December 27, 2011

Dental Mini Implants vs. Traditional Dental Implants

There’s a lot of talk on the internet about dental implants and dental mini implants. When you’re looking for answers about which to choose, it can be pretty confusing. But there are very real
differences between traditional dental implants and dental mini implants. Let’s review what differentiates one from the other.

Right from the start let's make it clear that both types of implants are designed to provide a cosmetic and fully functioning replica of your original teeth or tooth. They both have essentially two elements: the device that is embedded into the upper or lower bone and the crown that is designed specifically for each person so as to fit aesthetically within their mouth. And that's where the similarities end.

Dental mini implants reflect a significantly less invasive procedure. Traditional implants involve incisions and stitches and use a truly surgical procedure requiring the separation of the gum from the bone in order to create the proper surface and receptacle for an implant device. Dental mini implants are put into the bone through the gum without the need for sutures. As a result, the recovery time is only 7-10 days for dental mini implants versus 2-4 months for traditional implants.

Also, because of the more simplified procedure, dental mini implants have less risk of causing infections; and there are no screw or cement to get loose requiring dental repairs. In additon, the process for dental mini implants can be done in a single session with your implant dentist.

Finally, because of the ease and speed with which dental mini implants are inserted, oftentimes they are used as excellent cosmetic transitional treatments while waiting for traditional dental implants to be designed, prepared and integrated as part of the jaw. Dental mini implants are not for everyone, so you have to have a personal evaluation to see if they are best to suit your needs.

Oh, and the best part is the cost of dental mini implants is less than 25% of traditional implants; another reason to consider dental mini implants vs. traditional dental implants. 

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December 20, 2011

7 Benefits Of Dental Mini Implants

Dental mini implants replace the entire missing tooth from root to
crown, which is the reason that implants look, feel and function like natural teeth.

The benefits of using dental mini implants are numerous and address both the physical as well as the mental aspects of a patient suffering from the loss of teeth.

Here are seven specific benefits of dental mini implants:

  1. By replacing the root portion of the tooth, you are preserving the jawbone. When teeth are missing, the bone that once integrated with the root begins to melt away or deteriorate. The presence of having the root in place (original or implant), stimulates the bone around it thereby supporting circulation and strengthening the bone.

  2. The restoration of your appearance and self-confidence improves the overall quality of life.

  3. The positive effect the dental mini implant has on your jawbone helps to preserve the integrity of the facial structure. By preventing the reabsorption of the bone which would occur without the implant, the face will not suffer from a severe deformation of the facial features.

  4. By using implants instead of other treatment choices such as
    bridges, the teeth on either side of the implant are not impacted
    in any way. With the use of a bridge, the teeth on both sides
    need to be ground down to allow for the bridge to be cemented
    in place. This healthy tooth structure can never be replaced and
    the long-term health of these teeth is compromised.

  5. Partial dentures have clasps that hook onto the adjacent teeth.
    With such anchoring, as the dentures rock back and forth, an
    inevitable characteristic of partial dentures, the anchor teeth receive
    undo pressure resulting in a loosening which compromise their

  6. Oral care of dental mini implants is much easier than any other
    treatments and only as rigorous as caring for your natural teeth.

  7. Finally, choosing dental mini implants over other treatments for
    missing teeth eliminate the need for denture adhesives, allow for
    you to eat an unencumbered diet improving your nutrition, and
    eliminates the fear of being embarrassed when eating, laughing
    or just talking. Your new dental mini implants are secure, natural
    looking and as good as new.

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December 13, 2011

Considering The Dental Implant Option?

Did you know that as many as 100 million Americans have lost at least one tooth? As you might expect, most of these people really begin to value their own, original, healthy teeth. And they are usually excited to learn that dental implants can offer them artificial teeth that look very natural and feel remarkably secure.

Whether you have full or partial dentures or are just missing teeth, dental implants may be an option for you.  As a means of attaching natural-looking teeth directly to the jaw, implants can replace one or more teeth, provide support for a bridge or be used to attach a full denture for either retention or support.

At this time, there are two types of implants that are considered safe and effective by the American Dental Association. These are endosteal and subperiosteal implants.

To determine which type of implant to use, our practice first looks at the patient's jawbone. The jawbone must be able to support the implants, and both the quantity and the quality of bone must be taken into consideration.            

Endosteal implants act like a metal "root" and are implanted directly into the jawbone. When the jawbone is thick, a cylindrical endosteal implant is used. When the jawbone is thin, a slender, plate-type implant is recommended.

Unlike an endosteal implant, subperiosteal implantation does not go directly into the jawbone.  Instead, a metal framework is inserted onto the jawbone and under the gum tissue. This approach is used when the jawbone has an inadequate amount of bone available for endosteal implantation.

Patients who are candidates for subperiosteal implants usually have been lacking some or all of their teeth for several years and there is not enough bone to support their denture without pain.

