

It took the AIDS epidemic to bring it to the public eye. But we’ve been guarding against it at our dental office since the day we opened our doors.

I’m talking about communicable disease. AIDS is the one you hear most about, but there are others. A quiet new killer (HCV, hepatitis C virus) currently infects about four million Americans who will never be able to rid themselves of it. Here at the office we’re also aware that hepatitis B, tuberculosis, influenza-even the common cold-are communicable. The good news is that the same strict standards of asepsis (cleanliness) we use against one disease also defend us against all the others.

You may not be aware of all we do to ensure your protection from cross-communicated viruses during your 
dental care. In fact, it’s a large part of our day, and we’re committed to the task.

We use disposable items wherever we can. Every surface in the operatory is secured against airborne bacteria with physical barriers. Our sterilization procedures are complex, monitored by an outside agency, and, not incidentally, much more than OSHA, the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control, and local agencies require.
Metal instruments are cleansed in an ultrasonic bath before autoclaving in chemical pressurized heat. Handpieces, for instance (you know them as drills), take an hour’s preparation-heat-treated then cooled-for each patient. We disinfect everything in sight.
All this costs, but it’s worth it.

We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t care about you, your health, and your good looks. We want you to feel comfortable, all the time. Please ask about our sterilization program and we’ll be more than happy to show you what we’re doing.

You know we care about open communication in our 
dental office. This letter is another way we hope to show it.

Toothache Causes

An aching tooth you get from a cavity is no fun, but it’s something that can be easily seen and quickly solved. Unfortunately, toothaches also stem from problems that aren’t so easily recognized.

Tooth pain can be a little like that weird noise your car engine makes but always disappears the moment you drive it into the repair shop.

A tooth that aches only in the morning may be the result of overnight tooth grinding (bruxism). Bruxism is quite common, and has the potential of deteriorating tooth enamel. But it’s also treatable. Occasionally a patient will experience some hot/cold sensitivity after a new filling or crown. That’s normal, and should go away after a few days. If it doesn’t, the problem may lie elsewhere. And we want to know about it.

There’s also pain from “root surface sensitivity.” This can result from years of brushing teeth too hard, “heartburn acid” which enters the mouth overnight and attacks the enamel of your teeth, receding gums, or 
periodontal pockets of infection. A toothache may even be the result of a microscopic crack in a molar. These pains are not easy to pinpoint, and often require that you and I work together to help determine the actual cause.

And, yes, toothaches come from decay. But whatever the reason, if you’re experiencing tooth discomfort, call the 
dentist so we can help you solve the mystery of an achy tooth. With all the resources at our disposal, an aching tooth is something no one should have to live with.

What Occurs During A Dental Examination

During a dental examination, the dentist examines the soft tissues of the mouth for any abnormalities or pathology (including oral cancer), the teeth for tooth decay or defects, the gum tissues for periodontal (gum) disease, the neck for swollen lymph nodes, the amount of plaque, tartar, and debris on teeth, as well as the need to replace any missing teeth or dental prostheses. Regular examinations by a dentistry professional are crucial to maintaining your dental health and are a necessity in any dental care plan.

Dentists begin the dental examination with a complete dental and medical history, including medications the patient is currently taking. The skin of the face and neck is examined for any abnormalities, especially pigment changes. The lymph nodes in front and behind the ears, under the floor of the mouth and chin, and the midline of the neck, sides, and back of the neck are palpated to determine if any swelling or tenderness is present.

Inside of the mouth, the lips, cheeks, gums, and roof of the mouth are inspected and palpated. During this process, the tip of the tongue is placed on the roof of the mouth just behind the upper teeth for inspection of the front floor of the mouth and sides of the tongue.

The back floor of the mouth, the area behind the lower 
wisdom teeth, and the back sides of the tongue are inspected by grasping the tip of the tongue with a small gauze sponge and pulling the tongue forward and toward the opposite side of the mouth.
To inspect the back of the throat, soft palate, and tonsil area (sides of the throat), the tongue is depressed with a dental mirror or tongue blade and then a deep breath is taken by the patient.

To detect swelling on the floor of the mouth, the area inside the mouth is felt with the finger of one hand while a finger of the other hand feels below the chin. Salivary gland enlargement, saliva flow, or xerostomia (dry mouth) are determined by milking the major salivary glands to assess the quantity and consistency of saliva.

Today’s 
dentist has many analytic tools available to pinpoint dental and oral diseases. The basic tools are the dental instruments, lights, and radiographs (X-rays). Depending upon the dentist and the individual’s dentistry needs, additional diagnostic tests are available. Testing for essential proteins and buffering capacity can evaluate the protective ability of saliva.
To determine tooth decay risks, microbiological testing of saliva can measure the level of decay-producing organisms. Periodontal susceptibility tests, which test for the DNA of gum disease-producing organisms, can be performed to assess an individual’s risk for gum disease.

If removable dentures are present, dentists check them for bite, retention, stability, and overall fit. Dental impressions or models also may be taken to study the mouth and tooth structures to initiate fabrication of prostheses. Photographs may be exposed for a variety of reasons, including before and after treatment comparisons.

The level of oral hygiene and home dental care practices are assessed and reviewed. Recommendations for home care devices and products may be made. Instruction and methods for maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen can also take place.

Once basic information about dental health status is gathered, the dentist will be better able to discuss dental care plans that are available.

By Denise J. Fedele, DMD, MS

Your Dental Visit

When you first visit a new dentist, part of your initial exam is an assessment of your “bite” – the way teeth meet as the jaws close. Later, after a filling or placement of a dental crown, your bite will be tested again to be sure the tooth restoration fits well with other teeth. Nearly all dental patients have “been there.” And there’s good reason for this attention to bite.

Chewing, tooth wear and joint function all depend on the balanced opposition of teeth in each jaw. Any disruption of a good bite, either by broken, loose, or lost teeth, is trouble in need of repair. In the worst-case scenario – the jaws themselves present skeletal problems – orthodontic treatment is considered. However, most 
malocclusions (bad bites) are treatable right in your dentist’s office.

Your dentist will first locate ill-fitting teeth by routine bite analysis. You will bite down on a sheet of special paper that marks teeth with uneven wear. If this doesn’t tell your 
dentist enough, he or she may take impressions, from which study models are built. This gives your dentist a very visual demonstration of what’s wrong.

High points in enamel that interfere with normal contact may be filed away. Eroded fillings call for replacements. Lost teeth need a bridge or dental implants to prevent opposing teeth from overgrowth. There are any number of solutions to a bad bite, all important to your dental health.

Anytime you notice a change in your chewing habits, or feel more pressure than usual on a solitary tooth, bring it to your dentist’s attention. You’ll notice the abnormality, maybe before your dentist detects it. Since you’ll be working together, tell your dentist your suspicions and, if it’s broken, it can be fixed.

Removable Dentures

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Sedation Dentistry: Anxiety-Free Dentistry Can Help Control Dental Fears

Many patients face their dental appointment with a degree of anxiety. Research has shown that the largest cause of this fear is the fear of pain … the fear that at some time during their dental care treatment they are going to be hurt.

Sedation dentists have information available about a variety of drugs known as local anesthetics, which are the safest and most effective drugs in all of medicine. Local anesthetics are a resource used in anxiety-free dentistry for the prevention and management of dental anxiety resulting from dental and surgical procedures, not to put the patient to sleep.

Local anesthetics, commonly called Novocain by patients (Novocain is no longer used, having been replaced by newer, safer, and more effective drugs), are drugs which, when injected near a nerve, prevent stimulation from reaching the brain where it would be interpreted by a person as pain. Sedation dentists interested in practicing anxiety-free dentistry know these also work very well as temporary relief of a tooth ache.

The injectable local anesthetics, used today by sedation 
dentists provide complete relief about 100% of the time. The duration of the numbness varies from drug to drug — some providing short durations, while others remain effective for up to 12 hours. A doctor will select a drug for a patient that is appropriate for the type of dental care procedure they are having done.

In order to be effective during dental treatment, local anesthetics usually need to be injected. For many people, this is the most uncomfortable part of the entire dental appointment.

Local anesthetics can be administered quite comfortably. Sedation dentists and dental hygienists take pride in their ability to administer local anesthesia easily and comfortably.

The following are some of the procedures 
sedation dentists practicing anxiety-free dentistry might use to make this procedure more comfortable:
  • Place the patient in a reclined position during the injection.
  • Place a topical anesthetic (a gel or spray) on the patient’s gums where the injection is to be given. This should remain in contact with tissues for at least one minute.
  • Use of a distraction technique, such as pulling or shaking the lip as the needle is slowly inserted.
  • Injecting the local anesthetic drug slowly. This is critical to a comfortable injection.
  • Permitting the local anesthetic drug time to work. Most local anesthetics will become completely effective within approximately five minutes after their injection.

If an individual is fearful of receiving a local anesthetic injection, they should tell the assistant or the sedation dentist BEFORE the procedure starts. The use of conscious sedation such as laughing gas, as part of anxiety-free dentistry, can work wonders to make this procedure more comfortable for the patient.
By Stanley F. Malamed, DDS

Dental Anxiety Is No Laughing Matter

We’d like to offer one comforting and wonderful fact about today’s dentistry: it’s much less stressful than it used to be.

Technology, new procedures, and some very sophisticated approaches to dental anesthesia have all contributed to comfortable dentistry, from cleaning to cavity preparations to 
root canals.
But what if you didn’t grow up with modern dentistry, and remember it differently?

If you have had difficult dental experiences, you may be among the 150 million Americans who white-knuckle their way through treatment, or avoid the dentist altogether. The fact is, about 80% of the fearful can overcome dental phobia, with a little help from conscious sedation.

Many dentists understand dental fear and where it comes from. And many are becoming trained in forming good working relationships with fearful patients. Your dentist should encourage you to voice your anxiety and discuss your problems with him or her, before he or she touches a tooth in your mouth.
They should listen to your needs, and agree on small things that help you maintain a sense of control – a hand signal works with some patients. But talking about fear with your dentist – being assertive and letting him or her know what bothers you – is the first step.

If you’re moderately anxious, the dental team can provide distracting diversions to put those concerns to rest. If you’re extremely anxious, they can virtually put anxiety to rest via oral sedation. This approach involves taking a mild sedative before you arrive for your appointment. You remain awake, but extremely relaxed – so relaxed that many patients have all their needed dental work completed in a single office visit. If 
dental anxiety has kept you from making an appointment you know is needed – a sedation dentist can help!

Dental Anxiety Is Real!

Franklin D. Roosevelt was right: the only thing we have to fear is … fear itself.

Many times, the worst part of a procedure is the anxiety a patient endures before even climbing into the chair. It’s a problem that’s preventable, and your dentist would like to help you with that right now.
If you (or someone you care about) has an appointment that’s beginning to darken your thoughts, try this: First focus on the specifics of your dental fear. Is it the procedure in general, or a particular piece of equipment, or a vague sense of invasion of the privacy of your mouth? Once you’ve got it pinned down, talk with your dentist about it. If it’s general 
dental anxiety, your dentist can help you feel better. If it’s concern over a specific instrument or technique, often your dentist can change the way he does things.

You can help the “pre-op jitters” by avoiding stimulants (coffee, cocoa, sugar) six hours before your visit. And concentrate on breathing naturally; denying yourself oxygen increases anxiety.

Finally, there’s a matter of trust. When your 
dentist describes a procedure, ask him to be honest. Ask him to tell you if it will be uncomfortable or stressful, if he tells you it won’t be, believe him. And spare yourself the unnecessary burden of dental phobia.

Learn About Sedation Dentists – FAQs About Sedation Dentistry

Q. Will I really be totally relaxed with Sedation Dentistry?
A. Your 
sedation dentist will administer just enough sedation so that you’ll be completely unaware of the treatment, as if you were asleep.

Q. Will I remember anything after sedation dentistry?
A. At the end of the treatment, you’ll have little or no memory of what was accomplished.

Q. Will I feel any pain during dental treatment?
A. Most patients experience no discomfort whatsoever during treatment and feel surprisingly good afterwards.

Q. What dental treatments can I have while under sedation?
A. Sedation dentists can generally do it all—implants, dentures, 
cosmetic dentistry treatments, crowns, even gum surgery.

Q. Is sedation dentistry safe for me?
A. Oral sedation dentistry protocols have been used safely for 30 years. Sedation dentists will review your medical history and monitor you closely while under sedation.

Q. Will my dental insurance cover it?
A. Almost all sedation dentists will review your coverage and, if necessary, make financial arrangements so you get the care you need.

Overcoming Dental Fear with Sedation Dentistry

Most people are well aware of the value of dental care, but cannot bring themselves to get into their dentist’s office and climb into the chair. The reason: fear.

Dental anxiety, unfortunately, is sometimes a shared family experience. Whether it’s just a bout of sweaty palms or acute anxiety, the fears and attitudes of parents can easily be passed along to children unintentionally. Perhaps you grew up without the technical advantages available today. Your unpleasant memories can be fierce enough to interfere with family dental education – and health.

Parents can begin to allay phobias – and keep from spreading them around – by examining the source of apprehension. Dental phobia generally hinges on fear of pain, choking, or loss of control. The dental environment might feel overwhelming. Invasion of personal privacy – the mouth – can be frightening. When you schedule an appointment, how do you feel about it? Do you find yourself cancelling appointments at the last minute? Do certain pieces of equipment make you uneasy? A little soul-searching can help pinpoint your fears.

You need to speak frankly with your 
dentist. Chances are, he’ll understand. He’ll take time with you to describe new techniques – and there are many – to overcome fear. His dental staff will take special care to respect your feelings and dispel any misgivings.

With some effort, nearly everyone can learn to overcome 
dental anxiety and relax. The direct benefits – you’ll feel more comfortable when you visit, and, if you or your family have been avoiding the dentist altogether, your dental health will begin to improve. Indirectly, you’ll offer a positive role model for your family. Take this step for yourself, and the family will follow. Call your dentist today to find out how he can help.

Relieving Dental Anxiety With Sedation Dentistry

Patient comfort and care is a top priority for a sedation dentist. They recognize that dental anxiety or discomfort can be associated with some dentistry procedures. Fortunately, a variety of dental procedures using dental anesthetics are available to relieve both anxiety and discomfort. Talk with your dentist to find out which is right for you.
Dental Anxiety Relief

Local Anesthetic:
This is the most frequently used type of dental anesthetic for sedation dentistry procedures. Although often referred to as “Novocain,” this once popular painkilling drug has actually been replaced by more effective anesthetics such as Lidocaine for a commfortable dental care treatment. It also works very well for temporary relief of a tooth ache.
However, the name has become so much a part of the American vocabulary, it’s now used in generic terms. Prior to injecting the local anesthetic, the dentist often swabs a topical anesthetic over the injection site to prevent the patient from even feeling the needle.

Conscious Sedation Dentistry:
Patients seeking comfortable dentistry can consult with their dentists to choose anti-anxiety agents either administered by mouth, inhalation or injection. Nitrous oxide, often referred to as 
laughing gas, helps to ease patient anxiety. The gas is inhaled by patients, inducing relaxation, so they can approach dental procedures with less stress.

Deep Sedation:
This may be required for complex procedures or for dental patients with special needs. With the administration of general anesthesia, the patient is unconscious; with deep sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry, dental patients are deeply relaxed and not fully aware of their surroundings during their dental treatment.

Consult With Your Dentist
Prior to treatment, your dentist will need to know a few things regarding your health history such as:
  • allergies
  • your current health condition
  • any medications you may be taking.

Some medicines may interfere with the efficiency of an anesthetic requiring an adjustment in your medication schedule. Your health history is very important information for the dentist. During the consultation, you can ask questions about any dental procedures that may be of concern during your dental procedure.

