Sedation Dentistry: Will I remember anything?

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For patients with serious dental anxiety that prevents them from getting the dental care they need, sedation dentistry can present a good solution to help them overcome that fear.

One of the many benefits of sedation dentistry is that the medications used to relax the patient also have an amnestic effect. That is, the patient typically has no memory of the appointment after the sedative’s effects wear off. This protects the patient from negative memories of the visit that can reinforce the dental fear.

Sedation dentistry has a number of benefits beyond its amnestic effects. First and foremost, getting a sedative is the only way for some patients to relax enough to even see the dentist to begin with. Whether it’s a routine exam and cleaning or a more involved intervention to treat decay or improve a smile’s aesthetics, dental treatments are tremendously valuable for promoting both your oral health and your self-esteem.

Sedation dentistry has a number of benefits beyond its amnestic effects.

The anti-anxiety medications help patients achieve a state of deep relaxation without losing consciousness. Although this specialty is sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” patients never actually fall asleep. They’re just so relaxed that it feels as though they are sleeping.

Because patients remain conscious under sedation, their airways are not compromised and they can respond to the dentist’s requests. This differs significantly from general anesthesia, which renders the patient unconscious and requires artificial airway maintenance. The effects of sedatives also wear off more quickly, but patients who are under sedation still must make arrangements for a responsible adult to take them home from the appointment. The sedatives will not wear off before it’s time to leave the office.

Patients have a number of choices for delivery of the sedative medications as well. The drugs may be taken in pill form or intravenously. Nitrous oxide gas also can be inhaled to achieve a similar effect.

Patients who want to choose sedation dentistry should discuss all of the advantages and risks in advance with their dentist to make a well-informed choice. If you think that you may benefit from sedation dentistry, contact our skilled dental team at 817-485-2111 to learn more about your options.

When is a dental crown recommended?

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Since tooth decay and tooth damage are extremely common, most people will require at least one type of dental restoration in their lifetime. Restorative dentistry allows a patient to keep as much of their biological tooth as possible even if it is damaged by decay or significantly worn down. Common restorations provided by our dentist include fillings and crowns. Fillings are used to restore small areas of tooth decay while dental crowns cover an entire tooth.

What is a crown exactly?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that is placed over the tooth like a cap. A crown is made in a dental laboratory to precise measurements determined by our dentist. Because crowns are custom made, they will properly restore a damaged tooth’s size and shape. In addition to restoring tooth shape and size, crowns also preserve natural teeth from further damage.

Why would a patient need a dental crown?

The placement of a crown may be required for a few different reasons. Extensive tooth decay that has infected the interior structures of teeth often requires a crown. In other cases, a cracked tooth or a tooth that has significant wear may need a dental crown to restore a patient’s occlusion (bite). A crown is a conservative option in dentistry that can prevent the need for extraction.

Do crowns look natural?

Dental crowns can be crafted from a variety of materials. In the past, the most common material used was metal alloys. While these materials are still used today, patients have more natural looking options. For example, all porcelain or porcelain fused to metal crowns provide a tooth-colored restoration that is virtually undetectable to others. Porcelain comes in different shades of white and reflects light like biological teeth do. These types of crowns are a great option for more visible teeth at the front of the mouth. Our dentist will help you determine which material(s) are best for your unique situation.

If you are in need of a dental restoration, call our friendly team today to reserve your appointment.

Dental Implants: A Great Remedy for Tooth Loss

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Dental implants have become increasingly popular over the years, surpassing dentures and similar dental installations that require a higher level of maintenance and care. Compared to dentures, dental implants require less up-keep and very few tools to keep their structure stable.

There are three important parts of a single implant, each playing an integral role for its overall formation and function. These parts include:

  • A titanium implant screw, fused directly into the jawbone
  • Abutment, extending above the gum line and providing support for the crown
  • Crown, the visible part of the implant that looks, feels, and behaves like a real tooth

Dental implants are strong, durable and can last a lifetime. Although they are secure and stable, they still require proper care to maintain.

Since implants are fused into the jaw bone, there is no use for special adhesives or glues to keep them in place. Many individuals have turned to implants as a means to avoid unstable dentures that often have the tendency to slide during chewing and speaking.

Not only does this provide some embarrassment for many denture users, it is also an inconvenient option for those seeking a more structured approach to dental installations.

As tooth implants are similar to natural teeth, the best care one can provide for them is the proper application of oral hygiene methods.

