Quick and Simple Ways to Ensure Your Child Has Fantastic Teeth!

family dentistAccording to a survey by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, a whopping 99% of adults believe a healthy smile is socially important. A healthy smile starts at a young age, but many parents forgo this important habit when it comes to their children as they believe it is too stressful to deal with.

However, creating healthy dental habits couldn’t be easier with these top tips in mind!

  • Start as early as possible
    It is never too early to take your children to a family dentist! As a rule of thumb, you should take them no later than their first birthday, or by the time their first tooth comes in, whichever comes first. Creating a habit of taking care of their mouth and oral hygiene will stick with your children for the rest of their lives, so don’t hesitate and start now!
  • Use yourself as an example
    Make brushing your teeth a family activity and encourage your little ones to brush their teeth with you! If they notice that you are working to be an example, they will try and mimic you — make sure to always talk about how good your teeth feel when they are clean, how excited you are to go to the dentist, and how brushing your teeth is your favorite part of your bedtime routine. Simple statements like this go a long way!
  • Get messy!
    Kids love bubbles, and not only do they like the sensation of bubbles in their mouth, they like to see them as well. Don’t be afraid to get messy when your child starts out brushing as they will learn visually this way.
  • Give rewards
    Children are almost always motivated by rewards, and this is true even with brushing their teeth. Set up a rewards chart that they can fill in every morning and night when they finish brushing their teeth, and their reward can be something fun and dental themed such as a new electric toothbrush, flavored toothpaste, or colored floss.

In addition to these tips, it is important that you regularly schedule appointments with your family dentist. Make sure to call our dentists today to get started with ensuring your child’s healthy smile from day one!

What Dental Patients Should Know About Cone Beam Technology

Dental implants
Detailed scans help ensure that your implant is placed accurately.

If you’re scheduled to receive dental implants and your dentist is using image-guided surgery to install them, or if you’re thinking about getting dental implants, then you should be aware of what cone beam technology is and how it affects your dental implant surgery. Take a look at some of the things you should know about this technology and how it might be used in your dental treatment.


What Is It?

You’ve probably heard of a CT (computed tomography) scan. It’s a type of x-ray that provides cross-sectional images. A certain type of CT scanner uses what’s known as cone beam technology in order to produce more detailed images in three dimensions.

A scanner that uses cone beam technology can give the dentist images of not just your teeth, but also the soft tissue, bones, and nerves, and it can do all this with only a single scan. If you’re having image-guided dental implant surgery, getting accurate images of your mouth’s layout is a must, because your dentist uses those images as a kind of map, and programs them into a computer’s GPS system. This GPS system guides the machines during your implant surgery to ensure that your implants are placed with the ultimate precision. It’s the cone beam technology that allows your dentist to get the high-quality images needed for the procedure.


What Can I Expect?

Dental implantsFor patients, getting a cone beam CT scan will probably be one of the easiest parts of your procedure. In many ways, it’s no different from any other x-ray. You don’t have to do any special preparation for the scan. Just make sure to remove your metal jewelry, eyeglasses, and other objects that might interfere with the scan.

You’ll either sit in an upright chair or lie down on a table for the scan. The scanner will have a rotating component that will complete a 360-degree rotation around your head while you’re in the chair or on the table. Your job is to remain still until the rotation is completed – the rotation takes less than a minute, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. Just one rotation can produce between 150 and 200 images for your dentist to use when building a map of your mouth.


Are There Any Risks?

All x-rays involve exposure to radiation, and there’s always some risk in that. However, most medical professionals agree that the benefits outweigh the risk of a scan. A cone beam CT scanner exposes you to more radiation than a regular dental x-ray, but less than a conventional CT scanner. As long as it’s not used in excess, it’s considered very safe.

Female patients should make sure to let the dentist know if there is a possibility that they may be pregnant, just like you would for a regular x-ray. That way, precautions can be taken to ensure that the fetus is protected.

Dental implant technology and techniques are advancing all the time. To find out more, request information.

Dental Patient Benefits of Image-guided Implant Surgery

You know that image-guided dental implant surgery is a surgical method for dental implants that involves taking detailed, 3D images of your teeth and mouth and using those images as a roadmap for a computer GPS system that installs the dental implants. This isn’t the only surgical method for installing dental implants, so it’s natural for patients to wonder whether or not it’s the best method. Take a look at some of the benefits of image-guided surgery that can help you understand why it may be the right method for you.