The jawbone itself can also be changed or augmented to create a foundation for the implant or implants needed by the patient. To a great extent, the choice of removable or non-removable replacement teeth by the patient will dictate the kind of implants used; and the type of implant, in turn, is usually the determining factor regarding whether or not augmentation of the jawbone is necessary.

A thorough dental evaluation including a clinical examination of your teeth, radiography (x-rays) and a complete medical history is required to determine if you would be a good implant candidate.

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December 6, 2011

What Type Of Care Is Required For Dental Implants?

Once you have had your dental implants you want to make sure you protect your investment in your health and the time and money you’ve invested, too. It’s essential you understand that the gums and the bone that your dental implants sit in, are the foundation of your smile. The area around the gumline of your implants must be kept clean daily and regularly professionally.

Your dental implants aren’t subject to dental decay, but they are at risk of gum disease in the same way your natural teeth are at risk of gum disease. We recommend that you floss daily. You can also clean the teeth with brushes that fit in the spaces between the teeth. These are called interproximal dental brushes. Brush for approximately 2 minutes twice daily with a soft toothbrush. We also recommend using the Hydrofloss once daily. At night before you go to sleep, or in the evening after you’ve eaten your last meal, are the best times to use a Hydrofloss. The Hydrofloss is a dental irrigator and in the head of the irrigator tip is a magnet that changes the polarity of the water. This change in polarity interferes with plaque bacteria, the cause of gum disease, sticking to the teeth and building up at the gumline.

Research has taught us that the plaque that grows at the gumline has a specific pattern of growth. The bacteria form what are called colonies and with time, the colonies of bacteria become more mature and more destructive. Research has shown that the optimum time period to break up the bacterial colonies is at 3 months. Therefore, it makes sense that to give yourself and your dental implants optimum protection, the most favorable time interval between professional dental cleanings is 3 months. In this way, if there are any bone-destroying bacteria present, the professional cleaning is disrupting the bacterial colonization so that it has to start all over again. This helps stop the establishment and progress of any gum disease.

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November 29, 2011

Are You A Candidate For Dental Implants?

If you face the loss of one or several teeth or if you’re dissatisfied with dentures or other options available to you, dental implants may be right for you. After a thorough dental evaluation you’ll know if you are a candidate for dental implants.

Many people wonder if they are a candidate for dental implants. It may surprise you, but most people who are missing some or all of their teeth, or who are facing tooth loss, actually are candidates for dental implants.

The basic characteristics of a dental implant candidate is that they have general good health. For our more senior patients, there’s no concern about the additional aches and pains of the golden years preventing you from having dental implants. Even patients with diabetes can have dental implants if they are controlled diabetics. Patients taking blood thinners can have their dosages and the timing of their medication adjusted to accommodate the dental implant procedures. People who have had cancer and received either radiation or chemotherapy have to wait one year before they are candidates for dental implants. People who have Aids or women who are pregnant aren’t candidates for dental implants. It’s easy enough to wait until after the baby is born to have dental implant procedures.

The dental implant candidate must have healthy gums in order to proceed with dental implants. Also, there needs to be sufficient underlying jawbone to support the implants. However, even for patients who don’t have sufficient jawbone, and aren’t candidates for routine dental implant bone grafts, there are advanced bone grafting procedures that can be performed that use bone from the patient’s hip to replace missing jawbone.

The final characteristic for being a candidate for dental implants is to have a good attitude to ensure that you follow through with vital oral hygiene habits.

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November 22, 2011

What Are The Benefits Of Dental Implants?

Because dental implants are designed to fit the structure of your natural teeth, they provide a highly stable support to replace one or more teeth without affecting adjacent teeth. Dental implants can support a bridge and eliminate the need for a removable partial denture. An additional benefit of dental implants is that they provide support for a denture, making it more comfortable and secure.

Because dental implants function like natural teeth, your confidence will be renewed. The days of being embarrassed to speak and laugh in social settings are over. With dental implants you also experience improved biting pressure. Healthy teeth are able to absorb over 500 pounds of biting pressure per square inch. Dental implants can often restore the amount of pressure that can be withstood compared to the same level of healthy natural teeth. Now, with dental implants you can enjoy eating foods that you haven’t been able to eat for years. Imagine enjoying salads or biting into an apple or enjoying a big juicy steak!

Because your replacement teeth are securely anchored to your jawbone, they can’t slip or slide like unsecured dentures can. Dental implants don’t sacrifice the quality of your adjacent teeth, so more of your own teeth are left untouched, a long-term benefit to your health.

Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth.  Because implants integrate into the structure of your jawbone, they can help prevent bone loss and gum recession. With proper oral care and regular dental visits, implants can last a lifetime.

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November 15, 2011

What Happens During Dental Implant Treatment?

