My Blog

Posts for: January, 2013

QuestionsYouShouldAskBeforeGettingADentalImplant

Anytime you are considering an implant surgery to replace missing teeth, you should take the time to gather the facts so that you have clear understanding of the procedure, your options and any potential risks. You should also feel comfortable with the dental team who is treating you. For these reasons, we created the following comprehensive list of questions so that you can obtain the answers you need to help you feel at ease prior to treatment.

  • Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
  • What is the success rate for dental implants?
  • How long have you been placing implants and how many do you place each year?
  • Can you show me some before and after photos that illustrate your work?
  • What are the risks, benefits and alternatives to dental implants?
  • Are dental implants ever rejected?
  • How do you assess whether I have enough bone to anchor dental implants?
  • Can you tell me about the surgical procedure for implant placement?
  • How long will the entire process take from my first appointment until I have my implant(s) and crown(s) in place?
  • Do I have to go without teeth while my implants are healing?
  • What type of anesthesia will you use during my implant surgery?
  • What can I expect in the hours and days following my implant surgery?
  • How long will it take my implants to heal?
  • How long can I expect my implants to last?
  • Will there be any maintenance required with my implant(s)?
  • How much will dental implant(s) cost?
  • Will my insurance cover all or a portion of the cost?

To learn more, read “Dental Implants, Evaluating Your Professional Options For Care.” Or, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.


UnderstandingtheImportanceofPain-FreeDentistry

No one wants to experience pain when they go to the dentist. However, are you aware that anesthesia is beneficial to both you and your dental professionals? It enables us to concentrate on doing our best work with the assurance that you are perfectly comfortable. In fact, local anesthesia has literally revolutionized pain control; it is one of the most effective tools in dentistry and medicine.

But before we continue, let's cover a few of the basics. “Anesthesia” (“ana” – without; “esthesia” – sensation) literally means without feeling or pain. “Local” refers to the site at which the anesthesia is used, in other words, where the action (and pain relief) is needed. Local anesthetics come in two varieties: topical and injectable.

We use topical anesthetics to numb just the top surface of the gums or oral lining surfaces of the mouth to provide surface comfort during procedures such as a superficial teeth cleaning. We apply them in a variety of ways: with a Q-tip, cotton swab, adhesive patch or a spray. Most importantly, we use them before administering injections (shots) so you don't feel a thing.

Injectables deliver medication though a needle that will briefly block the sensation of pain from the teeth, gums and bone. They accomplish this by temporarily blocking the conduction of electrical impulses along the nerves that supply the gums and teeth with feeling so that you can be treated comfortably. They are especially important for treatments such as filling a deep cavity, tooth cleaning or extraction, or for gum surgery.

So which anesthesia is right for you?
Depending on the type of treatment or procedure we are performing, we will select the most suitable anesthetic. However, if you normally feel anxious about your dental visits, please let us know this in advance when scheduling your appointment. Having this knowledge in advance, we can ensure that your experience is free of both anxiety and pain — a result that will make both of us happy!

To learn more about this topic, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Local Anesthesia For Pain-Free Dentistry.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions.


By Mark Lukin
January 07, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  
TakeaNewLookatRootCanalTreatment

The term “root canal” strikes fear into many dental patients. But rest assured that this procedure is the best solution to many severe dental problems. It can be pain-free and will actually relieve pain and suffering from infections and dental injuries.

Why would you need root canal treatment? This procedure becomes necessary when the pulp, the nerve tissue on the inside of a tooth's root, becomes inflamed or infected because of deep decay, or when it has suffered a severe injury as a result of an accident or blow to the mouth. The pulp is composed of living tissues including nerves and blood vessels.

Root canal treatment may be necessary if you have a wide variety of signs or symptoms. The pain can feel sharp or intense when biting down, or linger after eating hot or cold foods. Sometimes it can be a dull ache or there may be tenderness and swelling in your gums near the site of the infection.

After trauma, the pulp of a tooth can be exposed or damaged because a tooth has fractured or cracked, necessitating root canal treatment. And the procedure is often needed for permanent teeth that have been dislodged or knocked out.

What exactly is root canal treatment? Root canal treatment is also called endodontic treatment, from the Greek roots “endo” meaning “inside” and “odont” meaning “tooth.” During the procedure, the area is numbed to relieve pain. A small opening is created in the chewing surface of the tooth and very small instruments are used to remove dead and dying tissue from the inside. The pulp is needed during a tooth's growth and development, but a mature tooth can survive without it. The canal is disinfected and then sealed with filling materials. Sometimes root canal specialists use microscopes to work at an intricate level of detail on these tiny areas of the tooth's root.

By having root canal treatment, you prevent inflammation and infection from spreading from the root of a particular tooth to other nearby tissues. Infection can result in resorption, an eating away of the root and its anchoring bone, and you could lose your tooth or teeth. So please don't hesitate when we recommend this treatment. It's not as bad as you think, and you will feel significantly better afterwards.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about root canal treatment. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment” and “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth.”


By Mark Lukin
January 05, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
TeethWhiteningWhatYouNeedToKnow

Some of the most popular smile enhancers on the market today are both over-the-counter (OTC) and professional teeth whitening products. And while studies indicate that bleaching can successfully achieve noticeable increases in whitening of stained teeth, there are some facts you need to know about these products and the results that they can deliver.

  • Nearly all bleaching products contain the same basic ingredient, carbamide peroxide or its breakdown product, hydrogen peroxide. However, the products our office uses to professionally whiten your teeth are much stronger without compromising the health and safety of your teeth, gums, and mouth.
  • OTC bleaches typically contain no more that 10% carbamide peroxide while professional bleaches can contain between 15% and 35%. And to make professional bleaching even more effective, we may use them in combination with specialized lights or lasers.
  • Bleaching is NOT a permanent solution and thus results will diminish over time. The “fade rate” begins to occur 6 to 12 months after treatment.
  • While you can't avoid the fading process, you can extend your bleaching results by avoiding foods and drinks that stain your teeth, such as red wine, red (tomato-based) sauces, coffee, tea, sodas/colas, and blueberries to name a few.
  • Another method for extending your results is to use a straw when drinking beverages that can stain your teeth so that the liquid does not come in contact with your teeth.
  • If you have visible crowns and/or veneers mixed with your natural front teeth, it may be quite difficult for you to bleach your natural teeth so that they perfectly match your veneers or crowns. Remember, tooth whitening is not effective on crowns, veneers, bridgework, or any type of artificial tooth.
  • One of the most common side effects of whitening teeth is tooth sensitivity and irritation of the gum tissues. They both are usually temporary and often occur when you start bleaching; however, they generally subside after a few days.

Overall, bleaching your teeth is an effective way to brighten your smile with minimal side effects. If it is something you are interested in pursuing, talk it over with us first — even if you plan to use OTC products — so that you have a clear understanding about your specific options and projected outcomes. Or, learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Teeth Whitening: Brighter, Lighter, Whiter....”