Image-Guided Dental Implant Surgery Provides Greater Accuracy

Dental implants
Detailed images help ensure that your implants are placed correctly.

The mouth is full of important structures that your dentist has to be mindful of them when installing a dental implant. You wouldn’t want your dentist to hit a nerve, and you wouldn’t want the titanium post of your dental implant to come in contact with the root of the adjacent tooth. Nor do you want your implanted tooth to be crooked or off-center.

Image-guided surgery allows your dentist to operate with a high degree of accuracy because the 3D images provide a detailed view of each part of your mouth. Furthermore, mapping the surgical process ahead of time, with the images as a guide, reduces the risk of mistakes at the time of surgery. Image-guided surgery provides more accuracy than other forms of implant surgery.


Image-Guided Dental Implant Surgery is Less Invasive

The higher degree of accuracy provided by image-guided surgery is what allows it to be a less invasive procedure than other types of dental implant surgery. Thanks to the detailed images of your mouth and the careful planning of your surgery before the actual operation, your dentist can install your implant with only a small incision, or even with no incisions at all.

When using a freehand technique, dentists have to plan their incisions and other surgical movements as they’re performing the surgery, which could lead to larger or more incisions, especially if the dentist is placing multiple implants. In the image-guided surgery process, all of that planning is done before the surgery with accurate models of your mouth, which allows your dentist the time and resources to determine the least invasive way to install your dental implants. The less invasive the surgery is, the less risk you have of complications.


It’s Easier to Recover from Image-Guided Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implants
Detailed models and planning allow your dentist to install the implant with fewer incisions.

The greater degree of accuracy and the lesser degree of invasiveness combine to make image-guided dental implant surgery easier to recover from than other dental implant surgeries.

Because your dentist can ensure accurate placement and smaller incisions, you’ll have less bruising and swelling and less pain than you would if your dentist used a freehand technique. Fewer and smaller incisions also mean less chance of infection after the surgery. Because post-surgical infections can lead to implant failure, reducing your risk of infections increases the likelihood that your implants will be successful.

Your recovery will not only be easier, it will be faster. You’ll be ready to flash your new and improved smile sooner rather than later.

Image-guided dental implant surgery is a very beneficial surgical technique for the patient. If you’re interested in dental implants, contact us to request information.

Image-guided Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implants are a rather recent development form of tooth replacement, but they’re not exactly new – they’ve been around for decades. However, there have been many advances in the dental implants themselves and in the surgical process. In fact, as the surgical process continues to improve, dental implants have become safer and more stable. Take a look at some of the details of the dental implant surgical technique, known as image-guided surgery.


How the Image-guided Dental Implant Process Starts

Dental implants
3-D images produce the most accurate view of your jaw.

Not surprisingly, image-guided surgery begins with digital imaging. You’re probably accustomed to having X-rays taken at the dentist’s office, but this is different. Instead of traditional X-rays, your dentist will use 3-D imaging technology to get a precise scan of your jaw.

While 2-D imaging can be very useful, it has its limitations and may not be able to guide your dentist to the exact location in your mouth that needs work. 3-D imaging is much more detailed and enables your dentist to proceed with much greater accuracy.


Planning Your Dental Implant Treatment

With the 3-D images, your dentist will be able to determine the exact details of your surgery. The next step is to create a plan for your treatment. With the help of virtual surgical software, your dentist will determine exactly how your surgery is going to proceed. With your images uploaded to a computer, your dentist can use the software to create a visual representation of what will happen during your surgery.

This serves a couple of purposes. It allows you to get a look at what your surgery will look like, which can help you make more informed decisions about your own treatment. It also lets your dentist plan the treatment in greater detail, making adjustments and eliminating the chances of surprises on the day of your actual surgery. This ensures that your surgery will go smoothly and allows your dentist to plan the least invasive route possible.


A Surgical GPS System

Dental implants
Computer-tracked surgical tools will guide your implant into the exact space where it belongs.