Implant treatment is usually performed by a general dentist, oral surgeon, prosthodontist, periodontist or a team of these doctors. At Tavormina Dentistry we are proud to be able to say that we are your dental implant team. We provide both placement of dental implants, restorations for dental implants, sinus lifts and bone grafting procedures related to placing dental implants.  If we receive a referral from a general dentist, we can do bone grafting and implant placement for the general dentist and then the general dentist completes the restorations for his patient. We have also done sinus lifts and bone grafting for periodontists only trained in implant placement.

 To devise the best treatment plan for you we first complete a medical and dental history and a thorough oral examination with x-rays. We want to make sure you are a candidate for dental implants from a dental and medical perspective.

First, a member of your team surgically places the implant in the jaw with the top of the implant just above the top of the bone. Your gums cover the implants. Generally, from three to six months or more is allowed for the bone tissue to grow around the implant and hold them securely in place.

Immediately after surgery we will give you specific post-surgical instructions to assure the best possible healing. We are unique in that we are trained to give you medication to prevent pain, swelling and infection. At the implant placement appointment you may be fitted with temporary dentures or natural-looking teeth to help you function as normally as possible until your dental implants are ready for the final restoration. You may have special dietary and oral hygiene instructions.

Once the jawbone has firmly healed around the implant, a small post is attached to each implant. The post protrudes through the gumline and serves as an anchor for the replacement tooth. After your gums have fully healed, the replacement teeth or dentures are securely attached to the posts.

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November 8, 2011

About Dental Implants

The facts about dental implants are helpful when considering replacing your missing teeth. Dental implants are the permanent way to replace missing teeth, with a look and feel that’s as close to your natural teeth that exists today.

Dental implants are metal posts or frames surgically placed into or onto the bone beneath the gums. The implants fuse with the jawbone providing a stable support to artificial teeth, preventing individual teeth, bridges or dentures from shifting in your mouth. They are a high-tech way to replace missing teeth, and offer more stability than traditional bridgework since they do not rely on neighboring teeth for support.

Implant supported teeth allow you to speak, smile, and eat with confidence. Knowing about dental implants and the comfort they provide is an amazing discovery. Teeth supported by dental implants stay in place so you experience comfort and confidence and the freedom to enjoy foods you haven’t eaten for years.

Once you’ve had implant treatment, you need to treat your new smile like you would your own teeth and be vigilant about your oral health. You want to protect your dental implants because they are your new tooth roots, and they may not be subject to decay like your natural teeth, but they are subject to gum disease. We recommend that our patients who have had dental implants visit us every 3 months for check-ups and professional cleanings. We also find that one of the best tools for protecting your dental implants and oral health at home is the Hydrofloss. It is an irrigator that changes the polarity of the water it uses and keeps dental plaque from accumulating under the gums. More about the Hydrofloss and dental hygiene for dental implants in future posts.

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November 1, 2011

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are manmade replacements for missing tooth roots.  They serve as an anchor to replace one or more teeth. Dental implants can be used to anchor a bridge that is fixed, cemented in place, or as anchors for removable teeth.

In most cases dental implants are made of titanium and resemble screws that are placed in the dental bone. Dental implants that are placed in the bone go through a process called osseointegration, which is the process of actually integrating into and becoming part of the dental jawbone. This process actually strengthens the jaw and maintains the dental bone. After teeth are extracted and there’s no more root in the bone, the body doesn’t have a reason to keep the dental bone there, and the dental bone disappears. That’s why it’s important to have dental implants placed soon after tooth loss, before the dental bone is lost. There are procedures to graft dental bone back, but bone grafting cannot be used in all circumstances, and even when bone grafting is possible, the bone grafting procedures add time and money to the end result- replacing the missing tooth/teeth, and making a tooth replacement.

There is also a type of dental implant that sits on the bone instead of in the bone. This type of dental implant is called a subperiosteal implant and is used when there isn’t enough height of dental bone remaining into which implants that are like roots can fit. The subperiosteal implant is recommended, when necessary, for replacing missing teeth in the lower jaw only. There is so much to say about dental implants and we will continue speaking more about them in upcoming posts.

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October 25, 2011

How Do Veneers Feel?

    So, how do veneers feel?  Veneers feel like your own teeth, but even better.  When you feel the porcelain veneer with your tongue, there’s nothing smoother- not even your own enamel is as smooth as porcelain!

    And how does it feel to get your veneers?  In most cases no anesthesia is needed because little or no enamel is removed from the teeth.  In most cases because no enamel is removed, there isn’t any drilling and when drilling is needed, in most cases, it’s minimal and in the enamel, so most people are comfortable without getting numb.  If your teeth are sensitive, it’s easy enough to give anesthesia, and we have several tricks to make that experience comfortable for you.