As tooth implants are similar to natural teeth, the best care one can provide for them is the proper application of oral hygiene methods. Despite the fact that most implants are quite durable, proper cleanliness of the oral cavity is still highly important for their care.

Brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth can help protect against the growth of plaque and bacteria around the implants. This aids in reducing the likelihood of developing gingivitis and general gum discomfort. Flossing should be performed gently, making sure that the tissue surrounding the abutments are cleaned thoroughly.

Just like dentures, dental implants will often suffer from common wear-and-tear symptoms if not cared for diligently. Unlike dentures, implants do not need to be soaked in solutions or regularly adhered to the gums through the use of expensive and hard-to-find pastes.

When it comes to dental implant treatment, your implant dentist will recommend regular check-ups to evaluate the continual functioning of the devices.

To learn more about implants and their care, contact Anderson Dentistry at 817-485-2111 today.

Nail Biting May Lead to Dental Issues

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Often times, people resort to nail biting out of boredom or anxiety. Whatever the reason, the end result is unsanitary, unhealthy, and can do irreversible harm to teeth resulting in needing to make an appointment with your dental office.

Biting fingernails can chip dental enamel; jagged nail edges can result in abrasions to soft mouth tissues which allow bacteria to permeate the mouth and can actually become infected; however a more serious concern involves altering the bite to accommodate the habit. Constant nail biting can encourage bruxism, which is when teeth grinding and clenching occurs also becoming habitual.

Grinding and clenching can be the result of a malocclusion, a condition where the top teeth do not align properly with the bottom teeth. Constant nail biting can result in a malocclusion as the patient will contort their mouth and jaw to make nail biting accessible.

Constant nail biting can result in a malocclusion as the patient will contort their mouth and jaw to make nail biting accessible.

Most nail biters start this habit at a very young age, and many outgrow it by the time they become adults. However, the damage can already be done. Children that were introduced to regular appointments with their dentist as youngsters will have received all the words of caution, but children often need additional reinforcement.

Parents that recognize the onset of this problem can get help from their dental office if needed. But there are a couple of things you might try. Biting nails is often a nervous habit, so if you can pin down when this action is likely to occur like when doing homework, you can encourage chewing sugar free gum while studying.

Putting a substance on nails during homework time that is bitter or bad tasting will alert the child when hands subconsciously go to the mouth.

If boredom triggers nail biting, help with finding a solution to keep your child active. Playing computer games keeps the hands busy, and provides an activity to alleviate boredom. Of course, as with anything, limits are important.

Knowing the triggers to nail biting will help to find a solution. Informing the nail biter of all the negative results their actions can create is sometimes enough to discourage the habit. But if not, perhaps an informative visit with our dental team will be enough to help break this habit.

Porcelain veneers: Handcrafted Beauty for Stunning Smiles

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If you want to significantly enhance your smile’s appearance in a brief period of time, you may want to consider porcelain veneers as a possible solution. These thin, tooth-shaped shells that are bonded atop your natural teeth provide an effective remedy for a number of aesthetic flaws, including deep stains, chips or cracks in the teeth. For some patients, veneers may even be used to create the appearance of a perfectly aligned smile when the natural teeth are slightly crooked.

Porcelain veneers are painstakingly crafted to meet the patient’s unique specifications, and each patient is carefully evaluated to determine the preferred design for the patient’s veneers.

The treatment process required for veneers generally takes place over 2-3 appointments with cosmetic dentist. Those office visits typically are scheduled a few weeks apart.

At the first appointment, the cosmetic dentist will evaluate the patient’s case. This will involve a visual inspection of the patient’s teeth, and the dentist may take some x-rays as well. The dentist will gather the data necessary for the veneers to be created at this visit. This data includes information on the desired shade and shape of the veneers.

The dentist may also prepare the teeth for veneer placement at the initial appointment. Depending on the thickness of the veneer, a thin layer of enamel may need to be removed from the tooth in order to make room for the veneer so that it will not protrude from the rest of the smile.

The patient then returns to the office after the veneers have been created and are ready to be bonded to the teeth. Before the veneers are attached to the teeth, the cosmetic dentist can make further adjustments to the shade and shape of the veneer, per the patient’s request. After the veneers are bonded to the teeth, though, they can no longer be altered, so be sure that you are satisfied with them before the dentist takes that step.

Porcelain veneers can dramatically affect the smile’s appearance with minimal effort on the patient’s part, so if you have been dissatisfied with some aspect of your smile, contact Anderson Dentistry at 817-485-2111 to discuss this treatment option with our cosmetic dentist.