A Concern for Safety
The drugs used as dental anesthetics are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are safe. Anesthetic providers are professionals with a commitment to patient safety and comfort.
A dental anesthetic can be administered by a 
general dentist, a dental anesthesiologist or an M.D. Certification is required and is regulated on a state-by-state basis. Discuss sedation with your dentist at your next visit.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Sedation Dentistry and a Trained Sedation Dentist Can Change Your Life

If you are afraid to go to the dentist, relax! Sedation dentistry and a trained sedation dentist can change your life for the better with a light sedative!
You can have the beautiful smile and the good dental health you’ve always wanted with sedation dentistry. Ask your dentist about more benefits of 
conscious sedation.

Imagine being able to smile with confidence and chew your food without pain. A sedation dentist and conscious sedation dentistry makes it possible to be totally relaxed during your dental treatment.
You won’t feel any discomfort and likely won’t remember the treatment itself. Because you’ll be completely comfortable, your sedation dentist can do many dental care procedures during the same visit, including:
  • whitening yellow or stained teeth
  • replacing crowns or dentures
  • fixing chipped or damaged teeth
  • restoring sore gums to good health

Best of all, you’ll probably only need one or two appointments with a dentist using sedation dentistry. So in hours you can start enjoying the confidence that comes with a bright new smile and good dental health.

Plus sedation dentistry is safe. Before your sedation dentist begins work, he or she will thoroughly review your medical history, and then monitor you closely during your conscious sedation dental treatment.

Sedation Dentistry Eases Dental Fears

There are many reasons 50% of the population put dental care at the bottom of the healthcare list: Some people are downright fearful, others have suffered bad experiences in the past and now suffer from dental anxiety. Then there are those who have a very strong gag reflex, and going to the dentist is a real ordeal. Or maybe extensive care is needed and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish it.

It’s time to rest easy. Sedation dentistry is here.
After an initial consultation, your dentist will give you a dental anesthesia to take, it’s called Triazolam, before your visit. You must bring a friend along to get you home after your appointment. At your appointment, you’ll be drowsy, but thoroughly responsive (conscious sedation). The sedation dentistry team will monitor your every move throughout. The big plus: Most patients don’t feel anything, and all your dentistry needs can be accomplished at one time, sometimes in as little as two to six hours, from straightforward care to the most complicated.

For anxious patients, this new treatment is a kind of miracle, a boon to dental health. For the medically compromised, it works wonders, too. 
Dentistry keeps getting better and better, you’ll be convinced.
Your 
sedation dentist understands your dental fear, where it comes from, and what health problems can arise as a result. Now you’re lucky to have a means to overcome it, and dentists are so pleased to be able to offer dental sedation to their patients.

Create The Smile That You Always Wanted With Tooth Whitening

Since the beginning of time, people have battled the effects of aging in order to look and feel younger. History has repeatedly shown us that people will journey to the far ends of the earth for ways to improve and maintain a youthful appearance – whether it is in search of the fountain of youth or to find a plastic surgeon or cosmetic dentist to surgically enhance their facial structures. Plastic surgeons have been instrumental in making facelifts and other related procedures more common to the mainstream population. As a result, a paradigm shift has occurred in how we view ourselves as we get older.

Dentists can now use 
laser tooth whitening to whiten teeth.
The shift has made the average person more knowledgeable of the link between lifestyle and appearance. Consequently, people are changing their habits, attitudes and preconceived perceptions of aging.

More than ever, people are more willing to dedicate the resources necessary to find the balance between their image, spirituality and life choices. In response to the shift in people’s thought processes, the medical community has developed newer and more predictable anti-aging techniques to slow the affect of aging on the human body.

With a large segment of the population reaching the significant milestone of 50, the increase in appearance-enhancement therapies will continue to rise significantly in coming years.

Everyone knows that if you want to cheat the aging process, the person you go to for help is a plastic surgeon. However, if you only consider a surgeon for help, you could leave out an integral part of the rejuvenation equation. Your laser 
tooth whitening dentist must be included in your quest for a youthful appearance because you will not maximize the benefits of your anti-aging procedures without a smile analysis.

Your Smile Affects How Old You Look
Laser tooth whitening dentistry procedures are like great paintings and sculptures. Your body is the canvas or clay, your face and bone structure are the frame, and at the center of the painting is your smile. In order to make masterpieces appear life-like, artisans must have an understanding of general anatomy and bone structure.

Equating those concepts to aging, you can say that your youthful appearance is as dependent upon how much support you have for your soft tissues. The old adage “Beauty is only skin deep” does not apply to plastic surgery and cosmetic dentistry. Time has a way of shrinking the underlying bone and teeth. If surgeons and cosmetic dentists do not restore what is lost, they will not be able to achieve a natural look.
Using cheek and chin implants in conjunction with facelifts are just some of the ways surgeons restore facial support and beauty. 
Cosmetic dentists use laser tooth whitening, bonding and porcelain veneers to create a more youthful smile.

By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS

Look Younger With Teeth Whitening

No doubt about it. We’re living longer, we’re living better. All that effort put into diet and exercise is paying off. And while you’re going through your paces on the treadmill, consider another part of you that might need a bit of improvement: your smile and whether or not you have white teeth.

With age, one of the first things to go is the freshness of your smile. At about thirty, tooth color begins to dim. There is a natural tendency for dentin, just beneath the enamel, to yellow. And if you smoke or overindulge in coffee or cola, the darkening can be dramatic. Exercise and low-fat foods count for less if your smile gives you away.

But just as our health habits have improved, so has 
cosmetic dental technology. Now we have the tools and teeth whitening products to perfect the color, and the healthful look, of your teeth.

Teeth whitening systems take many forms. There are gels and solutions accelerated by light; laser tooth whitening is coming into use to “jump-start” the tooth whitening process. We can change color fast or over time.

In any case, the result is visible in days and, with touch-ups, will last as long as you do.
You’ve lived this long, you’ve earned it. While perfect thighs are next to impossible, a pretty smile is within everyone’s reach. Go for it; don’t let your smile age faster than the rest of you.

Look Younger With Tooth Whitener and Tooth Bleaching Products from a Trusted Dentist.

All that exercise and healthy diet is paying off. You’re in good shape and maintaining your weight. Now, while you’re swimming or doing those push ups, think about a part of you that gets exercised but is still aging every day — your smile! It’s time for you to think about tooth bleaching and tooth whitening systems.

At about age thirty, there’s a natural dimming of dentin beneath your tooth enamel. If you smoke or drink coffee or colas, all the exercise and low-fat foods can’t hide the yellowing effect. Your smile will give your age away.

Fortunately, we live in a time of advanced cosmetic dental technology, with new and improved 
tooth whitening and teeth bleaching techniques. And unlike building muscle, teeth whiteners can give you white teeth almost overnight.

There are also choices among tooth bleaching systems. New tooth whitener gels and solutions are accelerated by light; laser technology is new and very effective. Teeth whitening systems can give you white teeth fast in your 
dentist‘s office, or over time at home, at your convenience.

Either way, your teeth will whiten like magic, and you’ll have a fresher, younger smile.
Tooth whitener can get you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Stop The Color Purple With Tooth Whitening and a Great Dentist!

Stains on your teeth can advertise your vices – coffee, cola, nicotine – or tell the world what you do for a living. Trumpet players and copper miners, for instance, can be picked out of a crowd by the blue-green stains on their teeth from copper dust. Furriers work with nitric acid, which causes the blackening of enamel.

Red teeth stains might show a history of typhus, cholera, pulp injury, or just beets for supper. And the color purple indicates a non-vital tooth or probably not – leprosy.
Whatever the color of your teeth stain, our 
teeth whitening methods can whiten it, mask it, correct it, and give you back your pearly white teeth.

Teeth Bleaching Questions

Do you wish that you had whiter teeth? Have you tried and been disappointed by the over-the-counter teeth whitening products, whitening toothpaste and those mail order kits? Well, here is a safe, easy, and successful way that you can REALLY whiten your teeth.

Using a professional teeth whitening system, you can get dramatic results in a matter of days by teeth bleaching at home. Some products use a pH neutral formula that has been approved by the FDA. Interested? Questions?

Q: What is tooth whitening?
It is a 
whitening process that lightens the discolorations of enamel and dentin. The teeth whitening system uses a whitening gel that is retained in a custom-fitted appliance.

Q: Is the process safe?
Clinical research has shown that using a properly formulated professional tooth whitening gel under the supervision of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums.

Q: How long does it take?
Results are usually seen in the first several days. Maximum results generally occur when the process is continued for 10 to 14 days (or nights).

Q: How long do the results last?
The teeth will ALWAYS be lighter than they were. However, some patients may choose to touch-up periodically, one or two nights every six months. If you think that you might benefit from this tooth bleaching process, be sure to let your 
dentist know. He or she would be happy to assist in providing you with whiter teeth and a brighter smile!

Teeth Whitening And Teeth Bleaching – Explore The Revolutionary Advanced Dental Techniques Bright, White Teeth.

Advanced dental techniques now provide consumers with exciting, new options for enhancing their smiles. Revolutionary methods are now available for tooth bleaching to make smiles sparkle!

Teeth bleaching or whitening lightens the color of teeth whether darkened from age, coffee, tea or tobacco. The brightening effects of 
teeth whiteners can last up to five years after the treatment depending on your personal habits, such as smoking or drinking coffee or tea.

Is Tooth Whitening Right for You?
Teeth bleaching has a higher than 90% success rate. It is tough on stains but gentle on your teeth! Results vary depending on several factors such as teeth stained from smoking; from taking certain medications such as tetracycline during tooth development; or from fluorosis, a condition occurring in the presence of too much fluoride.

A tooth whitener will not lighten fillings or artificial materials used in dental repair such as crowns, porcelain veneers, etc. Your dentist may discourage treatment if you have sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, teeth with worn enamel or if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

Tooth Bleaching – Several Options Available
Some tooth whitening treatments are performed in the dental office using an in-office bleaching system, such as laser bleaching. This method lightens teeth instantly. The same results may be obtained more economically through dentist-supervised at-home tooth bleaching, but take longer to achieve. Some teeth whitening systems, which bleach your teeth while you sleep, work in 10 to 14 days (or more accurately nights)! Others bleach your teeth from two to four hours a day requiring three to six weeks to complete.

It’s important to know that certain types of stains respond better to different types of whitening materials. In such cases, your dentist may recommend one 
tooth whitener method over the other.
Teeth Bleaching – The Steps to Bright, White Teeth
  • Your dentist will first examine your teeth and gums and discuss the procedure best suited to your individual needs. Any cavities or gum disease problems must be treated before teeth bleaching can begin.
  • The in-office method generally takes one to three hours and results in an immediate noticeable change.
  • For the at-home method, special molds will be made of your teeth. These will be used to make custom-fitted flexible trays that will hold the bleaching gel comfortably in your mouth.
  • When you get your tooth bleaching trays, you’ll receive instructions about wearing them. These directions must be carefully followed. Only the materials provided by the tooth whitening dentist can be safely used.
  • After completing the treatment, your teeth will be checked by your dental provider to discuss the results.
  • Smile. Your new white teeth will radiate a bright look!

Safety
Research over the last five years has proven that teeth bleaching is both safe and effective. The American Dental Association’s seal of approval has been given to a wide range of tooth whitener products. Generally, the only side effect from treatment may be some sensitivity to hot and cold foods. If this occurs, sensitivity normally disappears within 48 hours.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Tooth Bleaching Before Dental Crowns from Your Dentist

If you require crowns to be placed, it is a good idea to evaluate how you feel about the color of your existing teeth before beginning the process. If you like the color of your teeth, the dentist will then match the crowns to that color. On the other hand, if you feel you would like to whiten or lighten your teeth, it is a good idea to communicate this to your dentist beforehand about tooth whitening. Once the final restorations are made, it will not be possible to change their color without redoing them.

At-Home Teeth Bleaching
If you desire whiter teeth before the crowns are placed, the best way to achieve this is to talk to your 
dentist about at-home teeth whitening. With this procedure, custom-fitted plastic trays will be made for your teeth and you will be given some small tubes of dental bleaching material. Your dentist will show you how to place a small amount of bleaching material in the tray and then place the tray in your mouth. The tray is then worn for one to two hours in the evening, depending on the type of material. The biggest advantage of this method of teeth whitening compared to procedures that are done in your dentist’s office is, that you are the one who can control how white your teeth will be. Since you are the one in control, you can stop bleaching whenever you feel you have achieved the desired color. The typical bleaching time is one and one-half to two weeks, but it may be longer.

Sensitivity to Tooth Bleaching
Your teeth may become sensitive to cold air or liquids during the tooth bleaching process. This is normal and will subside and finally go away when you stop bleaching. There are a couple of things you can do to decrease this sensitivity if it arises during the tooth whitening process. One is to only bleach every other night. The other is to have your dentist prescribe for you a fluoride gel that you can place in your custom bleach trays every other evening. The fluoride acts to decrease the sensitivity by coating or sealing the tooth surface. It will not affect the color of your teeth. This is the most reliable way to decrease sensitivity while you bleach. Once you get your teeth to the desired color, your dentist will have you wait about three to four weeks before taking a color match of your new white teeth in order to make the final restoration. During this time, the color of your teeth will be stabilizing.

Once the Restorations Are Placed, What Can You Expect?
Teeth bleaching is a very predictable method for getting 
white teeth, but the results will not last forever. Since the restorations were placed when your teeth were at their whitest, you will most likely find that in one and a half to two years, the restorations may begin to appear lighter than your natural teeth. This result is to be expected. It is not caused by a change in color of the restorations, but rather by your own teeth getting darker. At this point, all that is required is to, once again, bleach your natural teeth until the color is evened out. Usually, this only requires bleaching a couple of times. After the color is evened out, you can then expect to have the color stability last for another one and a half to two years.

By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD

Tooth Whitening – Why Are My Teeth Discolored?

If you’re embarrassed by your discolored teeth, you’re not alone. There’s a reason cosmetic dentistry, including teeth whitening, is a multibillion dollar industry. We all want brighter, whiter teeth. While it would be nice to get the smile you’d love naturally, that just isn’t an option. So, who’s to blame? Why are you struggling with tooth discoloration to begin with? Good news – it may not be your fault!

Common Causes of Tooth Discoloration
There are a number of causes of potential tooth discoloration, and some are completely unavoidable on your part. While the precise cause of your tooth discoloration may be difficult to peg down, chances are one or more of the following causes are to blame.
  • Food and Drinks. You may have heard that coffee, tea and soda can stain your teeth, but did you know certain veggies, like potatoes and apples, can stain them as well?
  • Tobacco. This is a given. Smoking and chewing will not only discolor your teeth, but can also cause gum disease or contribute to oral cancer (among other health conditions).
  • Poor Dental Hygiene. If you don’t want to give up your morning coffee or kick your smoking habit, then you’re going to have to try to compensate with excellent dental care. Regular brushing and flossing can reduce the odds that you will stain your teeth. Regular check ups and cleanings are critical, too.
  • Disease. Ahh… finally, we’re discussing possible causes for tooth discoloration that aren’t your fault. Several diseases that affect tooth enamel and dentin can lead to tooth discoloration. What’s more, treatments for certain conditions, such as chemotherapy to fight cancer, can discolor your teeth. If you’re pregnant while suffering from one of these ailments or undergoing one of these treatments, the teeth of your developing child may be affected as well.
  • Medications. Certain antibiotics, such as tetracycline and doxycycline, can discolor your teeth, particularly if used before the age of 8. Mouth rinses and washes containing chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride can also stain teeth, while antihistamines (like Benadryl), antipsychotic drugs and antihypertensive medications also cause discoloration.
  • Genetics. When all else fails, blame mom and dad.
  • Age. Nothing escapes the affects of age – not even your teeth.
  • Environment. Excessive fluoride from environmental sources, such as naturally high fluoride levels in the water, can contribute to discolored teeth.