     When enamel is removed and it would be noticeable, temporary veneers are placed so you have a lovely smile while you’re waiting for the laboratory to custom make your veneers and new smile.  It’s exciting for you to have a preview of what your new smile is going to look like.  It’s really exciting to think that your real veneers are going to look even better.  Having temporary veneers also gives you an opportunity to make requests for any changes in size, shape, or color that you would like in the finished veneers.

    When you have your appointment to bond the veneers to the front of your teeth, after removing any temporary veneers, the doctor puts a solution called etching solution on the front of your teeth to make microscopic openings for the bonding material to enter and connect the veneer to your enamel.  When your veneers are bonded on, you have a beautiful, smooth, shiney, bright new smile!

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October 18, 2011

Are Veneers Different From Fillings Or Crowns?

    There’s a hugh difference between fillings, crowns, and veneers.  Fillings are placed within the outside walls of the tooth.  When a tooth has decay, first the decay has to be removed so that there only remains healthy tooth structure.  After the tooth is free of decay, it needs a filling.  In the front teeth, tooth colored filling materials called composite are used.  A filling is used when only a small amount of tooth structure needs replacing or repair. 

    It’s necessary to have enamel on the tooth in order to do a composite filling and to do a veneer, but that’s not the case when it comes to crowns.  A crown is needed when too much tooth has been destroyed by decay and there’s not enough tooth left to fill or when a tooth has had root canal therapy.  When a crown is made, it requires that the dentist remove the remaining enamel from the tooth.  What remains is the inside of the tooth and that is called dentin.  The crown acts like a girdle around the dentin and the crown replaces the missing enamel.

    So, fillings and crowns usually are replacing far more tooth structure than veneers.  Veneers are eggshell thin and are indicated in most cases because we want to conserve and protect the tooth structure.  Sometimes when veneers are filling gaps between teeth or are used to “straighten” crooked teeth, there is more porcelain (the preferred material for making veneers), but usually veneers require little or no removal of enamel.  Enamel is needed so that the veneer can bond onto the surface of the tooth.  A special composite that flows easily is used to attach the veneer to the front surface of the tooth.  So for veneers, composites are used like a glue instead of as a filling material.  Veneers are for teeth that need a “face lift.”

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October 11, 2011

Three Things To Consider When Getting Veneers

    How exciting!  You’re considering getting veneers!  You have no idea how amazing the transformation will be once you’ve enhanced your smile with veneers.  You will have a strong, natural-looking smile that feels great and is color-stable.

   There are always things to consider when making a decision and here are some things we think are important to consider when getting veneers:

1.      What material is the dentist using for the veneers that are being proposed for you?  There are veneers that are made with composite and veneers made with porcelain.  Composite is a tooth-colored filling material that is like a plastic.  The surface of composite is porous and tends to pick up stains.  Composite is less expensive than porcelain, so if the savings are passed on to you, you might consider the immediate savings a benefit, even though you will probably want to replace your veneers in a few years because of the staining.  Sometimes the savings are not passed on to the patient, so be careful you aren’t paying porcelain fees, and not getting porcelain.
2.      How much tooth structure has to be removed for the veneers that are being proposed for you?  Sometimes little or no tooth structure has to be removed to make porcelain veneers.  When your teeth are relatively straight and you want to change the color of your teeth, or fill in gaps between teeth, or fix chipped or broken teeth, the dentist doesn’t have to remove much tooth structure, if any.  If your teeth are crooked, very often the dentist has to remove more tooth structure to even out the smile.  Make sure you understand whether or not your veneers are a reversible procedure because little or no tooth structure has to be removed, or non- reversible, which means enough tooth has to be removed so that you will always have to have a veneer to replace what will be removed.
3.      Does the dentist proposing the veneers have experience in preparing your teeth for both kinds of veneers?  It takes more experience on the dentist’s part to prepare the teeth for non-reversible veneers.

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October 4, 2011

What Are Veneers?

    Dental veneers are an excellent cosmetic remedy for a variety of dental conditions that affect the appearance of the front teeth.  Veneers are durable and color-stable and in many cases, the perfect way to restore the natural function and beauty of your teeth, so you can smile with confidence.

    Veneers are also known as laminates or facings.  They can be made with plastic-like material called composite, or they can be made with porcelain.  Porcelain veneers produce the most beautiful result, are stronger than composite veneers, and do not stain like composite veneers.

    Veneers are a thin, semi-translucent “shell” that is custom made to fit precisely over an existing tooth.  They are bonded to the enamel surface of teeth so that the back of the veneer adheres to the front of the tooth.

    Though veneers aren’t suitable for every patient, they are a cosmetic alternative for a variety of dental conditions affecting the front teeth.  Veneers are used to close spaces between teeth, restore broken or chipped teeth, cover unsightly stained or washed-out fillings, whiten permanently stained or discolored teeth and correct uneven or crooked teeth.