Finally, there’s the surgery itself. Image-guided dental implant surgery utilizes tracking devices and cameras to safely and efficiently guide the surgical procedure. It works like a GPS system for surgical tools. The 3-D images of your jaw are the map that this particular GPS system uses. Each movement of the dental tools and implant materials is tracked and guided by a computer system. This is the same technology used in other highly delicate procedures, like removing brain tumors.

This method ensures that your implants will be placed in the precise spot where your dentist wants them, ensuring implant success. This computer-guided process is highly accurate and helps guard against improper placement that might lead to complications or long recovery times.

Getting dental implants is a big decision, but knowing that you’re receiving the most up-to-date treatment with the latest technology can help make the decision easier. If you’re interested in dental implants, contact us to request information.

My Dentures Are Driving Me Crazy! What Can I Do?

Dentists prefer that you keep your real teeth if possible, but sometimes it’s simply not possible. When several or all of your teeth must be removed, a full or partial denture is a common solution. Unfortunately, many patients often discover that wearing dentures isn’t as easy as they thought it would be. Dentures can sometimes be uncomfortable to wear, and if they slip or come loose in your mouth while you’re speaking or eating, they can also be embarrassing. Take a look at some strategies that you can use if your dentures are driving you crazy.


Do your dentures seem to be crowding your mouth? They may need to be adjusted by your dentist.

Get An Adjustment

If your dentures seem not to fit well, whether they’re too loose and slip and slide in your mouth or they’re too tight and create sore spots in your mouth, you may need to have them adjusted.

It’s common to need adjustments shortly after having dentures made, especially same-day dentures. Your gums will be swollen and puffy after the extractions, and as that subsides, your dentures may not fit quite correctly. Your dentist can eliminate rough spots that cause sores and make adjustments to help your dentures fit more correctly.


Experiment With Adhesives

Dental adhesives should not be used as a substitute for poor-fitting dentures, but sometimes even dentures that fit well can come loose. Lower dentures, in particular, don’t always stay as still as you might like. Denture adhesives can help anchor them into place. They can also provide some cushioning to make the denture more comfortable.

There are many types of denture adhesives on the market, and they aren’t all the same. Different ones work better for different people. You may need to experiment with several kinds of denture adhesives to find one that works well for you.


Consider Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are more stable and give you plenty of reasons to smile.

What if you could have a denture that was more stable and secure than ordinary dentures? One that would be unlikely to slide around while you’re speaking or fall out when you’re eating? If you’re uncomfortable with your current dentures, you may want to consider upgrading to an implant-supported denture instead.

Implant-supported dentures are held in place by metal dental implants installed in your jaw. The implants have special attachments that your denture is designed to snap onto. Implant-supported dentures can be removable or fixed in place.

It’s more common for the lower jaw to have an implant-supported denture because suction usually does a good job of holding upper dentures in place without implants. But if you dislike the way the upper denture covers your palate, then you may want an implant-supported upper denture because it can be made to cover less of your palate, since it won’t need suction to stay in place.

An implant-supported denture can be more functional and more comfortable than ordinary dentures. You’ll find it easier to speak and eat normally, and the implants can even help stimulate jaw bone growth in your jaw.

If your dentures are driving you crazy, it’s important to share your concerns with your dentist. There are options that can help. To discuss your denture options with a dentist, contact us.

5 Reasons Why Dental Implants Are Better than Bridges and Dentures

dentistNo matter where you go in the world, Americans stand out. Not because of our clothes, or our accents, or our inability to speak other languages. No, what makes Americans stand out from any other people is our beautiful smile. Americans simply have great teeth.

There can be no doubt that we place a high premium on the smile in the United States. After all, 96% of adults believe an attractive smile is a huge component in attracting the potential romantic partners. Even professionally, the smile is considered an asset, with 74% percent of adults feeling than an unattractive smile can damage career success.

However, for Americans who are missing teeth, our preoccupation with the perfect smile can feel disheartening. Fortunately, there have been a number of products developed in recent years to help disguise and remedy missing teeth.

Currently, the most popular options are dentures, bridges, and implants. While all three have their benefits, most people are in agreement that dental implants have become the cosmetic dentist’s number one tool to combat missing teeth.

Why Choose Dental Implants vs. Bridges and Dentures?

