Nitrous oxide is available for patients who are nervous, sensitive, or wish to have extensive dental work completed in a single visit. The patient first breathes pure oxygen through a mask. Nitrous oxide is slowly added to the oxygen, helping the patient feel more comfortable and relaxed during the procedure. Patients may opt for nitrous oxide for any dental or hygiene procedure they wish in our office.
We have a state of the art 3D Imaging machine to assist in implant dentistry, difficult root canal diagnoses, cancer screening, tooth fractures, pain diagnoses and much more. 3D cone beam machines have a very tiny beam of energy that focuses on the area of concern, so it is far less radiation than a medical grade CT scan. It is about the equivalent of one or two traditional dental x-rays. It also takes the traditional panoramic (2D) xrays for oral surgery, wisdom tooth and orthodontic evaluations.
Sedation & General Anesthesia
Patients who require general anesthesia or conscious sedation are welcome. We employ the service of a licensed anesthesiologist who will remain in the treatment room during your entire visit, allowing the doctors to perform your procedure in a caring, safe and effective environment. This is a wonderful service to help phobic or highly anxious patients rest comfortably.
TMJ, also referred to as TMD (Temporomandibular disorder) is a very common finding by the dentist. Many patients complain of painful jaw joints, the inability to open wide or chew hard foods or simply headaches related to areas around their ears. A Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) exam can expose an underlying problem that may emerge later on in life. Additionally, if left untreated, the results can be broken teeth, recurrent headaches, unaesthetic ground down teeth, inability to chew your food and fracturing of existing dental work. Causes of TMJ may be related to the “bite”, grinding habits or clenching habits or trauma.
If you have any of the signs of TMJ, such as limited jaw opening, painful areas around your ears, worn or ground down teeth or popping or clicking of the jaw joints, please ask us about what we can do for you. Many people suffer from TMJ when they don’t have to.
However, in most cases a dentist fabricated appliance can provide great relief and comfort from those that suffer from TMJ. Patients that have TMJ should avoid chewing hard foods, opening very wide and yawning without supporting the jaws, and most importantly, have a discussion with us regarding your symptoms so we can help!
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) is actually very common. People usually don’t even know that they are doing it! People of all ages experience stresses in life that appear to be taken out on the teeth. One need not have any jaw or muscle pain to be grinding down the teeth, although it is often accompanied by some jaw joint symptoms (See TMJ). A comprehensive examination will often disclose that fact that teeth are being worn away by a habit, an irregular bite or simply the daily grind of life. If left untreated, bruxism can be a disaster, leading to major tooth damage as well as jaw joint damage (See TMJ).
Wearing a dentist fabricated appliance (also known as a night guard or bite splint) will prevent the damage of natural teeth or cosmetic dental restorations and prolong the life and health of your smile. This comfortably worn appliance can alleviate the potential dangers of bruxism (tooth fracture, headaches, jaw joint pain, etc.) and can be worn during sleep or at home. The bite splints can be made fairly quickly and are easy to use and maintain, lasting several years. In many cases after patients have cosmetic dentistry, a night guard or bite splint will be recommended to protect the newly placed restorations from damage due to unknown grinding or clenching while the patient sleeps.
Snoring is a very common problem today. Although many people get a good night’s sleep, it’s also the people next to them that may be the sufferers! There is help. Today dentists fabricate comfortable appliances that can be worn during sleep to curtail and even prevent loud snoring, giving the snorer a much need restful night’s sleep, as well as anyone else close enough to be affected!
Dental molds of the teeth are made and sent to a laboratory that specifically makes a customized dental appliance for that individual patient’s mouth. The appliance is made to gently guide the lower jaw forward, which allows the tongue to assume a more forward position as well. In doing so, the airway behind the tongue is held open, allowing for normal airflow past the throat and into the lungs. This normal flow of air stops the snoring.
Sleep Apnea is a much more serious medical problem that actually occurs when a person stops breathing while they are sleeping. These pauses or stoppages in normal breathing (apneas), lasting for seconds and even minutes, can occur several times an hour. The results can be very harmful to a person. Often these patients have to wear a continuous positive air pressure mask (CPAP) hooked up to an oxygen tank to force air into the lungs so breathing is uninterrupted while a person sleeps.
While not all sleep apneas are alike, many can be treated by trained dentists. With similar appliances as mentioned for snoring patients, Apnea patients can also obtain a good night’s sleep without interruption in many cases. We can fabricate these appliances for our patients, often as a direct result of a sleep study test (polysomnogram) that the patient undergoes under the direction of a trained doctor. Problems such as snoring and sleep apnea should always be discussed with the dentist during a comprehensive exam.
Oral Cancer Screening
Each day, every hour, one person dies from oral cancer. There are 37,000 new cases detected each year. Early diagnosis and treatment greatly increases your chance of survival. Our new hand held device, The VELscope and Identafi can help us determine if you are at risk for oral cancer, along with our routine head and neck exams. In just two minutes, The VELscope and Identafi’s blue light allows us to see precancerous lesions, as well as oral cancer not yet visible to the naked eye. It’s simple, quick and painless. For a nominal fee, adding the VELscope or Identafi to your visit can detect lesions that left untreated, may otherwise develop into oral cancer. Routine dental hygiene visits are not only important for the care of your teeth and gums, but also for your overall health. Our team at Smiles 4 A Lifetime wants to provide you with the latest technology. We are constantly continuing our education so that we may provide the very best care as it concerns the overall health of all our patients.
Laser dentistry is the latest advancement in dental technology, treating a wide range of dental and cosmetic problems from cavities to gum disease to teeth whitening. The lasers we use in laser dentistry at our practice are an alternative to the common hand-held scalpel, drills, or other tools.
Laser Treatments for Aphthous Ulcers and Canker Sores
Canker sores are painful sores that present as whitish-grey areas surrounded by a bright red area. They tend to occur more frequently in women than men, and can occur at any age. These sores usually appear on the surface of the gums, roof of the mouth, cheeks, lips and tongue. These sores are completely benign.
Laser treatment for cold sores is best done at the very onset of symptoms and can prevent the sore from occurring. As soon as any of these symptoms are present, call us to schedule an appointment. Even if the sore is already there, laser treatment can provide relief from the discomfort of the sore and allow it to heal much faster.