Dental Implants for Renewed Self-Confidence and Peace of Mind

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Adults suffering from the loss of one or more of their permanent teeth are faced with multiple issues … their ability to eat the foods they love may be lost; speaking can become a challenge; and self-confidence can be threatened by the sudden change in appearance. However, there is a dental procedure that has the ability to restore teeth, and that is with dental implants.

Trauma, dental decay, or infection can claim teeth at any age. Your dentist can make recommendations for many forms of treatment. But if you wish to return to the closest appearance, function, and feel of your biological teeth, dental implants provide that option.

A dental implant is a very small device made from titanium. This type of metal has many advantages in that it acclimates to the jaw without the problem of rejection that many foreign objects incur when surgically placed in the body. And bone will grow to the titanium forming a bond to provide support for the restoration that will eventually cover it acting much like the roots of a natural tooth.

Dental implants are suitable to replace one, several, or all teeth. Once the implants have been placed, a period of healing follows for approximately four to six months. It is during this time that the bone and implant fuse.

It is critical that the patient keep the implant areas clean by following the specific instructions issued by the dentist. If infection occurs, the implant process is jeopardized.

The patient will be asked to discontinue tobacco use as smoking is another leading factor for implant failure.

Once the healing process has been completed, the dentist will complete treatment by permanently attaching the restoration. This has been fabricated to match neighboring teeth in size, shape, and color. The finished product restores function and aesthetics that rivals natural teeth.

The ability to eat, speak, and smile with renewed self-confidence has been restored. Caring for your new smile is the same as you have always cared for your biological teeth. Daily brushing, daily flossing, and visits to see the dentist twice per year will help maintain your new dental makeover.

Keeping our natural teeth for a lifetime is ideal. But when tooth loss occurs, dental implants provide an option that restores dental function, renewed self-confidence and total peace of mind.

How Menopause Affects Your Oral Health

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Middle-aged women are undoubtedly familiar with the most common effects of menopause: hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain and moodiness for example. But did you know that this change of life can affect your oral health, too?

Your dental well-being is quite sensitive to significant hormonal changes, and menopause certainly falls in that category. The hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause can wreak havoc on the gum tissue.

Post-menopausal women may be predisposed to receding gums, which can leave you with sensitive teeth and a greater likelihood of tooth decay, not to mention aging your appearance.

Bone loss may occur throughout the body at the onset of menopause and thereafter, and this too can be of concern for your oral health. In evaluating a menopausal woman, the dentist will closely examine the underlying bone structure on x-rays to determine if any pockets have developed or if there are any other anomalies that can affect the teeth or jaw.

It’s extremely important for menopausal women to keep their semiannual appointments with the dentist for routine care. Seeing your dentist at regular intervals throughout this time can help you catch any disease process in the gum tissue at an early stage. Furthermore, post-menopausal women also appear to be at increased risk for periodontal disease, so it’s important to continue to see your dentist as you get older.

Women in menopause also benefit from a thorough home oral hygiene regimen in addition to regular dental care. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet with limited sweet treats is also important.

If menopause has begun for you, or even if it is a few years down the road, it’s a good time to check in with your dentist to make sure you are doing everything possible to protect your oral health. Talk about any changes you need to make or any symptoms (like bleeding gums or bad breath) that you should look for to identify a potential problem.

For more information and to schedule your next visit, contact our skilled and friendly dental team today.

The Latest Options for an Anxiety Free Dental Experience

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Dental fears and phobias are not uncommon. In fact, many patients suffer from anxiety related to visiting the dentist. Because your dentist prioritizes patient comfort and relaxation, various types of sedation dentistry are available.

Sedation dentistry allows even the most anxious patients to feel at ease during dental procedures. From cleanings to more comprehensive services such as extracting wisdom teeth or performing root canal therapy, varying levels of sedation promote a worry-free and comforting experience.

The mildest form of sedation dentistry available is the use of nitrous oxide gas. This method has been proven safe and effective and has been used for over a century in dentistry. A mixture of nitrous and oxygen, this method of sedation is delivered to the patient by a mask that fits over the nose. As the patient breaths in the gas, its relaxing and euphoric effects begin to work almost instantly. An additional benefit to nitrous oxide sedation is that its sedative effects wear off quickly, allowing the patient to drive home after a visit to the dentist.