While there are many causes of tooth discoloration, today there are also many ways to get whiter teeth.

Tooth Whitening Basics: Recapture Your Smile!

From unusual ointments to hydrogen peroxide injections (yikes!), people have sought the secret to longevity for decades. Now, more than ever, people are willing to go to extremes to retain their youthful looks. While many of these strategies are risky or downright unsafe, there is one relatively simple way turn back the years: teeth whitening. Sure, whitening your teeth may not help you live longer, but it can restore your smile, rolling back years of coffee and other stains. While there are a variety of professional tooth whitening and bleaching methods available today, most of them are safe and relatively effective. Those carried out under the supervision of a dentist will ensure maximum results and optimum safety! Here are a few of your options.

Teeth Whitening Toothpastes
While using a 
tooth bleaching toothpaste may be the easiest, most affordable way to brighten your smile, it isn’t ideal for those searching for a significant improvement. Some produce marginal improvement, while others produce none at all. They are relatively safe, but be sure to contact our office if you find your teeth are more sensitive than usual. Some lightening chemicals can actually erode tooth enamel, damaging your teeth.

Over-the-Counter Tooth Whitening and Bleaching Agents, Strips
Whitening agents and strips are more popular than ever before, and vary dramatically in price and effectiveness. While most are generally safe, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. As with whitening toothpastes, some agents and whitening strips can be too harsh, damaging your teeth and increasing their sensitivity.

Dentist-Managed Teeth Bleaching Trays
One of the safest, most effective ways to whiten your teeth is through dentist-managed tooth bleaching trays and whitening agents. If you choose to go this route, your dentist will begin by taking a mold of your mouth to design a plastic tray that will fit snug against your teeth. You’ll spread tooth whitening gel through the tray, slip it over your teeth, and let it do its job! Continue to do this over a course of a few days to acquire the results you were looking for. Once again, please report any sensitivity to your dentist.

Chair-Side Teeth Whitening
Also one of the safest, most effective whitening techniques, chair-side whitening is chemical teeth bleaching done by your 
dentist, in-office, in about an hour or so. There are a variety of options available today – your dentist can steer you in the right direction. While chair-side professional tooth whitening and bleaching can be a bit more expensive than other alternatives, it’s done under the supervision of a professional and delivers fast results.

White Teeth Look Sensational!

How would you feel if your smile was a bit brighter than it is right now? Whiter teeth not only look sensational, they build the kind of inner confidence that really gives a smile its electricity. And you might be surprised what simple, affordable teeth whitening systems are available these days.

You may have seen TV advertising for toothpastes that whiten your teeth. The results can’t match what a dentist can do for you. Professional 
tooth whitening products used by your dentist effectively lighten brown and yellow enamel discoloration caused by smoking, cola, coffee or tea, and sometimes by childhood antibiotics use. A special gel is placed inside a custom-made tray that covers your teeth. The process takes place under a dentist’s supervision to insure that it’s safe for your teeth and gums.

The best candidates for professional teeth whitening are people with otherwise healthy teeth, minimal enamel loss, and stains that are on the surface of their teeth (from coffee, for instance) rather than inside.

Typically, improvement is seen in the first few days but maximum results occur when the process is continued for 10 to 14 days. Some patients may choose to return for periodic touch-ups to maintain their pretty smile.

If the color of your teeth concerns you, professional 
teeth bleaching may be the answer. Call your dentist and schedule a personal consultation.

Who Wants Whiter Teeth?

Tooth bleaching is a way to lighten teeth without bonding material to the teeth, or removing any sound tooth structure. In this respect, it’s one of the most conservative cosmetic procedures. It’s an “old” procedure, back in vogue.

How does professional 
tooth whitening work?
First, the tooth is isolated with a rubber dam. This protects your gums and tongue, too. Then the tooth is cleaned thoroughly. Your tooth may or may not be pre-conditioned to help the teeth whitening products penetrate.

The tooth is covered with gauze, and the 
teeth bleaching solution is carefully applied. A heat source “cures” the bleach and hastens the process. These steps are repeated several times, depending on the appropriate level of whiteness you want to achieve. The color of adjacent teeth will be considered too, so you’ll look natural (there is such a thing as too white).
A professional tooth whitening session takes 30 to 45 minutes – and there you are. After three to five sessions, the tooth really shows the difference.

Does professional tooth bleaching work for everyone?
The success of the procedure depends in part on what caused the tooth staining in the first place. Surface coffee, tea, and tobacco stains that resist cleaning can be bleached away (the stains will reappear over time if you continue to indulge, of course). Antibiotic staining – from tetracycline, for example – is a bit harder to treat with simple teeth bleaching. Alternatively, a jacket or 
porcelain veneers may be called for. The idea is to be very selective about which tooth is a good candidate for the procedure.

Wouldn’t You Love To Have White Teeth and a Bright Smile?

How would you feel if your smile was a bit brighter than it is right now? White teeth not only look sensational, but they build the kind of inner confidence that really gives a smile its electricity. You might be surprised at what simple, affordable professional teeth whitening, teeth bleaching and other cosmetic treatments can offer to do just that and which are available today.

You may have seen advertising for tooth whitening toothpastes. However, the results of those teeth whiteners can’t match the results we can give to you with our professional 
teeth whitening. Our tooth whitener effectively lightens brown and yellow enamel discoloration. We use a special gel inside a custom-made tray that covers your teeth.

Teeth Whitening

Dental Financing: Avoiding Big Dental Costs

Whoever warned against being “penny wise and pound foolish” must have been thinking of times like these. When the economy is just limping along (and dollars are tight at home) it’s natural to look for ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses. Too often, cutting back on today’s unnecessary expense leads to far greater costs just a ways down the road. And that’s especially true of dental care.

Of course, your dental practitioner recognizes that every household economy goes through its own ups and downs. But they also believe that maintaining a high level of health is the cheapest form of insurance. So they’ll work with you to get the dental care you need, and information on 
dental financing – when you need it.

When you wait too long, a lot can happen.
  • Gum problems don’t hurt at first, so you may not even know you have disease lurking. And periodontitis can flare up despite conscientious home hygiene.
  • Old fillings can leak at the margins where filling and tooth meet, inviting decay under a filling. If you let it go, it’s crown time.
  • A fractured tooth is often invisible and may require a root canal to save it. Waiting for it to heal usually results in dental bridges.
  • If you’re missing a tooth, your neighboring teeth will grow disrupted and loose.
  • Topical fluorides and sealants are a good idea for children – even adults.
  • Early orthodontics can save you a bundle later on.

Another wise philosopher pointed out, “There’s a time in the life of every problem when it’s large enough to see…and small enough to solve.” It might be a good idea to look into dental financing. By catching dental problems before they grow, you’ll be spared both money and discomfort in the long run.

Choosing Dental Financing: Three Reasons Why It Is a Wise Choice

Most of us think that taking care of our teeth is about having a great smile and avoiding the discomfort of a toothache. Although these are valid and important reasons for maintaining a good oral health program, there are three other equally strong reasons to consider.

First of all, dental health is part of your overall health. Second, choosing dental health is a wise investment of your time and 
dental financing resources. Third, your emotional well-being is influenced by how you think and feel about yourself. Your smile is a big part of your image of yourself. Let’s examine each of these areas more thoroughly.

Your Physical Health
How easy it is to forget that our teeth, gums, and mouth are essential parts of our physical body. Periodontal disease, bone and gum loss, and infections all affect the overall picture of our physical health. The ability to chew our food well helps digestion and reduces stress on the gastrointestinal system.

Like any physical system, each part of the body plays a role in the overall health of the system; taking care of your teeth and gums is a part of an intentional plan for physical health. In collaboration with your dental team, you can create a plan for your dental health that will contribute to your overall health plan.

A Wise Investment
There are two important resources that you use and allocate in your everyday life: your time and your money. When it comes to your dental care, they are closely related. The time you take everyday to invest in your dental health is also an investment in your financial health. When treatment is necessary, the 
dental financing is also an investment in your financial future.

Proper treatment today prevents more costly complications and uncomfortable problems tomorrow. For those who seek to maintain their dental health for life, it is a wise investment to get the most value from the knowledge and skills your dentist and the new dentistry offers you.

Emotional Well-Being
How you feel and think about yourself is an important part of your emotional well-being and a pleasant smile plays a big role in this. In addition, when you take an active role in caring for yourself, it also contributes to your overall sense of competence in managing your life and maintaining a positive lifestyle. The habit of dental self-care and regular 
dental hygiene examinations reinforces taking positive steps for yourself in other areas of your life.

The new dentistry also can provide you with innovative and effective ways to create and maintain a pleasant smile that you feel good about. When it comes to feeling good about yourself and your smile, the new dentistry offers many exciting and effective options.

By Brian DesRoches, PhD

Dental Costs

Most everyone is feeling the economic pinch in some way or another. We can’t pretend the picture is particularly rosy.

On the other hand, we’ve all heard the term “false economy.” In difficult financial times, some people put off the dental care they need and wait for things to “get better.” When it comes to dentistry, that’s false economy.

We know budgets go through ups and downs. We also believe that catching small dental problems before they grow will, in the long run, save dental costs. A lot of expensive damage can happen over time.

Say you miss a regular cleaning. You’re inviting gum problems like 
gingivitis, which multiply painlessly, to set in. Old fillings can crack or leak – decay may invade the tooth beneath the filling. Inattention to broken restorations eventually means a crown, certainly the more costly alternative to early repair.
Don’t put off dentistry. Don’t sacrifice your family’s health for economy’s sake. When it comes to your mouth, in most cases, a small problem only gets bigger – and more expensive. Preventive care is money in the bank.

Your dentist would like you to share your concerns with his or her financial coordinator. They’ll do their part by helping you keep healthy with 
dental financing. For patients who qualify, they probably can arrange a personal dental loan plan for your care. They’re there with options. And they believe good dentistry is good economy.

Dental Fees

Imagine this: a homeowner, to save a few dollars, decides the roof shouldn’t be repaired, the broken windows replaced, the leaky pipes fixed. Think that’s the best way to protect such a valuable asset? Of course not.

Yet many people put off caring for the most important asset they have – their health – because of economic reasons. Penny wise and pound foolish, wouldn’t you agree?

When it comes to payment for treatment, your dentist’s office is committed to helping you comfortably manage your treatment and 
dental costs through a variety of options.

Their first concern is – always – the state of your oral health. They start by evaluating your current and future needs, and then creating an individualized treatment plan. You may be given a detailed description of their recommendations, plus an estimate of the dental fees that may be incurred.
If you’re covered by 
dental insurance, they will map a plan to achieve the most benefits possible from your carrier. For instance, they may plan to have treatment spread over two “insurance years” to take full advantage of your available benefit dollars.
While you are always responsible for your total obligation (even if insurance benefits result in less coverage than anticipated), your dental office is available to work on an individual basis to develop a 
dental financing program that makes sense.

Remember that your adult teeth are the last natural set you will ever have. Economics should not stand in the way of preserving and protecting them.

Dental Information, The Costs Associated With Root Canal Treatment

What are the Costs Associated with Root Canal Treatment?
There are many factors that affect the costs and payment associated with root canal treatment. Each patient and tooth presents a different set of circumstances. Generally the cost of 
root canal treatment is directly related to the chair time necessary to perform the treatment as well as to the costs of the dentist staff, training, and technology that the dentist has available when performing the procedure. Be sure to ask your dentist about dental financing credit, dental treatment financing, or if there is a possible loan for dental work available.

There are many factors that influence the amount of chair time necessary to treat any particular tooth:
  • The position of the tooth in the mouth.
  • The number of roots and the number of canals within these roots.
  • Root curvatures and the length of the roots.
  • The presence or absence of calcifications within the root canal space.
  • Special dental considerations. For example, it may be more difficult for the dentist to work through an existing crown or a bridge than to work on a tooth with only a small previous filling. Also, some teeth may have been severely broken down by past dental disease and these may have to be “built-up” before root canal treatment can even be started so that an aseptic field can be established and maintained during treatment.

In addition to the chair time involved for treatment, other factors are also taken into consideration when determining a fair fee for root canal treatment:
  • The cost of technology. Dentists who use state-of-the-art technology for certain procedures have invested in microscopes, computer digital radiography, ultrasonics, and specialized training courses for themselves and for their staff. The costs of these items are shared by those patients who benefit from them.
  • The costs of the dental office overhead include staff, rent, and supplies in addition to many other expenses. These costs vary significantly in different areas of the country.
  • Fees vary among practitioners due to differences in their endodontic treatment philosophies, which in turn dictate the chair time required, the materials selected, and the technologies utilized.

In conclusion, there can be marked discrepancies in the fees charged for root canal treatment by different dentists. Ultimately, the best value for care is treatment that is done once and works over a period of many years. Conversely, the most expensive dental treatment is the treatment that may cost less initially but does not work predictably and needs to be redone one or more times. The wise dental consumer does not make a treatment decision on the basis of cost alone.

Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Root Canal Treatment?
Dental insurance will usually help with a portion of the endodontic treatment fee. A variety of dental insurance plans are available. A specific benefit package is selected contractually by each employer for the benefit of the employees. Some benefit packages may restrict or not recognize certain procedures, while in other instances the yearly maximums are unrealistic for anything other than the most basic care. The dentist will make a professional judgment and treatment recommendation based on what is best for the patient, not on what is best for the for-profit insurance company. The total fee is the patient’s responsibility but the dental office will work with the insurance carrier to get the maximum contracted benefit. The patient should speak with the dental treatment coordinator before treatment begins in an attempt to estimate the available insurance benefit.  Be sure to ask your dentist about patient financing, dental treatment financing, dental credit cards, or if there is a possible loan for dental work available.

by Clifford J. Ruddle, DDS, in collaboration with Philip M. Smith, DDS

Dental Insurance, What Should You Know

Dental insurance is not meant to be a pay-all. It’s only meant to be an aid. You are very fortunate if you have dental insurance coverage and don’t have to pay the entire dental fee plan out of your own pocket. Many patients don’t have any dental insurance at all. Some patients have excellent dental insurance policies or dental credit, some have fair policies, and some have poor policies. Many plans tell you you’ll be covered up to 80% – 100%. In spite of what you’re told, most plans cover only 15% – 70% of the average dental fee plan. We realize that every bit of help you get from your insurance company is a big help, and we are glad you have coverage. However, it must be understood that how much your policy covers has already been determined by how much your employer paid for your insurance policy. The less he/she paid for the insurance, the less you’ll receive.

FOR EXAMPLE: PLAN Costs a lot of money Costs 1/2 the amount Deductible is $50.00 Deductible is $100.00 Pays $84.00 on a filling Pays $35.00 on a filling Yearly maximum is $1,000 Yearly maximum is $800 It has been the experience of many dentists that some insurance companies tell their customers that “fees are above the usual and customary” rather than saying “our benefits are low.”

Your insurance company sets the “allowables” or “a usual and customary dental fee plan” depending on how much your employer paid for your policy. It’s just like your car insurance. The lower the benefits you choose, the less it costs you in premiums. Many necessary routine dentistry services are not covered by dental insurance at all. Again, what is covered and what is not is determined by what benefits and 
dental payment plan your employer purchased for you.

We do not believe it is in your best interest for your treatment to be compromised in order to accommodate an insurance policy’s restrictions that may provide you with a quality of care that is considerably less than you deserve.

We strongly feel that you, not your insurance company, should choose the treatment you feel is best for you.