  • They Don’t Lose Their Mold: Dentures are notorious for losing their mold and requiring additional trips to the dentists. But with implants, they are affixed right into the bone, and therefore won’t need to be refitted.
  • They Clean Like Normal Teeth: If you have ever used dentures, you will be familiar with the amount of time and effort that goes into cleaning them: they need to be removed, soaked, and then brushed. But implants don’t require special cleaning; simply clean them like your original tooth.
  • Protects You From Bone Erosion: The jaw is a peculiar thing. It is constantly being strengthened, but in order to determine where to send the valuable nutrients, your body will choose the points that experience the most pressure. Neither bridges nor dentures are able to recreate this pressure like dental implants do, which means neither one is as equipped to stand up against bone loss.
  • Won’t Affect Other Teeth: When you are fitted for bridges, they have to file down the nearby teeth in order to fit the veneers that will support the false tooth. That means you need to do even more damage to your smile to fix a missing tooth with bridges.
  • Long Term Value: The main reason why dental implants haven’t already blown away the competition is the historically higher prices of implants. Today, those prices have fallen dramatically. While you still need to spend more at first, you will have far fewer upkeep costs, making implants a wise investment. In a year or two, they often pay for themselves.

Dental implants have come a long way from when they first came onto the market. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for dentures and bridges. Today, implants are the number one tool to help cosmetic dentists restore the smile of their patients and help them enjoy all the benefits of a beautiful smile.

Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Always Necessary?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that usually emerge during your late teens or early twenties. Whether your wisdom teeth have recently emerged or they came in some time ago, your dentist may suggest to you that they may need to be removed.

It’s common practice for wisdom teeth to be removed, but must it always be done? Take a look at what you need to know about wisdom tooth extraction.


Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?Wisdom tooth

Wisdom tooth extraction isn’t done for no reason. There are many good reasons why wisdom teeth are often removed. Frequently, they grow in crooked or don’t fully grow in at all. When your wisdom teeth partially erupt, this is called an impaction.

Wisdom teeth that are misaligned or impacted are at great risk for decay and infection. You can’t reach them properly to brush and floss them, and your dentist may not even be able to clean them completely during a dental checkup. If these teeth begin to decay, they put the other teeth around them at risk for cavities as well.

Even when wisdom teeth erupt fully and grow incorrectly, they may be too far back for you to clean effectively. Your dentist might suggest that you remove healthy wisdom teeth before they have time to become a problem. Your gums and jawbone will also heal faster when you’re young, which is enough reason for some dentists to suggest an early removal of wisdom teeth.


Are All Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom tooth

For a long time, wisdom teeth were routinely removed as a preventative measure. However, that may be changing. Some dentists now say that healthy wisdom teeth can remain in place, allowing patients to avoid the potential risks of surgery, regardless of how slight they may be.

One reason that there isn’t universal agreement about whether or not healthy wisdom teeth should be removed has to do with a lack of research. For now, the evidence is unclear as to whether it’s better to take the teeth out or leave them be. There are risks either way. While oral surgery to remove healthy teeth carries risks, so does waiting until the teeth become a problem, which may lead to even more complicated surgeries and treatments.


What About Your Wisdom Teeth?

Every individual case is different, so it’s important to talk to your dentist about the specifics of your teeth. If your teeth are impacted or misaligned, or if they’re showing signs of decay or infection, you’ll probably need to have them removed.

If your wisdom teeth are healthy, then it’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons. If you decide to keep them, your dentist may recommend a schedule of x-rays and checkups to keep an eye on their progress. That way, if they begin to show signs of trouble, you can have them removed before they can affect other teeth or parts of your mouth.

If you’re concerned about your wisdom teeth, make an appointment as soon as you can. To find out more, contact us.

The Potential Danger of Tooth Decay

The importance of preventing tooth decay is commonly discussed in terms of maintaining an attractive smile or avoiding a minor dental procedure, like a filling. But tooth decay can result in far more than cosmetic issues or mild annoyances. The consequences of tooth decay, especially when left untreated, can be serious and even deadly. Take a look at what you need to know about the more severe consequences of tooth decay.


Oral hygiene
A cavity is just the start of a chain of dental problems that can have severe consequences.

