Mill Creek Dental has recently added a new state of the art technology to our practice. We are excited to introduce and implement digital scanning to our practice. By using a comfortable scanning wand we are able to take full arch scans of our patients for patient education and records and also take full arch scan for night guards (no need to take molds of patient’s teeth which are often uncomfortable and especially difficult for those patients with a strong gag reflex). We are also able to eliminate impressions for crowns, bridges, and implants. The scans are able to capture the detail (if not more) of all of the information our labs need to fabricate beautiful, well-fitting restorations. And unlike in the past, if we need a little more information in the impression, it only take a few seconds to recapture the area versus taking another four minute impression! The Trios 3Shape is notable because it scans in color which captures tissue, teeth and restoration changes as well as shade of teeth to compare for bleaching and to send exact shade matches to our labs. The digital scans are sent seamlessly to our labs over the digital highway and are received within minutes of us finishing a patient’s scan. The labs use printed models to fabricate crowns, bridges, night guards and implant restorations. Both of Dr. Chin’s assistants are well-trained with the new technology and they can quickly and comfortably scan the necessary areas for the procedure being performed. Mill Creek Dental is very excited to add this technology to our practice and can’t wait for our patients to see and experience digital dentistry. Please feel free to ask us about our Trios 3Shape Scanner!
Periodontal disease is a serious gum infection that damages the gums and can lead to bone loss in the jaws. Periodontal disease is as severe of a condition as dental cavities and if left untreated can lead to the loss of teeth and overall health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, premature birth for women, diabetes, and respiratory disease. In its earliest form periodontal disease is classified as gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is usually easily reversed by good dental home care (brushing two times a day and flossing daily) and regular visits to the dentist. However, periodontal disease which is more advanced gum disease may require deep cleanings (where a dentist or dental hygienist may need to numb the gums prior to cleaning), localized antibiotics and dental cleanings every three to four months. What Causes Periodontal Disease? Periodontal Disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on the teeth. In an effort to get rid of the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that inflame and damage the gums, the ligament that holds the teeth in, and the jaw bone. This leads to swollen and bleeding gums, inflammation and ultimately bone loss and the loss of teeth. If plaque is left on teeth for long periods of time it turns to calculus (often referred to as tartar) and cannot be removed with normal brushing. Sometimes the calculus can form under the gums and can be very difficult to remove, and must be done by a dental professional. Risks and Prevention Bacteria is the main cause of periodontal disease but there are other factors that can contribute. -Genes: Some people are more [...]
Many dentists are moving towards using porcelain restorations exclusively. While porcelain is very strong, can bond directly to the tooth and is of course, most esthetic and natural looking-gold is another dental material that has many advantages. Gold is most often used on the posterior teeth, unlike amalgam (silver) fillings, gold will not oxidize and discolor teeth. In fact, gold is the most biocompatible material that can be used in the mouth. Gold has almost the same wear rate of natural tooth structure. The junction between gold and tooth are nearly imperceptible and this makes it far less likely to harbor plaque which contributes to better tissue health. Gold can be polished and finished to a higher degree than other materials, many people find the sensory acceptance of gold by the tongue and the feel of chewing is enhanced by the smoothness and anatomical replication of the missing tooth structure. Well placed gold restorations will last much longer than other filling materials used today. While porcelain is a great dental restorative material, it does have a brittle factor which can chip and crack over time. At Mill Creek Dental we provide both porcelain and gold restorations. Dr. Chin is very proficient with both materials and is happy to discuss the pros and cons of both and which restoration may be most suitable for your particular tooth. Dr. Chin is a member of the Academy of R. V. Tucker Gold Study Club and likes to let her patients know that there are always different options for each individual and their particular restorative needs.