Dental Patient Financing

Your dentist’s biggest concern is your dental health. Teeth are a priceless possession. Maintaining them should never have to take a back seat to details like dental costs or insurance coverage.

Your dentist’s patient financing policy is probably pretty basic: somehow, they’ll find a way that lets them perform the work you need now, rather than put it off for money reasons. Simply put, they’re there to help.

As a patient, you should receive a proposed treatment plan that’s right for you. You should also receive a complete description of what’s needed and a 
dental fees estimate – so you know what, when, and how much – right from the start.

If you’re covered by 
dental insurance, your dentist’s staff will work to obtain the maximum benefit your plan allows. They may even elect to spread your treatment over two “insurance years” to expand your coverage. Every plan and patient, of course, is different.

If you’re not covered by insurance your dentist can still find a way to get you the dental work you need done. Credit cards, a dental loan, and monthly payments are all 
dental financing options you can explore in tailoring a program that fits your dental needs.

Your dentist realizes that dental costs will always play a part in the decisions you make together. But cost alone should never prevent you from seeking the dentistry you need early on, before the problem gets worse – and more expensive.

Facts You Should Know About Dental Insurance

What is the best dental insurance plan for financing health care for me?

Choosing a dental expense plan can be a confusing experience. Although there is no one “best” dental payment plan for financing health care, there are some plans that will be better than others for you and your family’s dental payment plan needs. We will try to guide you in simple terms. However, rather than just giving you answers, the best thing we can do is to make sure you are equipped with the right questions for the dentists.

There are three major things to consider, each with their own unique set of questions. By considering the questions thoroughly, you will arrive at the right 
dental payment plan for you and your family.
  • How affordable is financing health care (cost of financing health care)?
  • How much will a dental payment plan cost me on a monthly basis?
  • Should I try to insure just major dental expense or most of my dental expense?
  • Can I afford a policy that at least covers my children?
  • Are there deductibles I must pay before the insurance begins to help cover my costs?
  • After I have met the deductible, what part of my dental expense is paid by the dental plan?
  • If I use dentists outside a plan’s network, how much more will I pay to get financing health care?
  • How often do I visit the dentist and how much will my dental payment plan be each visit?
  • Do the included services match my needs (access of health care)?
  • What other dental providers are part of the plan?
  • Are there enough of the kinds of dentists I want to see?
  • Where will I go for financing health care? Are these places near where I work or live?
  • Do I need to get permission before I see a dental specialist?
  • Are there any limits to how much I must pay in case of a major illness?
  • Is the prescription medication which I need covered by the dental plan?
  • Have people had good results when covered by a specific dental payment plan?
  • How do independent government organizations rate the different dental plans?
  • What do my friends say about their experience with a specific plan?
  • What does my dentist say about their experience with a specific dental payment plan?

If you consider these elements carefully when choosing a dental financing plan, you can be assured the best possible outcome and minimize dental expense paid by you.

Four Ways To Be Understood By Your Dentist

What do you want from your relationship with your dentist? Oftentimes, this question is answered when there is a dental problem or emergency requiring immediate attention. There is a different approach to your relationship with your dentist that relates to your own needs and dental health. This approach is designed to help you create the kind of experiences you want with your dentist.

You have a choice about this relationship and how it can support and assist you in your life. It begins with the simple question stated at the beginning of this article: What do you want from your relationship with your dentist?

The answer to this question can take many forms. For some people it may mean having a lot of information about their dental health and future. They seek facts to know they are making good, informed decisions. Others may want a friendly relationship in which openness and communication are valued. They want information but, more importantly, they want to know they are important to the dentist and the dental team. Some individuals want minimal information and discussion — just the facts and the solutions to take care of any dental or 
dental financing problem.

We all have different wants in our relationships with health professionals such as dentists. Here are four tips to assist you in deciding what you want in your relationship with your dentist:
  • Do you want a lot of detailed information about actual problems or potential problems or do you prefer a quick summary of data with recommendations about what to do?
  • Do you like to make quick decisions or do you prefer to think about things before you act?
  • Do you like to talk about what is happening or do you prefer to have your dentist just tell you what is going on?
  • Do you want the dentist to describe a problem situation and solution with pictures so you can see what it happening or do you prefer to go on gut feeling?

Each person looks for different things in their relationships. It is your responsibility to determine what you want and look for that in the relationship with your dentist. The answers to the questions above will tell you something about this.

The next step is communicating what you want so that you are understood. Only you know when someone else understands you. Here are four tips to assist you in this communication process:
  • Tell your dentist that you have some ideas about how he or she can assist you with your dental health and dental financing.
  • Ask when it would be a good time to discuss your needs and desires for your dental care and relationship with your dentist.
  • Communicate what you want and how that will help you.
  • If you had a negative experience in the past with another dental professional, always discuss what happened. Past hurts or disappointments have a way of negatively influencing present situations that are similar in nature.
Communicating what you want is important to your dentist for it is the best way for him or her to plan for the optimal dental health for you.

By Brian DesRoches, PhD

Maximizing The Benefits Of Your Dental Team

The new dentistry brings together a unique complement of skills, knowledge, and capabilities with one primary focus: ensuring your dental health care. Working as a team, your dentist and the dental financeteam he or she has assembled wants to recruit you to join them in making sure this focus is maintained. The dental team has two major parts that you may hear referenced during your visits: the “back” and the “front.” These terms refer to two very specific functions of your dental team. The front office handles all the administration, scheduling, and dental financing, and the back office provides the treatment.

Your front office team makes sure you know about scheduling opportunities, handles dental finance, and keeps the administrative details under control to provide you efficient services and support. The back office team is thus free to do what they do best: provide the best dental health care, financing health care and service for you. You’ll find the dentist, 
dental hygienist, and dental assistant ready to assist you during your appointments.

The key component for success of any team is each member’s commitment to do their part. As a consumer and team member, your commitment involves three things:
  • Maintaining your commitment to your dental health through regular hygiene appointments and the daily practice of flossing and brushing.
  • Asking questions and getting the essential information you need about your teeth and gums or to understand any treatment plans or dental financing.
  • Staying open to options and opportunities that the new dentistry offers you by thinking about the information and feedback that your dentist provides you about the status of your dental health.

You can maximize the benefits of the skills and expertise of your dental finance team by deciding for yourself what kind of relationship you want with your dentist and the dental team and how they can help you achieve a positive outcome for your dental future.

By Brian DesRoches, PhD

New Dental Procedure FAQs

Q. What is the new technology dentists are using that reduces or eliminates discomfort from shots given during a dental procedure
A. A computerized injection system called The Wand has been shown to significantly reduce patient discomfort in delivering oral anesthetics. In a study of patients who have had procedures using it, more than 80% of them reported that it was a completely painless process. Consult your dentist to see if this dental procedure is covered by your 
dental care payment plan.

A very thin needle is attached to a pen-sized wand and placed near the gums. A drop of anesthetic numbs the gum before the needle is inserted. There is no prick or burning sensation with this system. As the needle glides through the gum, the anesthetic continues to be released. When the needle is fully inserted, the computer slowly releases the anesthetic. This eliminates the usual cause of the discomfort of the traditional dental shot — the pressure associated with the stream of anesthetic flowing into the gum.

Q. How can early tooth decay be detected?
A. A dentist can put a “caries detection dye” on a suspicious tooth. This colored liquid helps identify the position and the extent of decay that is not visible to the naked eye. The dental procedure price may very.

Q. Are there any new prevention treatments for reducing tooth decay?
A. New prevention treatments are being studied. Research has shown that a tooth-decay inhibiting treatment can effectively eliminate the bacteria that cause tooth decay in humans. One promising treatment still in development is a caries vaccine, CaroRX, a tasteless, colorless antibody from genetically-altered plants, which is painted on clean teeth to prevent decay-causing bacteria from sticking to teeth. Planet Biotechnology, the manufacturer of CaroRX, hopes to gain FDA approval and make this product available to 
dentists within the next few years.

Q. What are intraoral cameras?
A. An intraoral camera is a miniature video camera that the dentist places in the patient’s mouth so that together they can view any dental problems that the patient is having. The image from the camera is enlarged and sent to a monitor for viewing.

Q. What is the purpose of intraoral cameras?
A. The purpose behind intraoral cameras is to allow the patient to see the specific area that needs treatment so that they are more likely to understand the dentist’s recommendation and accept it. Ask your dentist about this dental procedure and whether it’s covered under your 
dental patient financing program.

New Dentistry, A Partnership For Your Health And Well Being

A world of opportunities for dental health awaits us in the new dentistry. Using the old dentistry, dental professionals did their best to provide a high quality of service given the state of knowledge and technology at that time. Through advancements in treatment, research, and the desire of the dental profession to do more and do it better, the new dentistry has emerged. It is based on a foundation with specific characteristics that are of great benefit to us as consumers.
  • Efficiency: Your time and your resources are valuable to you, and your dental professional recognizes this. New treatment techniques and methods have considerably reduced the amount of time that the dental care now takes. The return on your investment in dental health is excellent.
  • Comfort: Not only are the dental chairs and the office environments more comfortable and pleasant, improvements in the use of local anesthetics and new equipment provide more comfort than ever before.
  • Collaboration: The dental relationship is now based on the value that you can derive from your dental team and what you want for your dental future rather than just on the techniques and procedures your dentist can do. Through continuing education, your dentist has the skills and knowledge to help you make decisions for your dental health in a positive and informed way.
  • Predictability: New materials and advances in treatment provide you with opportunities to maintain your dental health throughout your life. With the innovative cosmetic dentistry and specialized approaches to reclaiming teeth that formally would be lost, your dental professional can help create and maintain teeth and gums. Predictable treatment, effective prevention methods, and the longevity of treatment are now part of any treatment plan.
  • Thoroughness: Advances in assessment and diagnosis now enable dentists to make thorough evaluations of your overall dental and oral health. The outcome is a plan for your health that will give you peace of mind, knowing you can have a well-informed dental planin place.
  • Prevention: This characteristic of the new dentistry has received much publicity in recent years. It has been proven over and over again that there are several measures that you can take as a consumer of dental care to create and maintain your dental health in collaboration with your dental team. It bears repeating again – flossing and brushing combined with regular dental hygiene checks are your greatest allies in maintaining your teeth and a bright smile.
  • Precision: The new dentistry utilizes instruments and technologies that are far advanced from what was available even 15 years ago. Both general dental professionals and specialists have access to technologies that provide precision in diagnosis and treatment. The value for you is higher quality care.

The dental profession has established a strong foundation for a pleasant smile and a healthy dental future for all of us. Improvements are continuously being made to this foundation. You can choose to avail yourself of these improvements by asking your dentist, “What can help me to maintain my dental health?” They have the knowledge and the desire to help you, including information about a wide range of dental payment plans.

By Brian DesRoches, PhD

Scheduling and Planning for Dental Financing

Long-term dentistry always works best with a plan. So as each New Year begins, some dentists sit down with their patients and organize dental health care – in phases – for the coming year.

In the spirit of prevention, one patient might be scheduled for cleanings and periodic examinations to watch closely for developing problems, and catch them before they grow. Another patient may call for complex restoration and will visit more often; in this case, the dentist will propose treatment step by step, over time.

Prearranged care makes sense. You know what to expect from the practice, and can plan your time and 
dental costs accordingly. By phasing treatment, your dental fees are minimized and, in the end, you still arrive at the same finished product – a healthier you. Moreover, you’ll rest assured, knowing you’re getting the care you need. Because postponed dentistry inevitably means more dentistry.

For with 
dental insurance, tight guidelines are in place for pre-determination of coverage, submitting claims, and timely reimbursement. As treatment is planned for the year, you must monitor your benefits “bank” through the months, to be sure you’re making the most out of your coverage. When year-end approaches, treatment may accelerate to take advantage of any remaining dental financing benefits before the next New Year, and a new deductible.

Everyone is different: different needs, comfort level, and financial situation. So most dentists are flexible. Insured or not, patients deserve choices. Your dentist is willing to work with you and arrive at a schedule that suits you, a schedule you’ll both respect.

A Dental Hygienist Refresher Course On Flossing

How many times have you heard your dentist and dental hygienist tell you to floss? You nod your head and, maybe, you try flossing for a while. Then old habits take over. Well, it bears repeating: is one of the best things you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Bacteria accumulate between the teeth and where the tooth meets gum tissue. Every 24 hours brings a new batch. Brushing won’t get rid of the bacteria, flossing correctly will.

Flossing before or after brushing should be a part of your home oral health care program. It doesn’t matter which floss you use, and it doesn’t require special skills, although practice makes perfect.
Here’s a general routine to follow: wrap floss around your fingers, leaving five to six inches to work with. Keep the floss tight.

When the floss frays, re-loop the floss and continue flossing.

If you feel as if you’re all thumbs, use a flossing threader. Your dentist or 
dental hygienist can show you how.

Choose a section of teeth; say your upper molars, which are most difficult to reach. Follow the curve of enamel on every surface, reaching wherever you can, with about three passes each time.

If an opening between teeth is tight, you may have to gently pull the floss toward the gum line. Be careful not to damage soft tissue.

Work from the back teeth toward the front while flossing, and then repeat the process on the other side. Rinse when you’re done. The time you invest in plaque removal will pay real dividends at your next 
dentist cleaning visit. Your dental hygienist will be proud!

Are Your Teeth Temperamental? Dealing With Sensitive Smiles

Are you overly sensitive? Relax, it has nothing to do with crying during life insurance commercials. Millions of adults struggle with hypersensitive teeth, which means they are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, very sugary or acidic foods and drinks and vigorous toothbrushing. This kind of sensitivity is often called “dentin hypersensitivity.”

Dentin is the tissue that makes up the core of each tooth. Above the gumline, dentin is protected with a coating of enamel. Unfortunately, as enamel is worn away or decayed, dentin becomes exposed and receptive to sensations that cause painful nerve responses. This can also occur as the result of receding gums, a common symptom of 
gum disease.

So, what causes sensitive teeth? A number of things may be to blame. Over-zealous brushing with a firm bristled tooth brush or abrasive toothpaste can lead to dentin hypersensitivity, as can gum disease, which is the result of poor brushing and flossing habits. Your diet may also play a role, as frequent consumption of acidic foods and drinks can chemically dissolve tooth enamel. Finally, abnormal wear on tooth surfaces from chronic clenching or grinding of teeth, nail biting and chewing on hard objects can lead to sensitive teeth. To avoid the problem, brush and floss daily to maintain healthy gums and protect dentin from exposure. Avoid vigorous 
toothbrushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush.

If you’re already suffering from overly sensitive teeth, your best bet is to contact your dentist for guidance on 
dental hygiene. In the mean time, there are products that can help. Desensitizing toothpaste used in conjunction with a soft-bristled toothbrush can help. Toothpaste designed for those with sensitive teeth can reduce the pain associated with the condition after only a few days of use.

Choosing Dental Health, Three Reasons Why It Is a Wise Choice for Care

Most of us think that taking care of our teeth is about having a great smile and avoiding the discomfort of a toothache. Although any dentist will say these are valid and important reasons for maintaining a good dental health program, there are three other equally strong reasons to consider.

First of all, dental health is part of your overall health. Second, choosing dental health is a wise investment of your time and financial resources. Third, your emotional well-being is influenced by how you think and feel about yourself. Your smile is a big part of your image of yourself. Let’s examine each of these areas more thoroughly.

Your Physical Health
How easy it is to forget that our teeth, gums, and mouth are essential parts of our physical body. Periodontal disease, bone and gum loss, and infections all affect the overall picture of our physical health. The ability to chew our food well helps digestion and reduces stress on the gastrointestinal system.


