Oral Disease

Benefit of Routine Dental Exam and Xray

There are many benefits to routine dental exam.  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 exam 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

Hidden Danger of Losing Teeth

We now have many options to restore teeth which were lost due to various unreparable dental problems or the teeth which were congenitally missing.  However, many people would choose to do nothing to restore them.  If the missing teeth are not restored in time, there could be many severe cosmetic, dental and medical consequences, and they are:

  1.  If the front teeth are missing, a person’s appearance can be severely affected.  The unsightly gaps can profoundly affect a person’s psychie.
  2. The bone which were once supporting the teeth will be shrinking.  The bone will no longer receive mechanical stimulation from the teeth.  These stimulation from teeth helps promote natural remodeling of the bone.  Without these stimulation, the bone remodeling would be affected and thus the bone will become atrophy or shrink in volume.
  3. With the shrinkage of supporting bone, the lips and cheek would appear sunken in.
  4. The teeth which directly opposes to the missing teeth would extrude out of the supporting bone.  For example, if there is missing teeth on the lower jaw, the upper teeth directly above empty space would extrude downward.  Eventually, the upper teeth would extrude out of the upper alveolar bone and the teeth would be lost.
  5. Also the upper teeth would hit the gum in the empty space.  These would create chewing problem.
  6. The adjacent teeth near the missing teeth would receive excessive pressure from a person’s chewing movement, and this would cause increase in risk of tooth fracture.
  7. The adjacent teeth would collapse into the empty space and this exacerbate the already compromised bite.  Eventually, the person would have difficulty in chewing because teeth adjacent to the missing teeth would become misaligned.
  8. Due to bone shrinkage, the person would have new risk for jaw fracture.

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

General Dentist Office in Tempe AZ

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

Many Benefits of Night Guard

Night guard is like a rubber “glove” worn over either upper or lower teeth mainly over your sleep at night.  It has many benefits:

1.  It protects your teeth by absorbing excessive force being placed on them when you are unknowingly clenching and grinding your teeth at night.  Some people have such habit and they may not know it but if they have done it often enough, they will notice their jaw and teeth may become sore especially in the morning.  This night guard can help protect the teeth.

2.  It helps preventing breakage of your teeth from the clenching and grinding habit.

3.  It would help relieve symptoms associated with TMJ disorders.

4.  It can be an unofficial whitening tray.  Bleaching gel can be placed within the wells of the night guard to whiten teeth.

5.  It can hold the fluoride gel in place.  Fluoride can help strengthen the teeth.

6. It can decrease the snoring problem when sleeping.  When the breathing is partially obstructed, loud snoring sound is produced.  The night guard can help open the airway and this helps decrease the snoring problem.


Dr Tee can help you to make a night guard if you think you have any of the above symptoms.  Come in for an examination and we can tell you if it can benefit you.


How Do I Know If I have Infections in My Tooth?

There are signs and symptoms associated with dental infections, which can be caused by tooth cavity or a broken tooth.

Signs are something apparent by observation and they can include:

–  The presence of darkened area on the tooth

–  The presence of breakage within the tooth

–  The gum area has a swollen pustule which may have pus coming out.

–  Tooth mobility

–  Swollen lymph node around the lower jaw.

Symptoms are sensual abnormalities and they can incude:

–  Pain on chewing

–  Pain on touching the tooth

–  Increased sensitivity to cold and the sensation last for more than 10 seconds

–  Spontaneous dental pain and often described as throbbing.

–  Pain waking you up at night

If you have any of the above signs and symptoms, please contact our dental office for evaluation.  We can take complete radiographs and thorough examinations to determine if you really have dental infections.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Family Dental Office in Tempe AZ

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

Types of Dental Cleaning

The purpose of dental cleaning is to remove the food debris on the tooth.  However, there are situation in which the teeth may need a deeper cleaning and many patients might not understand the difference between the regular dental cleaning and this “deeper” dental cleaning.  So let me explain here types of dental cleaning.

