Posts for: December, 2015

By Total Dental Care
December 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.

“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.

Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.

“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.

Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?

Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.

Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a third to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.

Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”

Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.

If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”

By Total Dental Care
December 14, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canals  

Root canals have a bad reputation. There's a lot of misconceptions surrounding this common dental procedure, which is used at Total Dental Care in Pekin, Illinois to remove an infection from the inner tissues of a tooth. Dr. Stephen Dickey have up-to-date information about root canals that helps their patients feel more at ease about having one done at Total Dental Care.Root Canals

Myth 1: Root canals are extremely painful.

Maybe it's their name, maybe it's outdated information; root canals have possibly the worst reputation of all dental procedures. At Total Dental Care in Pekin, our staff is unanimous in telling our patients that this information is false. In fact, a recent dental industry study found that most people who are perpetuating the "tall tales" about root canals haven't actually experienced one. The truth is that a root canal doesn't cause pain; by clearing away infection, it actually alleviates the discomfort a lot of people feel from the infection coming into contact with the nerves inside the tooth.

Dr. Dickey and Dr. Conroy often suggest their patients think of root canals by their milder (and more accurate) clinical name - endodontic (meaning "inside the tooth") therapy.

Myth 2: Root canals can cause illnesses, including cancer.

The Internet is full of misinformation about health-related issues, even those that have been proven false long ago. One such myth is based on research done in the 1920's, a time when medical knowledge was still in its infancy. The idea was that root canals introduced bacteria from the tooth infection into the bloodstream, resulting in further infection and possibly even cancer. However, in the 1950's, it was proven that those research methods were false and not properly controlled. 

Myth 3: It's better to have an extraction.

While some conditions necessitate extraction, or a tooth being pulled, root canals are actually the preferred method of treatment at your Pekin dentist's office. Why? Because they leave the natural tooth's structure intact, ensuring that other teeth have the support they need to remain healthy and stable. Pulling a tooth and leaving the space open can cause decay to build up and the neighboring teeth to shift.

Myth 4: If you ignore a toothache, it will go away.

Many people are under the impression that a toothache can be "cured" by allowing it to progress until the inner tissues "die." This practice is discouraged by your Pekin dentist, as the infection can spread to the jawbone or other areas of the body. A root canal arrests the process of decay and restores your tooth to a healthy state.

If you think you might be in need of a root canal, forget the myths and contact Total Dental Care in Pekin, Illinois for the facts.

By Total Dental Care
December 08, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

The traditional way to restore a tooth with an artificial crown takes several weeks and multiple office visits: from tooth preparation and impression molding to crown production by a dental laboratory, followed by adjustments and cementing. Now, there’s an alternative that reduces this process to a fraction of the time, and all from your dentist’s office.

Computer-Aided Design/Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) is a digital system that enables dentists to create dental restorations with laboratory-grade materials in minutes rather than weeks. As it continues to innovate, you’ll see more and more dentists investing in the new technology for their patients.

A crown restoration with CAD/CAM begins like any other with decay removal and preparation of the tooth. It diverges, though, from the traditional in how an impression of your teeth and gums is obtained: instead of rubber-like molding materials to create a physical impression, we lightly dust the mouth interior with a reflective powder. Using a scanning wand, the reflective powder allows us to capture multiple, detailed images of your mouth that the CAD/CAM computer transforms into an accurate three-dimensional model.

We use the model to first assess if the tooth has been effectively prepared for a restoration. If so, the design feature of the system will provide us with thousands of tooth forms to choose from to match with your natural teeth. You’ll be able to view the proposed size and shape of the new crown via computer simulation before signing off on the design.

Next is the actual manufacture of the crown that takes place right in the dentist’s office. A pre-formed block of ceramic material is inserted in the milling equipment where, following the pre-determined computer design, the milling heads carve the ceramic block. After milling, we fine-tune the crown surface and apply stains or glazes fired to create a life-like color and texture that matches your natural teeth. We can then adjust the crown in your mouth and permanently affix it to the tooth.

While much of the CAD/CAM system is automated, ultimate success still depends on the dentist’s expertise and artistry. CAD/CAM enhances those skills with greater precision and in much less time than traditional crowns. It’s certainly a growing option for many people to restore the form and function of decayed teeth.

If you would like more information on computer-aided dental restorations, 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 “Creating In-Office Dental Restorations with Computers.”

Contact Us

Total Dental Care

(309) 300-3515
13 Olt Avenue Pekin, IL 61554