06 Feb / 2017
There are different types of sedation dentistry … with oral surgery such as having third molars extracted, sleep sedation is often employed (this is also referred to as IV sedation). But for patients suffering from anxiety, the inability to recline for extended periods, or any mental/physical disability, oral sedation may be the ideal solution.
With oral sedation, the patient takes a sedative at home about one hour before their appointment. Upon arrival at the dental office and being seated in the treatment room, an additional sedative is administered. The patient goes from a moderately relaxed state to totally relaxed. In many instances, the patient feels like they slept through treatment; however, they do remain conscious.
Depending on what procedures are planned, an additional anesthetic (a numbing agent) may be administered. Anxious patients may opt for oral sedation for standard cleaning appointments; if decay is detected, cavities can be treated. For more serious problems like a fractured tooth, the tooth can be prepared for crown. Anything that can be treated during this appointment is completed, if possible.
As with any type of sedative, the patient will feel groggy for a few hours. Transportation to and from the dental office is required. Since the patient has remained conscious, they can leave as soon as they feel alert enough to do so. Upon arriving at home, it is advisable to have someone remain with the patient for a few hours … returning to work or school is discouraged.
Oral sedation dentistry is a great option for everyone involved. The patient can receive much needed dental treatment; the dentist can render care without worrying about the anxiety level of the patient; and everyone is relieved that the safety and comfort of the patient is being addressed.
Your dentist is required to receive additional education before being able to offer oral sedation. The dental office is equipped and the staff are trained to provide an environment that meets the requirements that govern oral sedation administration.
Of course, daily oral maintenance will help keep teeth healthy between dental visits … brush twice daily with a fluoridated tooth paste; and floss every day to remove food debris not reached during brushing.
To learn more about sedation dentistry or to schedule your next dental visit, contact the office of Dr. Eric Smith at 940-321-2340.
09 Jan / 2017
Dental anxiety can be a serious problem for patients who avoid the dentist because of their fear. This tendency can prevent the patient from accessing the care they need to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. Fortunately, there are some tips and techniques that you can use to overcome your dental anxiety and get the treatment you need.
First and foremost, you should be open with your dentist about any fears or concerns that you may have. There’s no need to be ashamed of dental anxiety. It’s a common condition. However, when you are upfront about that anxiety, your provider can address any specific concerns that you have and make sure that you are well-informed throughout the appointment and may adjust his or her technique in caring for you.
You can also do certain things to help keep calm during the appointment, such as focusing on breathing slowly and consistently. Avoiding caffeinated beverages, which can increase anxiety, before the appointment can also help, as can listening to music to block out unsettling sounds associated with the office.
Sedation dentistry is another useful tool for fearful patients. This approach uses sedative medications to help the patient achieve a deeply relaxed, sleep-like state. The patient remains conscious and able to respond to the provider’s instructions and the airway is not compromised. Additionally, the sedatives have an amnestic effect so the patient has no recollection of the treatment after it is complete.
Sedation dentistry is appropriate for routine appointments as well as more involved interventions. Your provider may offer different delivery methods for the sedatives, so explore these options to determine which one best meets your needs.
Don’t let dental anxiety keep you from getting routine exams, cleanings and other treatments that will help keep your smile in tip-top shape. Talk to our knowledgeable staff members to learn about the techniques and interventions that can help you overcome this obstacle to care.
07 Dec / 2016
Cosmetic dentistry can help patients make dramatic improvements in their smile, often in a minimal amount of time. If there are specific defects that are detracting from your smile, this specialty can help with modern treatments that address a range of flaws, such as discoloration or damaged teeth.
Teeth whitening is one particularly popular and simple cosmetic dentistry intervention. Some teeth whitening systems achieve results in as little as an hour. These treatments are administered in a dentist’s office, and the bleaching gel is activated by lasers, allowing it to take effect more quickly.
Patients may also choose at-home teeth whitening treatments in which they wear the bleaching gels in custom-designed trays for a specified number of hours. It does take a bit longer to achieve the desired results with this method, but results may be more consistent with at-home systems, which also typically cost less than in-office treatments.