For patients with more significant dental phobias and fears, stronger sedation may be necessary to ensure optimal comfort. Your dentist may prescribe an oral sedative to be taken an hour before your appointment. These medications are stronger than nitrous oxide but milder than full sedation dosages. Anti-anxiety medications work with receptors in the brain to reduce feelings of worry and panic. While the patient will not be totally sedated, they will likely feel relaxed and comfortable. If these types of medications are prescribed, patients will be unable to drive and should arrange for transportation to and from their appointment.

Most commonly used for lengthy procedures, full sedation is administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. Full sedation involves the oral or IV administration of sedative drugs. Total sedation places patients in a restful state of sleep where they will likely have minimal or no recollection of their procedure.

If you have dental phobias and fears of an upcoming dental procedure, contact Anderson Dentistry at 817-485-2111 to discuss how sedation dentistry can benefit you.

Can Dental Crowns Improve the Appearance of Natural Teeth?

Keeping all of your biological teeth for your lifetime is a goal worth working toward. There are many things that can make that goal seem impossible, but dental crowns can provide a means to save teeth that might otherwise be lost. And for teeth that are unattractive due to stains, chips, or extensive decay, dental crowns come in different sizes for different applications and can turn imperfection into beautiful in a couple of dental appointments.

Your dentist will determine what type of restorative treatment is best; to repair a tooth already afflicted with decay, a dental onlay may be the best option. For a broken tooth, a full crown is usually recommended. Other conditions where a crown can enhance dental problems include:

…dental crowns come in different sizes for different applications and can turn imperfection into beautiful in a couple of dental appointments.

Tooth loss – Trauma, infection or extensive decay can result in the loss of one or more teeth. Depending on your situation, there are a couple of options to restore tooth loss. The patient can opt for a partial or complete bridge or denture. When selecting a fixed (permanent) prosthetic, quite often the abutment teeth will receive dental crowns to hold the unit in place.

For patients who wish to restore tooth loss to as close to natural as possible, one or more dental implants may be recommended. An implant is a small screw like device made from titanium that is surgically embedded in the gum where tooth loss has occurred. Once healed, the implant is covered with a crown that has been made to match surrounding teeth in size, shape and color. The crown is permanently cemented in place with the implant providing stability to feel and look like a biological tooth.

Root Canal – When the nerve of a tooth has been damaged, the need to remove the contents of the tooth’s roots becomes imperative to prevent infection and tooth loss. The dentist will open the tooth to gain access to the root canals. Once cleaned out, the tooth must be sealed. In some instances, sealing the tooth may be completed with composite resin. But in most cases, a dental crown is placed to seal the tooth.

Keeping biological teeth in place should be a goal for everyone; however, when the situation calls for a much needed repair, a dental crown is an option that provides functionality and aesthetics that will last for a very long time.

Do Dental Implants Require Special Care?

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You are missing a tooth, and this completely changes your entire way of living. For instance, you have to adjust your smile for the camera in order to hide the gap—even if it means not showing your teeth at all—and chewing in that spot isn’t possible. The best tooth replacement option is a dental implant, which is structured to resemble your original tooth. However, in order for your dental implant to last a lifetime, it requires special care—just like your regular teeth do.

Dental implants are so effective at replacing missing teeth because they are stable and look like real teeth. A dental implant consists of a titanium screw that is embedded in the jawbone where your tooth is missing. Then, a connecting piece called an abutment is placed on top of the screw. Finally, a cap that looks like a natural tooth—called a crown—is positioned on the screw above the gum line to fill the space between your teeth.

Although dental implants are built to last the rest of your life, this will only happen if you take care of them. Several steps will help you to maintain your dental implants for life.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day. An electric toothbrush may especially be helpful because it cleans your teeth more thoroughly and prevents you from brushing too hard, which can damage your gums. It also helps you to brush your dental implant for the proper amount of time (30 seconds in each of your mouth’s four quadrants). Stay away from toothpastes that contain abrasive substances which can damage the porcelain crown on your implant.

Floss at least once daily. Floss threaders are particularly handy for removing food particles around dental implants. Your dentist will demonstrate how to use them. You can also use small interproximal brushes to clean between an implant and a tooth when the implant is in an area that is hard to reach.

Visit your dentist for cleanings regularly—at least every six months.

By following the right steps, you can be sure that your new dental implants will stay clean, healthy and intact. Contact Anderson Dentistry at 817-485-2111 to learn more about this effective tooth replacement option and how to care for it properly so that you can chew and smile confidently for life.