Patient Education From Downtown Dental
Dental Health Issues
Bruxism may result from a bad fit between the upper and lower teeth when you close your mouth. More often, however, it’s associated with tension or suppressed anger. Symptoms include tooth grinding during sleep, jaw clenching, jaw pain or earache, jaw muscle contractions, abnormal alignment of teeth and worn or abraded tooth enamel. It sounds like you may have worn your enamel down far enough to expose the sensitive second layer of tooth material, the dentin. If your dentist rules out physical causes of bruxism, you may just need to learn how to rest your tongue, teeth and lips properly. Or you may need to address the stresses that cause you to grind your teeth. Stress management, biofeedback, self – hypnosis and even acupuncture have been successfully used to treat anxiety – related bruxism. Your dentist may construct a plastic mouth guard for you to wear during the night to protect your teeth from further damage.
Bonding, also known as composite bonding, is a cosmetic dentistry procedure that can be used to repair chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth. Bonding can also be used to fill in gaps between teeth, protect the root of a tooth, or as an alternative to silver amalgam fillings. Bonding takes approximately 30 minutes to one hour in a single visit to the cosmetic dentist. The Bonding Procedure – The cosmetic dentist begins by selecting a shade of composite resin (bonding material) that is closest to the shade of your teeth. Then, the dentist abrades the teeth and applies a liquid that helps the bonding material adhere to the teeth. The composite resin is applied to the teeth, smoothed into the desired shape, and hardened with a high intensity light. After the resin has hardened, the cosmetic dentist will make the final touches and polish the tooth until it resembles the other teeth. If more than one tooth is being repaired it may take several visits to the cosmetic dentist in order to achieve the desired results.
Oral Cancer Screening
We provide yearly oral cancer screenings to all our patients. Most cases of oral cancer occur in smokers and heavy drinkers but there are an increasing number of cases in otherwise young and healthy individuals. Our screening includes a thorough visual and tactile exam as well as the use of a fluorescent light called the Velscope. Early stages of oral cancer often go unnoticed by the patient, so early detection is our goal.
Laser Hygiene Therapy
We offer our patients an exciting and gentle alternative to oral surgery in treating periodontal (gum) disease. Laser Hygiene Therapy takes our scaling and root planning standard to a new level when we feel that the disease is progressing despite good homecare and regular cleanings. The laser uses light energy to reduce the bacterial count in pockets surrounding the teeth after regular debridement is completed. This treatment can be added to a regular recall appointment or as a separate procedure. It is quick and rarely requires any anesthetic. Have you been told that you need gum surgery and are fearful about the invasiveness of the procedure? Do you have bleeding gums, pockets, recession and bone loss and feel that, no matter what you do, your oral health continues to get worse? Call us or ask about Laser Hygiene Therapy the next time we see you.
We offer our patients an exciting and gentle alternative to oral surgery in treating periodontal (gum) disease – Laser Hygiene Therapy
Gum Disease and Heart Attacks—Is There a Connection?
There is growing evidence that the presence of periodontal (gum) disease can be linked to the incidence of coronary heart disease.
Gums infected with periodontal disease are toxic reservoirs of disease-causing bacteria. The bacteria hide in pockets next to the teeth, where the gums have pulled away from the tooth surface. When gums are this infected, they frequently bleed.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis recently discovered that bleeding gums common in severe gum disease provide an open doorway for plaque bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This bacteria, Streptococcus sanguis, can cause blood clots that block arteries and trigger heart attacks.
“Severe periodontitis is the equivalent of about nine square inches of chronic wound around the teeth,” said Dr. Mark Herzberg, director of the study. “It offers considerable opportunity over time for these bacteria to enter the blood.”
More heartache from gum disease
Other studies have shown that plaque bacteria entering the bloodstream through infected gums might also cause a potentially fatal heart disease called infective endocarditis. This is a bacterial infection that causes the sac around the heart to become inflamed. Herzberg has shown that the S. sanguis plaque bacteria is one of the most frequent causes of endocarditis.