Porcelain veneers are also useful in cosmetic dentistry. These versatile tooth-shaped shells can be bonded atop biological teeth to conceal flaws like chips, cracks and deep stains, as well as “straightening” a line of slightly crooked teeth or bring an undersized tooth into the correct proportions. After the veneers have be crafted according to the unique specifications of the patient’s smile, they are bonded to the patient’s teeth using dental cement. Although veneers are made of porcelain, they are quite strong when attached to the teeth and can last for years when the patient takes good care of them.
Dark metal fillings are another factor that can compromise your smile’s appearance, and patients who got these metal fillings years ago can upgrade to tooth-colored restorations, made of composite materials. Your old metal fillings can be removed and replaced with composite ones, eliminating the dark spots in your smile.
The art of improving smiles has become quite advanced, and patients can often see significant results in a matter of weeks. If you are dissatisfied with your smile’s appearance, call the office of Dr. Eric Smith at 940-321-2340 to schedule a consultation and learn about the interventions that can help you achieve the smile of your dreams.
08 Nov / 2016
Dental implants provide an ideal solution for patients that have experienced tooth loss through trauma, disease, decay, or a lack of biological teeth erupting.
Determining the candidacy of the patient involves a review of overall health followed by a comprehensive dental examination that includes dental x-rays. Sufficient bone strength is important to the success of the implant; if there is concern for lack of bone, a bone graft procedure might be required prior to placement.
The implant itself is a small titanium post that is surgically placed in gum tissue where tooth loss has occurred. During a healing period, the patient is undergoing a process called osseointegration. Jaw bone is grafting to the implant forming a strong base that will support the restoration that will eventually cover the implant.
The implant is usually made from titanium for its unique ability to merge with bone; in addition, titanium is a metal that the body does not very often reject.
Once the implant and surrounding tissue are completely healed, the dentist will cover the implant with an abutment. The final restoration will be tried in for fit and function. When all is correct (small adjustments can be made at this time, if needed) the prosthesis will be permanently cemented into place.
At this time, the implant procedure is completed. The patient will care for the implanted tooth just as care for biological teeth is rendered … daily brushing with a fluoridated tooth paste, daily flossing (the dentist will demonstrate the best way to floss around the implant), and visits every six months for cleaning and a dental exam complete what is needed for great dental health.
In addition, your dentist might recommend an antibacterial rinse for use during the healing period and once the restoration has been placed. This is like a little added insurance if there is any concern about infection.
The final restoration has been made to perfectly match surrounding natural teeth. So the result will be a tooth so natural and lifelike, no one will be able to tell which tooth is implanted. The dental implant has proven its longevity … it will likely last your lifetime.
To learn more about your tooth replacement options, contact the office of Dr. Eric Smith at 940-321-2340 and schedule your professional consultation today.
06 Oct / 2016
Tooth sensitivity can be both a quality of life issue as well as signify a need for professional treatment from a dentist. Having sensitive teeth can make drinking a hot or cold beverage very uncomfortable. In fact, sometimes enjoying a hot bowl of soup or even a spoonful of ice cream is unbearable. While tooth sensitivity can affect your dietary habits, it doesn’t have to become a permanent part of your life. There are measures you can take to reduce sensitivity and treatments are available that can increase the health of your teeth while offsetting uncomfortable symptoms.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
A few different things can cause sensitive teeth. Sometimes, patients whose gums have receded due to vigorous brushing practices or gum disease can experience sensitivity. This is because the roots of teeth aren’t coated with tooth enamel and therefore more prone to sensitivity because the tubules inside dentin are more likely to be exposed to debris and bacteria.
Thinning tooth enamel due to damage, disease, or developmental issues is also a common cause for tooth sensitivity. As with the roots of teeth exposed to debris and bacteria, thin or weak enamel can make the tubules of dentin quite sensitive to temperate foods and beverages.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
One thing patients can try at home is to avoid overly hot or cold drinks and food. We recommend that patients also avoid brushing to hard or vigorously as it can cause the gums to pull away from teeth. Toothpastes formulated for sensitive teeth may also be helpful as they contain ingredients that help seal the outside of teeth to prevent discomfort.
What are my treatment options?
If our dentist determines that a patient requires treatment for sensitive teeth, restorations may be necessary to strengthen tooth structure and prevent future damage from decay or breakage. Sealing the outer surface of a tooth may also be a method of treatment that can reduce discomfort.
To learn more about your treatment options, contact our office to schedule an appointment.
