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The secret to a bright, healthy smile is actually no secret at all: brush, floss and get a professional dental exam at least once every six months. Professional dental exams are all about prevention – preventing existing problems from getting worse and preventing dental problems from developing in the future. Regular dental exams make it possible to identify and treat a problem in its earliest stage – which is not only good for your oral health but also good for your budget!
There's nothing to fear with a dental exam. Your teeth will be visually examined for signs of plaque, tartar and tooth decay. Your gums will also be examined for puffiness or discoloration, which are signs of gum disease. A full set of dental X-rays may also be taken during your dental exam, to enable your dentist to see below the surfaces of your teeth. Dental exams typically end with a dental cleaning, to remove surface stains and buildup.
Digital Dental X-Rays
Dental X-rays have come a long way. Todays dental X-rays are safer, faster, more comfortable and more informative than the X-rays of years past. Digital X-rays, one of the latest and most advanced dental technologies, produce high-quality images of your teeth that can be viewed instantly by you and your dentist on a LCD monitor. Digital X-rays reduce radiation by up to 90% and provide exceptional diagnostic information to ensure that potential problems are caught in their earliest stages. Intraoral photography is another alternative to traditional dental X-rays. With intraoral photography, problems such as cavities, fractures and discolorations in the teeth are captured through clear and sharp photographic images that are taken with a 35mm or digital camera.
Intraoral photography is another alternative to traditional dental X-rays. With intraoral photography, problems such as cavities, fractures and discolorations in the teeth, as well as gum disease, are captured through clear and sharp images. The camera also allows you to see what the dentist sees on a monitor right in front of you, making it easier for you to understand and appreciate any potential problems or risks to your oral health.
No matter how often you brush and floss, plaque and tartar deposits can still build up on your teeth. A professional teeth cleaning is the single most effective way to remove these deposits and prevent them from causing more serious problems in the future. While a traditional teeth cleaning involves manually scraping away these deposits with special dental tools, advances in dental technologies now give you more options for teeth cleanings.
A laser teeth cleaning, also known as an ultrasonic cleaning, is a popular alternative to traditional teeth cleanings. With a laser teeth cleaning, an ultrasonic scaler (rather than a manual probe) is used to remove deposits, kill harmful microbes and eliminate bacteria around the teeth and gums through high-frequency sound waves. Many patients find laser teeth cleanings more comfortable than traditional teeth cleanings because they are quicker, quieter and pain-free.
A deep cleaning may be recommended if excessive plaque and tartar deposits have developed below the gum line. Deep cleanings, also known as scaling and root planing, involve a two-part process: first, the stubborn deposits are removed, and then the root surfaces are smoothened. A deep cleaning helps prevent periodontal disease and restores gum tissues to a healthy state.
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer affects nearly 35,000 Americans every year. The keys to surviving oral cancer are early detection and early treatment. This starts with a regular oral cancer screening – at least once every six months. An oral cancer screening takes just minutes, is pain-free and can be performed during regular dental exams. If you are male, a regular oral cancer screening is especially critical: Oral cancer is more than twice as common in men as it is in women. Other people at high risk of oral cancer include people over the age of 60, tobacco smokers and heavy drinkers.
Caries Screening / CAMBRA
CAMBRA, or Caries Management By Risk Assessment, is a simple test that will help identify the patients risk for caries or cavities. A thorough examination of your dental history, eating habits, medications, brushing and flossing habits along with the caries screening will help determine your risk for cavities.
If your silver fillings make you feel self conscious when you smile, or it's simply time to replace them, consider white fillings. White fillings are just as durable as they are attractive! Made of composite resin, white fillings match the natural color of your teeth and are an excellent option for small to mid-sized cavities. White fillings are strong, stain-resistant and require less removal of your tooth structure than amalgam fillings.
Technology today is changing our everyday lives. Many people, however, aren’t aware that technology also is impacting dentistry in new and exciting ways. Cutting-edge innovations in dental instruments are requiring less time in the dental chair, causing less discomfort and creating satisfying results. One breakthrough instrument, called CEREC®, allows dentists to quickly restore damaged teeth with natural-colored ceramic fillings, saving patients time and inconvenience.