Like any physical system, each part of the body plays a role in the overall health of the system; taking care of your teeth and gums is a part of an intentional plan for physical health. In collaboration with your dentist and dental team, you can create a plan for your dental health that will contribute to your overall health plan.

Dental Care – A Wise Investment
When treatment is necessary, the new 
dentistry is also an investment in your financial future. Proper treatment today prevents more costly complications and uncomfortable problems tomorrow. For those who seek to maintain their dental health for life, it is a wise investment to get the most value from the knowledge and skills your dentist and the new dentistry offers you.

Dental Hygiene – Emotional Well-Being
How you feel and think about yourself is an important part of your emotional well-being and a pleasant smile plays a big role in this. In addition, when you take an active role in caring for yourself, it also contributes to your overall sense of competence in managing your life and maintaining a positive lifestyle. The habit of dental health self-care and regular 
dental hygiene examinations reinforces taking positive steps for yourself in other areas of your life.
The new dentistry also can provide you with innovative and effective ways to create and maintain a pleasant smile that you feel good about. When it comes to feeling good about yourself and your smile, the new dentistry offers many exciting and effective options.

By Brian DesRoches, PhD

Dental Cleaning and Toothbrush Basics

A good toothbrush is an essential tool for daily dental care and good dental hygiene. Not long ago, toothbrushes were all rather standard in design. Now they are available in a dazzling array of colors, sizes and styles, angled heads, tufted bristles, powered by hand, electricity, or sonic waves.

When selecting a toothbrush for your teeth, always look for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. This is awarded only to products meeting stringent testing for safety and effectiveness. Claims made by dental care products must be accurate for what they say, as well as imply, to receive the ADA Seal.

Manual Dental Cleaning
Choose a brush with soft, polished bristles and rounded ends, comfortable in both size and shape that allows you to reach every tooth. Hard bristles can injure your gums.

For good dental health replace your toothbrush every three to four months or earlier if the bristles are frayed. Some brushes are designed with replacement indicators to help remind you when a new brush is needed.

Old, worn out toothbrushes don’t achieve desirable results and may also hold harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease. It’s also recommended that you replace your toothbrush after an illness. Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced more often due to wear.

Electric Toothbrushes
There are a variety of powered brushes featuring different speeds, bristle rotations, and head sizes. Products vary and the manufacturer’s instructions must be carefully followed. Check with your dentist to make sure you’re using the brush correctly. Use a light touch and slow movements for maximum 
tooth cleaning effectiveness.

Electric toothbrushes offer convenience for the disabled and elderly with limited manual dexterity. Children under ten years old should be supervised.

Sonic Toothbrushes
With this new dental care technology, sonic waves remove plaque bacteria without actually having to touch it. Through the motion of sound waves, these toothbrushes are able to sweep away plaque in hard to reach places, between teeth, and below the gumline.

The sonic wave technology is gentle on teeth, even sensitive ones. These toothbrushes also have proven effective in reversing gum disease, shrinking periodontal pockets, and removing tough stains like coffee, tea, or tobacco.

If you have any questions about choosing a toothbrush for your preventative 
dentistry needs, consult your dentist. Whichever toothbrush you select, use it at least twice a day, as part of a good dental health care program.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Dental Cleaning: The Right Schedule for You

The chemistry of your mouth is as unique as your signature. No two are exactly alike. And so, when it says in popular magazines that “you” need only a dental hygiene appointment twice a year to stay in good dental health, some dentists get very concerned. They don’t know you. They’re referring to an “average” patient. Dental insurance plans also tend to believe in this mythical “average patient” and may not pay for more than a bi-annual visit.

Sure, two visits are fine for many patients, even most. But some mouths build up more deposits of calculus than others. Some mouths are naturally decay-prone. Still others, and this is critical, may be showing signs of periodontal problems.

Bleeding gums need to be taken seriously. They’re signs of an infection that can be a significant risk factor for heart disease. If you had a bleeding sore on your hand that didn’t heal you’d get to a doctor and have him check it out, right? Type I perio (gingivitis) consists of tender gums and a little bacteria-filled pocket between your tooth and gum. It’s easily treatable at this point. But if the infected pockets are allowed to enlarge, that inflammation can extend to the bone beneath and erode it.

Your dentist’s concern is for your overall 
oral health and your teeth, not whether you’ve made the standard number of appointments for this year. He or she wants the chemistry to be right in your mouth… and between the two of you.

Drink and Be Merry: Study Says Red Wine is Good for Your Smile

If you were looking for an excuse to drink more red wine, it’s your lucky day.

A study released by scientists from Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, reports that compounds known as polyphenols in red wine have been found to stave off periodontal diseases. 
Periodontal diseases are those that affect the gums and bone around the teeth, often leading to permanent tooth loss. The research shows that the polyphenols, derived from red grape seeds, neutralize one of the major tissue-destroying compounds associated with periodontitis, which affects a significant number of adults.

Red wine boasts a number of additional 
oral health advantages as well, such as having anti-tumor properties and preventing heart disease. Along with green tea, fresh fruits and green vegetables, it has been known to reduce the risk of cancer and mortality. Still, it’s important to err on the side of caution and drink only in moderation – no more than a glass or two a day. Needless to say, if you’re prone to heavy drinking, it’s best to steer clear of alcohol.

While red wine is preserving smiles across the globe, other sugary drinks are destroying them. U.S. schools have begun to restrict the types of sodas to prevent child obesity and tooth decay. Acidic drinks like coffee, a crutch for millions of groggy Americans each day, can have a negative affect on teeth as well. Even good old fashioned juice has come under fire as of late, often noted for having a high sugar content but very few of the nutritional qualities attributed to whole fruit, such as fiber. Your best bet for good 
dental hygiene? Drink plenty of water. If you must have a sugary or acidic beverage, be sure to either brush your teeth rinse your mouth out with warm water afterwards.

Fighting Bad Breath with Good Dental Hygiene

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a signal that something is not right inside your mouth. It may be as simple as the need to pay more attention to your daily oral hygiene, or it may indicate tooth decay, gum disease, or another medical problem. Whichever it is, bad breath is a red flag: take another look at your mouth!
Bad breath is a social problem; if you have bad breath, you may notice that people actually back away as you talk to them. Mouth odors are embarrassing, and they tell other people that you aren’t taking care of yourself.

Sometimes people are not aware that their breath smells bad; be alert to how other people react when they’re close to you, and be grateful if a friend or family member lets you know about the problem.
Commercial products claim they will make your breath fresher, but the only way to make sure your breath permanently fresh is to practice good oral hygiene. In fact, eating too many breath mints and hard candies with sugar will lead to tooth decay. If you are constantly using breath mints, breath sprays, or mouth rinses in an effort to cover up your bad breath, you may have a dental or medical problem that needs addressing.

There are a number of reasons you may experience a bad taste in your mouth, and even be able to smell your own breath. Food may be lodged between your teeth if you are not brushing at least twice daily and flossing regularly.

Food particles can be very tiny and can wedge themselves between teeth and below the gum line; brushing after meals is important and flossing is imperative to get at the particles that the brush can’t reach. Also, you must brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper.

As odd as it will feel at first, bacteria collects on the tongue and can contribute to bad breath. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before you wear them again.
If you neglect your 
dental hygiene over time, bad breath can become a symptom of more serious dental problems. Teeth that are not cleaned properly become a place for bacteria to reside as food particles stay in your mouth and decay. Bacteria attack your teeth and gums and cause cavities and gum disease. If this is happening, gum disease will cause an unpleasant odor.

Perhaps you are brushing and flossing on a regular basis, but are still experiencing bad breath. If you have teeth that are crooked or crowded, it may be hard for you to clean between them, and this can cause bad breath.

If you wear dentures that are not fitted properly, they may be trapping food or irritating your mouth. Or perhaps your bad breath is caused by another medical problem: drainage from your sinuses, gastrointestinal problems, kidney or liver problems, or other medical conditions.

>Here’s what you can do to investigate on your own. Write down what you’re eating and notice whether your breath smells bad because of certain foods. Garlic and onions actually cause odor, but the odor is coming from your lungs as you breathe, not from your mouth itself. The odor from these foods is temporary, and will be gone once the food is out of your bloodstream.

Are you dieting? Hunger can contribute to bad breath, because of the chemical changes as your body turns fat and protein into the energy it needs. Are you taking prescription or over-the-counter medications? Add these to the record of what you’re eating to see whether there’s a relationship between your medications and your bad breath. And don’t forget to tell your dentist if there’s been a change in your overall health since your last visit.

Are you suffering from dry mouth? Saliva provides constant rinsing in your mouth and washes away food particles. Your dentist may recommend more liquids, and sugarless candy to stimulate natural saliva, and perhaps some of the commercial products that are available to combat dry mouth.

If bad breath continues after you have done your best job of regular brushing and flossing, start with your dentist or 
dental hygienist. He or she can tell you whether the odor is caused by an oral problem; if it is not, then your dentist will suggest you see your doctor for a physical check-up.

Regular dental check-ups will help keep your mouth healthy and working well. Your dentist can spot problems before they cause trouble, including problems that cause bad breath.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Forks are for Eating: Dental Hygiene Across the Pond

From Austin Powers to The Simpsons, American pop culture has heckled the British for their allegedly bad teeth for years. Let’s face it – even Prince Charles could use a good orthodontist. Now it looks like comedians will have fresh material, thanks to a national survey that polled Brits on their dental habits.

An overwhelming number of respondents admitted to cleaning their teeth with just about everything but floss, opting for everyday household tools instead. Nontraditional tooth picks included: screw drivers, earrings, forks, scissors and (wait for it) knives. (Maybe they should consider putting restrictions on the use of ice picks.) To top it off, about half reported they don’t bother cleaning food out from between their teeth at all. Yikes! Needless to say the English dental community has admittedly fallen behind in dental education.

While it’s easy to laugh at our friends across the pond, the truth is a number of Americans aren’t doing much better when it comes to 
oral hygiene. Gum disease and tooth decay are two potentially serious conditions frequently overlooked by the American press. (Maybe they’re too busy critiquing jolly England’s smiles.) They are also linked to other health problems, including heart disease and low birth weight.

In order to maintain your own 
dental health, it’s important to brush and floss everyday. If you find particularly tricky debris stuck between your teeth, skip using your PDA’s stylus to dig it out. Your best option is a wood (and therefore flexible) tooth pick or dental ribbon, which is smoother than floss. Tying a small knot in it can help dislodge larger pieces of food.

So, the next time you hear somebody crack a joke at the queen’s expense, consider your own flossing habits. And for Pete’s sake, never use anything to clean your teeth and gums that wasn’t designed for that purpose!

Healthy Eating for Good Oral Health

What you eat affects your oral health destiny. You can dramatically impact your dental health by eating a well-balanced, healthful diet. Research has shown that poor nutrition jeopardizes our oral health which puts you at risk for a number of serious dental problems.

The Food Factor
Our food choices can make a big difference in two of the most common diseases today: tooth decay and gum disease. Certain foods, especially those containing sugar, are directly linked to increased levels of cavity-causing bacteria. Tooth decay results when acids from the bacteria attack the teeth forming cavities. While diet doesn’t directly cause gum disease, a condition affecting the supporting tissues of the teeth, researchers believe the disease is more rapid and severe when poor nutrition is a factor. Gum disease is a serious problem, since it can lead to tooth loss if untreated.

Diet and Dental Health
The American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health recommend eating a well-balanced diet including plenty of fruits, vegetables, a good variety of breads and cereals, dairy products, fish, chicken, dried beans and peas, and meat. Enjoying a variety of foods is the best way to get all the important nutrients needed for keeping healthy. Beware of fad diets that exclude entire food groups. This can cause nutritional deficiencies.

Snack Smart
Snacking is a favorite pastime, but certain snack choices promote tooth decay such as soft, sweet, sticky foods. Select nutritious snacks better for your teeth and general good oral health, especially colorful, juicy fresh fruits and crisp, crunchy vegetables. Choose your snacks based on any other dietary concerns, such as low cholesterol, low-fat, or low sodium diets. 
Dental cleaning should always follow snacking, whenever possible.

If you snack on crackers, cookies, or chips, it’s better if you eat them in combination with other foods, such as cheese with crackers, rather than alone. This is because these foods when eaten alone tend to produce more bacteria in the mouth leading to tooth decay. Remember, each time you snack, oral bacteria is activated. Drink plenty of water to rinse away some of the disease-causing bacteria. If possible, brush your teeth after snacking.

Select from the wide variety of foods for healthful eating — that are good for you and your 
oral health.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Healthy Smooching: Good Oral Hygiene Leads to Great Kisses

Whether you’re preparing for holiday mistletoe or are just in the mood for some love, you’re probably fully aware of the connection between the state of your mouth and the quality of your kisses. Still, a little reminder never hurt. Here’s the skinny on getting lucky without embarrassment (from your mouth, anyway)!

Kick the Smoking Habit
I’m sure you’re very familiar with the smoking lecture. Not only do tobacco products taste awful to your partner, but they put you at greater risk for oral cancer and periodontal or gum disease. Why put so much effort into knocking your sweetheart’s socks off if you aren’t going to be around to pick them up? If you don’t kick the habit for your partner, do it for yourself.

Don’t Chew Gum
The best smooches are spur of the moment, so it’s best to be prepared for them. Besides, sugary gum can lead to tooth decay, AKA cavities. If you must chew gum (maybe you want your breath to be in top shape), choose a sugar-free variety like 
Xylitol.

Brush and Floss
Nothing leaves an impression like bad breath, but it’s not the kind of attention you want. Besides, healthy 
white teeth will help you build confidence in your smile. Brushing your teeth and gums is a good start, but take it a step further and floss each night. You’ll dislodge food particles and remove odor-causing, not to mention tissue- and tooth-destroying, bacteria. If you don’t have your toothbrush handy after you eat, at least rinse your mouth out with warm water. There are also a number of handy little dental hygiene products available for great breath on the go.

Take good care of your partner by caring for yourself. If you find that your gums are exceptionally tender or swollen, or if you have habitually bad breath, make an appointment with your dentist. These could be symptoms of a more serious problem!

Learn How Dental Hygiene, Tooth Abrasion And Over brushing Relate from Your Dental Hygienist

The issue of over brushing and its direct link to tooth abrasion has been a topic in many journal and news articles. A story in The Wall Street Journal (February 4, 2000) stated that in many cases, “the culprit in tooth abrasion is the toothbrush itself.”

This issue is particularly important to because people can damage healthy teeth and gums by brushing too hard, oftentimes with a medium- or hard-bristled toothbrush. In fact, dentists and dental hygienists have a recommendation on how to brush your teeth they recommend that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush for your 
dental cleaning.

Your teeth and gums are susceptible to wear and tear like all other parts of your body. In cases of improper dental hygiene and brushing, such as brushing too vigorously, gum tissue can be worn away. Receding gums then lead to other significant dental problems such as sensitive teeth, 
periodontal disease, cavities, root canals, and, potential loss of teeth.

Your 
dental hygienist will explain that brushing your teeth correctly includes adjusting the angle of your toothbrush (it should be at a 45-degree angle), lessening the amount of pressure you use, monitoring the length of time, as well as making sure that you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush. In addition, always ask your dentist for specific recommendations related to your dental hygiene care and healthy teeth.

While the potential harm to healthy teeth and gums through poor dental hygiene and over brushing is significant, an even greater percentage of the population suffers damage to their teeth from occlusion (bad bite), genetic factors, and poor overall dental cleaning. It is critical to carefully maintain and monitor your oral health.

