The Latest on Dental Technology

Advances in dentistry have made it possible for patients to receive the care they need while remaining as comfortable as possible. Dentists can find cavities when they are just starting to develop. In many cases, they can also remove tooth decay easily and painlessly.

Take a look at some of the tools dentist use today.

Often, dentists don’t find cavities until they damage your teeth. DIAGNOdent, a laser cavity detection tool, can identify areas of a tooth that may be susceptible to decay even before a cavity forms.

This tool employs high frequency sound waves to clean teeth. The sound waves actually vibrate build up off your teeth. Then, water rinses away the debris to give you a vibrant smile.

Air Abrasion
With this form of cavity removal, tooth decay is eliminated using a pumice powder, which reduces the need for drilling and anesthesia. Like a sandblaster remove graffiti, this device works by blowing out a powerful stream of tiny aluminum oxide particles. These particles bounce off the tooth, blasting away the decay.

This machine can safely and effectively offer pain-free treatment of dental caries. By directly applying ozone to the affected area, it kills the bacteria and stops development of the cavity. In some cases, the Healozone may reverse the affects of tooth decay.

Typically, placement of a crown takes two appointments. The revolutionary CEREC technology allows your dentist to design and mill a ceramic crown, inlay, or onlay in one visit while you wait. Patients leave their appointments with their permanent restorations.



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Stages of Gum Disease

Caused by bacteria in plaque, gum disease can lead to pain, inflammation, and tooth loss. Though gum disease can occur at any age, it is most commonly seen in adults. Conservative estimates suggest that 80 percent of adults in this country have some level of gum disease, but many don’t realize they have a problem.

Left untreated, gum disease can damage your oral health and impact overall wellness. Various studies have linked gum disease to larger health concerns like increased risk of stroke, osteoporosis, and low-birth weight babies. Often, gum disease begins with mild symptoms, so it may be easy to miss. To protect your mouth, it helps to understand the progression of gum disease.

Stage 1: Gingivitis
Initially, gum disease presents as inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up and the toxins released irritate the gum tissue. With this early stage, gum disease can successfully be reversed because the bone and supporting tissue are still in good shape.

Stage 2: Periodontitis
When gum disease reaches this level, pockets begin to form below your gum line, which causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth. By this point, the bone and supporting tissue have sustained permanent damage, but periodontal therapy can restore your oral health and halt further progression.

Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis
If gum disease continues to the state of advanced periodontitis, the supporting structures in your mouth are in dire condition. Without intense therapy, you risk permanent tooth loss.



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The Scoop on Wisdom Teeth

Usually in your late teens and early twenties, your final set of molars, or wisdom teeth, erupt. Some people never have any issues with their wisdom teeth, but usually these molars are misaligned and require removal. Wisdom teeth that come in crooked can crowd other teeth and make you more vulnerable to tooth decay. When wisdom teeth only partially break through the soft tissue, they are considered impacted, which can result in pain, swelling, and susceptibility to illness.

Often, a dentist or oral surgeon will recommend removal of wisdom teeth before any problems arise. Extracting wisdom teeth is easier on young people because the roots are not fully developed and the bone is less dense. Older patients can have a more difficult time with the healing and recovery process.

Before scheduling the extraction, your dentist will take X-rays and examine your mouth to assess the situation with your wisdom teeth. If the wisdom teeth have broken completely through the gum line, the extraction is as simple as any tooth removal. Impacted wisdom teeth will need an incision in the gum and will likely require removal of the tooth structure in pieces.

To remove your wisdom teeth, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the teeth and surrounding tissue. Often, patients having wisdom teeth extracted also choose sedation options like nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation, which will lessen any anxiety about the procedure. After the appointment, your recovery will depend on the difficulty of the extraction. Usually, patients experience some bleeding and facial swelling. You can take over-the-counter pain medication for discomfort, or your dentist may prescribe something stronger if necessary.



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