Thursday, May 28, 2015

Do I Need a Crown? What Material is Best?

PHOTO: emax crown.

What is a dental crown?

A crown is a dental restoration that covers or caps a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and size.

Why would I need a crown?

A crown is often placed over a tooth that may have been previously restored with a large filling and now needs a crown. This is usually because there is a lack of remaining solid tooth structure to support a large filling.

Sometimes a crown is placed on a tooth that has a stress fracture and is sensitive to biting. Often a crown is required to restore a tooth after endodontic treatment (root canal therapy). Teeth that have fractured often need a crown.

Finally, some teeth that are malformed of discolored need a crown.

What material is best for my crown?

Your dentist can help you decide to select the proper material for your crown.

For many years, gold was considered the best material for crowns, often used on the back teeth, molars and premolars. Due to increasing esthetic demands ,it is not as popular today. It still is used sometimes for back molars and is often preferred by most dentists in their own mouths.

Porcelain fused to metal crowns have been the most popular over the last thirty years. Sometimes the porcelain can chip over time and require a minor repair or require a crown replacement.

There have been many recent advances in materials the last few years.

One type of new material is lithium disilicate, often called IPSemax or emax. This material provides optimum aesthetics and impressive strength. It looks like natural tooth enamel.

PHOTO: Zirconia crown.

What about Zirconia crowns?

Another recent innovation is zirconia crowns. 

 Zirconia is a natural metal that is bio-compatible with the human body. It is harder than an emax crown and it is extremely rare to chip. These crowns have been in use for approximately five years with excellent results.

The original zirconia crown was called Bruxzir.

Here's an interesting video showing the strength of this crown, "The Hammer Test."

Do crowns look natural?

Five years ago, the zirconia crowns often appeared too white and did not look as natural. They were placed primarily on posterior (back) teeth. They looked monochromatic, not implementing several natural shadings in the crown. Recent advances have improved the aesthetics of zirconia crowns to look more natural.

Making a crown look natural is very important on the front teeth. Sometimes, a dental technician specializing in aesthetics is consulted with the patient to get the proper “look” of the crown to match the adjacent teeth.

Our office will help you in the decision making process of selecting the proper crown for restoring you smile.

Contact us today to discuss crowns and your dental needs.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dry Mouth Can Give You Cavities

Have you had trouble eating, swallowing, or talking, due to lack of moisture in your mouth?

The technical term is xerostomia, a lack of saliva or spit.

Dry mouth, also called cotton mouth, can be common during stress or as a side effect of some medicines. But you need saliva in your mouth to prevent cavities. Your saliva contains good bacteria that fight off the bad bacterial causes of tooth decay.

Most people are probably unaware of how dry mouth can increase cavities. It's an important consideration in cases of when a person's mouth seems to be dry a lot.

While various medicines and treatments can inhibit your salivary glands, the cure for dry mouth can be simple. 

Changing your medication may do the trick. 

Just drinking more fluids can help a lot, too. Keep water with you more often, sipping on it frequently. Help yourself to lemonade, grape juice, tomato juice, kefir, green tea, and your favorite healthy, hydrating beverages.

Increase your intake of watery substances, like grapes, melons, oranges, tangerines, berries, and other juicy fruits.

Then there are special rinses, gels, toothpastes, mouth washes, and moisturizing gels available.

Consult your medical doctor or dentist if dry mouth is a problem. 

If left untreated, recurrent dry mouth can mean a big increase in tooth decay, which we all want to avoid.

Contact my office if you have this, or any other, oral health or dental problem.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dental exams can find early stage oral cancer

A dentist can be your first line of defense against mouth cancer.

Your dentist examines your tongue and mouth for early signs of oral cancer. This practice has been helpful for many patients, enabling them to identify mysterious sores and bumps and seek treatment before disease has spread.

The Oral Cancer Foundation states:

"Any sore, discoloration, induration, prominent tissue, irritation, hoarseness, which does not resolve within a two week period on its own, with or without treatment, should be considered suspect and worthy of further examination or referral.

There are two separate issues, discovery and diagnosis.

Discovery is the result of a thorough visual and manual examination. A protocol for a comprehensive oral cancer screening appears elsewhere in this section of the web site.

It includes a systematic visual examination of all the soft tissues of the mouth, including manual extension of the tongue to examine its base, a bi-manual palpation of the floor of the mouth, and a digital examination of the borders of the tongue, and the lymph nodes surrounding the oral cavity and in the neck. 

New diagnostic aids, including lights, dyes, and other techniques are beginning to appear on the marketplace. While making the discovery process more effective, it is still possible to do a comprehensive examination through a proper visual and tactile process."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

Sudden, brief, transient pains in teeth can occur with hot foods, cold drinks, sugary substances, cold air, or sour substances. You get a sharp ache that drives down into the root of your tooth. It's very unpleasant.

Most of the time, this happens because the dentin is exposed due to the gum being pulled back. The dentin readily and rapidly sends a signal to the root where nerves are, and a shooting pain occurs.

