Exceeding your expectations
Choose the dentists who will go the extra mile to brighten your smile.
Local Anesthesia (“Needle Whisperer”)
When talking about “dental work” it is important to note that one of the greatest barriers to dental treatment is the fear of pain. Not just the fear of pain of the procedure, but the fear of the “needle.” There are a number of actions that we have taken in our office to alleviate this fear.
First of all, I teach local anesthesia and pain management to our dental hygienists at the UMA Bangor Dental Hygiene School and have done so for the past eight years. As a teacher, I am extremely diligent in maintaining the most advanced techniques in using local anesthesia. I’ve had many patients refer to me as the “needle whisperer…” painless injections!
Buffering Local Anesthetics
Very recent advances in the use of local anesthetics has made buffering possible. By that I mean, the stinging or burning sensation that may accompany an injection of a local anesthetic is because the drug that is used (just about everyone refers to it as “Novocaine”) is very acidic… about the same acidity as lemon juice… ever get lemon juice in a cut? Our new system allows me to neutralize the acidity or “buffer” the anesthetic just before I administer it so that the burning or stinging sensation is gone. And, because the anesthetic is neutralized it goes to work much faster and is far more profound so that we can begin treatment very soon after the injection – no waiting! The comment “wow, I didn’t feel a thing!” is becoming a regular pronouncement!
Fixing, repairing, filling, crowning, veneering, restoring teeth is what we do. Once a tooth is formed and erupted into the mouth, it does not have the capacity to repair itself. Teeth get cavities. Teeth crack and break. Teeth take a lot of punishment in just chewing food… let alone the myriad of other things that might make it into our mouths. And teeth don’t always show up or exhibit the best appearance we would like.
So… dentistry has taken the responsibility for taking care of these problems to repair teeth and enhance smiles!
You Deserve the Best
It goes without saying that the most perfect tooth is the one that grew into your mouth… that is to say before it ever was assaulted by bacteria and acids and grew cavities or became worn down. Dentistry has developed very sophisticated materials and systems for restoring teeth.
It is our goal to present to you the very best treatments available for the restoration of your teeth. You decide. If a particular plan does not fit your budget, you may elect to select a plan that does fit your budgetary needs. You decide!
When that tooth first pops through into your mouth it is the best it can be, however, it is then that a tooth is the most susceptible to attack by bacterial plaque and the acids that they form. The grooves of the back teeth are the most susceptible to decay.
Sealants are designed to fill in the deep grooves in the back teeth and prevent bacterial plaque from entering those susceptible grooves helping to protect them from decay.
Sealants are essentially a liquid resin that are painted into the grooves to “seal” them. Once hardened these sealants often last a long, long time and protect the tooth from decay from that source.
Silver-Mercury Amalgam Fillings
Silver-mercury amalgam fillings have been around since the mid-nineteenth century. There has never been a more controversial material so widely used. There are countries in the world that have banned its use. It is still with us here in the USA today, but it is going away; the FDA continues to “sit on the fence” on this topic.
Silver amalgam which contains about 50% elemental mercury has been widely used because of it’s ease of use and it’s economy. By itself, mercury is a poisonous substance. There are those who say that the mercury is rendered safe when combined with the other metals in the alloy that make up “silver fillings.” Then, there are those who say that these fillings always emit mercury vapor while they are in teeth.
My opinion, in this practice, is that it is not the best we have to offer for restoring teeth. We do not use it and have not for over 20 years. It is questionably safe to even handle mercury in the office while preparing the material to put in teeth. In industrial settings handling mercury requires a carefully controlled environment using ventilators and other safety equipment to prevent exposure to the elemental mercury. Therefore, we do not do “silver fillings.”
Over the years, dentistry has sought to repair teeth with materials that are strong enough to withstand the hostile environment that exists in the mouth. When silver fillings, which were very strong, began to be controversial, white filling materials became popular. Over many years, the science in the manufacture of these materials has improved to the point that these composites nearly have the strength of tooth enamel. These materials are particularly good when used in smaller areas on teeth.
Inlays, Onlays and Crowns… Oh My!
These terms are dental jargon for repairs of teeth that are in many cases too far gone for simpler restorations like tooth colored fillings. When a larger area of the tooth is missing or more of the tooth is broken down by fracture or decay, we need to use materials that can be stronger that can last a long time. In keeping with the idea that we need to be as “cosmetic” with our work as possible, we use various ceramic materials akin to porcelain for repairing teeth with inlays, onlays and crowns.