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September 27, 2011

Cosmetic Dentistry Services

    What services are considered cosmetic dentistry services?  There are several procedures in our bag of tricks to make sure you have the best cosmetic dentistry has to offer.

    Cosmetic recontouring of teeth enables us to reshape the teeth when minimal changes are desired.  We can round off a corner of a tooth, make a tooth flatter, even out the smile line in one visit.

    Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry service that is simple, painless, and fast.  In one visit we can repair chipped, cracked, or crooked teeth by using an enamel-like material that actually bonds to the tooth enamel to create a new color, repair a chip, or create a new shape for your teeth.  The material is added to the tooth surface, sculpted into the desired shape, hardened by being exposed to a special dental light, and polished to make a beautiful new cosmetic smile.  Tooth colored fillings can be placed to replace old silver fillings by using the bonding procedure.

    Teeth that are dark in color and have no fillings in them can be whitened either with take-home whitening kits or with one-hour in-office whitening.  In-office results are immediate and take home whitening results are enjoyed in about a week.

    The most cosmetic of the cosmetic dentistry services are porcelain veneers.  These are eggshell thin porcelain shaped to go over the surfaces of teeth to create the most dramatic smile makeover- newly shaped teeth, whiter teeth, straighter teeth, with a beautiful smooth porcelain finish.

    Broken down teeth can be restored with porcelain crowns and missing teeth can be replaced with conventional fixed bridges that are cemented in place, or teeth can be replaced with dental implants to support beautiful new porcelain crowns &/or bridges.

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September 21, 2011

What Is Dental Bonding?

    Dental bonding is a technique in dentistry that is used to attach tooth-colored filling materials to the enamel of teeth.  This method allows us to restore teeth by removing a minimum of tooth structure.  Dental Bonding also strengthens teeth.

    How does dental bonding work?  A special solution called an etchant is placed on the tooth and this solution makes microscopic openings in the enamel.  When the tooth-colored material is placed on the tooth, the filling material fills the openings in the enamel.  The filling material is sculpted to replace the missing tooth structure or change the shape &/or color of the tooth.  Once the desired appearance is achieved, a special dental light called a curing light is aimed at the filling and the light sets the material and makes it hard.  The filling literally locks into the openings made in the enamel by the etchant.  This process strengthens the tooth and because the filling material locks into or bonds onto the enamel, little or no tooth structure has to be removed to secure the filling.

    Tooth-colored fillings can be bonded into back teeth in some instances to replace unsightly old silver fillings.  These types of fillings are better in premolars than molars.  Molars have to withstand the most pressure, so it’s better to use stronger materials like porcelain inlays/onlays or crowns on molars.  Molar teeth can be restored by using dental bonding to bond the inlay or onlay to the tooth.

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September 14, 2011

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

    Of course, it’s most important to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy and you are doing the best you can to maintain your teeth for a lifetime.  We partner with our patients to get their mouths healthy and to keep them healthy, but once that’s been accomplished, there’s a whole field of dentistry devoted to making people look and feel their best, and that’s Cosmetic Dentistry.  Cosmetic dentistry is a blend of art, science, and technology that focuses on using a variety of the latest techniques and materials to give our patients the smiles they have always dreamed of.

    Cosmetic Dentistry makes it possible for people who hold back smiling (or are too embarrassed to smile because of flaws in the cosmetic appearance of their teeth) to smile- really smile!  It’s wonderful to have the tools in our arsenal that can help someone who has always covered their mouth when they smile or laugh, to laugh and smile freely and with confidence.  That’s what Cosmetic Dentistry is for.

  Cosmetic Dentistry has also proven helpful to business people so that they are more confident when dealing with the public.  Also, the fact that someone has an attractive smile has been shown to actually have customers/clients perceive the business person as more competent.  I guess confidence goes a long way, and nothing seems to make a person feel more confident than a healthy beautiful smile.

    What kind of changes can we make with Cosmetic Dentistry?  We can correct spaces between teeth.  We can repair broken or chipped teeth.  We can handle unsightly, stained or washed-out fillings.  We can whiten permanently stained or discolored teeth.  We can correct a crooked or poorly shaped smile.  We can change the size, shape, position and color of teeth!

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September 8, 2011

Whitening Your Teeth At The Dentist

     When our patients are ready to whiten their teeth immediately, we provide whitening for them in the office in under an hour.  We use the Lumibrite Chairside Whitening System from DenMat because it is fast, effective and gentle so it therefore reduces the chances of sensitivity for our patients who whiten their teeth chairside.  It also contains fluoride for an even healthier smile.

     We use DenMat’s Sapphire Supreme Plasma Arc Curing and Whitening Light which has been clinically proven to whiten teeth in under an hour without the use of harmful UV rays.  It is the only such whitening light on the market and we use it because it is the safest whitening light in the market for our patients.