The best approach to maintaining good oral hygiene is to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste, floss or clean between the teeth using an inter-dental cleaner (special brushes, picks or sticks), and visit your dentist every six months. Follow your dental hygienist’s advice with regard to any changes to this regimen.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Make Your Dental Health a Priority

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you over the past year? A special vacation you’d been promising yourself? Or purchasing that new car you’ve had your eye on for a long while?

All of us look forward to pleasure purchases. They add luster to life. And if you think about it, the things we seem to find easiest to afford are the things that make us feel good about ourselves.

Yet, for most of us, number one on the list for a good life is good health. Today we know that good 
dental health is just as important as your overall physical wellness. After all, you only have one body and one set of adult teeth. How they serve you depends on the priority you assign them.

Make feeling good about yourself a priority. One component may be that dream vacation. But certainly another component is keeping yourself physically healthy enough to enjoy the experience. And that means paying attention to your oral hygiene and practicing preventive 
dentistry.

You don’t need to be told that the actual cash you spend to keep yourself dentally fit is only a tiny fraction of what you spend to feel good about yourself. After all, it’s no fun being able to afford a gourmet meal if it’s painful to chew and swallow it.
Your 
dental hygienist will welcome your visit and looks forward to helping you help yourself to dental health with a good dental cleaning.

Oral Cancer And Smokeless Tobacco

“Dip” … Chew” … “Pinch” … Snuff” … “Dirt” … “Plug” … all are different names for smokeless tobacco, a finely ground version of processed tobacco. No matter the name, smokeless tobacco is harmful and puts your health at risk. Chew on these facts:
  • About 30,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in 1999.*
  • More than 8,000 oral cancer patients will die this year.
  • Tobacco products cause about 75% of oral cancers affecting the mouth, tongue, lips, throat, and parts of the nose and larynx.
  • Nearly 30 cancer-causing substances have been found in smokeless tobacco.
  • One can of smokeless tobacco a day delivers as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes!
  • You have a 50% greater risk of developing oral cancer with long-term use of smokeless tobacco.
* Cancer Facts and Figures, American Cancer Society, 1999

Smokeless tobacco has been glorified over time by images of quot;macho” men performing feats of fame and prowess, whether as athletes, rodeo cowboys, or country music stars. In reality, many want to kick the habit, but nicotine is addictive. It’s hard for them to quit.

In a survey of major league baseball players, more than a third reported they had mouth sores, white patches, or gum problems. Nearly 60% said they wanted to quit. The nicotine actually decreases performance, causing dizziness and slowed reaction time.

Smokeless tobacco causes problems for your 
oral health:
  • White, leathery patches in your mouth or lips
  • Painful sores that may be pre-cancerous or cancerous
  • Yellow teeth and permanent tobacco-stained teeth
  • Exposed tooth roots from receding gums, likely to cause decay, sensitive teeth and pain
  • Cavities from the sugar added to the tobacco
  • Bad breath
  • Greater risk for developing oral cancer

Additionally, smokeless tobacco can affect your general health causing:
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • A greater risk of heart attack
  • Withdrawal symptoms ranging from headaches, moodiness, and problems concentrating when you try to quit
  • Cancer that can be fatal

If you use smokeless tobacco, chew all these facts over. Choose to quit. Your health is serious business. Talk to your dentist about getting help to quit. Make the right choice — it’s for your body, your health, and maybe even your life.

By Thomas Warner, DDS

Oral Health and Early Disease Detection

Most of your dentist’s patients enjoy robust health, and he or she is thankful for that. In fact, if you are faithful about your “recall” appointments (regular check-ups) he or she probably sees you more often than your physician does. That means much more to him or her than finding a small cavity, or more than a chance to catch up on your comings and goings between visits.

As your primary dental health care provider, your dentist has a singular and weighty responsibility: early detection of disease. When he or she sizes up the health of your gums, tongue, neck, jaw, the mental check-list is long, he or she looks and feels. He or she “invisibly” observes your general health, head, skin, glands, sinuses (and teeth, of course).

What is your 
dentist looking for? Simply put, anything wrong. Among them: dry mouth, bacterial infections, any lesions on the mucous membranes, gum color and texture, soreness or ulcerations, you get the idea. It’s important for you to share with your dentist any general health problems you may have noticed or changes in medications. He or she needs the whole picture.

Practicing 
preventive dentistry is very important. There are more than 200 known diseases of the oral cavity. Your dentist is on the look-out for all of them. Not only can an oral problem signal local trouble, but it may indicate something systemic, something throughout your body.

For this reason, your six-month recall visit may be the most important exam you have all year. If a cavity is found, that can be fixed. If evidence of something more serious is found, then you benefit from the advantage of early detection.

Your dentist and 
dental hygienist want all of their patients to take these exams seriously. A cavity or canker sore, after all, is one thing. Your whole health, quite another.

Oral Health and Fluoride

We’ve all heard the success story of fluoride, perhaps the most dramatic turnaround of a population’s dental health in history. But we’re finding the benefits of fluoride extend beyond decay prevention in our children. There’s something in fluoride for adults, too.

As we get a little older, the gums tend to recede, exposing the tooth root. Since the root surface is dentin, rather than tough, protective enamel, the root becomes more susceptible to decay. Dentin is closer to nerves, too, so teeth can be sensitive to heat and cold.

Fluorides can help with your 
dental hygiene program. The numbers in a recent University of Iowa survey are impressive. At the end of a year-long study, adults aged 54 to 93 enjoyed 67% less decay on the root surfaces (and 41% less on tooth crowns) than non-fluoride users. We’ve seen the same kinds of success when it comes to gum problems with fluoride, there is less plaque, less tartar, and less bacteria all around to multiply into gum disease.

Gel-Kam
Many patients know Gel-Kam well. Gel-Kam is a prescription stannous fluoride, much more effective than other fluoride compounds on the market.

Just after you visit your 
dental hygienist to have your teeth cleaned is a good time to introduce you to Gel-Kam. Right away it restores the fluoride lost during dental cleaning. At home, you apply Gel-Kam once daily, after your regular preventive dentistry regimen.
We’re seeing good results with Gel-Kam. It’s easy to use and it’s safe – a low fluoride concentration that still works.

Your dentist is likely to recommend a home fluoride program if you’re having recurrent caries, difficulty in keeping free of plaque and calculus, or gum recession.

Oral Hygiene and Bad Breath

Bad breath (halitosis) has been the subject of a lot of laughter and some pretty bad TV commercials over the years. Yet, if you’re like nearly one in five patients dentists see, you know the embarrassment and insecurity it can bring.

There’s no one reason for persistent halitosis. You may have the very best 
dental hygiene in the world, and still suffer from bad breath. Sometimes it’s undiagnosed periodontal disease. Or it could be sinus problems or digestive ailments brought on by stress or other factors. Even though the primary cause of persistent halitosis is almost always a treatable medical condition, millions of dollars are spent yearly for mouthwashes and breath fresheners that barely mask the problem, much less solve it.
Because dentists and 
dental hygienists take halitosis seriously, some offices have established Fresh Breath Centers. These Centers are dedicated to determining the source and extent of a patient’s dental health problem and then treating the cause, not simply covering it up.

If halitosis is a problem for you, you are encouraged to visit an office near you. Their approach will be as thorough and as caring as it is with any of other professional dental procedures. You’ll begin with a breath gas analysis that identifies and measures odors. Based on the findings, a simple, effective treatment program will be recommended – so you won’t have to worry about bad breath again.

If this problem is undermining your self-confidence, practice preventive 
dentistry and please call a Fresh Breath Center near you for a consultation. You can schedule an analysis, and get back on the road to breathing freely again.

Plaque Control Toothpastes: Good Preventative Dentistry?

The marketers of toothpastes have come up with a new spin that will work on your teeth – toothpaste that helps prevent plaque. Since most American consumers are now aware of oral hygiene and the threat of gum disease, toothpaste manufacturers and marketers have spent upwards of $77 million to sell anti-plaque and tarter control home care products. The media blitz in the dentistry world is on.

Dentists have always known that plaque is the cause of 
gum disease. And plaque will eventually contribute to the formation of tarter on your tooth. But if you use these new toothpastes, will they work.

Crest and Colgate and other major brands have added a substance that seems to slow the accumulation of tartar on the tooth. You can try it and see for yourself if it works.

But the bottom line for many dentists would be to make sure you’re brushing right, no matter what toothpaste you use. A new group of bacteria forms on a tooth every 24 hours, so the object of brushing is to disrupt these colonies. Dental hygiene includes: good tooth brushing techniques, a learned skill that takes practice. However, even the most determined brushing won’t always get rid of debris beneath the teeth.

That’s why an annual 
dental cleaning and refresher course on brushing and flossing should bring you up-to-date on the oral health front. And what about those new toothpastes? Can’t hurt. Call your dentist today.

Preventive Dentistry

One of the simplest dental hygiene exercises you can do for yourself is something you’ve heard before and it bears repeating: floss.

Every 24 hours, bacteria contribute to a new batch of plaque. Brushing, no matter how well done, will not get all the “bugs,” especially between teeth and where tooth meets gum tissue. Flossing before or after brushing should be a part of everyone’s 
oral health care program. The kind of floss, waxed, unwaxed, tape, doesn’t matter. Just choose the product you’re comfortable with, and use it.

Maybe you never quite got the hang of flossing, or are a little out of practice. Here’s a quick refresher course.
  • Wrap about 18 inches of floss around your fingers; give yourself about five to six taut inches to work with. If the floss frays or builds up with debris, re-loop the floss and keep at it.
  • Try starting on the upper molars, way in the back; they’re most difficult to reach. Follow the curve of enamel on every surface you can, three to four passes each.
  • Where teeth meet, you may have to gently pull the floss to the gumline. Avoid sawing motions as that may damage soft tissue.
  • Proceed from the back teeth to the center front. Then repeat the process on the other side.
  • Rinse, and there you are.
If you find all this tedious or feel you’re “all thumbs,” a floss threader can help. Your dental hygienist can show you how to handle one. Just ask for help.

And remember, any amount of time you spend on plaque removal is time well spent for better dental health. The more time the better. If you have more questions or for more information, just call your 
dentist.

Raisin Eyebrows: Is Dried Fruit Good for Your Teeth?

Do you remember how disappointed you were as a kid when some concerned adult dared put raisins in your Halloween bucket? Your mother was probably relieved, convinced they would be far better for you and your pearly whites than the rest of the junk food you’d strung out across the kitchen table. Ask a pediatric dentist, however, and you might get a different story.

It’s true that there are a number of benefits to eating raisins. They’re low in fat and cholesterol, but boast plenty of fiber, calcium and potassium. Unfortunately, they’re also both sticky and high in sugar, putting them high on the list of foods that can cause cavities. Some health professionals lump them in with all the other typical junk foods kids eat. Don’t worry, raisins aren’t the only foods once thought healthy that can contribute to tooth decay and poor 
oral health. Go ahead and add other dried fruit, sweetened cereals and even fruit juices to the list.

Don’t chuck raisins out just yet, however. According to Vincent Iannelli, M.D., raisins were recently found to contain phytochemicals, which have been found to inhibit the growth of bacteria that are commonly linked to cavities. Note that this study was conducted in a lab, and no study has even been done to show that cavities are either more or less likely to find kids who eat raisins.

So, where does this leave you? A good general rule when it comes to eating for good health is to stick with whole fruits and vegetables whenever possible. If you must eat something that you aren’t sure is good for you, do it in moderation. For good 
dental hygiene, be sure to drink lots of water, and always either brush your teeth and rinse your mouth out with warm water after eating sugary or acidic foods to prevent tooth decay!

Scraping Your Way to a Healthier Mouth: The Benefits of Tongue Scraping

Want to reduce bad breath, gum problems and tooth decay? Grab a tongue scraper! While the practice of removing food and bacteria trapped between your taste buds has been recognized and recommended by dentists for half a century, true tongue scraping is a relatively new phenomenon. Perhaps its sharp increase in popularity is the result of recent studies touting about all the wonderful things that come from removing all that “gunk,” including healthier teeth and gums and sweeter smelling breath.

Tongue scraping is an easy way to improve your 
oral hygiene. People with bad breath, particularly smokers or those with a taste for pungent food, will notice an improvement. Also, those who suffer from a fungal condition called “Brown Hairy Tongue” will benefit tremendously from a good tongue cleaning. For those with sweet smelling, fungus-free mouths, know that tongue scraping will reduce the bacteria that leads to gum disease and tooth decay. In other words, just about anybody will be better off for the effort. So, how does it work?

A bit of research will tell you that there are dozens of tongue scraping appliances on the market today. One of the most popular and inexpensive types is a soft, flexible plastic strip that you bow and pull along your tongue. It’s an incredibly simple design with the potential for amazing results. Two or three strokes are usually sufficient. Please note, scraping should be done before brushing your teeth. It’s quick and easy; the most difficult part of the entire process is actually seeing what’s been in your mouth.

If you’re not interested in actually buying a tongue scraper, a toothbrush will work fairly well. Though they aren’t nearly as effective in removing debris and bacteria from your mouth as tools made for the job, it’s far better than doing nothing at all. If you’d like to learn more about tongue scraping, or would like help finding the right 
dental hygiene method for you, contact your dentist’s office, or mention it during your next check-up!

Self-Care Toothbrush Tips for Special Needs

Maintaining good oral hygiene can be a challenge, especially if you have developed a health condition that makes brushing and flossing more difficult, or have been in an accident that created new limitations. Dental professionals want to help all dental patients keep their mouths healthy, and they offer these suggestions about oral hygiene.

Dental Brushing Tips
Problems in hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders can hinder a person’s ability to brush and floss. While each situation is different, there are some suggestions that have been effective in making 
dental care easier:
  • Use a wide elastic band to attach the toothbrush to your hand for extra gripping power.
  • Attach a small rubber ball, a sponge, or a rubber grip to the toothbrush handle with strong tape. This enhances gripping power and is often useful when hand or arm movement is weakened or limited.
  • Use a longer wooden dowel, a ruler, or plastic rod to lengthen the toothbrush handle, wrapping it securely with strong tape. This longer length may help in more easily reaching your mouth.
  • Use an electric or sonic toothbrush.

Dental Flossing Tips
If limitations make brushing and oral hygiene harder, flossing may be an even bigger challenge. Depending on your limitations, try these techniques:
  • Use a piece of floss, about 18″ long, and wind one end of floss around each finger instead of holding it. This will increase your grip and prevent the floss from dropping out of your fingers with each tooth you floss.
  • Hold the floss tightly and seesaw it back and forth between the teeth, instead of pushing the floss right through.
  • Tie the floss into a long circle instead of using one long piece, which may make it easier to hold and less likely to drop from your hands.
  • Try using a floss holder, available wherever oral hygiene products are sold.

By Danine M. Fresch, DDS

Tongue Scraping, Improve Your Oral Health

Tongue scraping is a relatively new phenomenon in dentistry. It is simply the process of removing all the debris that gets trapped in between the taste buds (or bumps) on your tongue. While cleaning this “gunk” off your tongue has been recognized and recommended by dentists for over 50 years, it is only recently that studies have been conducted to show the decrease in halitosis (bad breath), gum problems, and tooth decay by scraping your tongue.

How Does Tongue Scraping Work?
There are dozens of different types of 
tongue ccraping appliances. They are all made for at home use, ideally just before brushing. One popular and inexpensive model is a soft flexible plastic strip that you simply bend and pull over your tongue. Usually two or three strokes is enough to remove the “gunk.” The sight of the gunk on the tongue scraper is a little unpleasant, until you recall that it’s the same gunk that you would have left sitting on your tongue.

Who Benefits from Tongue Scraping?
Tongue scraping is acceptable and easy enough for anyone to do. People with halitosis (bad breath) will benefit greatly from tongue scraping. It also is very effective for smokers and people who enjoy pungent or strongly odored foods. Also, some people who get a condition called “Brown Hairy Tongue,” a fungal growth, will really see a big change.

