Dental Services

Why does Dr. Johnson have you stick your tongue out during an exam?

One of the most effective ways to diagnose oral cancer at an early stage is for a dentist to perform a quick oral cancer screening during your regular dental exam. Dr. Johnson looks at the lips, inside of the cheeks, gums and roof of the mouth. He also uses a piece of gauze to hold onto the tongue to get a good look at the sides and underneath the tongue during his exam.

If anything looks unusual, Dr. Johnson will have one of our team members take a picture utilizing an intraoral camera. Then we will have you return two weeks later to re-check the area. Typically, if it’s a spot that has had some sort of trauma it will heal in that two-week period. If there is not an improvement, we will help you schedule an appointment with one of the local oral surgeons to do a consult. The oral surgeon will utilize their specialized training to examine the area and complete a biopsy if necessary.

Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use (both smoking and chewing), frequent and heavy alcohol use, certain types of HPV and prolonged sun exposure. However, a patient with none of these risk factors can still be diagnosed with oral cancer!

If you have noticed anything abnormal in or around your mouth, please call and make an appointment or mention it at your next visit!

With the arrival of spring and warmer weather, comes opening day for Major League Baseball on March 28th! People often only think of mouth guards for full-contact activities like football and hockey. However, accidents happen in any sport and a baseball to the face can cause a lot of damage!

We offer custom sports mouth guards for just $38! A custom fitted mouth guard made in our office helps protect not just the teeth but also the jaw, in case of an accident. Our mouth guards provide a more comfortable, less bulky fit as well as better protection when compared to generic “boil and bite” options available in sporting stores.

We offer a variety of color options and it only requires a quick 10-minute appointment for an impression to be taken! Our team will then fabricate the custom mouth guard within a couple of days. Please call us for any questions you have or to set up an appointment for your custom sports mouth guard!

We invested in a 3Shape Trios scanner last year to assist in making crowns, bridges and other appliances for our patients. The Trios is a digital intraoral scanner that allows us to send detailed images directly to a local dental lab to fabricate crowns and bridges for our patients.

By utilizing the scanner to take digital images, we can get the lab the information they need with patients not having a mouth full of the messy, uncomfortable impression material.

When asked why he prefers to utilize a dental lab to make his crowns and bridges, Dr. Johnson says that the dental lab makes them by hand and the material is stronger than what is available for other options such as in-office “same-day” crowns.

Dr. Johnson reviews x-rays for cavities, signs of infection and other abnormalities that may be present in the bone surrounding the teeth. Even if nothing currently hurts for a patient, x-rays allow Dr. Johnson to catch and treat any issues BEFORE they become a problem. If we wait to take x-rays until something hurts, it is often a more expensive fix and may involve seeing a specialist at another office.

Bitewings, which show the back teeth, are updated every 12-24 months. The panoramic x-ray that goes all the way around the head lets us see a patient’s teeth, supporting structure and upper and lower jaw bones, is typically updated every 5 years. Every patient is different and x-rays may be required more or less frequently depending on dental history. A single x-ray of a tooth may even be needed if there is a problem or something looks suspicious upon a visual exam.

All of our operatories have a special camera, that looks like a wand, designed to take pictures of the inside of the mouth. We may request to take pictures for the following reasons:

– Broken or cracked fillings or teeth
– A suspicious lesion that Dr. Johnson would like to monitor or refer to a specialist
– Before and after pictures of dental treatment

The cameras are a great tool for us to show patients what we see. The photos are saved in patient charts so we can reference them later and there is no additional charge for the photos!

Hygienists use a small periodontal probe to assess the health of your gums, including any signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease, at your regular cleaning appointments.

Gingivitis is gum inflammation. Permanent damage typically hasn’t happened when are first diagnosed with gingivitis and it can be reversed with regular dental visits, brushing twice a day and daily flossing. If gingivitis progresses and goes untreated, it can permanently affect the support around the teeth and cause periodontal (gum) disease.

The probes hygienists use have markings in millimeters (mm) and measure pocket depths around the teeth. Here are what the measurements indicate:

0 – 3 mm & No Bleeding – Healthy gum tissues do not bleed, so just keep up the good work! Your gums look great!

1 – 3 mm & Bleeding – Bleeding gums are an early sign of gingivitis. Better home care, including daily flossing, should get you back on track!

