We are committed to providing you with exceptional personal care with respect to your time and trust. Meeting your needs and wants through education, active listening and communication. Providing technical excellence in a caring environment.
A laser is an instrument that produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy. When laser light comes in contact with tissue, it causes a reaction. The light produced by the laser can remove or shape tissue.
Are lasers used in dentistry?
Yes, lasers have been used in dentistry since 1990. Lasers can be used as a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of dental procedures and are often used in conjunction with other dental instruments.
How are lasers used in dentistry?
Dental lasers can be used to:
reduce the discomfort of canker and cold sores.
expose partially erupted wisdom teeth.
remove muscle attachments that limit proper movement.
manage gum tissue during impressions for crowns or other procedures.
remove overgrown tissues caused by certain medications.
perform biopsy procedures.
remove inflamed gum tissues and aid in the treatment of gum disease.
remove or reshape gum and bone tissues during crown lengthening procedures.
help treat infections in root canals.
speed up tooth whitening procedures.
What are the benefits of using dental lasers?
There are several advantages. Dentists may not need to use a drill or administer anesthesia in some procedures, allowing the patient to enjoy a more relaxed dental experience. Laser procedures can be more precise. Also, lasers can reduce symptoms and healing times associated with traditional therapies; reduce the amount of bacteria in both diseased gum tissue and in tooth cavities; and control bleeding during surgery.
Are dental lasers safe?
If the dental laser is used according to accepted practices by a trained practitioner, then it is at least as safe as other dental instruments. However, just as you wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to the sun, when your dentist performs a laser procedure, youwill be asked to wear special eyeglasses to protect your eyes from the laser.
How can I be sure my dentist is properly trained to use a laser?
Ask your dentist questions about the extent of his or her laser education and training. Make sure that your dentist has participated in educational courses and received training by the manufacturer. Many dental schools, dental associations, and the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) offer dental laser education. The ALD is the profession's independent source for current dental laser education and credentialing.
How will I know if treatment with a dental laser is an option for me?
Ask your dentist. Although the laser is a very useful dental instrument, it is not appropriate for every dental procedure.
In 1986, less than 30 percent of dentists wore gloves, masks or gowns. Today, these infection-control tools are required in all dental practices. To fight the spread of diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, syphilis and herpes viruses, your dentist has strict procedures and may use a variety of measures to ensure that instruments used during dental procedures are sterile. As an extra precaution, many dentists and their staff are vaccinated for hepatitis B, to prevent them from potentially passing it on to patients. Sterilizing dental instruments, a process that destroys all forms of microbial life, is also an important part of infection control in a dental office.
How else does my dentist protect me?
When you first sit in the dental chair, chances are the first thing you'll see is your dentist washing his or her hands. Hands are washed at the start of the day, before putting on and taking off gloves and after touching any potentially contaminated surface.
Your dentist may use a variety of protective items that are used once and then thrown away, including gloves, masks, paper drapes, suction/water tube tips and needles. Dentists and their assistants can use different kinds of protective gloves. Latex or vinyl gloves are used for patient examinations and procedures and are worn whenever skin could be in contact with body fluids. Between patients, the gloves are thrown away, the hands washed and a new set of gloves is used to treat the next patient.
For cleaning and sterilizing instruments, heavy rubber utility gloves are used. If you are allergic to rubber or latex, your dentist can wear nitrile gloves, which do not contain any latex rubber proteins.
What are universal precautions?
Universal precautions, used for every patient, are safety procedures established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Dental Association (ADA). These precautions require all dental staff involved in patient care to use appropriate protective wear, such as gloves, masks and eyewear. For more information on CDC Infection Control guidelines, please visit www.cdc.gov.
Do dentists sterilize the handpiece (drill) and other instruments after each patient?
Dentists sterilize handpieces and other instruments between patients to prevent the transmission of diseases. Dental offices follow and monitor specific heat-sterilization procedures, which are outlined by the CDC and the ADA. Most dental instruments are sterilized in special machines; it takes much more than just soap and water to make sure instruments are free of bacteria. Recommended sterilization methods include placing these tools into an autoclave (steam under pressure), a dry-heat oven or chemical vapor (commonly called a chemiclave). Typically, this equipment is kept in the office, away from a patient's view. Ask your dentist to show you how and where instruments are sterilized.
