Being Afraid Of The Dentist Not Uncommon

I really like my ophthalmologist. I don’t like having my eyes dilated or that puff of air that shoots at each eye ball, but I’m not afraid of being in his care.

Like most of us, annual check-ups and periodic screenings are not necessarily things we enjoy, but we do them because we want to protect our health. Ideally, nothing negative is found and we are reassured that we are doing the right things. However, these visits can also catch problems at early stages so we can resolve them promptly.

In my role as a dentist, I occasionally see patients who avoid dental care to extreme levels. This is because they are fearful of dental visits, typically due to a past experience that left them with a deeply embedded memory – one that seems to rise to the surface with every thought of a dental visit.

In the U.S., it is estimated that nearly 75% of adults suffer with dental fear. Up to 10% are classified as having dental phobia. Those are people who break out in a sweat or cry at the mere thought of having to walk into a dental office. Typically, most avoid care until they are forced to resolve extreme pain from an unresolved dental problem.

What is troubling to me as a dentist is that I know dental care doesn’t have to hurt. And shouldn’t. As a matter of fact, I’ve developed a reputation with my patients for ‘painless injections.’ Our entire team has a high commitment to the comfort of each patient regardless of the visit. From cleanings and check-ups to tooth restoration such as fillings or crowns, comfort is always a high priority throughout each visit.

We have also structured our entire office so comfort is incorporated in all aspects of care. For example, our clinical area is positioned away from our private Consultation room. This enables us to have closed-door conversations in comfortable arm chairs in an area that is not intimidating.

Headphones help our patients enjoy music or movies during treatment while they relax in specially-designed treatment chairs that promote comfort. Too, some patients choose to relax deeply with nitrous oxide (also known as ‘laughing gas’), oral sedation or I.V. sedation (‘twilight sleep.’)

While our patients find themselves surrounded in comfort, it is most often the relationships of trust that help them to go from fearful patient to an individual with a healthy smile. We pace each patient’s care so they feel in control and provide treatment according to their preferences. Realizing they are in charge can greatly help patients relax. Once they know they can truly trust us to treat them with gentle hands in a respectful manner, many fears melt away.

Our patients also appreciate that there are no lectures here. We do not try to ‘guilt’ patients into accepting treatment or making appointments. Although we encourage and recommend, your decisions must be based on your ‘readiness’ to proceed and we know that only you can know when that time is right.

If fear is keeping you from having the healthy, confident smile you’ve always imagined, let’s start with a friendly phone call. Ask our phone staff to arrange a time when we can discuss your needs on the phone. Or, for a firsthand look at our office and so we can meet personally, ask for a no cost, no obligation consultation. This is a time for conversation and having your questions answered. We won’t take you to the clinical side of our office unless you wish to tour that part of the facility.

It may also help to speak with people who have overcome their dental fears as a result of our care. We have many dear patients who understand your concerns and are happy to share their own experiences. Having a conversation with someone who has ‘been there, done that’ may put you at ease so you are more comfortable making an appointment.

Begin with a telephone call to 1-866-9-Smiles. We’ll make this first step an easy one! Consider a tour of our office that you can enjoy right from your own home! Click the link below to get to know us:

The What & Why Of Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening is not a common term for most patients since it is recommended only occasionally. Yet, when it is recommended, the results can make a significant difference to the health and appearance of one’s smile.

For example, crown lengthening may be able to save a tooth that has broken close to the gum line. Typically, a tooth that breaks at the gum line must be removed. However, by using crown lengthening procedures to remove  gum tissue, we can expose more of the tooth. This can provide sufficient tooth structure that can support a crown. This can prevent the patient from the decisions – and subsequent costs – of tooth replacement.

Essentially, crown lengthening is a procedure that repositions or removes gum tissue. In most cases, it is recommended to enhance the appearance of a smile.

Crown lengthening is most often performed to correct an uneven smile line. This is when the gum tissue that arches over each tooth  is at a different level than the arches over surrounding teeth. This ‘up and down’ line creates a jumbled look for teeth most visible in a smile. Even straight teeth with an uneven smile line can look ‘off.’ By creating an unified smile line over teeth, crown lengthening provides a more flattering appearance.