05 Sep / 2016
Invisalign is an increasingly popular method for straightening a crooked smile using barely noticeable clear plastic trays instead of conventional orthodontic appliances. Invisalign has an added advantage of a shorter treatment timeline than standard braces. If you are curious about this treatment option, the first step in getting started with Invisalign is an initial consultation with a dentist who provides this service.
At this first appointment, your dentist will examine your smile and collect information that is needed to design the Invisalign trays to produce the desired outcome. This may require dental impressions, photos or x-rays, or some combination thereof. That data is then assessed by three-dimensional computer imaging software to produce your custom-designed trays.
The provider will also determine whether Invisalign is likely to be effective in your case when you visit the office for the first time. Invisalign is able to address a wide variety of issues, from crowding to malocclusions, but it may not be the best choice for all patients.
Additionally, you will receive information about how Invisalign works, as well as the advantages of the treatment and responsibilities that the patient has in exchange for the increased convenience offered by Invisalign.
If you decide to move forward with Invisalign after your initial consultation, you can begin active treatment when the trays are ready. You’ll return to the office to receive the trays, as well as education on proper wear to achieve a straighter smile in the expected timeframe.
It’s important that you follow your provider’s instructions closely in order to achieve the desired repositioning of the teeth. Wear your aligners at least 20-22 hours a day, and don’t remove them outside of mealtime or when you’re brushing and flossing. You must also switch out the trays according to the prescribed schedule. Typically patients will change to a new tray every other week or so.
Are you interested in Invisalign to enhance your smile? Contact the office of Dr. Eric Smith at 940-321-2340 to schedule a consultation and get started down your treatment path.
09 Aug / 2016
Cosmetic dentistry has provided numerous advancements in recent years making many procedures once only available to the wealthy now more acceptable and accessible for many patients. Dental stain, crooked or misshapen teeth, chipped enamel … our dental team has a solution for these and many more cosmetic issues. You can arrange a consultation to see what can be done to enhance your smile!
Teeth whitening – This is possibly one of the most effective cosmetic enhancements you can enjoy. Patients wishing to have teeth whitened in one brief visit can opt for in-office whitening. There is also a program that allows the patient to whiten teeth at their own pace in the privacy of home with a customized plan designed to work for their needs.
Acquiring teeth whitening from your dentist versus online or your local store has numerous advantages: if you have questions or concerns, there is a dental professional available to address them. Being dispensed by a licensed dentist, the products you buy from your dentist are the most effective and powerful on the market giving you rapid and successful results when directions are correctly followed.
Tooth-colored restorations – Dental bonding or decay repair can be completed using a tooth colored composite resin that is both safe and aesthetically appealing. Cosmetic repairs can be done; old amalgam fillings can be removed and replaced; and small chips can be resolved using this strong bonding material. Completed repairs are virtually undetectable.
Porcelain veneers – Veneers are wafer thin, tooth colored shells that are made to be placed on the front of teeth requiring correction. One or multiple veneers can be prescribed to correct problems such as gaps between teeth, uneven or misshapen teeth, deep dental stain, or broken teeth.
Veneers are made by the dental lab to the size, shape, and color as designated by your dentist. When they are ready to place, they will be “tried-in” for size, comfort, appearance, and functionality. Small tweaks can be made by your dentist, if needed. A minimal amount of dental enamel will have been removed from the front of teeth receiving veneers so when cemented in place they will blend in with untreated teeth.
You can readily see how cosmetic dentistry can enhance your smile. But it is up to you to take the first. Contact the office of Dr. Eric Smith at 940-321-2340 to schedule your professional consultation.
Being able to keep your biological teeth for your lifetime is a worthy goal. But for patients that have suffered oral trauma, disease, extensive decay, or whose teeth never erupted properly, there is a solution that mimics your own natural teeth … dental implants.
Whether you require teeth extraction or are missing teeth already, your dentist can resolve your dental dilemma. Dental implants will be placed in the gums where one or more teeth are missing … whether you need one tooth, a bridge, or an entire arch, dental implants can provide a solution.
The implant itself is a small titanium post that is surgically embedded in the gum tissue. You will undergo a period of time to allow the implant area to heal; during this time bone is fusing to the implant to give it strength to support the restoration much like the roots of a natural tooth support the structure seen above the gum line.
Once the healing process is completed, your dentist will fit you with a dental prosthesis that will so closely match your missing biological teeth, no one will be able to tell the difference. This final restoration may be one crown, an implant-supported bridge, or entire denture.