From Cavity to Abscess 

One of the functions of your tooth enamel is to prevent bacteria from getting to the pulp of your tooth or to places beyond the tooth, like the gum or the bone underneath. However, a cavity – a hole in the enamel – provides a point of entry for all kinds of bacteria to enter the tooth. This can result in an infection that can quickly turn into a dental abscess.

A dental abscess is an accumulation of pus that forms as the result of a bacterial infection – and yes, that is as unpleasant as it sounds. There are three different kinds of dental abscesses: gingival, periodontal, and periapical. A gingival abscess forms on the gum line, a periodontal abscess forms in the bone tissue structures of the teeth, and a periapical abscess forms in the soft pulp of the tooth.


How an Abscess Becomes Deadly

Most people will know that they have an abscess because they’ll feel swelling in their mouth and face and severe pain in the infected area. Symptoms of an abscess also include a fever and a bad taste in the mouth. However, occasionally an abscess will not cause pain and symptoms might be mistaken for something else.

Either way, if the patient fails to get treatment, the infection can spread. It can lead to other conditions, like cysts or maxillary sinusitis. Although an abscess might seem to go away on its own, they will usually recur without treatment. Eventually, the infection can spread to the blood or bone marrow, causing sepsis. It can also spread to the brain. Without treatment, or with treatment that’s delayed for too long, these conditions can be fatal.


It Can Happen to Anyone

Oral hygiene
An abscess can be extremely painful and can spread bacterial infections to other parts of the body.

Dying from tooth decay that leads to an infection doesn’t sound like something that should happen in a modern, first-world country, but it does happen. Tooth decay doesn’t discriminate, and anyone can be affected.

It can happen to previously healthy children, like 12-year old Deamonte Driver, who died from a tooth infection that spread to his brain in 2007. Obstacles with Medicaid, as well as a lack of money and insurance, prevented him from receiving a tooth extraction that could have prevented the infection from spreading and saved his life.

It can happen to previously healthy adults, too, like 24-year old Kyle Williams, whose brain swelled as a result of a tooth infection in 2011, or 31-year old John Schneider, whose tooth infection turned into a blood infection, leading to organ failure, in 2014.

It can even happen to people who do seek treatment, like 26-year old Vadim Kondratyuk Anatoliyevich, who received a tooth cleaning and antibiotics from a dentist, but who still succumbed to a tooth infection that had already spread to his lungs.

Abscesses should be treated with antibiotics and, if necessary, root canal therapy. If they recur, a tooth extraction might be needed.

The best way to prevent an abscess that can morph into a potentially fatal infection is to prevent tooth decay in the first place. Brushing, flossing, eating a tooth-friendly diet, and visiting your dentist for regular checkups can all go a long way toward protecting you from the dangers of tooth decay. To request information, contact us. We are here to help.

3 Reasons You Should Consider Dental Implants

If you’re a dental patient in need of tooth replacement, you have several options to consider, including a crown or bridge, partial dentures, or implants. Each of these options has its own benefits, but dental implants stand out as the top tooth replacement option when it comes to how they benefit the patient. Take a look at some of the top benefits that can help you understand why dental implants may be right for you.


Prevent Bone Loss
Dental implantsOne major thing that dental implants can give you is the prevention of bone loss in your jaw. No other tooth replacement option has this benefit. Your jaw bone needs stimulation in order to maintain its mass and keep its existing form and structure. Your tooth roots provide this stimulation whenever your teeth connect with each other, which happens many times a day. However, when you lose a tooth, your jaw bone loses the stimulation in this area. Over time, this leads to bone loss which can change the shape of your face. You’ll lose 25% of the width of the bone in the first year after tooth loss.

Tooth replacement options like bridges or dentures place the replacement tooth on top of the gum. This gives you a gap-free smile and the ability to chew but does nothing to replace the missing tooth root or stimulation to your jaw bone. However, implants replace the tooth root with a titanium post that connects to your jawbone. When your teeth make contact with the implants, the titanium post stimulates the jaw in the same way that tooth roots do, preventing bone loss.


Regain Bite Power

One of the major reasons to get any kind of tooth replacement is to ensure that you can continue to eat normally. After all, you can’t chew food properly with your gums. However, what many people don’t realize is that complete or partial dentures are also associated with decreased bite force – the amount of pressure that you’re able to apply when you bite down. You can chew with dentures, but not as well as you can with natural teeth. It will take you longer to chew food properly so that you can swallow it, and some tougher foods may be impossible to chew or be too much work to seem worth it.