Before & After Of Crown Lengthening
Before & After Of Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening can also repair a ‘gummy smile.’ This is a genetic trait and not detrimental to one’s oral health. However, it does cause some people to feel self-conscious when smiling. A gummy smile is one that shows too much gum tissue above the teeth. Katie Couric’s smile is a good example. In mild cases, gum tissue can be removed without the need to crown teeth. However, crowns are often recommended so the gums can be recontoured to a more natural level.

Another reason for crown lengthening is to help seal the gum tissue that surrounds a tooth at its base. When a crown is placed, the gums at its entry point require time before they become securely attached. This helps to prevent the entry of bacteria that can lead to periodontal (gum) disease, The procedure can help to secure gum tissue around the crown to protect from bacterial penetration.

The procedure of crown lengthening is known as a gingivectomy. It is typically performed while the patient relaxes under oral sedation. Afterwards, some swelling and tenderness may occur for several days. Most patients do fine with over-the-counter medications although prescription strength is available if desired. Smokers can expect a longer healing period due to the drying effects of the chemicals in tobacco.

You should notice gradual improvement each day and feel your gums are back to normal within several weeks. However, the results of the procedure can be seen much sooner! The beautiful look that crown lengthening provides will be obvious very quickly!

If reshaping your gums could give you a more appealing smile, crown lengthening is a safe, successful procedure. In our office we use a dental laser, which helps to provide a precision line, enhances comfort and speeds healing. Begin with a free consultation to discuss what may be involved in creating the smile you desire. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule.


When The TMJ (Jaw Joints) Are Not Functioning Properly, Painful Problems Can Result

You may know someone who has had a hip or knee repair or replacement. Because hips and knees are joints that significantly affect mobility, it’s rather obvious that they can also impact proper function in movement elsewhere in the body.

The TMJ, or jaw joints, are also important to the proper function of other areas. Perhaps, more than you realize.

When the TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) is not moving correctly in its socket, common problems can arise, including:
• Painful or tender jaw joints
• Frequent headaches or migraines
• Ear aches or ear ringing
• Dizziness
• Discomfort or difficulty when chewing
• Facial pain
• Difficulty when opening or closing the mouth
• Clicking sound or grating sensation when opening the mouth or while chewing

TMJ disorders can also cause pain in your jaw joint and muscles involved in the jaw’s movement, even when the jaw is not moving.

These joints are located in front of the ears and are structured to move with ease in a sliding motion. When functioning properly, the TMJ serves as a hinge that connects the jaw to the skull, ensuring a fluid motion when chewing, speaking, yawning or anytime the mouth opens.Jaw Joint

For protection, the joints are covered with cartilage and cushioned by a shock-absorbing disk. This keeps the joints in working shape throughout your lifetime. When a TMJ disorder occurs, the joints can become worn, stressed or strained. Problems can emerge in a number of ways, as listed above.

A TMJ disorder can occur for a variety of reasons. While TMJ disorders most commonly occur in women between ages 20 – 40, they can arise for both genders and at any age. However, in many cases, the true cause of TMJ disorders is never determined.

For some, the disorder may be caused by arthritis or an injury to the jaw (even emerging from an injury that occurred many years prior). However, bite misalignment is typically the most common cause. People who have jaw joint disorders are also likely to clench or grind their teeth during sleep, which is a common symptom of bite misalignment.

Unfortunately, the general public does not always associate TMJ with problems such as dizziness, headaches or ear ringing. People often spend years seeing specialists to treat their problems, receiving some relief at times or temporary relief at others. Prescription medications are common ‘treatments,’ yet, they tend to  merely mask the problems rather than resolve them.

We have taken a modern, comprehensive approach to the accurate diagnosis of TMJ disorders and in successful treatment. Our advanced equipment can pinpoint the precise point of dysfunction so we can provide effective solutions that do not over-treat or under-treat the problem.

If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder, call for a free Consultation. We’ll gladly explain the process and common treatments. You may also ask to speak with some of our patients who have had similar problems and are now symptom-free as a result of our care. Call 1-866-9-Smiles.