WebMD provides a good list of what causes sensitivity in teeth:
  • Wear and tear. Over time, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristledtoothbrush or grinding your teeth can wear down enamel and expose the dentin.
  • Damage. Chipped or broken teeth may fill with bacteria. The bacteria can enter the pulp, causing inflammation.
  • Teeth grinding. Grinding or clenching your teeth may wear down the enamel and expose the dentin.
  • Tooth-whitening products. These products may be major contributors to sensitive teeth.
  • Age. Teeth are most sensitive between ages 25 and 30.
  • Plaque buildup. The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.
  • Long-term mouthwash use. Some over-the-counter products contain acids that can make sensitivity worse if your dentin is already exposed. Ask your dentist about a neutral fluoride solution.
  • Acidic foods. Food and drinks with a high acid content, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, and tea, can wear down enamel.
  • Dental work. Teeth cleaning, root planing, crown placement, andtooth restoration can make teeth sensitive. This should go away in 4 to 6 weeks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Kavo DIAGNOdent cavity detector

The KaVo DIAGNOdent is helping my patient have healthy teeth through advanced technology.

This amazing tool measures the density, or hardness, of teeth. By finding soft spots, decay can be dealt with more quickly, since X rays only show advanced bacterial tooth damage.

By detecting tooth decay sooner and dealing with it in earlier stages, you can avoid more expensive treatments.

I like offering my patients the most effective procedures currently available. Having the latest dental equipment and tools is part of my pain-free, affordable, high tech dentistry.

Notice how I'm placing the KaVo DIAGNOdent on top of the tooth in the model below.

It's a digital device that is far better for detecting soft spots on the top of teeth. Soft spots means cavities. DIAGNOdent is over 90% accurate in caries (cavities) detection.

DIAGNOdent is more accurate than the manual steel probe shown in photo BELOW.

DIAGNOdent uses a laser to help find hidden decay by scanning teeth with pulses of laser light.

Call my office to learn more about this and other dental technology that increases your comfort and gives better results.

Watch this DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection video for more information.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How To Evaluate a Dentist

Not all dentists are the same. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new. Most of you have been to more than one dentist in your life. Do you remember an experience that was not so great? It probably made you seek a better dentist.

Sometimes you stick with the same dentist you had as a child, teen, or young adult. But sometimes you move to a new town and have to find a new dentist.

Here are some issues to consider and questions to ask when evaluating a new dentist.

  • What are the office hours? Are they convenient for your schedule?
  • Is the office easy to get to from work or home?
  • Where was the dentist educated and trained?
  • What's the dentist's approach to preventive dentistry?
  • How often does the dentist attend conferences and continuing education workshops?
  • Does the dentist use the latest dental technology, for increased effectiveness and comfort?
  • Does the dentist explain procedures and options in a down to earth manner that you understand?
  • Does the dentist welcome your questions?
  • Does the dentist seem like a happy, self-confident person who loves her or his profession?
  • Does the dentist seem like a genuinely nice person -- or do they seem cold?
  • What type of anesthesia and pain relief is the dentist certified to administer?
  • What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours? (Most dental offices will  make arrangements with a colleague or emergency referral service, if they're unable to tend to your emergency.)
  • Is information provided about all fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled? 
  • Are the pros and cons of each dental work option fully explained to you?
  • In comparison shopping, be sure to ask for estimates on some common procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, an oral exam and cleaning, and filling a cavity.
  • Does the dentist participate in your dental health plan?
  • Does the office seem tidy, cheerful, clean?
  • Do any of your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers recommend this dentist based on actual experience?
  • Does the dentist specialize in what you need (children, people with anxiety, elderly, disabled patients)?
  • What is the dentist's office policy on missed appointments? How much notice do you have to give when canceling an appointment, to avoid a charge?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fixed bridge: Before and After

Here is a sample of my dental work. The photo ABOVE shows the patient prior to my work on restoring a fixed bridge that some other dentist installed.

The photo BELOW shows the nice results of my dental work.

Smile enhancement can be affordable, pain free, and done with the latest high tech equipment, for better and faster results.

A new smile can mean a better life, more confidence, and less anxiety about your appearance.

Now, how can I improve YOUR smile?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

6 Ways to Reduce Cavities and Improve Dental Health

When I was a kid, it seemed like that I always had some cavities at my dental check-up. A good exam for me was announcing to my mom that I only had one cavity. That was before fluoride was introduced into toothpaste and no information was given about flossing.

Today, we have more information available to help our patients reduce their cavities and keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Cavities are caused by bacteria in our mouth that make holes in our teeth. The bacteria feed off carbohydrates, especially sugar and make acid to weaken enamel and dentin.

(1) Reduce carbohydrate intake, especially sugars.

Mints, suckers, and any candy, including cough drops that stay in your mouth a long time, are harmful to our teeth. Sweet Tarts have the terrible combination of acid and sugar. If you feel the craving to eat something sweet, eat dark chocolate.

