Saturday, March 28, 2009

How About a Smile Makeover?

Cosmetic dentistry has been a dental buzzword for many years now. Now, the "Makeovers" are the new buzzwords. The publicity on makeovers would have you think, "This must be something new!" As in all things creative, it is merely the rearranging of the old in a new way. Dr. L has pioneered cosmetic dentistry techniques to make patients' smiles "their way." Dr. L makes over patients smiles in an new-yet-old way that provides the patient an opportunity to participate in the designing of their smile. In contrast, think about how most dentists design a smile: they send models of the prepared teeth to their dental lab, and without much guidance, the dental laboratory makes the smile (crowns, bridges, veneers, etc.). Sometimes, computer-generated pictures or models are sent. However, there are some logistical issues with this. How does one position the picture on the models? Left? Right? Up? Down? Where do you put a computer generated picture on a set of tooth prepared models?

More times than Dr. L can remember, new patients arrive being unhappy with their smile. With the creative new-yet-old techniques of making a crown or bridge wax tooth pattern to try in on a patients prepared teeth, a patient's smile can be designed and tested their way. This means the middle of the crowns can be made to fit the middle of the face, allowing the smile line to follow the guidelines of the eyes and lips. This means a masculine or feminine smile can be created first in wax, and with that patient's approval, the pattern can be then made into porcelain crowns, bridges, or veneers of that shape, length, and form. This technique works perfectly for crowns, bridges, and veneers. Dr. L will even do a single tooth wax pattern on many occasions, and there is no tooth too small to need that unique design afforded by a special artistic pattern. This makes the crown look more appropriate for our patients, but is this an old technique? No, it is not. It is a technique that Dr. L pioneered and developed and the dental world has yet to catch on to. When they do, it will be the new makeover, and we wonder what it will be named? Computers are helpful in selecting a smile and determining if the crowns-bridges-veneers need to be longer, wider, narrower, etc. However, without trying a pattern in the mouth and on the prepared teeth, it is exceedingly difficult to find a naturalistic result. The three dimensions of where a pattern is needed to be placed in a face is the most important part of a smile design. Where do you place the shape of the teeth (crowns, bridges, veneers) inside the face? How does the pattern fit the lips, the eyes, the size of the face, the sex...? All of these elements of cosmetic design are vitally important. Dr. L considers all of your special smile needs in the designing of your smile, your way! For more information on our smile techniques--check out the "Facial Aesthetics Tutorial" on our website.

Are You Concerned About Whether You Are Allergic to a Dental Material?

Dentistry has many materials to use in the restoration of patients' teeth, and associated parts. Dental parts can be made of many different materials, and certainly some of these materials can be biocompatible with one patient, and not another. Some materials are less likely to be compatible than others. For example, gold-based alloys have historically been very biocompatible. Some patients have a dread about everything dental treatment-related, thus many patients are now also worrying about dental materials.

"Doing" is easier than "dreading."

A solution to this concern can be testing the patient for biocompatibility. We urge patients that have any question about being allergic to materials to be tested. This requires either a blood test or a computer biocompatibility test. The blood test is called a flocculating antibody test. It is performed by placing samples of your blood in test tubes containing one of the materials used in dentistry. If your blood clumps, coagulates or becomes cloudy, you are probably sensitive to the substance and better off avoiding it.

We choose materials that are most likely to be compatible, and Dr. L has performed research on materials and has published research results in national dental journals. However, if you have any question about the materials that are needed for your care, we urge you to choose to have these biocompatibility tests performed. Dr. L can refer you for these tests. Since God made 6.7 billion different people, you may have an allergy that another patient may not have.

Dr. L is a No-Mercury Dentist

Mercury is more toxic than lead or arsenic! Humans have recognized the toxicity of mercury since it first started killing Roman miners nearly 2000 years ago. In modern times, mercury has been proven to cause brain and kidney damage, birth defects, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Mercury is a neurotoxin; it damages the nervous system and causes a wide range of emotional and behavioral disorders. Knowing that, one can question why dentists placed fillings with silver and mercury? The concentration of mercury and silver with other metals is about 50% mercury. Mercury changes shape and state, going from a liquid at room temperature to a gas at slightly higher temperatures. It is suggested that mercury vapor is released from silver mercury fillings every time you chew, drink or brush your teeth. The American Dental Association suggests these emissions are minute, but new research continues to suggest how dangerous mercury is. Logically, it seems to Dr. L that once the mercury fillings set into the silver and other metals, the vaporizing of this would be minimal after the amalgamation is completed. Still, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that mercury is a health danger and should be avoided completely. For example, in 1991 the EPA ordered that mercury be removed from interior latex paints because dangerous quantities of mercury were found to escape in paint fumes. Dr. L. has discontinued the use of silver-mercury fillings and has not placed any in more than 20 years.

There are good alternatives, and the they (composite fillings, gold inlays, porcelain crowns) are better with each generation of new materials developed. Dr. L also removes mercury fillings in a manner which will decrease any potential of additional mercury contamination to our patients bodies. However, a tooth's nerve may be irritated anytime a filling is removed, and a tooth may be sensitive or painful for a while as a result. If a tooth's nerve is ready to die, removing a filling can be the straw that broke the camel's back. Then, a tooth may also need a root canal and crown. We enjoy being here for our patients' best interests, and we want our patients to be extremely well informed.

