July 31, 2013

Are You Afraid To Go To The Dentist?

This past week Tavormina Dentistry has posted several articles on social media sites about dental fear and dental phobias.  So, we thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about this topic a bit on our blog.

It’s sometimes difficult to determine where the fear starts.  Sometimes there aren’t any bad experiences specifically to point to, and of course, unfortunately, sometimes there are.  When there is no apparent reason for the fear of going to the dentist, the fear may be related to feeling out of control sitting in the dentist’s chair and having to stay still and have the dentist work inside your mouth.  It can feel frightening for some people to have their space feel violated.  It’s important in such cases to have an understanding dentist with whom you have developed a signal for the dentist to stop working.  This is an easy way to regain control of the situation and develop trust.

From a treatment standpoint, dentistry has become easier than ever to provide with a pain free experience.  A combination of anesthesia, to put the area being worked on to sleep, combined, in some cases, with various means of sedation for the patient, to help the patient sleep too, can work wonders.

Our approach at Tavormina Dentistry is to be a partner with our patient to determine what they need for a comfortable experience.  We start conservatively with an option of teaching our patients relaxation techniques.  These techniques, for the patient who is willing, can teach the patient that they are in control of their experience.  People don’t realize how powerful their minds are in determining what their experience is. 

For patients who do not want to learn relaxation techniques, but who want to feel very relaxed while having their dentistry, we have laughing gas, also called nitrous oxide.  This is a very safe alternative that let’s someone feel very happy while having dentistry, and also enables the patient to be able to drive themselves home.

For patients who want to fall asleep or be very sleepy during their dental visit, there is oral conscious sedation.  Oral medication is given and it is very effective in having most people fall asleep during their dentistry and also have no memory of the dental procedures.

For those patients who are afraid that they will not fall asleep, there is intravenous conscious sedation.  We have a board certified anesthesiologist administer the IV sedation and monitor our patients who want the assurance that the depth of their sedation can be controlled and deepened as needed.

As you can see, with patience and understanding you can find a partnership with a dentist so that you no longer have to be afraid of going to the dentist, or at least won’t let the fear
stop you.

For more details visit DrTav.com or call us at 973-761-5090.  We'd love to help.

July 24, 2013

Do You Have Pain From Clenching Your Teeth?

If you have pain from clenching your teeth, you know how difficult it seems to be to have relief.  In the past, bite guards that covered all of your teeth had to be used and they were often considered cumbersome and caused gagging.  At Tavormina Dentistry we have been pleased to help people with clenching, bruxing, and migraine pain.

We’re fortunate to have over the past decade another alternative that works very well.  The NTI-tss Plus appliance was originally developed to prevent migraine pain.  It is a useful appliance for migraine headaches, but like the inventor of post-it notes discovered, an invention can have other uses that may even be unanticipated.  Even though the NTI-tss Plus works for migraine pain, it was discovered that this appliance eliminates tooth wear from bruxing and clenching and muscle pain associated with muscle dysfunction.  As dentists we can have a way to simply and effectively treat patients who suffer from tension and migraine headaches by reducing the intensity of jaw clenching while patients sleep.

This appliance does the job of a full-arch bite guard but only covers four of the front teeth either on the top or lower arch.  Full-coverage bite guards can increase clenching for some patients, because they create an ideal clenching surface for eye teeth and molars.  The NTI-tss Plus keeps the back teeth from touching and reduces clenching intensity by almost 70%.  Also, because the device is smaller and less bulky than traditional bite guards, patients are more likely to use it.

The NTI-tss Plus is a small, clear shell with a patented special edge that attaches to the front teeth area.  Because the NTI-tss Plus covers only the front teeth, it takes less time to make the appliance and it’s easier to seat in the mouth and requires fewer adjustments compared to a traditional bite guard.  The appliance is more comfortable than traditional bite guards and because it is less bulky, it does not trigger the gag reflex.

The appliance has flexibility and can be used as an appliance for upper or lower teeth.  Factors that influence which arch is used for an appliance include the length of the crown of the tooth, the shape of the tooth, the position of the teeth, uneven edges of teeth, and narrow arch width.  There also is an NTI-tss Plus Soft appliance which is also available when teeth are extremely crowded, slightly mobile, or especially sensitive.

For information about other dental topics visit www.TavorminaDentistry.com

July 18, 2013

How Does Dental Insurance Work?

The other day a patient was in for a visit and told us she was not going to have dental insurance coverage after December.  She and her spouse had assumed that they would research dental insurance coverage to replace what they presently had.  I offered them the free service that we provide at Tavormina Dentistry of reviewing any research they came up with and evaluating the information for the best coverage, as well as evaluating for any savings by not replacing the dental benefit.