More than just speculation
In a study of 400 older men, researchers in Michigan found that those with severe gum disease were four and one-half times more likely to have coronary heart disease than those without gum disease.
The lesson to be learned? Brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly. Because we now know that good oral health can prevent more than just gum disease.
Sources: Dr. Walter Loesche, “The Link Between Systemic Conditions and Diseases and Oral Health,” University of Michigan.
Dr. Eugene J. Whitaker, Temple University School of Dentistry.
The Academy of General Dentistry
The American Academy of Periodontology
The American Dental Association
American Academy of Neurology – 51st Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, April, 1999.
Snoring is caused when air intake is restricted or obstructed and the soft palate vibrates during sleep. Note that snoring may be associated with sleep apnea, a momentary interruption of nighttime breathing. Since this interruption can keep you from getting adequate rest at night, ask a physician to examine you. For more information on the Internet, see The Apnea Patient’s News
There are two main ways to treat snoring. At night, you can wear a special anti-snoring device fabricated by your dentist. Or you can have surgery.
Anti-Snoring Devices to Wear
A dentist can, working in concert with your physician, construct a device that fits over your teeth and changes the shape of your air passage and the vibration pattern of your soft palate (located at the back of your mouth).
Somnoplasty is a relatively new procedure in which, after throat tissues are numbed, a small probe is inserted into the soft palate of your throat. When activated, the probe emits radio waves that kill cells in the inner layer of your palate. During the following week or two of healing, the remaining tissues shrink and a small amount of scar tissue forms. All of this tightens the palate, reducing its vibrations. Snoring is reduced or eliminated altogether.
The procedure is more comfortable and heals faster than laser surgery.
There is less track record with this procedure, so there’s less predictability of success.
After throat tissues are numbed, a laser is used to reshape the back portion of the soft palate. This reshaping enlarges your air passage and changes the vibration pattern of the soft palate.
Laser surgery has a good, long-term track record and a high predictability of success.
There is greater discomfort and a longer healing period than alternative treatments (see somnoplasty).
This procedure is generally performed by oral surgeons or ear, nose and throat (ENT) physicians.
Sleep Apnea – It’s more than just snoring
As many as ten percent of working-age men suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes them to repeatedly stop breathing for as long as ten seconds at a time, night after night. Anyone sleeping in the room with an individual who suffers from the condition may think it’s just continuous, loud, irritating snoring. But obstructive sleep apnea is a health problem that can cause serious medical complications if not corrected.
The physiology behind the snore
Just about everyone has slept in the same room with someone who snores. What’s going on behind all that middle-of-the-night racket?
As people fall asleep, muscles in the tongue and throat relax, and the tongue drops back into the airway, narrowing it. Air moving through that narrowed airway travels faster and causes the walls of the throat to vibrate, producing a rattling noise commonly known as snoring.
Don’t ignore these symptoms
While snoring itself isn’t a serious health problem, sleep apnea is. Sleep apnea is like snoring taken to the next level. It occurs when the airway is completely blocked by the soft tissues in the back of the throat. The American Dental Association likens the effect to what occurs when a thick milkshake is sucked through a narrow straw; eventually the straw collapses from the pressure.
When the airway is obstructed to such a degree, less oxygen reaches the blood and the brain. In response, the brain gives the “red alert” signal to the airway to unblock itself by tightening up. This causes the individual to gasp or snort abruptly, restoring breathing to normal.
With obstructive sleep apnea, this cycle repeats itself throughout the night, disrupting sleep and leaving the individual exhausted after a night of on-again, off-again sleep. The condition can also cause headaches, moodiness, daytime sleepiness and an inability to function properly.
The good news?
There is help available for obstructive sleep apnea. Working with your physician, your dentist can create a custom-fitted, comfortable oral appliance that keeps the airway open during sleep so you can breath normally.