There are many levels of dental cleaning depending on the clinical findings which indicates the underlying dental disease process.  The clinical findings can be multitude of measurements such as depth measurement of the periodontal pockets around the tooth, the amount and location of the dental calculus and the radiographic finding of bone loss.

The followings are different level of dental disease process and types of cleaning needed to help control the disease progression:

–  Healthy Gum within pocket 0-3 mm –  This is the healthy gum with periodontal disease. The pocket measurement is from 0 to 3 mm.  Absence or almost no bleeding upon probing.  Minimal plaque and no bone loss.  The patient would need regular basic dental cleaning.

–  Mild to Moderate Periodontal Disease with pocket from 3-4 mm – This is a person with mild to moderate periodontal disease process.  The clinical finding shows pocket measurement from 3-5mm.  There is usually accompanied by bleeding upon probing.  Plaque and calculus can be detected below the gum line.  Radiograph can show calculus and some bone loss.  The patient would need a “deeper” cleaning called the Scaling and Root Planing procedure.  It is indicated for complete removal the disease-causing calculus from within the gum pockets on the teeth.  This procedure is usually performed at the general dentist’s office.

–  Severe Periodontal Disease with pockets greater than 5mm.  This indicates a more severe periodontal disease status and it requires more extensive treatment and surgery.  Patient might be referred to the Periodontist for periodontal surgery and special antibiotics to help control the disease progress.

So “deeper” cleaning is really just a lay-man term for a special treatment to treat the periodontal disease.  It should be better understood as periodontal treatment.  I often would tell patient that this is not just a cleaning but rather to cure a specific dental disease.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

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

Please Don’t Wait to See Your Dentist.

Today I have a patient coming in for a broken tooth.  He has biten into a piece of chicken and part of the tooth cracked off.  He said as soon as this happen, he felt a sharp pain and this is what brought him to see the dentist today.

Upon examination, the tooth has a big defect.  I ask him about the history of the tooth and he said he noticed a small piece of the tooth came off three years ago.  He said he went to the dentist at that time and the dentist gave him some antibiotics and painkiller for emergency measures but he never returns for followup treatment because he didn’t have any major discomfort and he said he just let it slipped off his mind.

The tooth exhibits the sign and symptoms of crack tooth syndrome and it might need some extensive work.  I sincerely felt sorry for the guy because if he had fixed the small problem three years ago, the tooth might not develop this severe crack.  The small defect in the tooth might cause food impaction and bacteria can cause cavity to further weaken the tooth.  As the result of three years of non-treatment, the tooth has become cavitated from within and it only takes a small piece of soft chicken meat to cause the crumbling of the tooth structure.

The tooth is now needing a core buildup and a crown to prevent it from breakage.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

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

Biopsy Provides Early Detection of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can happen within the soft and hard tissue around the oral cavity.  It is benefitial to detect oral cancer in its early stage because early detection allows for early treatment and it can save lives.  Dental professional is one of the front line in mankind’s combat against oral cancer because dental professional works around the oral cavity and can help see if there are any changes to the patient’s oral health.  This does not only include detection of cavity and restoring missing teeth.  But in addition, dental professional can perform intraoral and extraoral examination to detect any abnormality in the soft tissue and the bony ridge through visual, tactile and also clinical xray imaging methods.

Some ulcers in the mouth may heal over time.  However, if there is a lesion that does not heal itself and persist or may even enlarge over time, biopsy can be done to verify the type of lesion.  Usually, this procedure only requires local anesthetics.  The dentist would use a scalpel to incise a tissue sample, and then put it into a jaw containing formalin.  The dentist would send this tissue sample to the pathology lab for evaluation.  A report will show whether the suspect lesion is cancerous or not.  If it is cancerous, a followup referral to specialist is given to patient.

Oral Lesion

Oral Lesion on the Cheek Mucosa.

An early detected cancerous lesion can be treated with excisional biopsy because the affected area is often self-contained and can be readily cut out from the surrounding healthy tissue.

