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Doctor's corner

When to Have Teeth Filled and Why

Teeth are made up of 3 layers, hard outer enamel, softer dentin and the inner pulp (nerve).  Bacterial products can break down the outer enamel layer and create a cavity into the second layer, dentin.  This layer is a much easier environment for the bacteria to break down.  When the decay has reached the junction of the enamel and dentin layers it becomes a problem that must be mechanically removed.  Often times there is no pain involved at this level.  The damage cannot be reversed at this point and should be filled before it becomes close to or into the pulp (nerve) area.  Many people want to wait until there is pain but it could be too late for a simple filling if that happens.  X-rays and clinical exams are the best ways to evaluate the level of decay and should be performed often enough to evaluate the changes. 

Every person has their own level of bacteria present in the mouth that can contribute to dental decay.  Some people have very high levels whereas others have very low.  Along with diet, habits and quality of tooth structure, the decay rate can be evaluated by the Doctor and a proper treatment plan can be made. 

Other factors to consider are the shape and position of the teeth, how the teeth bite together and whether it's an adult (permanent) tooth or child (primary) tooth.  Primary teeth have less enamel and a different shape than permanent teeth so decay may enter the softer dentin more quickly.

When a tooth needs a filling, the decay is cut away and filled.  It is important not to fill the tooth too soon.  Early decay can be reversed and become strong again or remain stagnant for some time.  A conservative filling placed just at the right time is always a benefit.

For more discussion on this topic, please call our office at  763-421-4640

Cancer Screening

VelScope is the newest oral cancer-screening tool available to us. We offer this as an annual opportunity to screen for any abnormal cell growth in your mouth. The exam is simply a light scope that we use outside of the mouth. There is no need to swish with the pre-rinse which makes it even more comfortable than our previous screening technique.  Many cancers and diseases, like Human papillomavirus, can be detected in the mouth. Men and women are both at risk as these conditions are not necessarily gender specific.  There is a 50% success rate after 5 years with Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  We check the tongue, lips, gums, throat, palate (roof of the mouth) and soft palate (back of the roof of the mouth) at each exam.

Until recently, we only observed with our regular vision at your clinical exam. We cannot see the lesions until they have advanced to a more invasive stage. Increased risk factors guide us to decide whether or not a biopsy should be taken. Research has shown us, however, that many people without increased risk factors are susceptible to oral cancer as well.

We want to offer our patients the best opportunity to have a healthy mouth and overall wellness. We are hoping for insurance companies to follow in this promising advancement of technology for dentists.  If you've ever known anyone with this cancer, you know how serious it is.  Don't be caught unaware.  Our patients' lives are important to us.

Please ask us if you have any questions.

Teeth Whitening 

Whitening your teeth can be an exciting and easy way to improve your smile. We offer 3 different types of whitening and will help you choose the right one for your mouth.

Crest White Strips Supreme, can only be distributed by a dental professional. The kit comes with 3 weeks of treatment for the upper and lower teeth. The strips are effective for most people 12 years and older. Due to limited coverage and generic fit, you may choose a custom-made option. The over-the-counter type will cover 2 weeks with less peroxide.

Some adults may prefer to have Custom Whitening Trays made. You may purchase for both upper and lower or single arch. The trays take about a week to be made after a simple impression of your mouth. The whitening is placed by you at home and worn according to the instructions.

For those that want a quick and safe means to jump start your whitening process, You may choose our LumiBrite In-Office Whitening. This method has a unique light to offer full mouth, single arch or single tooth/teeth options. It also does not use UV radiation like Zoom. A painted on tissue protection is applied, secured and monitored to aid in the protection of your gum tissues. 

The whitening process includes two back-to-back 30-minute sessions with a re-application of desensitizing gel and whitening solution. We evaluate your success half way through. Tray whitening may be necessary to enhance the process and is part of the cost of this service.

With any whitening process you choose, good oral health is necessary, gums may become temporarily irritated and relapses may occur. Let us help you achieve the great smile you’ve always wanted.

Implants

Are you missing one or more of your teeth?

Do you have a complete denture or partial denture that is no longer completely comfortable?

Have you ever been embarrassed by your bridge or denture?

If you answered yes, or know someone who has, we may be able to help.

Implants are a fantastic option for replacing missing teeth.  If there is an adequate amount on bone in the area, an implant may be anchored in and gives you the strength and stability you're looking for.  

Dental Implants...

     - are the most  advanced tooth replacement system
     - help preserve the jawbone to prevent the appearance of aging
     - look and function like NATURAL teeth
     - improve comfort, appearance and speech
     - 95% success rate
     - eat foods and smile and laugh with confidence
     - conservative treatment option (adjacent teeth are left untouched)
     - will not decay (cavities), therefore will never need a root canal treatment
     - stabilize a new or existing lower denture
     - may eliminate the need for a denture
     - acts like a 3rd set of teeth that are long lasting
     - custom made parts offer satisfying esthetics

Proper maintenance is essential and can be easily achieved through education from the dental team.   We work with the Oral Surgeon to plan your case and offer you any options possible.  The process may be easier than you expect.  Call us to discuss the treatment steps and see if this is the right option for you.

Duraflex by Myerson

Duraflex flexible partials are a great option for a metal-free replacement of a missing tooth (teeth).  They are custom designed to replace 1-2 teeth on one side of your mouth (unilateral) or multiple teeth on both sides (bilateral).  The lightweight material is strong and blends in with your gum tissue for an unnoticeable solution.  Our patients love their comfort and tight fit.  If you have had trouble with metal frame designs, have weak teeth remaining, metal sensitivity or just want to replace a tooth without a lot of extra bulk, this may be what you are looking for. 

Don't be afraid to smile anymore, call us to find out if this will work for you.