You can also take steps to minimize your own snoring and incidences of apnea.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Eliminate nasal congestion.
- Make sure your sleeping environment is quiet, dark, and maintains a steady, comfortable temperature.
- Avoid large meals right before bedtime.
- Avoid strenuous exercise within two to three hours of bedtime.
- Avoid alcohol or sleeping pills within four hours of bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine or any other stimulants within four hours of bedtime.
If you think you might have sleep apnea, see your physician immediately. She and your dentist can work together with you to find a comfortable, effective solution.
TMD (Temporomandibular dysfunction)
When the balance of these bones, cartilage, and muscles is lost, it can cause: * headaches * earaches * difficulty opening and closing your mouth * a clicking or popping in the joint * a dull aching pain around the ear … (read our TMD brochure in PDF format)
Equilibration is a process in which we adjust your bite by reshaping the biting surfaces of your teeth. It’s important for the health of your mouth to have your teeth come together properly when you bite and chew. Equilibration can prevent you from … (read our Equilibration brochure in PDF format)
Mother nature didn’t provide all of us with a stable, healthy bite. Some people have bites that have been affected by wear, changed by dental restorations, or that have shifted with time. A healthy bite allows all of your teeth to hit … (read our Occlusion brochure in PDF format)
Abfraction is the commonly seen condition of notching of the teeth near or even under the gum line. Though a combination of hard toothbrush bristles and improper brushing techniques can cause enamel to be lost at the gum line, this is not the cause … (read our Abfraction brochure in PDF format)
What is bruxism? Bruxism is the clenching or grinding of your teeth while you are asleep. It is not just an annoyance; it exerts thousands of pounds of pressure on the biting surfaces of the teeth, which can lead to jaw pain and damage to your … (read our Bruxism brochure in PDF format)
It’s estimated that at least one-fourth of the population currently suffers from debilitating tension headaches, migraine pain, or painful problems with their jaw joint. And while a variety of lifestyle and health issues can complicate these … (read about NTI)
Headaches or Migraine Pain?
In just one appointment we can create your NTI appliance. First we try it in and precisely customize its fit by lining it with a plastic material. Once the customized portion has hardened, we carefully make any final adjustments and polish it.
The NTI is the only device approved by the FDA for the prevention of migraine pain. It’s twice as effective as any preventive medication. In clinical trials, 82 percent of migraine sufferers experienced an average of 77 percent fewer migraines within the first 8 weeks of use! The NTI Tension Suppression System is an easy, effective way to treat your headaches and jaw pain without medication or extended therapy.
Placing a bridge after teeth have been lost can prevent a chain reaction of problems that could affect your entire mouth. Teeth need each other for support, and when one or more teeth are lost, the biting forces on the teeth next to the space will … (read our Diagnosis brochure in PDF format)
Replacing a missing tooth with a bridge requires two or more appointments. During the first appointment, we prepare your teeth, create an impression of your teeth, and place a temporary bridge. The impression gives us an accurate working model … (read our Posterior Gold brochure in PDF format)
Replacing a missing tooth with a bridge requires two or more appointments. During the first appointment, we prepare your teeth, create an impression of your teeth, and place a temporary bridge. The impression gives us an accurate working model … (read our Posterior Porcelain brochure in PDF format)
Replacing a missing tooth with a bridge requires two or more appointments. During the first appointment, we prepare your teeth, create an impression of your teeth, and place a temporary bridge. The impression gives us an accurate working model of … (read our 3-Unit Anterior brochure in PDF format)
Replacing a missing tooth with a bridge requires two or more appointments. During the first appointment, we prepare your teeth, create an impression of your teeth, and place a temporary bridge. The impression gives us an accurate working model of … (read our Maryland Bridge brochure in PDF format)