How are other objects sterilized?
Before you enter the examination room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, drawer handles and countertops are disinfected. To sterilize equipment that can't be moved, such as X-ray units and countertops, disinfectant is applied after each patient to ensure a germ-free environment. Some offices may drape this equipment with protective covers, which are replaced after each patient. Disposable sharp items, such as needles, that cannot be sterilized are disposed of in puncture-resistant biohazard containers. Anything contaminated with blood or saliva is disposed of in special containers with safety lids.
Ask your dentist for additional information on how he or she is keeping you safe from germs and infectious diseases.
A dental implant is essentially an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed into the jawbone. One or more missing teeth can be replaced by attaching a crown, a fixed bridge, or a full set of dentures on top of the implants. The implant material, which is typically pure titanium, is extremely biocompatible and the bone treats the implant just as if it was made out of bone. The bone cells attach themselves to the implant in a process called osseointegration. After an initial healing period, during which the implant(s) is left undisturbed underneath the gum tissue, it is uncovered and connected to a small post that serves as the foundation for the tooth or teeth that the implant will be supporting.
Implants may be used to replace teeth in single-tooth spaces, groups of two or more missing teeth, or where the teeth are completely missing in one or both jaws. Once placed, the implants are used to support individual crowns, or bridges that are attached to the implants. Implants may also be used to help retain removable dentures more securely.
Most patients who are healthy with no restrictions for undergoing minor dental surgical procedures and who also have good oral hygiene are good candidates for dental implants. Your dentist will assess the potential implant site to determine whether there is sufficient bone volume and gum thickness to allow placement of an implant. We begin by providing a clinical examination that will involve inspection, palpation, and gentle probing of the potential implant site and adjacent teeth. In straightforward cases, simple dental x-rays are usually sufficient to examine the bone. In more complex cases, specialized implant x-rays, known as tomograms, are usually required.
Just like teeth, implants are not made to come out. Implants are not the same as natural teeth but they function and feel very much like natural teeth. For patients that have lived with removable appliances, the implant will feel much more secure.
Some implants fail because the bone has not integrated sufficiently with the implant surface. Hence, implants are not "rejected" like an organ transplant; they simply fail to bond with the bone. This may occur if the bone is very soft at the time the implant is placed or if the implant is initially unstable. Other reasons include inadvertent loading of the implant via a removable denture or by the action of chewing hard food over the implant site during the early stages of healing. Infection may also cause an implant to be lost. Most modern implant systems report success rates of 85-95% over a 5 to 15 years period.
Smoking affects the healing of bone and soft tissue by reducing the nutrients and minerals in the tissues as well as reducing the blood supply. This means that smoking is one of the biggest risk factors in failure of dental implants. Recent studies estimate that the chances of failure increase by two to three fold in a smoker. Gum and bone like a warm, moist environment and smoking produces a hot, dry environment.
In most cases, existing dentures and other temporary appliances can be worn immediately after implant surgery. There are exceptions, but our goal is to minimize any aesthetic concerns during the healing phase.
In most cases, implants can be placed using local anesthesia in our office. In more complex cases, we may recommend that the surgical phase be performed while you are under general anesthesia in a specialist's office or in a hospital environment.
In most situations, a healing period of between 3 to 6 months is required before teeth can be attached to the implants. A temporary appliance can usually be made to provide function and aesthetics during this period. After initial implant placement, regular follow-up visits are required to ensure that healing is progressing as we would like. After the teeth are attached to the implants, regular check-ups are needed every 6 to 12 months. At these check-up appointments, the implants are inspected and examined to ensure that the supporting gum and bone remains healthy. X-rays are taken to examine the bone structure around the implant.
For the implant to function well and to remain healthy, proper oral hygiene must be performed at home on a daily basis. Special cleaning aids (brushes, and floss) are widely available. We will provide instructions on the proper use of these cleaning aids. It is important to note that no metal scrapers should ever come in contact with the implants because metal scalers can scratch the surface of the implants.
Please see the Implant Gallery to view the types of results we can achieve with dental implants.