Benefit of Routine Examination and Xray Imaging

There are many benefits to routine dental office.  Even though a person does not feel having any dental problems such as pain or swelling, there could be some hidden problems that only dentist can detect.  During routine dental examination, a dentist would take appropriate set of xray images and perform clinical examination on your teeth and surrounding oral structures.  Xray images are able to show areas of teeth that cannot be seen visually.  For example, in this patient we take xray image of her lower right teeth during her routine examination.  We took a full series of xray images which consists of 18 films and this type of xray images are taken on average once every 5 years depending on dental needs of the patient.  And this year it is her time for having this type of xray taken.  So we took a full set, and one of her xray images shows her lower right tooth has a root fracture.

Xray Image shows root fracture.

Xray Image shows root fracture.

 

She has had no previous symptoms and she is not aware of having any problem.  The cause of root fracture might be due to her teeth grinding and clenching habits.  Because of root fracture, we are not able to restore the tooth and the tooth would need to be extracted.  Due to early detection, no real infection or no further damage occurs.  After the extraction, patient would need implant.

 

Routine dental examination can help detect dental problems.  If dental problems left untreated, there are chances of addition risks such as infection, bone loss, and other adverse health effect.  Dentist recommends routine checkup and cleaning at least twice a year or once every 6 months, depending on the needs of patients.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Toothpick Can Cause Severe Damage To Teeth

Toothpick is one of the most earliest ways people use as a dental cleaning tool.  However, if used incorrectly, it may cause severe irreversible damage to teeth.

Toothpick is usually used to clean out food debris in gum in between two adjacent teeth.  Food sometimes would get caught in the gum pocket area.  If we use the toothpick incorrectly, the tip of the toothpick might create mechanical abrasion on the root surface area of the tooth.  Overtime, a hole is created and food again is more likely to get caught in it.  This creates a  cycle of continual food impaction.  Decay is eventually formed.  However, this type of decay is especially hard to treat because its location is almost at the gumline.  And sometimes, the decay can very easily spread very quickly and decay may progress into the nerve at the center of the tooth.

I would suggest to use dental floss, toothbrushes and medicated rinses for daily oral hygiene.  Also I would encourage routine dental visit where dentist can use special instruments to clean out the harded plaque from those hard-to-reach area.

 

 

Toothpick causes damage to teeth

Cavity is formed at the location where the toothpicks were inserted and irreversible damage to the root surface area of the tooth.

 

 

Toothpick Damage Repaired Xray Image

Decay at the root surface area can spread quickly and the tooth becomes painful. To treat, root canal therapy, buildup and crown procedures are necessary to be performed for saving the tooth.

 

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Implant Procedures– Steps by Steps Illustration

Implant is the modern advancement in Dentistry for replacement of missing teeth.  Implant consists of two parts: implant fixture and implant crown.  Implant fixture is a prosthetic anchor into a person’s own alveolar bone in the dental ridges and a prosthetic dental crown can be made on this implant fixture.  Let me illustrate the typical dental implant process with this recent case:

This patient walks in with a broken tooth.

Preop Implant Front Tooth

 

Xray image shows only a fraction of the root remains in the bone.

Preop Implant Xray

 

The remaining root is unrestorable.  Based on the patient’s medical history, he has no medical problems and is perfectly healthy.  And the bone level is adequate for implant.  Thus implant option is recommended to replace the tooth.

The typical implant process starts with initial consultation such as evaluation of patient’s pre-existing medical/health status, clinical and radiographic evaluation of dental condition and adequacy of bone in the implant site.  Implant process is to be discussed with the patient and informed consent obtained.

After the initial consultation, the patient agrees to proceed with the implant process.  The root is first to be extracted.  Because patient has adequate bone, implant fixture is to be inserted on the same day.  The tissue is to be sutured and the wound is closed.

MidTreatment Implant Xray Front Tooth

It would take 4 months for the implant to be integrated with the surround bone.  A temporary dental flipper (with the denture tooth) is made so patient can wear to cover the missing tooth.

After 4 months, patient comes back for evaluation and bone and tissue is healed completely.  The implant within the bone is uncovered.  Then implant crown is to be made and inserted.  This is how he looks like when the crown is put on.