All-On-4 Dental Implants Are Affordable, Non-Removable Option

More and more adults are turning to Dental Implants to replace missing teeth. Unlike dentures or partials that can slip or rub, implants are held by the jaw bone, just as natural teeth. This restores chewing stability and speaking dependability that is most like the teeth you once had.

However, for individuals who have been long-time denture or partial denture wearers, traditional Dental Implants may require additional treatment steps. Without the presence of natural tooth roots in the bone, the foundation that supports a denture or partial will begin to shrink over time. This is what contributes to movement when eating or speaking.

When bone loss has occurred to the extent that makes implant placement risky, the bone must first be rebuilt. This can be done with a bone graft or bone rebuilding materials. While either process is a dependable way to restore bone mass, they add to treatment expense and time.

Although treatment costs for traditional implants is less with types that have removable teeth, many people are not thrilled to continue the same process for cleaning teeth or sleeping that they’ve practiced with dentures or partials. They want teeth that do not come out. The added cost for non-removable implant systems has been a deterrent to some.

The All-On-4 Dental Implant systems solves these problems for denture wearers. For people who have experienced even severe bone loss, All-On-4 implants are placed at unique angles that do not require as much bone mass for support. Additionally, costs are less since only 4 implants are needed to support a full arch of upper or lower teeth.

All-On-4 Dental Implant System
All-On-4 Dental Implant System

Another appealing feature of the All-On-4 system is their ability to support non-removable teeth. You’ll be able to brush your teeth in your mouth, sleep with your teeth and eat all the foods you love again without the need for messy adhesives and pastes. And, you’ll never be without teeth! Teeth are attached immediately after implant placement, so you’ll walk out of our office with a smile!

To summarize the many advantages, the All-On-4 Implant System…

• Is appropriate for all levels of bone mass, even when severe bone loss has occurred.

• Is more affordable, since only 4 implants are needed per arch.

• Has non-removable teeth attached.

• Has teeth attached immediately, so you are never without your teeth.

If you have considered Dental Implants to replace any number of missing teeth, let’s discuss the implant system that will work best for you. I’ll answer your questions so you can determine how you wish to proceed.

Imagine beginning 2016 with a smile you love that is worry-free! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a free Consultation appointment to learn how easy you can achieve just that!

Periodontal Disease Connections To Diabetes

The dictionary explains diabetes as “a disorder of the metabolism causing excessive thirst and the production of large amounts of urine.” it is a metabolic disease characterized by the body’s inability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Diabetes is considered a leading cause of death due to vascular complications attributed to the disease.

The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically over the past few decades and is expected to triple in the next decade. A report published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine through the National Institutes of Health states that diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.” Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level.

The most common types of diabetes are type 1 (known as insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). Initial indications of this disease are bad breath and bleeding gums. While diabetes affects all ages, it is more common in adults. According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with initial symptoms emerging after age 45.

Seeing early signs of diabetes in the form of oral problems is not surprising to those in the medical and scientific fields, although the general public rarely associates one with the other. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that can create inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Other inflammatory diseases (such as high blood pressure, arthritis, and coronary artery disease) have been correlated to gum disease for decades.

Not only are periodontal diseases said to be the 6th greatest complication of diabetes, research has shown that one triggers the other. Gum disease has been found to be more frequent and severe in patients with diabetes with poor glycaemic control. Proper management of diabetes for controlled glucose levels is helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.

Symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, gum recession that expose dark tooth root sections) and tender and swollen gums. As gum disease progresses, gums will turn red in color, pus pockets will form at the base of teeth and teeth will loosen. Eventually teeth will need removing.

It is important for any individual to be aware of  these signs. However, diabetics should be as proactive as possible when it comes to their oral health due to their  particular vulnerability to inflammation in the body.

For our diabetic patients, we recommend dental check-ups every 3-4 months. If you have diabetes, please call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a periodontal examination at your earliest convenience. During this time, we can assess your oral health and treat existing gum disease.

Early evaluation is advised since gum disease will progress without treatment. Delayed care can result in more treatment time and greater expense. Feel free to call us if you have questions. You may wish to begin with a free Consultation to discuss your health and oral symptoms.