Will a Toothbrush Work?
Sure, a toothbrush will work well to clean your tongue. And it certainly is better than nothing. Toothbrushes just aren’t nearly as effective as some of the scrapers available. Ask your dentist or 
dental hygienist for suggestions on the method of tongue scraping that may work best for you.

By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO

Top 10 Reasons Not to Dodge Your Dental Cleaning Appointment

Sure, regular cleanings with our office promote good oral hygiene, but did you know it can also prevent a multitude of diseases? That 2 o’clock chair-side rendezvous may not seem nearly as exciting as a late lunch with a friend, but it will be well worth it in the end. Here are 10 really great reasons to stick with your regular dental cleaning schedule!

1. It Prevents Oral Cancer. You may or may not realize that you’re screened for oral cancer during your regular dental cleaning. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, an American dies of oral cancer every hour of every day. It’s a sad proposition, especially when you consider that it is highly curable with early diagnosis.

2. It Wards Off Gum Disease. Gum disease, or an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place, is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. It can be treated and reversed if diagnosed early. Unfortunately, not receiving treatment will lead to a more serious and advanced state of gum disease. Regular cleanings and check ups and daily brushing and flossing are key weapons in the fight against these conditions.

3. It’s About More Than Your Mouth. Sure, not getting regular check-ups may make you less kissable, but did you know that studies have linked heart attacks and strokes to gum disease associated with poor oral hygiene? A trip to your dentist every 6 months could reduce your risk of serious health problems!

4. You Want to Preserve Your Smile. As mentioned, gum disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. To keep your pearly whites intact, stick with your 
teeth cleaning schedule.

5. It’s Best to Detect Dental Problems Early. We’ve already touched upon early detection of gum disease and oral cancer, but don’t overlook more basic dental problems. Cavities and broken fillings are easy to treat. Without regular trips to the dentist, these problems can lead to root canals, gum surgery and tooth extraction. Which sounds worse: A 30-minute cleaning or an hour under the knife?

6. You Want to Know You’re Doing it Right. Maybe you bought a fancy new electric toothbrush, or aren’t keeping up with what current research has to say about caring for your teeth. Either way, check ups allow your dentist to examine your mouth and keep you on the right path.

7. You Have Dental Insurance. Consider how much money you put into your 
dental insurance plan. Take advantage of it and save a lot of money in the long run by avoiding costly procedures that result from poor dental habits.

8. You Want to Upgrade Your Smile. If you’re already suffering from tooth decay or gum problems, regular appointments will allow our office to create a personalized treatment plan that will give you the best smile possible.

9. You Want to Dazzle. Regular cleanings remove most tobacco, coffee and tea stains, polishing your teeth to a beautiful shine!

10. You Need Some Time Alone. Okay, maybe not completely alone, but the time you spend in the waiting room and chair is really your time. You can forget about the office or the stresses of family life and just relax. Read a magazine or work through a crossword if you want. Take advantage of the time you’re given, rather than worrying about how to fit it in your tight schedule. Your health and well-being should never take a back seat to your daily planner.
If it’s been more than 6 months since your last check up and cleaning, call your dentist to schedule an appointment today!

Xylitol: Chew Your Way To Healthier Teeth and Gums?

Are you crazy about gum, but not so much about its affect on your teeth? (Good for you!) Researchers presenting at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Annual Session in Cincinnati found a natural sweetener may not only improve the taste of gum, juice and candy, it may also reduce tooth decay and increase dental hygiene.

Their study observed children of Belize over the course of several years, some of whom chewed gum with sugar, others with artificial sweeteners. Results showed that those who chewed gum artificially sweetened with Xylitol, a natural sweetener found in trees and fruit that does not cause cavities, suffered from less tooth decay over the duration of the study.
Another study done in Finland found fewer mothers transmitted cavity-causing bacteria to their children when they chewed gum with xylitol. The bacteria transmission occurs when mother and children share eating utensils.

Xylitol is widely available in most supermarkets, but know that it’s difficult to achieve the correct dosing. To see results, you’d have to chew gum with a high dose of Xylitol frequently and for prolonged durations. Products containing this natural sweetener may also cost more than those artificially sweetened with other additives.

So, the next time you’re dying for a piece of chewy goodness, consider grabbing a brand containing Xylitol. While it can be difficult to obtain optimum results through its use, it is certainly better for your 
dental health to chew than gum containing sugar.

Family Dental Insurance

I’m sure you’ve noticed that you and your child are two distinct people with entirely different needs, including dental health needs. When employers label children as dependents, however, they often see them as extensions of their parents. That means when it comes to awarding family dental benefits, you must be on the same policy. It’s important to be sure you select a dental plan that works for both of you. Here are some things to consider when choosing your dental insurance carrier:
  • Your child has the right to see a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to address the unique dental needs of young children, such as early preventive care and alleviating dental anxiety. If your family dental insurance plan only allows your child to see a pediatric dental specialist after an unsuccessful visit to a general dentist, consider making a change.
  • What is the extent of your preventive care coverage? Children’s teeth are in a critical stage of development. Any potential problems should be identified and resolved as early as possible. It’s also crucial to establish positive dental care habits right from the start. This means dental exams early and often. If your dental plan puts unreasonable restrictions on a child’s early dental care, look for dental coverage elsewhere.
  • What other procedures are covered? As mentioned, your child’s teeth are only just developing. If they do not grow properly, your child can experience pain or misshapen facial structure. Special care, such as orthodontics, is often required to correct the problem, and is often medically necessary. If your family dental insurance plan considers this specialized care to be cosmetic, and therefore not covered, look for something better.
  • What is the extent of your emergency care coverage? Kids have accidents – it’s a fact of life. Not only are they generally more active than many adults, playing sports and climbing trees, but many have not yet developed refined coordination. That means plenty of falls or balls to the mouth. If your child loses a tooth or experiences some other sort of dental trauma, be sure your plan allows you to seek immediate emergency care without anybody’s permission.
  • It’s important for you to have a reasonable amount of control over your child’s dental care. If your dental insurance company makes it difficult to choose or change dentists when you feel it’s necessary, or allows you very little say in whatever treatment is performed, shop around.

Insurance may seem like a costly investment, but a family dental plan that truly fits you and your children’s needs is well worth it. The preventive and emergency care you’ll receive will ensure all of you will enjoy good oral health for a lifetime.

Five Things You Should Know When Choosing A Dental Insurance Plan

You’ve heard time and again that dental insurance can protect you and your family from dental and financial catastrophe. Even cheap insurance with minimal coverage will most likely save you big bucks over the course of your lifetime. A quick Web search will show that insurance is big business, and your options are becoming more expansive – and complicated – by the day. Not sure where to begin? Here are five things to consider when selecting family dental plans or an individual dental insurance plan that works for you!

Shop around! Finding a plan that works can be quite a feat. Even when employers offer dental insurance benefits to their employees and their families, it often isn’t enough. This means you’ll need to shop high and low until you find the best plan for your budget and lifestyle. The Internet has made all of this much easier – you have access to informational materials on a multitude of companies right at your finger tips. Be sure to read all the fine print; when it comes to your health, surprises are rarely a good thing.

Know your limits. All insurance plans have maximums – some good, others bad. A low maximum on your total benefits is never a good thing. That means if something major (and expensive) comes up, you may have to delve into your own pockets. A second maximum applies to your yearly deductible, which is the most amount of money you’d be expected to pay for your own care. A low maximum on your deductible is a great thing, so be sure to do the math when comparing policies.

Maintain control over your health. A 
dental insurance company may or may not have your best interests at heart, but, either way, they’re somewhat removed from the situation. It’s important that you have a say in your dental health. For starters, shouldn’t you be able to choose your dentist, or at least have a plethora of options should one provider not work out? It’s also important that you and your dentist have a lot of pull when it comes to making important decisions – an insurance company should never put unreasonable restrictions on the type of care you can receive.

Look for the 3 R’s (sort of): PRevention, Restoration and EmeRgency Care. Having access to these three types of dental care is critical for lifelong oral health. Preventive care reduces the likelihood that you’ll develop a dental condition that could have been avoided. Restorative care ensures that things that do go wrong, such as damaged or decayed teeth, will be fixed. Finally, emergency care you’ll receive the proper care when you need it immediately, such as if your tooth is knocked out. Some family dental plans cover other specialty care, like 
orthodontics, so consider your needs and go from there.

The waiting game. Some insurance companies make you wait a certain period of time before they will cover certain procedures. If you need immediate attention, find a policy that supports it. If everything’s in order, however, a minor wait may not be a major issue for you.

A carefully selected family or individual dental insurance plan could not only save you in a pinch, but ensure good oral health for life. It’s critical, however, to do your research and read the fine print. Don’t let your dental insurance company take you for a ride!

Managed Dental Plans

“Managed” dental care is a great idea.

However, many 
dentists strongly feel that it should be “managed” by their patients, for their benefit – instead of by a dental insurance company for its benefit.

If you are covered by a dental insurance plan, and if your employer offers you a range of different programs, the time you spend investigating benefits will be time well spent. Doing so puts your family in control of the quality of dental care you can demand and receive from your 
dental coverage.

Words can have very different meanings, depending on an individual’s point of view. Some low cost dental insurance plans restrict patients to “preferred providers” of dental care. That sounds impressive until you recognize that providers are “preferred” by the insurer, not necessarily by you. And in many cases they’re preferred, frankly, because they agree to sell their services at a discounted rate.

Review your own insurance options carefully: some 
dental plans allow participants to continue receiving optimum care from their current physicians and dentists. Some don’t. It’s your choice.

The idea of solving dental health problems “at no (or minimal) cost to you” is understandably appealing. But recognize the tradeoff. Simply put, it’s “little cost and less choice.”

What is the best and most affordable family dental insurance plan for me?

Finding a family dentist and an affordable dental plan can be a confusing experience. Although there is no one “best” affordable dental plan, there are some plans that will be better than others for you and your family dental insurance needs. We will try to guide you in simple terms. However, rather than just giving you answers, the best thing we can do is to make sure you are equipped with the right questions.

There are three major things to consider, each with their own unique set of questions. By considering the questions thoroughly, you will arrive at the right and affordable dental plan for you and your family.
  • How affordable is the plan (cost of care)?
  • How much will it cost me on a monthly basis?
  • Should I try to insure just major dental expenses or most of my dental expenses?
  • Can I afford a policy that at least covers my children?
  • Are there deductibles I must pay before the family or individual dental insurance begins to help cover my costs?
  • After I have met the deductible, what part of my costs are paid by the family dental insurance plan?
  • If I use dentists outside a plan’s network, how much more will I pay to get care?
  • How often do I visit the dentist and how much do I have to pay at each visit?
  • Does an affordable dental plan include services that match my needs (access of care)?
  • What other dental providers are part of the individual or family dental insurance plan?
  • Are there enough of the kinds of dentists I want to see?
  • Where will I go for care? Are these places near where I work or live?
  • Do I need to get permission before I see a dental specialist?
  • Are there any limits to how much I must pay in case of a major illness?
  • Is the prescription medication which I need covered by the dental insurance plan?
  • Have people had good results when covered by a specific, affordable dental insurance plan (quality of care)?
  • How do independent government organizations rate the different dental plans?
  • What do my friends say about their experience with a specific plan?
  • What does my dentist say about their experience with a specific dental plan?

If you consider these elements carefully when choosing a affordable dental insurance plan, you can be assured the best possible outcome.

Types Of Discount Dental Plans – Coverage for Individuals and Families

DENTAL PPO PROGRAM
A dental PPO – preferred provider organization – is a individual dental insurance plan that uses a network of contracted dentists to provide a better value. Like a medical PPO, the dentists on the dental PPO network have agreed to a discount dental plan set of 
dental fees that have been established to be below the usual geographic area.

The dentists have agreed to the reduced fees in order to attract additional patients that might not have come to their office otherwise. The PPO network can replace some of the advertising that a dentist or dental group might rely on to bring in new patients. So you can see how medical and individual 
dental insurance plans are alike.

DENTAL CAPITATION PROGRAM – DHMO
A dental capitation or “Cap” program is another variation of discount dental coverage. They are sometimes referred to as Dental HMOs or DHMOs.  Unlike the traditional discount dental plans described above, a dental capitation insurance plan does not use the fee-for-service system, but pays the dentist a fixed amount for each patient each month.
The capitation refers to this fixed monthly payment, which is determined from a combination of the premium received and the historic utilization of that group. While a way to transfer some of the risk of the cost for extensive services to the dentist, it can also be a source of conflict when a number of patients need multiple services from the same provider.

DENTAL REFERRAL or DISCOUNT DENTAL PLANS
A dental referral plan is not insurance. This type of dental plan uses a network of contracted dentists, like a PPO or DHMO, but the benefit is simply a discounted fee on their individual dental insurance plan. Nothing is paid on behalf of the member; they are simply entitled to a lower fee for their dental care. While this can appear to be of limited value, some referral plans are able to save their members a significant amount of money in dental fees.

Be sure when you are purchasing a discount dental plan that you are aware of the nature of the plan. A dental referral plan may help you with special fees at a limited number of dental offices, but it does not provide emergency benefits when you are away from home unless you contact the plan office and find a participating dentist where you are visiting.

GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR DENTAL INSURANCE
Dental insurance is focused on the preventive and diagnostic services for higher coverage. To get the maximum benefit from your insurance plan, you need to consider the following issues:
  • Is there an option that uses a PPO or DHMO network where you premium dollars will get more dental services? Often, using a PPO dentist can save you 10 – 20% from the usual fees.
  • Whether you are in a PPO or not, will your dentist provide a treatment plan for a large amount of work? To be sure that your dental services will be covered by your plan, it is best to have your dentist send in a pre-estimate of services. That way you will know that the services are covered and what your portion of the costs will be.
  • Can the treatment be set up in stages? If some care is more urgent than other services, perhaps your dentist can provide the services over two calendar years, thus utilizing two annual maximums. Annual maximums are usually $1500 or more, but that can be reached quickly with multiple services.
  • Are there alternatives? Often, a dental problem can be solved in several different ways, all satisfactory and appropriate, but different. For instance, missing teeth can be replaced by dental implants, or by a bridge (in most instances) or by a partial denture. All of these are acceptable dental care, but the costs can vary widely. Talk to your dentist about why he or she believes that this treatment is best for you and if you still have questions, seek a second opinion.
  • How often can you get your teeth cleaned? Some plans indicate twice per year, while others limit you to once every 6 months.  If you have the second kind and your cleaning occurs before 6 months have passed, the insurance will not pay the benefit. Be aware of your plan coverage and the specifics before you get surprised
  • Are your children too old for coverage? Dental insurance for your family usually covers children as dependents up to age 18 or 19. If your child is over 18, you should understand when coverage ends and if they are a full-time student, what you must do to prove that for the insurance company.
  • Are the services that your dentist is proposing covered? Sometimes, new forms of dental treatment or cosmetic services are not covered by your dental insurance. Be sure to check your benefits guide and/or have your dentist submit a pre-treatment estimate to confirm that the services will be covered. If the services are denied, you or your dentist may need to write a letter and send more explanation regarding the need for these services.
  • Do you have coverage from both parents? The dental insurance companies will then use coordination of benefits to determine which insurance is primary and which is secondary for your children. Once you know that, the claim should be submitted to the primary carrier first.
  • Does your dentist give a discount for cash? Some offices will allow you to pay and receive a discount for cash and then send in the insurance yourself. This method could save you up to 10% at some offices.
  • Does your dentist give a discount for referrals? If you send in your friends and neighbors, will the office give you a break on your bill? Ask what discounts might be available at your dental office to see how you might save more on your bill.

