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Let’s Get with the Program!!

Brushing your teeth does not have to be such drudgery! Those couple of minutes in the morning and at night seem to take forever, but with an electric toothbrush, it can be a much easier process. The Philips Sonicare line of toothbrushes, in my opinion, has no equal. It is by far the best brand of electric brush on the market. It really does give a much more thorough than a manual brush. It’s great for a wide range of people including children, orthodontic patients, the elderly, and especially people who have gum disease.

Often overlooked though, are the young adult population and healthy maturing adults. It is my choice for them as well. It will keep your teeth cleaner in between visits and greatly reduce plaque and calculus buildup. You will generally have a cleaner, fresher mouth and less stain buildup. It one of those things that you must experience in order to understand its value. You simply will not want to go back to a manual brush once you have used a Sonicare brush.
Where do I find one of these fancy things?

Sonicare brushes are easily found at local stores and there is probably 15-20 different sizes and styles. They range in price from $40 up to $250. An interesting thing to note, though, is all of their brushes generally work just as good as the next one regardless of price. Most of what Sonicare adds to the more expensive brushes is features. For instance, the Flexcare has a bluetooth app you can download to your phone if you want to monitor how well your kids are brushing instead of standing over them morning and night. The Diamond Clean is sleek and modern-looking with a charger disguised to look like a glass cup. This $200 version is beautiful, yes, but the less expensive models work just as well.


What Benefit do I really Gain?

One of the most valuable things a Sonicare does for you is it takes a lot of the brushing technique out of the equation. It does most of the work for you. You just place the brush where you want the bristles to clean and let it do the work. Some of the models have timers that beep, and some beep if you brush too hard. Probably one of the more useful features would be the different levels of intensity. For those that are tactile sensitive or have sensitive teeth the feature of multiple power levels may be useful. Even for those who are simply new to using an electric toothbrush, it can be helpful to begin with the “gentle” setting before moving up to the “deep clean” setting.  Read up on the model you are looking at to make sure it has what you want.

 

We are always more than happy to help you find the Sonicare model that is right for you. We receive no compensation from Sonicare, we care about the health of your mouth and the ease of keeping it clean between visits. There are plenty of stores you can visit to find yourself a Sonicare– your local Walmart or shop on Amazon. You can even go to Costco and buy 2 for the price of 1. Happy shopping!

Those Teeth Called Dental Implants!

Dental implants burst onto the scene way back in the 1990’s, and most dentists were skeptical both about their use and their longevity. We simply did not know how well they would function, how they would feel in the mouth, or how long they would last. The research and literature were positive and well-documented, but still, how would they actually work for the everyday patient?

How wrong many of us were. Implants have truly changed the very essence of living for millions of patients worldwide. The surgical placement and the restorative systems of implants were refined throughout the 2000’s and now they have become routine. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, secure a denture, or replace an entire dentition.

In our practice, we perform implant dentistry almost daily. It has been an incredibly rewarding part of our practice, as some of our patients had lost all hope of ever eating normally again prior to the placement of their implant.
Many patients have questions about just how they are placed and how they are restored. Please don’t hesitate to call our office or schedule a free implant consult. I enjoy educating patients about all of their options so that they can make an informed decision concerning their dental care. I gladly do these consults at no charge because it is such an important decision and the information is vital for the patient to understand what is and is not possible.

Photo Courtesy of Peter Kasprzyk

 

We have been doing implant dentistry since the early nineties and if I have learned one thing, experience counts. Therefore, if you have missing teeth or just want some answers, call us. I can give you an firsthand account of what to expect, since I am getting ready to have my first implant done in my own mouth as I write this.

Sincerely,

M. Scott Smith, DMD

Dental Bite Guards for Clenching and Grinding

If you are suffering from headaches, jaw soreness, or tooth pain you may be grinding or clenching at night and not even know it.

Many people grind and /or clench their teeth during the day and at night. This can be just out of habit or possibly from a change in your daily stress level. This problem is widespread and is common in both women and men. I call it the “silent killer” in dentistry because people are generally not aware of the long-term negative consequences from their daily stress.