     Whitening your teeth in the office can result in teeth 8-10 shades lighter.  We find that additional whitening over time at home enhances and maintains the whitening achieved in the office.  Research also shows that the best whitening does happen over time.  We recommend to our patients to use take home whitening trays and whitening material after their in-office whitening to get and maintain the white bright smiles they are looking for.

     If you like your smile but wish it was whiter, whitening your teeth in the office is the fastest way to get a result, and it’s an amazing boost to your self-confidence.  It just makes you want to smile more with whiter teeth!

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August 30, 2011

Teeth Whitening Facts

Here are three things to consider when whitening your teeth:

  1. If you have tooth colored fillings in your front teeth on the front surface of your teeth, those fillings will not whiten and you will not be a candidate for teeth whitening without doing veneers.
  2. If your teeth tend to be sensitive you will want to avoid in office, one hour whitening.  Sensitivity can be a factor in 20% of people who whiten their teeth, however, with one hour whitening, sensitivity is more likely because a stronger whitening agent is used to produce an immediate result.
  3. Research has shown that the best whitening happens over time, so unless you have to whiten your teeth with short notice for a big occasion, it makes sense to use professional take home whitening for the best result over time.  If you are in a hurry for a result- like when you want to lose weight and you get more motivation when you lose 5lbs. the first week- then you may love the immediate whitening results that in office, one hour whitening provides.  The whitening effect of one hour whitening doesn’t usually last as long as professional take home whitening, so we recommend to our patients who want an immediate result, to also do some take home whitening to enhance and maintain the results they get with one hour whitening.

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August 23, 2011

Best Teeth Whitening Treatments

All teeth whitening treatments are not the same.  Over the counter whitening kits are not as strong as the professional dental take home kits are.  Professional whitening kits therefore produce better and more predictable teeth whitening.

Professional take home kits have different features.  Some have desensitizing ingredients and others don’t.  This can be very important because approximately 20% of the population will have sensitive teeth as a result of doing teeth whitening.

There are different concentrations of the active whitening agent in take home whitening kits.  Most of the whiteners use carbamide peroxide (a stable version of hydrogen peroxide) as the active whitening agent.  There are various concentrations of the carbamide peroxide available.  The take home kits come in 10%, 16%, and 22% carbamide peroxide.  The higher the concentration of the active agent, the more likely the teeth will be sensitive from the whitening and although you may think you would get a faster whitening or a better whitening, that hasn’t proven to be true, so a lower concentration makes sense.

With research, over time the take home whitening kits we use for our patients have improved.  When they first came out people had to wear the whitening trays overnight, but now, depending on the brand, the daily whitening time can be an hour or even 30 minutes.  Within 2 weeks most people are happy with the whitening results and some people get the results they want in 5-6 days!  It’s easier to whiten yellowish teeth than teeth that are gray or brown in shade.

We’ll talk about 1-hour whitening in another blog post.

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August 16, 2011

Geriatric Dental Needs

As a senior citizen you may face some difficulty with your dental health that you haven’t ever faced or haven’t faced in years.  As we get older, many of us have to take medications to manage our heart health and blood pressure.  Of course, this may not be able to be avoided, however, with the desired effects of certain medications also come some unwanted effects.  Medications can often cause dry mouth.

Dry mouth isn’t just uncomfortable, it also results in a common problem seen in seniors, which is to get tooth decay at the gumline of the teeth.  You see, saliva is actually helpful in keeping tooth decay at bay and when there isn’t enough saliva, dry mouth often results in tooth decay at the gumline and on tooth roots which may now be unprotected because of gum recession. 

If you have dexterity problems or a physical disability, you may find it difficult to hold onto your toothbrush or dental floss.  This can be solved by using a few simple “home remedies” or devices designed to help.  Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to your hand.  Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip.  Also try winding an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle.

Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor.

Tie floss into a loop for easier handling.

Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder.

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August 9, 2011

How Often Should You Go To The Dentist?

     How often you go to the dentist depends on several factors.  Age is a factor.  Children’s first visit is recommended once the child has all of his baby teeth, around age 2.  Throughout childhood and the teen years it’s important for children to visit the dentist every 6 months.  One reason for this is that when children get decay, that decay can travel very quickly in the decayed tooth and to the neighboring teeth.

     In young adulthood, in general, we see less of a problem with decay and very often we see more of a problem with gum disease. Gum disease cannot be cured, but it can be controlled with regular office visits and proper homecare.

     Research shows that it takes 90 days for the plaque bacteria to mature to the point where it is destructive to the gum and dental bone.  If we can disrupt the infection at the 90 day point before the plaque starts being destructive, we can best keep gum disease under control.

     Depending on the study you read, 75-95% of the population has gum disease, so that means that 75-95% of the population needs to visit a dentist every 3 months to keep gum disease under control and prevent the dangerous health risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. associated with gum disease.