You will now have permanent teeth that allow you to speak and smile without concern or embarrassment. But most importantly, dental implants allow you to enjoy all the foods you love. There are no limits … crunchy, chewy, hard, or soft. You no longer have to cut your food into tiny bites or smash into soft mush. You can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, a thick juicy steak, or crunchy nuts and chips … many of the things you had to avoid before are no longer forbidden.
Now that your smile makeover is complete, taking care of your new teeth is as easy as ever. Brush twice daily with a fluoridated tooth paste, floss daily, and see your dentist every six months for a cleaning and dental exam.
To learn more about your tooth replacement options, contact the office of Dr. Eric Smith at 940-321-2340 today to schedule your professional consultation.
08 Jun / 2016
Dry mouth can be uncomfortable and can occur for numerous reasons. Illness, medications, and certain medical treatments can result in dry mouth … anxiety can lead to that dry, sticky feeling as well. If you experience dry mouth frequently, you may be suffering from xerostomia. There are solutions; a visit with your dentist will help to diagnose what is at the base of your dry mouth and things you can do to bring relief.
If you have suffered a medical problem or illness, your medication or treatment rendered could result in a dry mouth. Your dental professional may be able to find an alternative medication to ease the problem.
Patients that suffer with allergies or cold symptoms may take an antihistamine or decongestant. The ingredients in these types of drugs will not only dry out your sinuses, but will work on your mouth and throat too. Running a fever can dry the mouth also … consuming lots of fluids are recommended when these conditions are present.
When you are nervous or anxious, you might experience the sensation of a dry mouth. This is often temporary, and when you relax your saliva production problem may be resolved.
Thinking that your dry mouth is no big deal could be a mistake … there are problems beyond basic thirst that could occur if dry mouth is allowed to continue. You could develop mouth sores, chapped lips, a dry or sore throat and/or tongue, and chronic bad breath. The risk of developing dental decay or gum disease increases as well.
These problems associated with dry mouth are due to a lack of saliva production. Think of saliva as the body’s personal mouth wash continually cleansing the mouth of harmful bacteria. Saliva glands can often be coaxed into working by sucking on sugar free candy or chewing sugar free gum. Staying hydrated with water is helpful; avoid caffeinated beverages.
Brush with a fluoridated tooth paste to keep teeth and gums as healthy as possible. Your dentist will be able to recommend an over the counter saliva substitute to help as well.
The problems associated with dry mouth often increase as we age. This can make wearing partials and dentures difficult, so make sure to discuss your concerns with your dentist.
For more information or to schedule your next dental exam, contact the office of Dr. Eric Smith at 940-321-2340 today.
09 May / 2016
If your teeth are not properly aligned, your dentist might recommend orthodontic treatment. Traditionally, this has meant metal braces to shift teeth into their desired positions. Today, however, more and more patients are turning to Invisalign as an alternative.
If you are considering orthodontic treatment, you should consult with your dentist regarding your goals. In some cases, traditional braces will provide better results.
Invisalign can be used to treat a variety of orthodontic issues including:
- Gaps between the teeth
- Crooked teeth
For successful Invisalign treatment, you must also be prepared to take proper care of your aligner trays and wear them as your dentist recommends. As a general rule, you’ll be required to wear the trays at least twenty-two hours a day for the best possible long term results. Care of the trays includes keeping them clean and away from staining agents and hot liquids that could warp the plastic. Trays can be brushed when you brush your teeth or cleaned with a special solution.
Advantages to Invisalign
If your orthodontic issues make you a good candidate, Invisalign can offer you numerous advantages over traditional braces. Since many adults are self conscious about traditional metal braces, Invisalign provides an option that is virtually invisible. Many people won’t even realize you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. In addition, you can take the trays out for brief periods, including while you eat or for special occasions.
Invisalign trays are made of smooth plastic, which is less likely to cause irritation than traditional wires. Each tray moves your teeth a small amount, until, by the time you reach the final tray, your teeth have been aligned to form a perfect smile.
If your teeth are misaligned, crooked, or have gaps between them, ask our dental team about Invisalign. We’ll evaluate your teeth and determine if this is the best treatment option for you. Call the office of Dr. Eric Smith at 940-321-2340 to schedule your visit.