You may have this problem and it could go undetected or undiagnosed for years. The symptoms vary widely from patient to patient. Many times, it will present as tooth pain from two or three teeth in one area of the mouth. It can range from a vague soreness to a very debilitating severe pain in one tooth. Other generalized symptoms could be frequent or constant headaches, shoulder soreness, and jaw soreness located just under the ear on one or both sides. This condition is sometimes difficult to diagnose because the symptoms may come and go. The symptoms can also widely range from mild to severe.

I usually see multiple patients a month who are grinding or clenching so intensely that they come to the dentist with what they report as a severe toothache. The treatment for these patients is usually easy, and with patience and proper care, their symptoms will resolve. Initially, I will do an examination to determine the underlying cause of the pain. If it is probable that you grind your teeth, I will usually prescribe a bite guard to be worn at night and/or during the day. This is used in conjunction with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warm compresses, massage therapy, and most importantly recognizing and minimizing the stress triggers that may be the root cause. A bite guard is an acrylic mouthpiece that is worn much like an orthodontic retainer. This stabilizes your bite and your jaw joint. It allows the teeth to fit together in a more favorable way and places your jaw joint in a more relaxed position.

One very common and very important subgroup of this condition is patients that grind but have no symptoms. They will usually report no pain, but upon clinical examination it is noticed that they are causing significant damage and excessive wear to their enamel (the first layer of the tooth). These tend to be males and as they grind their teeth over the years, their teeth they become shorter, fractured, and can even expose the nerve once the wear exceeds the thickness of the dentin (the second layer of the tooth). Fortunately, if this condition is diagnosed early, you can wear a bite guard and prevent the damage from occurring. However, if the wear goes unchecked, the treatment can be extensive and expensive and involve placing crowns on some or all of your teeth. If you have porcelain crowns in your mouth, a bite guard can even be used solely as a protective device to prevent fracture of the surface porcelain.

I often receive questions about using over-the-counter bite guards from the drug store. I do not recommend using these, as their consistency is soft, and this seems to stimulate clenching at night. Most of the over-the-counter guards (or “boil and bite” mouth guards) are made this way and seem to worsen the problem.

Sincerely,

M. Scott Smith, DMD

Your First Visit with Your New Dentist

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       At our office, if you are not in pain, I would like your first appointment to be a very comprehensive exam. I would like to meet you, get to know your concerns and hear what brought you to us. Next,  I would like to complete a thorough exam. During this time, we will discuss any issues that concern you and obtain any records we may need such as radiographs (x-rays)  or casts (plaster models of your mouth).  This more comprehensive approach will allow me to make a better diagnosis and prevent overlooking any problems.

“This more comprehensive approach will allow me to make a better diagnosis and prevent overlooking any problems.”

      By doing a more complete analysis, we can decide things such as what type of cleaning you will need and where we need to start on your treatment plan. With this gathering of information and your input, I can put together a treatment plan tailored just for your needs. This treatment plan is created only for you. Once you and I have a clear set of goals, we can begin.

“This treatment plan is created only  for you.”

       This treatment planning is sometimes overlooked, but is truly a vital part of providing customized care for each individual. It also represents the blue print for your dental care for a lifetime.

Sincerely,

M. Scott Smith, DMD

 

Wow!!! Buffered Anesthetic Equals LESS PAIN and More Profound Numbness

2099Dental anesthetics are currently stabilized for shipment with hydrochloric acid which, upon injection, can cause a stinging sensation. Before the anesthetic begins working, your body must naturally buffer the solution before it can be absorbed and numb the nerves. This is why, many times, the dentist gives an injection and has to wait 10-30 minutes before you begin to feel the full effect. Some patients have limited or slower ability to buffer. This means they may not ever feel completely numb, if at all.

Some patients have limited or slower ability to buffer. This means they may not ever feel completely numb, if at all.

At our office, we have the ability to buffer the anesthetic dose before the injection. A small amount of sterile sodium bicarbonate is placed into the anesthetic solution prior to giving you the injection. This dramatically increases the effectiveness of the anesthetic and reduces the time it takes to fully feel the effects. It can also reduce or eliminate the stinging sensation usually felt during the injection itself. in the past, I have had patients report not being able to get numb, even after having several injections in the same area. Buffering the anesthetic before the injection dramatically reduces these types of problems.

Buffering the anesthetic before the injection dramatically reduces these types of problems.

At our office, we always strive to make your visit as comfortable as possible, and buffered anesthetic is just another method to provide our patients with the best care possible.

Sincerely,

M. Scott Smith, DMD