Postop Implant Front Tooth   Postop Implant Xray Front Tooth

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — Dental Implants, White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Implant Dentist

Dentist Can Help Parents Detect Kids Methamphetamine Abuse

Dentist can help parents to detect if there is any changes in their kid’s oral health which could be associated with drug abuses.  One common drug abuse is methamphetamine.  When patients come in for biannual dental checkup, dentist would detect any changes in their oral health.  This includes any health problems caused by diseases or drug abuses.  There are signs and symptoms dentist can detect in the oral cavity and in the facial regions.

A methamphetamine abuser usually have what’s called the meth mouth.  Xerostomia or dry mouth is common occurence.  The oral cavity is dry because of vasoconstriction caused by the drug.  This vasoconstriction also can cause the teeth to die from inside out.  The teeth will become rotten from the interior pulpal chamber.  Often the teeth will break at the neck, leaving unsightly blackened root stump exposed.  Multiple teeth will have severe cavity at the smooth surface and may break off at the gum line.

Meth Mouth

“Meth Mouth”, multiple blackened cavity on the smooth surface of tooth. Some may break off at the gum line

On the facial region, the skin will be excessively dry due to vasoconstriction effect of the drug.  The skin may have multiple scratch marks because the drug abuser would experience severe itch on their skin and the skin on arms, legs, and face may be scarred.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

 

Is Root Canal Therapy Scary and Painful?

The short answer is no because patient would be given anesthetics and the tooth would be numb.  However, there are a number of factors influences the comfort level of the treatment.

It is true that the patient would be given anesthetics but sometimes when the patient has a severely infected tooth, the area might be more difficult to become anesthetized because the bacteria and pus would decrease the effectiveness of the anesthetics and the doctor would have to administer an extra dose of anesthetics to achieve the therapeutic effect.  And also patient’s anxiety level can also affect how the tooth responds to anesthetics.

Patient might sometimes experience some post-treatment soreness after the root canal therapy is given.  This can be part of the normal recovery process because the infected area needs time to clear up the toxin and pus caused by the bacteria.  Often dentist would prescribe antibiotics to help decrease the post-operative inflammation and pain medication to manage pain.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

What is Teeth Cleaning?

This seems like a simple question but if you ask most people whether they know what the dentists are doing during teeth cleaning procedure, they probably may not know the answer.  So let me explain in details what exactly goes on in the professional teeth cleaning procedure.

As we chew on variety of food with our teeth every day, we accumulate plaque and stains.  Plaque are food debris left over on our teeth and around the gum.  Stains are discoloration caused by solubles like soy sauce, coffees and wine.  Unless we brush immediately and thoroughly after each meal, there will be some leftover plaque and stains.  These plaque can slowly be turned into calcified plaque or in professional terms “calculus.”  These calculus contains millions of bacteria which can cause dental infections and tooth decay.  And these calculus cannot be removed by toothbrushing.  It requires professional cleaning.

At the dental office, the dentist would use automatic devices called the ultrasonic scaler to remove these calcified plaque.  The tip of the ultrasonic scaler would vibrate at high-frequencies, and when the dentist make this tip in contact with the calcified plaque, they would help dislodge the calcified plaque from the tooth surface.  The ultrasonic scaler is efficient at removing big pieces of calcified plaque.

Then dentist would follow by using the hand scaler.  These hand scaler are small instrument to scrap off small plaque from the tooth.  Next, the dentist may use floss to remove the remaining miniscule plaque from the gum pockets around the tooth.

The final step is to use the prophy paste to “polish” the tooth.  After the hand scaler, the tooth would have some microscopic scratches.  The prophy paste essentially removes biofilm and polish the surface of the tooth to remove these micro scratches.  By making the teeth more smooth, the bacteria and plaque won’t stick on the teeth as easily.

And whether dentist would follow each of the above steps during the cleaning procedure depends on the amount of plaque and dental condition of the patients.  It is recommended that a person see a dentist for checkup and cleaning at least once every six months.

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Cosmetic Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Cosmetic Dentist

 

Combination of Teeth Cleaning and Whitening Can Do Wonders to Your Smiles

The holiday seasons are upon us.  Parties, family gatherings and meeting with new friends are things we do and often many pictures are taken.  However, if your teeth are yellowish or stained, I would recommend getting teeth cleaning and whitening at our dental office for a dramatic result.  Teeth cleaning can get rid of the plaque buildup around the teeth and the whitening process can change your teeth to a whiter color.  For example, this case shows that the teeth has extensive brown plaque buildup around the teeth and the teeth has been stained yellowish.  Dental cleaning can help remove the brown plaque buildup and the teeth has become whiter with the in-office bleaching.