Abrasion Defect

Abrasion Defect is caused by mechanical trauma to the tooth around the gumline due to abrasive action of toothbrush.  Usually there is also recession of the gingiva (or gum).  The gingiva receded because there might be underlying periodontal disease or due to repeated mechanical trauma of the toothbrush.  Once the gingiva is receded, the root surface area will be exposed.  The root surface area is more prone to mechanical abrasion because biologically there is no enamel to protect the root area.  Overtime, with repeated tootbbrush abrasion, the neck of the tooth will be abraded and a notch will form.

Abrasion Defect

Abrasion Defect at the neck of a tooth.

There are multiple ways to resolve the problem.  One way to undergo tissue grafting of the gingiva to repair the receded gingiva tissue.  This way will help to cover up the root surface area.  Another way is to put a bonded filling to repair the tooth.  Utlimately, the source of the problme needs to be correct which is to minimize the abrasion of the toothbrushing.  Patient can use a toothbrush with a soft bristle.  Also, method of toothbrushing can be modified.  Patient can use the toothbrushing method called the roll method which is more gentle on the gingiva.  By repairing the tooth, it not only restores the cosmestic aspect of the tooth but also protects the tooth from further damage in that area.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

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 General Dentist


Fluoride Rinse Helps Prevent Cavities

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Fluoride is a chemical ingredient common in toothpaste that has a special properties of strengthening the enamel of teeth.  In turn, this helps to prevent the cavity formation.  Often for patient who are more susceptible to cavity formation, I would recommend fluoride rinse to patients.  I would instruct the patient to use the rinse in addition to their dental hygiene routine.  Typically I instruct them to rinse with fluoride rinse after brushing their teeth and flossing.  Rinsing wth fluoride rinse for 30 seconds help the fluoride to distribute onto the surfaces of teeth.  After rinsing with fluoride rinse, I would tell patient to spit it out and do not rinse with water or drink water for at least half hour.  This allow the fluoride on the tooth to penetrate into the enamel.

However, over-ingestions of fluoride for children during their teeth development may cause fluorosis to their teeth.  So make sure that children do not swallow too much of those rinses or fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride rinse can be purchased over-the-counter in drug stores.  One brand is ACT fluoride rinse manufactured by Johnson & Johnson.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Dental Office in Tempe AZ

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

Severe Periodontal Disease Causes Bone Loss and Tooth Loss

<< General Dentistry Dental Office in Tempe AZ >>

Periodontal disease is a silent disease.  In the beginning and even in the moderate stage of the disease process, a person will often feel no symptoms.  Perhaps their gum will bleed when they brush.  If left untreated, the periodontal disease can cause serious dental problems such as persistent abscess in the gum and tooth loss.

The periodontal disease can be a slow disease progress.  However, often people will not notice it until at a much later stage.  The bacteria in periodontal disease causes erosion of the bone around the teeth.  Slowly over time, the teeth will become mobile and due to lack of the support from the surrounding bone, teeth may collapse and then tooth loss.

The following is the xray radiograph of a person having severe periodontal disease.

Severe Periodontal Bone Loss Dental

Severe Periodontal Disease causes severe bone loss

The radiograph image shows multiple teeth having black shadow around the root area.  The shadow can either be persistent infection due to bacteria and this leads to bone loss.  Clinically, multiple teeth have severe mobility because there is not enough bone to anchor each tooth.  The teeth appears to be very long because there is recession to the bone and the gum.  Some upper teeth has fallen down into the empty spaces.  The prognosis of his teeth are poor and eventually he would have to have all of this teeth extracted and get full dentures.

One way to help avoid periodontal disease is to have periodic dental checkup and cleaning.  Dentist will check if you have any periodontal disease and recommends periodontal treatment if needed.  Periodontal treatment is an on-going process and patient needs to work with the doctor to follow the oral hygiene instructions and commit to periodic recall treatment schedules.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

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

Dental Office in Tempe AZ