Replacing a missing tooth with a bridge requires two or more appointments. During the first appointment, we prepare your teeth, create an impression of your teeth, and place a temporary bridge. The impression gives us an accurate working model … (read our Cantilever brochure in PDF format)
The success of a dental bridge depends on the health of the adjacent teeth and gums. To care for your bridge, as well as the teeth and gums that support it, brush and floss thoroughly every time you eat. At first, it may be challenging to keep … (read our General Care brochure in PDF format)
When you’re missing one or more teeth, you have several options: * Delay treatment * Use a space maintainer * Choose implants * Try a partial denture * Choose a bridge If you delay treatment, the situation will only get worse. … (read our Alternatives brochure in PDF format)
Now that we’ve placed a temporary bridge, it’s important to follow these recommendations to ensure the success of your final restoration: Call us if your temporary bridge comes off. Save the temporary so we can recement it. It’s very important … (read our Temporary Bridge brochure in PDF format)
Now that we’ve placed your permanent bridge, it’s important to follow these recommendations to ensure its success: Call our office if your bite feels uneven, you have persistent sensitivity or discomfort, or if you have any questions or concerns. … (read our Permanent Bridge brochure in PDF format)
If a small filling wears out, and most of your natural tooth is still intact, it’s usually safe to replace it with another filling. But when a large filling wears out, it’s often best to switch to a crown. Unlike a filling, a crown covers and … (read our Worn Fillings brochure in PDF format)
Your teeth endure a tremendous amount of biting pressure every day, not only from eating, but also from habits like jaw clenching and nighttime grinding. Sometimes, this pressure causes a tooth to fracture or crack. Some cracks aren’t a problem, …(read our Cracked Tooth brochure in PDF format)
Cracked tooth syndrome is a term that describes recurring discomfort, sensitivity, or pain that is caused by an incomplete fracture or crack in a tooth. The fracture involved in cracked tooth syndrome is often difficult to detect and may be …(read our Cracked Tooth Syndrome brochure in PDF format)
Even though a crown protects and strengthens your tooth, you can still develop a cavity at the crown’s edge, where it meets the tooth. This area is very prone to developing plaque, and it can be one of the toughest spots in your mouth to keep …(read our Failing Crown brochure in PDF format)
We can usually restore small cavities with fillings. However, when a large portion of your tooth has been damaged by decay, we’ll need to remove a significant amount of the tooth in order to remove all the decay. When a tooth loses much of its …(read our Large Cavity brochure in PDF format)
Root canal treatment leaves a tooth brittle and weak. The tooth is weakened because we had to remove the center of it to get at the infected nerve. This leaves only the sides of the tooth for support. The nerve and blood supply are also removed …(read our After Root Canal brochure in PDF format)
A tooth-colored crown may be made of both porcelain and metal, or, thanks to newly available technology, it may be made entirely of porcelain. Recent breakthroughs in adhesives, combined with the development of stronger porcelain materials, …(read our All-Porcelain Crowns brochure in PDF format)
We want the entire procedure to be comfortable for you, so the first thing we do is make sure your mouth is thoroughly numb. We then use the handpiece to shape the tooth and remove any decay. To create models of your teeth on which the dental …(read our Anterior Porcelain brochure in PDF format)
We want the entire procedure of getting a crown to be comfortable for you, so the first thing we do is make sure your mouth is thoroughly numb. Then we use the handpiece to shape the tooth and remove any decay. To create models of your teeth …(read our Posterior Porcelain brochure in PDF format)
We want the entire procedure to be comfortable for you, so the first thing we do is make sure your mouth is thoroughly numb. We then use the handpiece to shape the tooth and remove any decay. To create models of your teeth on which the dental …(read our Posterior Gold brochure in PDF format)
Sometimes, when a tooth has broken off due to fracture or decay, there’s simply not enough of your natural tooth remaining to place a crown. Fortunately, we can replace the missing portion and save your tooth by placing a post inside your tooth, …(read our Post & Core brochure in PDF format)