     In future blog posts we’ll discuss geriatric dental needs.

     For information on other dental topics, please visit

August 2, 2011

How Often Do I Need To Brush My Teeth?

     It would be ideal to brush your teeth after eating.  Every time you eat, the bacteria in the plaque are eating, too, and this plaque attack lasts up to 20 minutes after eating.  If you brush after eating, you are removing plaque and the food they are feeding on, as well as the acid the plaque bacteria produce.

     Many people find it difficult to brush after meals throughout the day.  If you are one of those people, you can use a technique called “Swish and Swallow.”  Take water or a non sugar liquid and swish your mouth with it for a while to dislodge as many food particles as possible, and then swallow.

     Brushing your teeth at least twice daily helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, the major causes of tooth loss.  Toothpaste does provide a benefit if it has fluoride, or baking soda, or some other benefit, like helping with sensitivity.  The bristles without toothpaste actually do the best job in removing plaque at the gumline.  You can brush with a dry brush and then afterwards go over your teeth with the toothpaste of your choice.  Use a soft-bristle brush and replace your brush every two to three months.

     The most important brushing is at night before you go to sleep.  If you can only brush once daily, it’s best to do it before bedtime.

     For more information about other dental topics, please visit

July 26, 2011

Why Is Flossing Important?

 Many patients ask us why flossing is so important. That’s a good question. Flossing is so important because when you brush your teeth you are only cleaning about 20% of the teeth surfaces. So without flossing, 80% of your teeth are not being cleaned and that can mean big dental health and overall health problems.

 Flossing daily removes plaque and food particles between and below the gumline. Plaque is a sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that is constantly forming on teeth. Saliva, food, and fluids combine to produce these deposits that collect on teeth where teeth and gums meet. Plaque buildup is the primary factor causing periodontal (gum) disease.

Gum disease is a chronic infectious disease and is the reason most people lose their teeth. If plaque isn’t removed daily, there is a slow progression of the infection from the gums into the bone. Eventually the bone that holds the teeth in the jaw is destroyed and teeth are lost.

As if the concern of losing teeth to gum disease isn’t enough, there is a greater danger to your overall health when gum disease is present. Much research has revealed that there definitely is a connection between gum disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, kidney disease, and the list goes on. Basically if you don’t completely remove plaque with daily flossing, you are at risk of the inflammation and infection of gum disease being spread throughout your body by your blood stream. 

Doesn’t that sound like a good reason to floss?

For more information about other dental topics, please visit

July 20, 2011

Does Your Partner's Snoring Keep You Awake?

     Recently magazines have been carrying advertisements for gimmicks that are supposed to treat snoring.  If your partner keeps you up half the night with snoring, you may be tempted to try anything.

     There is a professional way to put an end to snoring by treating the cause instead of the symptom.  We use the TheraSnore appliance to help our patients who have a problem with snoring and sleep apnea.  This appliance uses a scientific approach and was developed by Dr. Thomas E. Meade.

     The TheraSnore has been tested by universities, sleep laboratories and other professional groups.  These tests show that the adjustable TheraSnore really does work more than 93% of the time.

     Almost everyone snores occasionally, in fact one-third of the world’s population snores regularly.  Of that one-third 90% snore because, while sleeping your tongue and the tissue around the soft palate relax and falls back, blocking the airway.  Due to this lack of air, your body panics and increases the speed of the air inhaled.  This increased speed causes the tissues at the back of the throat to vibrate and cause the snoring noise.

     Besides making life more unpleasant for significant others, snoring may be an indicator of sleep apnea, a serious, deadly health hazard.

     A recent study by Harvard University and Boston’s Brigham and Woman’s Hospital found that simple snoring increases the chance of cardiovascular disease by 33% in women.  Previous studies of men with sleep apnea revealed serious health consequences, such as stroke.

     It takes us around 30 minutes or less to fit a TheraSnore appliance.  It will take you approximately 4 to 7 nights to adjust to wearing it.  By the end of the week, you should  be sleeping comfortably and soundlessly and with a happy partner by your side.

     We think we’ve saved a lot of marriages with this device.
     For more information on other dental topics, please visit


July 11, 2011

Differences Between Dental Plans

     I have been talking lately about dental insurance to shed some light on this confusing subject.  Recently I was asked about dental plans that can be purchased by individuals at very low cost.  I was asked, “What’s the difference?”  That’s a good question.  You need to know if the plan you are looking at is in fact a plan that covers a certain amount per year and certain percentages based on the dental procedures, or, if the “plan” is a discount program.  A discount program has a fee schedule that it establishes for each dental procedure and this reduced fee you pay to a dentist that participates in their plan.  The fees are drastically reduced, so practices that participate rely on a high volume of patients to offset their losses.  An office that is committed to excellence and personal service would have a higher overhead and would most likely be unable to participate in such a program.