What is CEREC?
CEREC is an acronym for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, or CERamic REConstruction. Translated, it means that a dentist can economically restore damaged teeth in a single appointment using a high-quality ceramic material that matches the natural color of other teeth.
How does the instrument work?
CEREC uses CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) technology, incorporating a camera, computer and milling machine in one instrument. The dentist uses a special camera to take an accurate picture of the damaged tooth. This optical impression is transferred and displayed on a color computer screen, where the dentist uses CAD technology to design the restoration. Then CAM takes over and automatically creates the restoration while the patient waits. Finally, the dentist bonds the new restoration to the surface of the old tooth. The whole process takes about one hour.
What does this innovation mean for a patient?
A tooth-colored restoration means no more silver fillings discoloring smiles. The filling is natural-looking, compatible with tissue in the mouth, anti-abrasive and plaque-resistant. Dentists no longer need to create temporaries or take impressions and send them to a lab. Because of this, the traditional second visit has been eliminated. CEREC has two decades of clinical research and documentation to support the technology. The restorations have been proven precise, safe and effective.
While implants replace teeth, they are artificial and behave differently from natural teeth. A quick recap will be helpful in explaining why. A dental implant is a tooth-root replacement, to which an implant crown is attached. The crown is the only part you see in the mouth.
Dental bridges have been used for centuries to replace missing teeth. Today, dental bridges are still considered one of the most durable, conservative and cost-effective options for bridging the gap between a missing tooth and surrounding teeth. Comprised of two anchoring teeth and a replacement tooth, dental bridges help prevent surrounding teeth from drifting out of position, improve chewing and speaking, and help keep your natural face shape in tact.
There are three types of dental bridges: 1) traditional dental bridges, 2) cantilever dental bridges, and 3) Maryland bridges. Traditional bridges have either dental crowns or dental implants on either side of the missing tooth, plus a replacement tooth, which is held in place by a post-like structure called a dental abutment. Cantilever dental bridges are used in cases where there are surrounding teeth only on one side of the missing tooth. Maryland bridges are made of a specialized resin that is cemented to a metal framework and cemented to the enamel of surrounding teeth.
Dental bridges typically take 2-3 weeks to complete and are less invasive than other options, such as dental implants. With good oral hygiene and regular dental visits, dental bridges can last up to 30 years.
Limited TMJ Treatment / Night Guards
If you've been living with persistent jaw pain, ear pain and headaches, you could have TMJ – temporomandibular jaw disorder. TMJ can often be traced back to an improper bite, misaligned jaw joints, or an injury to the jaw or face. TMJ treatment from a dentist can relieve the discomfort. Although TMJ treatment varies from patient to patient, it typically involves one or several procedures, including the use of an orthotic splint, enamel reshaping, dental crowns, dental braces or night guards. The goal of TMJ treatment is to stabilize your bite so that your teeth, jaw muscles and jaw joints work properly together without strain – and without pain!
About 80 million people in North America snore. This means that millions of spouses and family members nationwide are highly annoyed. And even though it's common -- and harmless -- to snore occasionally, chronic snoring is a different matter.
A chronic snorer is someone who snores whenever they sleep and who is usually tired after what seemed like a good night's rest. Chronic snoring, which affects about 25% of the adult population, puts snorers at risk for developing serious health problems.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft palate and uvula, which occurs during sleep when the airway is obstructed.
Things that can cause your airway to become obstructed include:
Allergies -- Sinus infections triggered by allergies can cause some people to snore during season changes.
Deviated Septum -- Deformities of the nose, as well as nose polyps can cause snoring.
Alcohol -- Drinking alcohol before bedtime can make the throat muscles especially relaxed, causing obstruction.
Bulky Throat Tissue -- Being overweight can cause enlarged throat tissue, which narrows the airway.
Large Tonsils -- Children with especially large tonsils often snore.
Chronic snoring has also been linked to sleep apnea, a serious condition that causes long interruptions of sleep and high blood pressure. Sleep apnea may also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Schedule an appointment with our office for chronic snoring treatment. We may also suggest simple snoring treatments such as losing weight, sleeping on your side and avoiding taking sleeping pills or antihistamines before going to bed.