Gold has been an excellent choice for repair of teeth for hundreds of years. It is strong, has low toxicity, and is very compatible with human tissues. Unfortunately it may not be seen as the most esthetic thing to dazzle your smile and in recent years, it has become a very expensive material to use. Nevertheless, we still occasionally use gold in several applications in restoring teeth.
CAD-CAM Dentistry / Same Day Dentistry
Have you ever had a “temporary” crown come off while waiting for the dental lab to complete your restoration? At its best, the “old way” of restoring teeth with crowns was annoying. It required messy impressions, temporaries, a waiting period of two or three weeks and a return to the office to have the tooth numbed up one more time to have the new crown put on the tooth.
In September 2001, as a matter of fact, the day after the infamous 911, our CEREC cad-cam system arrived. This was the first of its kind technology in the greater Bangor, Maine, area and there has been no looking back. This has been life-changing technology for dentistry.
With CEREC (Chairside Economic Restoration with Esthetic Ceramic) there is no more need for messy impressions or any of the traditional steps required for restoring your tooth with a crown. It is all done in just one visit that takes less that a couple of hours. No more waiting; no more temporaries coming off. The vast majority of the work we do can be done just one visit.
Just about every thing we do in dentistry these days has an eye towards the cosmetic/smile enhancing effects of our restorative dentistry.
Whitening teeth, bonded “composite” and ceramic restorations, clear braces such as Invisalign and ClearCorrect, are all considered in enhancing your smile. Indeed, professional cleaning of your teeth by our hygiene staff is one of the most important cosmetic service we offer. So-called cosmetic services in dentistry may include replacement of blackened old silver fillings, replacing missing teeth, straightening teeth, reshaping badly worn teeth or malpositioned teeth with veneers or crowns are all done here in our office.
Snap on Smile
The 3D printing technology that has made clear braces possible has also made the “Snap-On-Smile” available for patients who may desire a quick cosmetic fix for missing or unsightly teeth.
In effect, the SOS is intended to be a “temporary” cosmetic “fix.” Molds of your teeth are made and a 3D printed “shell” is fashioned that is thin, very esthetic special plastic that fits over your existing teeth and literally snaps onto your teeth. This restoration can be worn 24/7 and even during chewing. It just needs to be removed for your daily maintenance of your teeth. They do eventually wear out, however they are guaranteed to last at least a year. Of course the teeth and gums that will support a Snap-On-Smile need to be healthy to begin with.
Prosthetic dentistry is the facet of dentistry that is involved with replacing missing teeth. “Prosthetics” may be removable, as with dentures and partial dentures, or they may be attached or fastened to existing teeth.
A complete denture or “dental plate” is designed to rest on the gums and replace all of the teeth on the dental arch.
A partial denture is a removable appliance that may replace only one or possibly many teeth in one dental arch.
An implant supported complete denture or partial denture is when one or more implants that have been placed in the jaw are able to hold up the denture and attach it in such a way as to hold it in place during its use.
A bridge refers to a restoration that replaces teeth by attaching by cementing or bonding to the teeth that are adjacent to the missing ones. If you are missing just one or two teeth, this may be the best way to restore your smile and your chewing ability.
Dental implants have been around for many years; and techniques and materials have evolved over the years to be one of the most reliable ways to replace missing teeth. Minor oral surgery is needed to place the dental implant in the jaw and once this has healed we can then use the implant to replace one tooth or many teeth or to even use the implant to support or hold in a denture or partial denture.
We rely on the training and expertise of our local oral surgeons to place these implants after which we take over the restoration process to complete your case.
Endodontic (Root Canal) Therapy
When a tooth has been so damaged by decay or fracture that the vital “nerve” tissue has either died or become irreversibly painful, a “root canal” may be necessary to save a tooth that is still structurally sound enough to yet be useful. Root canals may unfortunately have something of a bad reputation. Not too many years ago, these tasks required multiple visits to the dentist or root canal specialist (endodontist) in order to be completed. Not infrequently these treatments were associated with pain.
Technology has changed for the better! Anesthetics are much improved and improvements in materials and techniques have allowed more and more dentists (non-endodontists) such as us to do these uncomplicated procedures in just one visit. If a tooth can be saved using endodontic therapy it may be far more economical than having to replace it later with an implant or a bridge. Ultimately the goal will be to alleviate the dental infection process and to restore the tooth to function once again.