Do you often wake up with a sore jaw or headache? Do you have a bedmate who complains of hearing you grind your teeth? Have you been told that your teeth have wear by a dentist? If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, you may clench or grind your teeth. Grinding your teeth is sometimes referred to as bruxism. Many people clench or grind their teeth while sleeping and are unaware of their habit unless it is symptomatic or they are told by a bedmate or dental professional. Over time, both clenching and grinding can be harmful to teeth. The forces we are able to exert with our jaws is very strong and can break and wear teeth down, break existing dental restorations, loosen teeth and can cause joint and muscle pain. Also, long term clenching and grinding can make teeth sensitive. There are over-the-counter guards that can be purchased at drugstores, these provide protection and allow a person to see if they can tolerate having a device in their mouth while they sleep but are recommended for short term use. Many are made of a soft and pliable material that breaks down over time and can cause us to "chew" on it and actually strengthen our muscles. For long term bruxism, a hard custom-made guard is the best appliance and can be made by your dental professional. Impressions of your teeth are taken and a night guard is custom fit to your teeth. For muscle pain associated with bruxism, anti-inflammatory medication can be taken along with a warm, wet compress applied to the facial muscles. Stress can increase clenching and grinding, so finding ways to de-stress such as listening to music, [...]
While the enamel [outside covering of the crown of a tooth] is the hardest substance in the human body, undue stress on your teeth may cause them to crack. Causes include chewing hard foods [such as a popcorn kernel], biting on ice cubes, biting on a hard object such as a pen or pipe and/or clenching or grinding your teeth [bruxism]. Cracked Tooth Syndrome is very common in teeth with large fillings in them and most often is seen in your back teeth. If the crack goes untreated, it may deepen or expand like a crack in a glass window, causing part of the tooth to break off. If this occurs, the tooth may have to be extracted or might need root canal treatment in an attempt to save the tooth. Some of the symptoms of this occurrence are: pain on chewing, unsolicited pain, pain from cold air, no x-ray evidence of the problem and no dental decay present. Often it is difficult for the patient to determine which tooth is causing the pain. However, the absence of pain does not rule out the presence of a crack. To determine if a tooth has developed a crack that is not visible to the naked eye, the dentist will take a through dental history including history of trauma to your teeth and history of any bite adjustments that were performed. The teeth in the problem area will be examined with a dental explorer. Hot and cold sensitivity of the teeth will be tested. If a severe pain is elicited with temperature, and the pain rapidly subsides with removal of the stimulus, it is usually indicative of a fracture. Sometimes, transillumination [light source] with magnification is used [...]
There are certain oral health concerns related specifically to women, especially during different stages of her life. In general, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with eating disorders, TMJ, Myofacial Pain Syndrome and/or dry mouth. Puberty/Menstruation During puberty, a young woman's production of the sex hormones progesterone and estrogen increases. This surge in hormones may contribute to swollen/sensitive gums and Herpes-type lesions and ulcers. During menstruation periods, these symptoms may become magnified. Oral Contraceptives Because these contain either progesterone or estrogen, they may mimic pregnancy dental symptoms such as bleeding, swollen and sore gums. Women using oral contraceptives have a much greater chance of developing a painful condition know as "dry socket" after an extraction. This is a situation where the blood clot does not form properly after an extraction resulting in a localized, painful inflammation. Be sure to inform you dentist if you are using oral contraceptives and having a tooth extracted. Pregnancy It is common for pregnant women to experience bleeding, swollen and painful gums; another condition that may also develop is a "pregnancy tumor," which is a benign growth that usually shrinks when the pregnancy is over. It is extremely important for pregnant women to practice regular and efficient oral hygiene to minimize these symptoms. There is some research that suggests that periodontal disease can result in pre-term deliveries and/or low birth-rate babies. Menopause Post-menopausal women often develop a debilitating condition called burning mouth syndrome, which can be painful and peak at night making sleep difficult. Other symptoms common to post-menopausal women are dry mouths and changes in taste. Most of these symptoms are relieved by estrogen supplements but this hormone replacement therapy can cause bleeding, tender, swollen gums. [...]
Civilizations around the world have used natural herbs and plants to treat sickness and pain. All tea comes from a plant, Camellia sinensis. Unlike black tea, green tea is not fermented, so its active ingredients remain unaltered. Green tea's protection comes from a powerful antioxidant, a polyphenol called EGCG. [Graham HN. Green tea consumption, and polyphenol chemistry. Prev Med 1992;21:334-50.] There is evidence to show that green tea can be effective in the prevention and treatment of certain types of cancer, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and impaired immune function. Because our mouths are an oxygen-rich environment closely connected to our blood vessels, they provide an ideal habitat for the growth and rapid proliferation of cancer cells. Scientists have confirmed that green tea not only halts the growth of new oral cancer cells but it actually breaks down and kills existing oral cancer cells. A double-blind study of people with leukoplakia (a precancerous oral condition), showed that those in the green tea group compared to those in the placebo group had significant decreases in the pre-cancerous condition.[Li N, Sun Z, Han C, Chen J. The chemopreventive effects of tea on human oral precancerous mucosa lesions. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1999;220:218-24.] This is why we examine your mouth closely at each visit to determine any changes in texture or color that might indicate the presence of oral cancers. This early screening is just one more reason to make sure you don't miss your regular checkup. Ingredients in green tea may reduce the risk of getting dental cavities. One study compared two groups. The one that rinsed each night with an alcohol extract of oolong tea leaves had significantly less plaque formation than the group [...]