Understanding Your Dental Insurance Plan Options
The market place has provided you multiple options:
  • Discount Dental Plans
  • Dental Insurance
  • DHMO Plans
  • Capitation Plans

All of these plans have their pros and cons. Talk with the a dentist you trust to help you make the best choice to maximize your individual dental coverage need.
by Dr. Fred Sharpe

Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Take Advantage of Dental Coverage

Yearly Maximums. Dental insurance plans put a maximum on the amount of money they’re willing to pay for your dental coverage. Maximums vary from one company or policy to the next, but typically fall around $1000. Sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? Insurance companies consider this amount to be a good investment. Allowing you to get regular dental care, your carrier can prevent the need for more serious (and more expensive) dental procedures down the road! Why not do you both a favor and use it, ensuring your mouth is in tip-top shape when next year rolls around?

Premiums. Most people pay a monthly premium for their 
dental insurance plans. Even if you don’t need extensive treatment, you should use that money for regular check ups and cleanings to prevent them in the future. Don’t throw your money away!

Deductibles. Insurance companies typically expect you to pay a certain amount of money for your dental care each year – usually about $500. If your smile isn’t in good shape, your dentist can create a treatment plan to put you back on track. Deductibles begin anew each year, so spreading out this care over more than 1 year will mean you have to pay more out-of-pocket. Inflation. It seems everything becomes more expensive from one year to the next, and dental materials and equipment are no exception. Putting off necessary dental care could mean that you’ll have to pay more down the road in 
dental financing costs.

Dental  Problems Escalate. If your pearly whites are anything but, they’re only going to get worse. That is, of course, unless you take advantage of your 
dental coverage and tend to your teeth and gums. A little cavity that isn’t bothering you one year may become a major headache (or toothache!) the next.

What Is An Office Visit Co-payment, Dental Co-insurance And Plan Deductible

What is an office visit co-payment and co-insurance?
An office visit co-payment is a fixed dollar amount or a percentage that you pay for each 
Family Dental Insurancedentist visit or for each dental service provided. For example, with some plans you may pay a fixed amount such as $5 or $10 per visit. Other plans will charge you a percentage of the total fee – or dental co-insurance — for the visit. So if your co-payment is 10% and the dentist visit was $200, you would pay 10% which, in this case, would be $20.
What is a dental insurance deductible?

A deductible is the amount of annual dental expenses that a dental plan member must pay before the 
dental insurance plan will begin to cover expenses. For example, if your plan has a $50 deductible, you will pay the first $50 of your dental expenses before your dental planbegins paying the expenses. Only expenses for covered services apply towards the deductible. For example, if you paid $1,000 for orthodontic work that was not an expense covered by the plan, then the $1,000 will not apply toward your annual deductible.

What is Anxiety-Free Dentistry?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to never dread the dentist again? That’s only one of the many benefits of Poway anxiety free dentistry at Steven Schneider, D.D.S. And if it’s been a while since your last dental visit, Dr. Schneider can correct any resulting damage or decay, usually in just one or two visits.

Whether you need a cavity filled, dentures fitted, treatment for sore gums – or even cosmetic procedures to whiten your teeth or fix a chipped tooth, you’ll be amazed at how much dental work can be accomplished while you are calmly relaxed.
Don’t wait another moment if a dental phobia has kept you from getting the care you deserve! Phone our office today at 855-464-0063 or complete our simple online form to schedule an appointment.

Is Anxiety-free Dentistry Safe?

It may sound too good to be true, but at Steven Schneider, D.D.S, anxiety-free dentistry with Dr. Steven Schneider really does help you relax through your entire visit. There are no needles involved; you simply take a small pill prior to your visit.

The great news is that whatever makes you uncomfortable about the dentist’s office—sights, sounds, or smells—you won’t notice them during your visit or be affected by them after you’re finished. And there’s no need to worry that the pill will wear off before Dr. Schneider is done; it provides up to six hours of complete comfort.

Even if you’ve been putting off dental visits for years, Dr. Schneider and the professional team at Steven Schneider, D.D.S can restore your mouth to good oral health in as little as one visit. Because you’re relaxed and at ease, it’s also easier for the numbing medication to take effect if a procedure is required. Comfort, relaxation, and a healthy mouth—all courtesy of anxiety-free dentistry at Steven Schneider, D.D.S in Poway, CA.

Who Can Benefit From Anxiety-free Dentistry?

So many people in the Poway area can benefit from anxiety-free dentistry.

If you’re one of the many individuals who suffer from a phobia or a medical conditions that make a visit to the dentist nearly impossible to bear, this safe, modern alternative may be the right choice for you.
Anxiety-free dentistry is especially helpful for those with:
  • Intense fear
  • Trauma from an early dental experience
  • Difficulty getting numb
  • A sensitive gag reflex
  • Very sensitive teeth
  • Complex dental problems
  • A limited timeframe in which to complete dental care

Anxiety-free dentistry with Dr. Schneider also helps if the sights, sounds, and smells of a dental practice frighten you or if you hate needles.

Common Questions About Anxiety-free Dentistry

Who should try anxiety-free dentistry?
Everyone is different. Most people who avoid the dentist suffer from paralyzing fear. Maybe they’ve had a traumatic experience. Some put off going to the dentist because they simply don’t have the time. Others have a low pain tolerance or resistance to the numbing injections that most dentists use. Some dental patients can’t control a gag reflex, and still others are too embarrassed about the condition of their teeth.

No matter what your reason, there’s no need to feel embarrassed. Our team of professionals in Poway often sees patients who have not been to a dentist in years. It’s not unusual for us to see patients who require extensive, complex treatment. But the good news is that with anxiety-free dentistry, we can usually accomplish complete care and restoration in just one comfortable, relaxing visit.

Will I be unconscious?
There are varying degrees of anxiety-free medication available and after consultation, our team will help you will choose the one most appropriate for you. Anxiety-free dentistry is as simple as taking a pill and you’ll be conscious and responsive throughout the procedure. However, you’ll remain in a deeply relaxed state, so you won’t be nervous or fidgety. You’ll experience no discomfort or anxiety. You won’t be aware of sounds or smells around you, and you won’t remember any part of the treatment. When the procedure is complete, you’ll feel totally relaxed and you won’t remember a thing. In fact, it’ll seem like only a few minutes have passed.

Is it safe?
Throughout your visit our experienced clinical team will monitor your vital signs. You’ll receive compassionate, attentive care that will make you feel like you’re getting a spa treatment. The best part will come when you look in the mirror and see your healthy, happy smile.

How long will it take?
Depending on the condition of your teeth, your anxiety-free dentistry visit may last from two to six hours. Our highly-trained staff will focus only on you during your visit. There’ll be nothing to interrupt or interfere with your treatment, which is why we can usually treat even the most serious cases in just one visit.

Do I need someone with me?
Because you’ll need to take a pill before you leave home, someone must accompany you to and from the dentist’s office. Although you’ll feel completely refreshed when the procedure is over, you’ll still be under the effects of the anxiety-free medication.

How do I get started?
Don’t wait any longer. If it’s been a long time since you’ve seen a dentist, your teeth are probably deteriorating at an accelerated rate. You don’t want any more damage to occur than already has. Certainly there’s no need to suffer pain.

Our friendly staff is waiting to hear from you. Call Steven Schneider, D.D.S in Poway at (855) 464-0063. First, we need to gather some information regarding your health. Then we’ll discuss your specific needs and desires. Once you’ve talked with our caring professionals, you’ll wonder why you waited so long. The natural healthy smile you’ve been waiting for is just a dream away.

Family Dentistry Services

Family Dentistry Services

When should my child see Dr. Schneider for the first time?

At Steven Schneider, D.D.S in Poway, this is one of the most common questions we hear. While it’s really never too early, most children should have their initial appointment by around their first birthday.

A good rule of thumb is that when your baby’s first tooth appears, you should call to schedule an appointment. No, there’s not a lot of cleaning to be done yet, but the dental professionals at Steven Schneider, D.D.S can provide excellent advice about keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy from the very beginning. Preventative care will protect your baby’s smile now and in the future.

For more information about your child’s dental care or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Schneider, call Steven Schneider, D.D.S today at 855-464-0063.

Sealants work to prevent dental decay in Poway area kids

Regular brushing and flossing lowers your child’s chances of developing cavities. But kids aren’t known for their dedication to brushing and flossing, and that can lead to cavities. Fortunately, family dentist Dr. Steven Schneider in Poway, CA can help prevent cavities in your children’s teeth with the use of a sealant.

The grooves and depressions on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are the most prone to decay, so it’s those surfaces that require further preventive care. At Steven Schneider, D.D.S, Dr. Schneider can apply a plastic-like coating called a “sealant” to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant is essentially painted onto the teeth, which means it’s quick, easy, and painless for your kids.

Studies have shown that sealants can reduce tooth decay by as much as 100 percent, so it’s no wonder that that the American Dental Association recommends sealants as soon as the first adult back teeth come in at age 6 or 7. Dr. Schneider will continue to apply a sealant as each back tooth comes in, up until about age 13, when most kids have gotten all of their adult molars.
For more information about the benefits of using a sealant to prevent tooth decay — or to make an appointment at Steven Schneider, D.D.S in Poway – call 855-464-0063 today.

Plaque, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss

Plaque strikes people in the Poway area at all stages of life: from the youngest child through the elderly population. And as a family dentist, Dr. Steven Schneider of Steven Schneider, D.D.S can help patients of all ages by removing the build-up of plaque that accumulates between dental visits.

You can help reduce the accumulation of plaque if you brush and floss regularly. When this soft, sticky layer of bacteria is allowed to build up, it can have serious consequences for your teeth. Dr. Schneider is dedicated to educating the Poway area about the danger of plaque build-up leading to gum disease.

Avoiding the dentist can allow dental problems such as this to compound, leading to tooth loss. A missing tooth is not only unattractive, but it can cause structural problems in your mouth.
Some patients assume that as long as they’re still able to eat without their missing tooth, that there’s no problem. Dr. Schneider helps patients understand that just one missing tooth can lead to other oral difficulties. The remaining teeth may begin to drift into the empty space, causing a change in way you bite or chew. It also forces the remaining teeth to carry an additional load, and you may begin to experience pain when you’re eating—or even when you aren’t.

Our goal at Steven Schneider, D.D.S is to help you enjoy the best oral health possible, whether that’s simply removing plaque during a regular dental appointment or more advanced solutions such as replacing one or more missing teeth. Count on Dr. Schneider to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

For more information or to make an appointment, call Steven Schneider, D.D.S in Poway today at 855-464-0063.

Avoid a Dental Crisis With Regular Visits to Steven Schneider, D.D.S

Fear keeps many people in the Poway area away from regular dental visits, but it’s not always the fear of pain—it’s also the fear of “wasting” time and money when they don’t believe there’s a problem. These patients believe in “crisis treatment” rather than “preventive treatment.” But which of those sounds less painful and expensive?

At Steven Schneider, D.D.S in San Diego, CA, our patients know that regular visits save them unnecessary pain, expense, and time. Filling a simple cavity is a quick, easy process—unlike the complex procedures required when cavities and tooth neglect turn into dental disease. Just because nothing hurts doesn’t mean that everything is okay with your teeth. Only regular exams with Dr. Steven Schneider can detect problems when they’re still small—or prevent them from occurring at all.

Most dental problems don’t have any symptoms until a problem reaches advanced stages, when they require a big commitment of time and money. A great example is tooth decay, which doesn’t cause pain until it’s advanced enough to get close to the nerve. At that point, a root canal and crown are usually necessary, instead of a small filling. But family dentist Dr. Schneider has the experience to detect a cavity three to four years before it develops symptoms. Now that’s preventive care!

To make an appointment for preventive care at Steven Schneider, D.D.S, call 855-464-0063 today.

How Your Diet Effects Dental Health

Most people in the Poway area know that a proper diet throughout your lifetime is important in maintaining good health. But you may not know how much your diet affects your dental health as well. For example, a diet low in certain nutrients can reduce your resistance to oral infections, possibly contributing to periodontal disease (gum disease) and decay.

Dr. Schneider and his professional staff can help you understand the role your diet plays in maintaining good oral health and how your immune system can control periodontal disease. And the earlier you implement these tips, the healthier your teeth will be over your lifetime. Information from Dr. Schneider can help protect babies and young children from early decay, saving them trauma and you money.

A balanced diet and effective brushing and flossing can reduce or prevent the risk of many dental diseases. For more information about how your diet and oral hygiene affect your dental health, or to make an appointment with Dr. Schneider, call Steven Schneider, D.D.S today at 855-464-0063.

CEREC Dental Restorations

About 3D Cone Beam

GALILEOS Comfort/Compact.

With its large, spherical volume of 15 cm in diameter, GALILEOS Comfort does not only capture the entire jaw, including the jaw joints, but also all important anatomical structures of the craniofacial region.
The volume size of GALILEOS Compact is 15 cm diameter and 12 cm height, thus capturing the whole toothed jaw area, including the ascending rami and sinus region. With the lowest dose of all DVT units, GALILEOS creates a detailed representation based on the newly developed metal artifact reconstruction software MARS.
  • Best image quality
  • Lowest dose

Mini Implants

Talk, laugh, sing and eat with confidence again.
The 3M Denture Attachment System is a revolutionary denture technology that works with your current dentures. They snap out, snap in and stay put with absolutely no messy pastes or adhesives. 
  • Bite into an apple and eat steak again.
  • Uses our current dentures in most cases. 
  • No major surgery or long recovery. 
  • A fraction of the cost of more invasive options.

Close Up of the 3M Denture Attachment System
1. Miniature posts are placed along your gum line.
2. Metal receptacles are embedded in the base of your current dentures
3. O-rings in the receptacles lock onto posts, securing dentures in place
4. Your dentures snap out, they snap in, they stay put

How exactly does this system work?
A certified dentist performs a procedure in which miniature posts are placed in your gums. These posts snap into small O –ring receptacles retro-fitted into your existing denture. This mini dental implant (MDI) system secures your dentures firmly in place while also allowing them to be snapped out and in again.

What is the procedure like?
The procedure is usually completed in a single appointment lasting just over an hour. You may have some discomfort for up to 48 hours, which is typically treated with ibuprofen or over the counter medications. Unlike more invasive options, this won’t require months of painful recovery.

Will this system work for me?
This is a revolutionary system ideal for many denture patients. Some patients may not have the proper bone structure for these or any other dental implant. Only a certified dentist can confirm whether or not you are a candidate, but this system is a great option for patients:
  • With full upper, full lower or partial dentures
  • Intimidated by the cost and long recovery time of full-size implants
  • Without enough bone to allow for full-size implants

Is this a new system?
No. The 3M Denture Attachment System, also known as the 3M Mini Dental Implant (MDI) System, was developed over ten years ago and thousands of people all over the county have experienced its lasting rewards.

What about care and maintenance?
Continue getting regular checkups with your dentist following the procedure. Over time your dentist may need to replace the O-rings in your dentures to help them work as well as they should. As with all dental implants, there is a risk the implant will not osseintegrate and there is the potential for fracture of the implant.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a permanent solution to replacing natural teeth. The dental implant process requires several steps and a surgical procedure to place the titanium implant in your jawbone. Once healing occurs and the implant bonds with the jawbone, the prosthetic tooth is affixed.

Invisalign/Clear Correct

Invisalign is a straightening system for teeth that uses custom made aligners as a substitute for conventional, metal braces. The aligners are made from clear plastic and replaced every two weeks during treatment. Invisalign can help to correct many dental problems, including severe crowding, bite issues and tooth spacing.