Pre Whitening and Pre Dental Cleaning Photos

Patient Presents with Extensive Brown Plaque Buildup and Stained Yellowish Teeth

WhiteningAfter

Dramatic Improvement After Dental Cleaning and Whitening

 

 

The in-office bleaching is a much safer and more reliable alternative to the other over-the-counter bleaching stripes.  The in-office bleaching is supervised by the dentist and many safety precautions are taken during the bleaching process is done.  The patient would be less likely to swallow those bleaching chemicals and the vital gum tissue and the cheek/lips are protected.  The bleaching result is dramatic because it can change the color of the teeth within an hour when the patient is in the chair.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Scientists Stimulate Stem Cells with Light To Regrow Teeth

laser on tooth

I have come across this articles that scientists have found way to stimulate stem cells to regrow part of the tooth.  In the article, scientist Praveen Arany from National Institute of Health has used low-powered laser to stimulate the stem cells within a tooth to regrow the dentin, which is the inner layer of the tooth.  This can potentially help repair the damaged tooth and save the tooth from having the root canal therapy done on it.  They have not gotten to regrow the enamel yet but I hope in the future we can make dentistry totally painless by regrowing the tooth structure.  This is the reference to the article:

Bright Idea: Scientists Use Laser Lights to Regrow Teeth from NBC News Online

 

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Dental Endo-Perio Infectious Lesions Due to Vertical Fracture

The more severe form of the dental infection is the endo-perio lesion.  The characteristics of this type of lesion is that radiograph will show a radiolucent band around the entire roots of a tooth.

Dental Endoperio infection manifests itself as radiolucent band around the roots of a tooth.

Dental Endoperio infection manifests itself as radiolucent band around the roots of a tooth.

This type of dental infection is a more aggressive form of dental infection.  It usually happens when there is an untreated infection and the affected area has spread to the entire roots of the tooth.  One common cause of such infection is from vertical fracture of the tooth.  The bacteria has traveled from the oral cavity to infect the root and bone around the tooth.  Thus, if there is an endo-perio lesions evident in radiograph, it has the possibility that the tooth might have some kind of fracture.

Dental Endoperio Infectious Lesions Due to Vertical Fracture shown

Vertical Fracture (shown in Yellow Line) is a common cause for endo-perio lesions.

This type of dental infection is very aggressive that a typical dental treatment of root canal therapy might not be enough to cure it.  Even after root canal therapy and rigorous antibiotic regimen, the prognosis of the tooth is guarded, which means it could be less favorable compared to tooth with a more minor form of infections.  However, root canal therapy is the last defense of saving the tooth before a tooth is deemed unsalvable from the infection.

If there is a through-and-through vertical fracture, the tooth cannot be restored and it needs to be taken out.  Vertical fracture essentially split the tooth in half and no dental fillings or crowns can hold the tooth together.  No dental fillings or crowns can repair the cracks below the roots of the tooth and bacteria can get through those cracks.

Option to restore the unsalvable tooth is to first extract the tooth and then restore it with implants.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Genral Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Good Dental Habits Start Young

Just like many other personality traits, good dental habits can be taught to young children and are often influenced by their care-givers.  We as adults have our own sets of values often attributed to our parents.  We invariably pass on our values to our children through the way we speak and act.  If we want our children to develop good health, we do not only tell them verbally but also we should demonstrate by our actions.  Kids often pick up little clues by observing us and learning from us.

Good oral hygiene comes from daily brushing routines.  This includes the number of times we brush our teeth, duration of each brushing routine and the technique of brushing that we use.  Parents should demonstrate and monitor children’s compliance.  We can encourage them by doing the oral hygiene routines together at the same time.  Make it a fun time.

Also, we can bring the children to see the dentist for periodic checkup and cleaning visit.  This help teach them the importance of dental health.

And if we have dental problems, try not to speak negatively but try to act positive, especially in font of our children.  Dental phobia can be taught.  We can help our children by giving them correct dental knowledges so that they will not neglect their dental health in their future due to phobia.  Our children will have a more pleasant dental experience at the dentist.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Familyl Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Family Dentist