If you prefer milk chocolate, even a Hersey bar does not stay in your mouth very long. Crackers are carbohydrates that will feed the bacteria that make cavities. Eat fruits for snacks. Cheese can be beneficial to your teeth.

(2) Avoid acidic beverages.

Drinks with a lot of acid in them include such favorites as Coke, Pepsi, Sunny Delight, Capri Sun, tomato and V8 juice, and even Gatorade. 

All of these have a low pH, 2.7 or lower. If you drink soda, limit it to one meal per day and use diet soda.

Try to drink water right after drinking the soda to wash away the sugar and reduce the acid attack. Do not drink soda in between meals.

(3 ) Ask your dentist about prescription fluoride toothpaste.

Colgate Prevident 5000 can be prescribed to patients that are cavity prone. It costs about $9.00 per tube and is very beneficial in stopping decay.

(4) Lack of saliva can promote cavities.

Many medications can diminish saliva flow. Patients undergoing chemotherapy often have a reduced saliva flow. 

People will say that they have "cotton mouth" or a "dry mouth". The lack of saliva enhances the ability of the bacteria to grow.

There are over the counter products made by Biotene, available at Walgreen’s and CVS that help people with a dry mouth.

(5) Brush at least twice a day, especially before bedtime and floss once per day. It takes about two minutes to brush and one to two minutes to floss.

(6) If you are still getting cavities after all of these recommendations, ask your dentist to make custom fluoride trays. Prescription fluoride gel will prevent new decay almost totally. The fluoride must be used daily.

Need more in-depth, personal advice about your teeth and gums?

Our office can help you determine a course of action for your needs to keep your teeth cavity free.

Contact us by phone during our business hours, or send me an email or post a comment.

A new, improved smile can mean a whole new life, with increased social poise and self-confidence.

Fluoride trays.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Basic Facts About Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural mineral. It exists naturally in all water supplies and even in some brands of bottled water.   
PHOTO ABOVE shows fluoride varnishing for people who are persistently prone to cavities.

For many years the recommended dose was 1 part per million in drinking water.

Recently, the recommended dose has been reduced to 0.7 parts per million. This provides the benefit of reducing cavities without causing minor fluorosis, small white specks on teeth.

Topical fluoride is applied to the teeth and absorbed into the enamel. This is found is toothpaste and mouth rinses, such as ACT or Listerine Fluoride Rinse.

At our dental office, we can apply topical varnish to children and adults. The varnish is applied with an applicator similar to a Q-tip and takes less than one minute. For patients that are cavity prone, we often prescribe a special toothpaste, Prevident 5000. This toothpaste will generally stop future decay.

Systemic fluoride is taken into the body through drinking fluoridated water, fluoride supplement, and even food and beverages. Fluoride is deposited into developing teeth and bones, to make them stronger.

Value of a Smile (1940s) ADA film VIDEO

Oral hygiene can be very interesting and make your life a lot better. American Dental Association archive film. Explanation of x-rays, prevention, tooth care.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Family Nutrition ADA psa 1960s

American Dental Association uses cartoon to explain how family eating habits affect dental health.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

3 Flossing Mistakes Darth Vader Would Never Make VIDEO

Great video on flossing. Dr. Joel Gould "3 Mistakes Darth Vader Would Never Make in Flossing." The American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors the month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health, and they report that 50% of adults floss once each day. According to Joel Gould DDS, author of The Perfect Smile, “There are 3 mistakes Darth Vader would NEVER make when flossing, and neither should YOU.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Brush Your Teeth and get more dates! VIDEO


Good grooming equals more dates with hot guys and gals. Public service message from your local dental society and this television station, circa 1960s.

Still holds true today. But now we have much more available now for pain-free, affordable, high technology solutions for your dental needs.

  "Brush Your Teeth!" and even your love life could improve!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Fond childhood memories of a good dentist VIDEO

"A Smile for Life" American Dental Association 1960s public service announcement video. Have you ever had a dentist that you enjoyed visiting as a child? Better than going to the movies? LOL Dr. Brand is a role model of the modern pain free, affordable, high tech dentist who makes all patients as comfortable and satisfied as possible.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Candy Means Cavities claymation dentistry VIDEO

 Claymation-based public service announcement (PSA) televisiion spot encouraging youngsters to "kick the sweet snack habit -- and save a tooth!"

 Videos like this are wonderful to show to children to entertain them and make them laugh, while overcoming their fears and teaching them valuable lessons about dental hygiene.

 Looking for a pain free, affordable, high technology dentist in the Peoria, IL area?

 Contact me today, right now, while you're thinking about it.

 A New and Better Smile WILL Change Your Life.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Plaque Prevention children's ADA psa VIDEO

Kids tell kids about fighting plaque, cavities, and gum disease.

 One way to help children overcome fear of dentist visits is to educate them about their teeth. Teaching young people how to maintain a healthy mouth and teeth will enable them to greatly reduce their future dental troubles.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Love a Healthy Smile ADA VIDEO

Good way to teach children about healthy teeth and gums. American Dental Association PSA.