Fracture or decay can cause a portion of a tooth to break off, and in some cases, there’s simply not enough tooth left to place a crown. Fortunately, we can replace the missing portion and save the tooth by building it up with one of the new …(read our Core Buildup brochure in PDF format)
When a front tooth needs a restoration, sometimes it’s best to use a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown. We might choose a fused-to-metal crown to restore a tooth when a large filling has failed, or when the tooth is chipped, cracked, broken, or …(read our PFM Crowns brochure in PDF format)
After a lot of tooth structure has been lost, your choices are limited. You could choose to: * Delay treatment * Have the tooth extracted * Try a larger filling * Choose a crown to restore the tooth …(read our Alternatives brochure in PDF format)
Now that we’ve placed a temporary crown, it’s important to follow these recommendations to ensure the success of your final restoration: Call us if your temporary crown comes off. Save the temporary so we can recement it. It’s very important for …(read our Temporary Crown brochure in PDF format)
Now that we’ve placed your permanent crown, it’s important to follow these recommendations to ensure its success: Call our office if your bite feels uneven, you have persistent sensitivity or discomfort, or if you have any questions or concerns. …(read our Permanent Crown brochure in PDF format)
The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to transform an average smile into a terrific smile! To accomplish this goal, we analyze every aspect of your smile and then correct the problem. We can repair chipped or broken teeth. We can replace silver … (read our Cosmetic Dentistry brochure in PDF format)
A veneer is a thin shell of porcelain or plastic that is bonded to a tooth to improve its color and shape. A veneer generally covers only the front and top of a tooth. Veneers can be used to close spaces between teeth, lengthen small or … (read our Veneers brochure in PDF format)
With bonding, we can close spaces between teeth, lengthen small or misshapen teeth, or whiten stained or dark teeth. We can shape and color a single tooth, or improve your entire smile. When teeth are chipped or beginning to wear, bonding can … (read our Bonding brochure in PDF format)
Over time, your teeth darken as minerals penetrate their outer enamel layer. This darkening can be caused by foods and beverages that stain, such as coffee, colas, tea, red wine or berries. Tobacco products, like cigarettes, cigars and chewing … (read our Home Whitening brochure in PDF format)
Until recently, silver amalgam was the material most often used to restore decayed portions of your teeth, especially back teeth. Unfortunately, silver fillings can really darken a smile, and amalgam, by its very nature, can cause damage to your … (read our White Fillings brochure in PDF format)
A tooth-colored crown may be made of both porcelain and metal, or, thanks to newly available technology, it may be made entirely of porcelain. Recent breakthroughs in adhesives, combined with the development of stronger porcelain materials, … (read our Crowns brochure in PDF format)
A tooth-colored bridge may be made of both porcelain and metal, or, thanks to newly available technology, it may be made entirely of porcelain. Recent breakthroughs in adhesives, combined with the development of stronger porcelain materials, … (read our Bridges brochure in PDF format)
It used to be that we primarily used silver amalgam to restore damaged or decayed portions of your teeth. Unfortunately, amalgam fillings can be unsightly, and in the long run, they are usually not the best, most cost-effective solution. Amalgam … (read our Advantages brochure in PDF format)
Thanks to the development of new, stronger tooth-colored restorative materials, silver amalgam fillings are often not the best choice for longterm dental health, functionality and appearance. Amalgam fillings can expand with age, or undergo metal … (read our Amalgam Problems brochure in PDF format)
An indirect resin is a custom-crafted, white-plastic restoration that is bonded in place to restore a damaged tooth. The bonding technique allows the tooth to be restored to nearly its original strength because the bonding process adds strength to … (read our Procedure brochure in PDF format)
* When your bite is altered, or the position of your teeth is changed, it will feel different for a few days. It takes several days for your brain to recognize and adjust to the new conditions in your mouth. If you detect any high spots … (read our Post-Op Instructions brochure in PDF format)
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