Posts for category: Dental Procedures
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about half of American adults suffer from some kind of periodontal disease. In mild cases of gum disease, conservative treatments such as a simple professional cleaning and flossing more often is enough to reverse the symptoms. However, more severe cases require a special procedure called scaling and root planing, available from your Pekin, IL dentists at Total Dental Care.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Plaque, the beginning stage of tooth decay, is a colorless, sticky film which covers the teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly help keep plaque off of the teeth. However, the plaque which is not removed hardens into tartar, the next stage of tooth decay. Tartar cannot be removed with brushing or flossing and only a professional dental cleaning can remove it from the teeth. Eventually, the bacteria in plaque and tartar begin to irritate the gums, causing gingivitis, which eventually leads to periodontitis if left untreated. The symptoms of gum disease include:
- red, swollen gums
- bleeding gums
- bad breath with no apparent cause
- sensitive and loose teeth
- receding gums
- separation of the gums from the teeth
- pain while chewing
When is scaling and root planing necessary?
This procedure effectively treats moderate to severe tooth decay. Scaling and root planing cleans the teeth’s surfaces down the roots below the gum line and between the gums. The procedure takes place using manual scraping tools and, in some cases, an ultrasonic tool which uses high-frequency vibrations to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria. In particularly stubborn cases, your dentist uses antibiotic fibers placed into the pockets between your gums and teeth. The fibers remain for a week before removal, during which time they help prevent any further infection.
How can I keep my teeth healthy after scaling and root planing?
Keeping plaque and tartar from forming on the teeth is as easy as brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once, and seeing your dentist for regular examinations and cleanings. Depending on your situation, you may need to see your Pekin dentist more often than the recommended twice a year. Your dentist can help you determine what the best course of treatment is for your condition and lifestyle.
Acquiring a healthy mouth is as easy as asking your dentist about scaling and root planing. For more information, please consult with Dr. Stephen E. Dickey at Total Dental Care in Pekin, IL. Call (309) 347-7055 to schedule your appointment today!
Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.
In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.
For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.
Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.
It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.
That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”
We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?”
Magician Michael Grandinetti mystifies and astonishes audiences with his sleight of hand and mastery of illusion. But when he initially steps onto the stage, it’s his smile that grabs the attention. “The first thing… that an audience notices is your smile; it’s what really connects you as a person to them,” Michael told an interviewer.
He attributes his audience-pleasing smile to several years of orthodontic treatment as a teenager to straighten misaligned teeth, plus a lifetime of good oral care. “I’m so thankful that I did it,” he said about wearing orthodontic braces. “It was so beneficial. And… looking at the path I’ve chosen, it was life-changing.”
Orthodontics — the dental subspecialty focused on treating malocclusions (literally “bad bites”) — can indeed make life-changing improvements. Properly positioned teeth are integral to the aesthetics of any smile, and a smile that’s pleasing to look at boosts confidence and self-esteem and makes a terrific first impression. Studies have even linked having an attractive smile with greater professional success.
There can also be functional benefits such as improved biting/chewing and speech, and reduced strain on jaw muscles and joints. Additionally, well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and less likely to trap food particles that can lead to decay.
The Science Behind the Magic
There are more options than ever for correcting bites, but all capitalize on the fact that teeth are suspended in individual jawbone sockets by elastic periodontal ligaments that enable them to move. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces or clear aligners) place light, controlled forces on teeth in a calculated fashion to move them into their new desired alignment.
The “gold standard” in orthodontic treatment remains the orthodontic band for posterior (back) teeth and the bonded bracket for front teeth. Thin, flexible wires threaded through the brackets create the light forces needed for repositioning. Traditionally the brackets have been made of metal, but for those concerned about the aesthetics, they can also be made out of a clear material. Lingual braces, which are bonded to the back of teeth instead of the front, are another less visible option. The most discrete appliance is the removable clear aligner, which consists of a progression of custom-made clear trays that reposition teeth incrementally.
How’s that for a disappearing act?!
If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
It's hard not to feel self-conscious about a missing tooth. Every time you look in the mirror, you notice the gap in your mouth. After a while, you may even stop smiling. Dental implants offer the perfect way to restore your smile. Your Pekin, IL dentists, Dr. Stephen Dickey of Total Dental Care, share a few facts about this popular tooth replacement option.
Implants are permanent
Unlike bridges and dentures, which may need to be replaced several times during your lifetime, dental implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. Implants are made of titanium, a strong metal that is capable of bonding to your jawbone in a process called osteointegration. After your Pekin dentist places the implant in an opening in your jaw, it takes about three to six months for it to completely osseointegrate.
Implants don't just cover the gap
Bridges and dentures effectively cover the gap in your mouth, but these prosthetic devices only sit on your gum line. Dental implants actually replace teeth roots and offer several important benefits. The roots of your teeth provide constant stimulation to your jawbone. Without that stimulation, your jawbone will begin to recede and become weaker, which can be the case when you choose a bridge or dentures. Implants continue to stimulate the bone and keep it strong and healthy.
Over time, the fit of dentures can change, which means that they may slip and irritate your sensitive gum tissue. Implants consist of a titanium screw, a connecting piece called an abutment and a crown that acts as an artificial tooth. Because the crown is securely attached to the implant, you won't experience any discomfort or gum irritation when your bite and chew.
Implants can replace multiple teeth
Implants are an excellent tooth replacement option, whether you need to replace one tooth or all of them. In fact, two implants can anchor multiple crowns and provide an excellent alternative to bridges and dentures.
Want to find out if dental implants are right for you? Call Drs. Dickey and Conroy, your Pekin, IL dentists at Total Dental Care, at (309) 347-7055 and make an appointment today. Restore your smile with an implant!
Eliminating pain and discomfort is one of our major objectives during dental treatment. To that end, our profession has developed a number of anesthetic drugs and deliveries that ensures your experience in the dentist’s chair is as pain-free as possible.
But there’s another experience many people have with dental care that’s different from physical discomfort — emotional anxiety. These negative emotions can range from nervousness about a procedure to extreme fear. Very often the patient has no control over these emotions — they’ve become imbedded from earlier experiences or the influence of others.
Although each can influence and heighten the other, anxiety and physical discomfort are different and require a different approach. Physical pain and sensation is eliminated through anesthesia, either locally through topical application or injection or generally through intravenous medication that renders a person unconscious. Anxiety, on the other hand, requires first building a trustful relationship with an understanding dentist. But it may also call for certain drugs that sedate — promote a feeling of relaxation — rather than numb sensation.
We’ve incorporated a number of sedative medications in dentistry like Valium or Ativan that work well to reduce anxiety before and during treatment. Many are taken orally, usually just before scheduled treatment, and they dissipate from the system quickly afterward. Some medications also have “amnesic” qualities, meaning you won’t remember anything or little at all about the treatment period. This can be helpful in amassing positive treatment experiences that may diminish negative feelings you’ve developed about dental treatment.
It’s important, though, to find the right types of medication that work well for you. For that reason we’ll take a thorough medical history, including prescription or over-the-counter medications and supplements you’re taking and any medical conditions you may have. It’s also important to discuss your diet (certain foods can inhibit the action of some sedatives) as well as if you use tobacco or regularly drink alcoholic beverages.
Taken properly, oral sedation can effectively reduce your anxiety during treatment. As a result, it will be much easier and pleasant for you to receive the care you need for a healthy mouth.
If you would like more information on reducing anxiety during dental treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.”