A child's introduction to professional dental care ideally should take place by their first birthday. The earlier you begin, the better chance there is to prevent problems. Most cavities in children start to develop before age three. A good time to schedule your child's first dental visit is in the morning, when he or she is rested and likely to be cooperative. If they enjoy the first dental visit, future ones will be anticipated rather than feared. Early experiences will influence their attitude toward dental care, and can help start them on the path to a lifetime of good dental health. What could be more beautiful to you as a parent than your child's smile? An early orthodontic screening assures that your child's smile will be healthy and look its best. Just as your child's first visit to the dentist should be as early as six months, the best time for a first visit to the orthodontist is by age seven. It may also help minimize the need for more extensive treatment at a later date, such as the removal of permanent teeth. Early treatment may also help your child's self-esteem - a fragile asset that's so important in growing up.
Considering Dental Implants? Important Facts to Help Make Your Decision Many people are unaware of the consequences of losing their teeth or the effects of wearing partial or full dentures upon their jaws and bones. When teeth are lost, the surrounding bone immediately begins to shrink [atrophy]. Implant treatment, for tooth replacement therapy, can be the optimal treatment plan. Here are some important facts to take into consideration. Wearing dentures [plates] accelerates bone loss, and old dentures become loose because of this bone loss. It is possible to watch and wait for bone to disappear to the point where treatment success of any kind is in doubt. At the end of a five-year period, only 40% are still wearing the original partial denture made for them. This is not a great testimonial for value and utility. Those lucky enough to have a functioning partial denture after 5 years are still losing valuable supporting bone. Of those patients who wear a partial denture, 50% chew better without it. One study showed that after 8 years, 40% of the supporting teeth [abutments] that the partial hooks onto were lost through tooth decay or fracture. Patients with natural teeth can bite with about 200 pounds of force. Denture wearers can bite with approximately 50 pounds of force. Those wearing dentures for 15 years or more can bite with only about 6 pounds of force, and their diet and eating habits have had to been modified accordingly. The average lower full denture shifts from side to side approximately 1/4 inch during chewing and is a significant problem that new denture wearers must get used to and accept. Denture wearers have decreased nutritional intake, a ten year shorter life span, [...]
Damaged Dentin Causes Indecent Exposure Your teeth are made up of several layers. The incredibly hard, outer 'enamel' layer that allows you to bite and chew, the more porous 'dentin' layer that lies beneath the enamel and extends below the gumline, and the inner, soft tissue 'pulp' layer that contains all the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues to nourish the tooth. Exposed Dentin near the gum line Gum line recession If something happens to either of the outer protective layers, tiny tubules in the dentin layer allow underlying nerve endings to be exposed to air, hot, cold, and touch, resulting in a condition called 'sensitive teeth'. For example, if your enamel is chipped, cracked, or broken as a result of age, injury, or grinding, the underlying dentin may be partially exposed. Clenching, grinding, improper brushing, and receding gums can also allow the dentin to be exposed. Easy Does It Once the dentin is exposed, there's not much you can do to actually correct the situation. However, there are several ways to treat the symptoms themselves, easing sensitivity within a few weeks of treatment. First, we may suggest a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your gums from further irritation and recession. Our office may also recommend a special toothpaste formulated to either block access to the nerve endings, or insulate the nerve itself. Finally, we may prescribe a fluoride rinse or gel for sensitive teeth. For a few weeks, as you wait for the special sensitivity toothpaste to take effect, it's wise to pay extra attention to what you eat and drink-- avoiding very hot or cold foods and beverages, stopping any habitual, conscious grinding or clenching, and brushing very gently with a soft [...]