     Dental discount programs don't pay any of your health care costs.  They require you to pay a fee for a list of dentists who are willing to offer disounts to members of the program.

     Do the math. Try to calculate what your total payment for a discount plan will be for a given amount of time. You could be responsible for paying a substantial amount up front, in addition to monthly fees and other costs. The costs of the program may total more than the savings you anticipate.
     A discount program also deprives you of freedom of choice because you will get no benefit from the program if you choose a dentist that isn’t on the discount list.  Even if you have conventional dental insurance, make sure your plan gives you the freedom to choose your own dentist and still receive your benefit.

    For more information on other dental topics, please visit

June 28, 2011

More to Know About Dental Insurance

     The benefits you can receive from your insurance program are dependent on the amount your employer pays the insurance company.  In order to make a profit, the insurance company must pay out less in benefits than they collect in premium.  To limit their expenses, the insurance industry has created various restrictions which have nothing to do with your individual needs or health such as:
  1. An annual limit.  Regardless of the treatment you need, they only pay so much per person per year.
  2. Excluded treatment.  Regardless of the treatment you need, certain things are not covered like cosmetic work or in most cases, dental implants.
  3. Fee limitations.  Regardless of the specifics of your case, only so much may be paid for any particular treatment.
  4. Frequency limitations.  Regardless of what you might need, they will pay for a procedure only so often.  An example is a dental cleaning which may be “payable only twice a year” regardless of your gum condition that may require cleanings three or four times a year.
  5. Procedural limitations.  Regardless of what treatment might be best for you, they may only pay for the least expensive treatment possible.  For example, they might only pay for a removable bridge when a fixed bridge would be better or they might only pay for a filling when a cap is clearly a better choice for your tooth.
  6.  Time limitations.  Regardless of when you want to do the treatment, they may request that you notify them in advance of your intended treatment.  They cannot require you to get a pre-estimate prior to treatment as a condition to paying you your benefits.  They will always pay you what you are entitled to.  As a matter of fact, our experience has often shown that pre-estimates prior to treatment are actually more likely to stimulate a rejection of coverage.

     Please remember that while it is nice to have the insurance program pay for as much of your treatment as possible, and finances are sometimes a consideration, your decisions on what treatment you choose are best based on your own best dental health interests.

     For more information on other dental topics, please visit

June 15, 2011

Some Important Information If You Have Dental Insurance

     While many people have dental insurance, very few understand what it does and how it works, or what rules it has and why these rules exist.  This information will help you understand your insurance better.  We think it’s important that you understand that your dental insurance isn’t dental insurance at all.

     Dental insurance is unlike any other type of insurance and so insurance companies have developed some unique policies.  We think once you have this information much of the confusion you might have about dental insurance will be cleared up.

     In general, insurance has four requirements:
  1. We want to protect something specific against loss.  Things we insure are our house, our car, even our life.
  2. The loss must be undesirable and infrequent.  No one wants to have their house burn down, have their car stolen, or a gall bladder infection requiring surgery.  The insurance company can count on you trying to prevent the loss.
  3. The occurrence of loss must be unpredictable on an individual basis, but statistically predictable on a group basis.  In other words, you never know if or when you might have a car accident or need your gall bladder removed, but the insurance company can predict that out of every 100,000 people a certain percent are likely to have their car damaged or need an operation in a given year.
  4. The cost of the loss must be individually predictable and the risk known in advance.  The premium charged by the insurance company is based on this.  For example, if you want to insure a 1991 Ford Mustang that costs $16,000, the insurance company knows what it usually costs to fix or replace the car.  The risk of loss is known in advance.  The premium can therefore be calculated in advance on an individual basis.

     Dental insurance is actually entirely different because:
  1. Dental disease is not specific.  It could be decay, gum disease, broken or chipped teeth.  It could even be crooked teeth that one person may want to fix and another might not want to fix.
  2. Most people do have dental disease.  Cavities and gum problems are extremely common despite the fact that people don’t want them.
  3. Dental treatment needs vary from person to person based on things like how often people go to the dentist.  People may even choose to go to a dentist more often when they have insurance.  People who get medical insurance do not decide to get their appendix out to take advantage of their new insurance.
  4. The dental insurance is contracted on a group basis by a company for its employees.  No one really knows the dental needs of any one person or the potential risk (cost to repair the dental problems).

     You can see that dental insurance really doesn’t satisfy the requirements of insurance at all because dental disease is not specific, not infrequent, not unpredictable in occurrence, and not predictable in cost.  Dental insurance really is a program established by your employer to give you an extra benefit of employment and not really insurance at all.

     Our next blog will discuss the restrictions the insurance industry has created which have nothing to do with your individual needs or health.

     For more information on other dental topics, please visit