Choosing the Best Dental Insurance for Your Needs

The best insurance is always “traditional” (fee for service) insurance which gives you the choice of who you go to for service. The advantages of this range from convenience of location to quality of specialized care. You will receive the most service for your insurance-purchasing dollar with traditional insurance. If “traditional” insurance is not an option, then opt for a PPO plan which has a network of health care providers to select from. However, there can be penalties for straying outside this network. Some PPOs are more flexible in your selection of dental practitioners and will offer an insurance option that enables patients to seek specialized care, such as prosthodontic care. This option is often slightly more expensive, but the resulting freedom of choice is well worth the cost. Many of our patients come to us via referrals from PPO, HMO, and DMO providers. However, we are not participants in those plans. Those patients found that what the PPOs, HMOs or DMOs did pay was not enough to justify limiting their choice of doctors.

These plans route a patient to a primary provider who may or may not be able to refer a patient to a specialist dentist. The last insurance is one where patients are provided a discount in various offices. Although this brings patients into some good quality service offices, many of those practices would provide the same discount without being referred by an insurance company. For more information, check the FAQ on our website .

Preventive Cavities With Tooth Sealants

Sealants have proved clinically successful in preventing most tooth decay in children and adults. Primarily, tooth decay occurs in fissures and pits where a toothbrush may have limited access and where your saliva cannot perform its normal task of cleaning away plaque and food particles. Most cavities form in these pit and fissure areas. Permanent molars are particularly susceptible to this form of decay. A quick and simple procedure, the application of sealants, could stop small areas of decay from growing larger. They can even stop decay in the enamel (if kept intact). Contact our hygienist, Cheryl, to determine if you or your children may benefit from fissure sealants.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Xylitol, A Natural Sugar Prevents Decay!

Xlear (pronounced: clear) is a simple food medicine that is all natural. It is being used to successful cure ear, nose, and other upper respiratory infections. Add sinusitis, tooth decay, allergies, and even asthma to that list. No bodily resistance builds up as with prescribed drugs. In the presence of Xylitol, some infection-causing bacteria lose their ability to adhere to cells. White sugar promotes decay, but xylitol, a natural sugar, actually prevents decay! It fights cavities, plaque, dry mouth, and even bad breath. It neutralizes plaque and remineralizes enamel. Xylitol can clear up chronic sinus problems, bronchitis, and even asthma. It is sold only as a nasal wash. The price is 16.95 / bottle and is available by calling 1-800-471-4007. Dr. L has experienced an improvement with his allergies since he began the use of this nasal spray. Dr. L wants each person to know what works for him; however, it may not work for you. Our health section of this blog may be of benefit for you; however, it is only intended as a suggestion to review it with your physician, and if it works for you, please let us know.

Visit Our Practice's Website!

Email us your questions about dental implants and cosmetic dental treatments. We can save you money on smile makeovers.

Brochure & Information Letters for the asking:

Our patients continue to inform us how much they appreciate our new patient brochure: What You Wanted To Know About Dentistry, and Did Not Know To Ask. We have new information letters on interesting facts about laughing gas, along with a brief history of what 1840 Americans thought about the new gas. What do you know about bleaching? When was bleaching first tried? What do you really know about bleaching? We can answer your questions, and do it with our new information letter. Call our office and we will be happy to send a brochure or information letter to you or your friends.


Hydrofloss storms into tooth-gum spaces killing bacteria and cleaning out debris.

We have patients call me regularly. They say, “I did a horrible thing, I forgot my Hydrofloss at home." Unfortunately, the patient that called me was vacationing in Anytown, USA. Patients are appreciating their Hydroflosses, when they use them.

What not to do with a Hydrofloss:
  1. Stand up and use it like a toothbrush; this will certainly disturb your mirror's appearance!
  2. Use cold water, that hurts, and warm water should be used;
  3. Place your hair curler on the water coil; watch how this curls the hose more!
  4. Shoot the tooth. Well, that will clean the tooth but you will still have gum disease; the bacteria that causes gum disease is hiding in the tooth-gum spaces.
To clean out the tooth-gum spaces, shoot up into the tooth-gum space and down into the lower teeth tooth-gum spaces. Bacteria that cause gum disease hide in the tooth-gum spaces, so clean the tooth-gum spaces. DRL hears all sorts of excuses why patients do not use their Hydroflosses. DRL has to pull his out of his closet, plug in an extension cord, and place the Hydrofloss on a pedestal sink. So dear patients, please do not make excuses for time being so limited that you do not have the time to Hydrofloss. We recently had a patient reduce their tooth-gum spaces from 5 mm to 3mm in only 8 weeks! Ask Jan, one of our dental assistants, about how she experienced lessening of her tooth-gum spaces after just one year of Hydrofloss use! Why did I spend so much of the newsletter on the Hydrofloss? It is simple; it is one of the two most incredible patient benefit experiences of my 25 years of practice. Those innovations are the Hydrofloss and Dental Implants! Dear patients, I would not go a single day without using my Hydrofloss! I carry it in a plastic Dollar General Bag whenever I go out of town--do you?