Implants, on the other hand, function just like natural teeth. Once you’ve healed from the implant surgery, you should have just about as much bite force as you did prior to your tooth loss. What’s more, your implants won’t slip or move around in your mouth the way that dentures sometimes do. That means that you don’t have to give up on favorite foods or deal with the digestive problems that can come with not chewing thoroughly enough.


Save Money

Dental implants

When it comes to dental implants, money is often the reason that patients hesitate. But while dental implants may cost more money up front, they are often a more economical choice in the long-term. Unlike other tooth replacement options, a well-cared-for dental implant is unlikely to need repairs or replacement – it can last for the rest of your life.

Dental implants can also prevent other dental problems that might be caused or exacerbated by other tooth replacement options. Dentures can irritate the gums and cause sores, especially if they’re worn or no longer fit will. Bridges can rub against the teeth on either side, causing more wear and tear on those teeth. And bone loss experienced by patients using other tooth replacement options can lead to a need for more dental treatments as the bone changes shape and causes misalignment in your teeth. Dental implants can prevent you from having to pay for treatments for these problems.

Talk to your dentist about whether dental implants are a good option for you. To find out more, contact us to request information.

5 Ways Cosmetic Dentistry Helps Self-Esteem

Cosmetic dentistry is about more than just tooth whitening treatments and porcelain veneers. While cosmetic dentistry treatments are very helpful in fixing minor imperfections in a patient’s smile, the same treatments can also be used to repair serious dental damage, such as that caused by an accident or other trauma to the mouth. Cosmetic dentistry plays an important role in helping patients feel better about their smile, which can improve their lives in many ways. Take a look at some of the ways that cosmetic dentistry can boost your self-esteem and improve your life.


Self-Image Benefits

 You should feel happy about what you see when you look in the mirror. But if you can’t smile at yourself you may have difficulty feeling happy.

The act of smiling can actually affect your mood – you feel happier when you do it. When you smile, it triggers the reward center of your brain and releases dopamine into your system. Cosmetic dentistry can help ensure that you want to give yourself your first smile of the day when you look in the mirror, which can help you feel better all day long.


Social Benefits

Everyone is happier when they have an active social life, but it can be hard to make new friends and meet new romantic partners. It’s especially difficult if you feel self-conscious about your smile. According to one survey, 48% of adults ranked the smile as the most memorable feature they noticed when meeting a person for the first time.

If you avoid smiling, you can appear unfriendly, which limits your social opportunities. Cosmetic dentistry can help you feel better about flashing those pearly whites at a new friend.


Career Opportunities

Getting a new job or a promotion can be great for your self-esteem. As every successful person knows, getting ahead in your career is not just about your abilities, it’s also about having the right attitude. A smile conveys that you’re a positive person.

What’s more, a smile also conveys confidence. In the same survey that showed that adults view a smile as a person’s most memorable feature, surveys have found that 25% of respondents thought that a person with crooked or stained teeth was less confident than a person with a perfect smile. A flawless smile suggests to a boss or interviewer that you’re not only positive but also confident in your abilities.


A New Start

If your teeth are damaged because you experienced some sort of trauma or even a long period of not being able to afford dental care, you’ll be reminded of that every time you look in a mirror and see your teeth, or think about what your smile must look like.

Repairing the damage to your teeth can be an important part of moving past whatever caused the damage in the first place. You’ll feel better and have an easier time putting the past behind you.


A Healthier Mouth

Cosmetic dentistry
Not only will you look better, you’ll feel better too.

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about looks, it’s also about the health of your mouth. Crooked or misaligned teeth can leave you more vulnerable to cavities and gum disease, impede your ability to chew, and even increase your risk of breaking a tooth.

Orthodontic treatments can straighten your smile, making it more attractive and healthier. You may be a candidate for clear aligners, which can straighten your teeth without making it obvious that you’re wearing braces. Your smile will improve, and your mouth will be healthier as well.

Talk to one of our dentists about cosmetic dentistry treatments that may be right for you. To make an appointment, call us.