It’s important to remember that dental insurance is not an insurance, but a benefit.  The difference is that for most dental plans, there is a limit to the total amount that the insurance will pay out per year.  The dental benefits vary based on the plan the employer or privately insured person has agreed upon with the insurance company.  Most dental plans don’t reimburse for services more than $1,000 maximum per person per year.  This was a pretty good amount in 1969 when dental “insurance” came into existence, but in 2013, unfortunately, $1,000 coverage doesn’t go very far, especially if the patient with the dental benefit has significant dental needs.

On the other hand, if a patient visits the dentist regularly, and does his own homecare well, they most likely only have the fees for regular routine maintenance.  Very often the fees that a dental office charges for routine prevention, diagnosis, and cleanings can be less than the premiums for, let’s say $1,000 coverage.  So, if you only need routine care, it may make more sense to use your money to cover the routine care, especially if the premium for a limited dental benefit is greater than the fees for these services.

Having a dental benefit is most useful when you do have need for additional dental services in Millburn NJ and when there is an employer in the picture paying the dental insurance premium.  In most cases dental coverage for prevention, diagnosis, and cleanings is covered in full or almost completely by the dental benefit, and should make it very easy for people to receive routine health maintenance visits twice a year, which is the usual limit for such care for most dental insurance plans.  Although most adults ideally benefit most by checkups and cleanings every 3 months (based on scientific research), when people have dental benefits, they usually find they are only covered for two such visits.  Some coverage is better than none.  Don’t let your coverage dictate how frequently you have preventive/hygiene visits.  There are many different kinds of plans, so what is covered, and when, varies.

The best advice we can give is that if you are interested in having dental benefits, make sure you have the freedom to choose to see whatever dentist you want, and still receive your dental benefit.  You want to choose your dentist, not have the insurance company choose your dentist for you.

For information about other dental topics visit www.DrTav.com

July 10, 2013

What Are Invisible Braces?

Invisible braces are clear, custom aligners that are made to gradually move teeth into an attractive, healthy smile without using wires, bands, or brackets on teeth. Who are invisible braces designed for?

Invisible braces are the answer for adults who don’t want anyone to know that they are having their teeth moved and by some teens who don’t want the distraction of a smile filled with wires and elastics. Not all teens are good candidates for invisible braces because the aligners are removable, therefore making strict compliance of the invisible braces technique a necessity.

Once a dentist or orthodontist in Millburn NJ examines you to determine if you are a candidate for invisible braces, your doctor will take impressions, photos, and sometimes x-rays.

At Tavormina Dentistry we use the ClearCorrect system to move our patients’ teeth with invisible braces. We send a prescription along with your records to ClearCorrect and their laboratory uses 3D technology to create aligners with computer precision. Each aligner moves your teeth a little bit at a time until you eventually get straight teeth.

In the first phase of treatment the aligners are passive. These aligners won’t move your teeth. They are to be worn as practice to get used to wearing your custom, clear aligners. The aligners are to be worn all day except when eating and drinking and during daily oral care such as brushing and flossing.

The sets of aligners are usually worn in 3 week intervals and with each successive set of aligners, your teeth get closer and closer to your desired result. For information about other dental topics visit www.TavorminaDentistry.com

July 3, 2013

What Does A Dental Laboratory Tech Do?

Dental laboratory technicians are very important members of dental healthcare.  They make the prostheses, the actual replacements, for patients who are missing some or all of their teeth. 

Dental laboratory technicians use impressions, or molds, of a patient’s teeth to create crowns, bridges, dentures, and other dental appliances. They work closely with dentists but have limited contact with patients.  In our office in Millburn we are fortunate to work with several talented and proficient laboratory technicians.  We work with labs across the country when the procedure we are providing is done best by a distant lab, however, we also work with several talented local laboratories and we do have the advantage of local dental laboratory technicians visiting our office, when necessary, to provide the best result for our patients.

Dental laboratory technicians work directly with dentists by following detailed written instructions and using impressions (molds)of the patient's teeth or oral soft tissues to create replacements for missing teeth. 

The dental technician is responsible for accurately following the prescription the dentist sends the dental laboratory so that a patient’s teeth can be restored to proper function, comfort, and aesthetics.  The prostheses they make enable people to eat, chew, talk and smile in a manner that is similar to or better than the way they did before.

Dental technicians work with a variety of materials in replacing damaged or missing tooth structure. These include waxes, plastics, precious and non-precious alloys, stainless steel, and a variety of porcelains and composites or polymer glass combinations.

The best way to become a dental technician is to receive formal education. Studying in a Commission on Dental Accreditation accredited program provides education that is based on the latest procedures and techniques. Dental technicians can begin their careers without a college degree; however, continuing education is encouraged. The best dental laboratory technicians have manual dexterity, and accuracy, artistic ability, and attention to minute detail.  The artistry and attention to detail result in the most beautiful smiles for the dental patient. We are proud of our Millburn office's commitment to providing dental care beyond compare and working with dental laboratory technicians who have the same passion.

For information about other dental topics visit www.TavorminaDentistry.com