3 – 5 mm – This may be a sign of periodontal disease. We will talk about recommended home care and possibly more frequent dental visits.

5 – 7 mm – This is an indication of bone loss and moderate periodontal disease. More frequent cleanings and additional treatment might be recommended, including a possible referral to a periodontist. Home care will also be discussed.

7 mm + – This shows advanced periodontal disease. A periodontist will be included in your treatment plan to hopefully save any teeth in question.

The measurements are recorded in your patient chart and are reviewed annually. REMEMBER, brushing twice per day and daily flossing can help keep prevent gingivitis and gum disease!

A sealant is a thin tooth-colored material placed on the chewing surface of back permanent teeth to help prevent cavities by filling in the deep grooves of the teeth. According to the American Dental Association (“ADA”), sealants can reduce cavities on permanent molars by 80%.

Dr. Johnson typically recommends sealants on the 6 year and 12 year molars right after permanent teeth have come in. Sealants can be placed by our hygienists following this quick process:

  1. We dry the tooth/teeth
  2. The material is placed
  3. A special light is used to harden the material

 

There are no needles involved, so it is a quick and painless process. Also, there are no restrictions on eating or drinking after the appointment. Sometimes sealants can wear down over time, but Dr. Johnson will touch them up, as needed, at no additional charge.

 

 

 

 

In a previous post, we talked about ways that we can help ease the anxiety of going to the dentist. Nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas) was at the top of the list:

“This safe relaxing agent is breathed in through a mask that takes you to your happy place. Nerves are calmed. Teeth are taken care of, and you’re on your way.”

So, here are more details on what you need to know about laughing gas:

Nitrous oxide is a colorless and odorless gas that helps patients relax and become indifferent to discomfort. It is inhaled through a mask that fits over your nose. It works extremely fast and its effects are reversible. It doesn’t put you to sleep or take the place of local anesthetic.

Once your teeth are taken care of and the nitrous oxide has been turned off, you are placed on 100% oxygen for 5 to 10 minutes to purge the gas from your system. This helps you become alert and awake.

Nitrous oxide is safe for children and is often the preferred method of sedation for treating children. It is recommended that people with some conditions, such as first trimester of pregnancy and COPD, avoid the use of nitrous oxide. It is also recommended that you do not use nitrous oxide on an empty stomach. Possible side effects include headache, shivering/sweating, nausea and fatigue.

Have more questions? Give our office a call!

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No one likes having impressions done. It is like having a mouth full of playdough. However, they are necessary for many procedures such as crowns, bridges, implants, dentures and the list goes on.

Our office is excitedly awaiting the arrival of one of the most state of the art digital machines available, the 3Shape Scanner by Trios. The intuitive nature of the device and ease of use make it much faster than traditional impression techniques as well as more comfortable for patients.

This will now replace 90% of the impressions we take. It has the ability to digitally scan the teeth and soft tissue with a highspeed camera to capture hard and soft tissue and render color. The scans can be immediately uploaded to the dental lab. The lab can then begin the fabrication process much faster, thus reducing our turn around time to deliver crowns and implants to patients. Because of the accuracy of this machine and the elimination of human error, there are fewer remakes of restorations and prosthesis.

Watch the following video to learn more: https://www.3shape.com/en/products/trios/intraoral-scanners

 

 

 

 

We’ve heard people of all ages say they don’t like going to the dentist, or they’re scared. We get it and take every opportunity to make patients comfortable. In addition to our awesome team, who genuinely cares for our patients, here are other ways that Saving Smiles Dentistry helps ease the anxiety.
Nitrous Oxide
This safe relaxing agent is breathed in through a mask that takes you to your happy place. Nerves are calmed. Teeth are taken care of, and you’re on your way.
Noise-canceling head phones with music
Music can also be the best medicine. When it’s all you can hear, your mind can wander and focus on the fun stuff.
Blankets & pillows
We want you to feel relaxed, so we offer blankets and pillows to help you stay cozy and soothed.
Relaxing environment
Our space and our people are welcoming and positive. Maybe so much, you won’t want to leave!
Educate
Our team takes the time to explain procedures to patients. The unknown can be scary, so we do our best to provide the information you need to feel comfortable.
Start small
We start with a small procedure to make sure you are comfortable before moving to larger procedures.
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