Self-Ligating Braces and their Effectiveness

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Many of our patients want to learn more about the orthodontic treatment option known as self-ligating braces. Even though the self-ligating braces first appeared in the 1930s, the popularity of these braces has grown exponentially in the past several decades.

Our dentists are highly skilled in the orthodontic field and often suggest patients use the self-ligating braces instead of the traditional braces with wires and rubber bands.

Self-ligating braces are similar to traditional wired braces in that the brackets attached to your teeth and are not removable during treatment. The self-ligating braces also depend on the archwire that runs through the brackets to apply pressure and adjust the position of the teeth. However, this type of orthodontic treatment does not require the rubber bands that are attached and help apply pressure to straighten the teeth.

A factor that makes self-ligating braces unique is that the archwire movement depends on specialized brackets or clips. These brackets move and provide pressure as needed to the teeth. The brackets allow for easier adjustment of the archwire with no rubber bands necessary.

Dentists believe that there several benefits to self-ligating braces

• FEWER OFFICE VISITS- Patients with traditional wired braces make frequent visits to the orthodontist to receive necessary adjustments, so treatment stays on track. Self-ligating braces do not depend on rubber bands and continual adjustments. Additionally, the necessary adjustments for self-ligating braces are comparatively fast and require less chair time than regular braces.

EASIER TO KEEP CLEAN- Since rubber bands are not a part of self-ligating braces, patients do not need to work around the bands to brush and floss. Also, bacteria will have one less place to hide.

• REDUCED FRICTION- The level of tension in self-ligating braces is less than that found in traditional braces.

If you think that self-ligating braces could be a good option for your orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact our office. Our staff can give you information about the treatment as well as set up a no-obligation consultation so one of our dentists can evaluate your orthodontic needs and suggest a course of action for treatment.

Dental Implants and Their Benefits

Dental implant

Many of our patients want to know more about dental implants and why they are important. Contrary to the beliefs of some, dental implants are not purely cosmetic. Much more than a great-looking smile comes from getting implants.

Explaining the cosmetic benefits of dental implants is easy. The majority of people who lose a front tooth are eager to find a way to fill the gap because it looks so unsightly. However, when patients lose a back tooth, they are not always ready to plan a replacement. This is because it is much more difficult to notice than a front tooth.

Our dental implants dentist in San Francisco understands the importance of dental implants and is happy to share the information.

Many of the benefits of dental implants happen below the surface of the gumline. In each tooth socket, nerves and blood vessels detect the presence of the tooth roots and deliver vital nutrition to the bone and tissue surrounding the socket.

When a tooth is missing from its socket, the nerves sense this and tell the brain not to send nutrition because the area appears dead. After a bit of time, the lack of nutrition leads to bone loss in the area surrounding the empty tooth socket. Eventually, the area of bone loss will become worse, and the facial begins to shrivel and takes on a hollow and sunken appearance.

When the titanium screw (for the implant) goes in the empty socket, the nerve endings notice this. The renewed stimulus causes the brain to resume providing nutrition to the area. Bone loss stops and, in many cases, reversed.

If you are missing teeth or are planning extractions in the future, please feel free to contact our office. Our dentist and the rest of our staff are happy to share information to help you make a decision. You can also make an appointment for a no-obligation consultation with one of our dentists.

 

When is Invisalign Express Beneficial?

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Orthodontic patients who visit our office have several choices of Invisalign treatment. We offer the full Invisalign alignment system which consists of 20 to 30 alignment trays and normally takes a year and a half for complete treatment. For our younger patients, we have the Invisalign Teen option. The treatment time varies, but this type of Invisalign has modifications to make the alignment trays suitable for teens with growing jaws and erupting molars. Another exciting option for patients who are interested in Invisalign treatment is Invisalign Express.

Invisalign Express is a treatment designed to benefit patients who have minor complaints about their smile. These are sometimes naturally occurring problems the patient has not addressed. Relapsing after braces is another common issue that Invisalign Express remedies.

The Invisalign Express alignment system works just like the full Invisalign alignment trays. It gently guides teeth out of alignment into the best position and gives our patients beautiful smiles they are proud to share with the world. Patients wear the clear alignment trays for 20-22 hours a day. The express trays come out before eating or drinking anything (except plain water), and patients must brush their teeth before putting the alignment trays in their mouths.

Patients can be self-conscious about misalignments that are not significant enough to warrant the time and expense of a full Invisalign course of treatment. In these situations, the modified express course of Invisalign treatment is the best way to perfect a smile without requiring a patient to spend a year following the treatment protocol. Our dentist often recommends the Invisalign treatment as a part of a complete smile makeover.

If you have minor misalignments, you would like to straighten, or you would like to reposition teeth relapsing to incorrect positions after past orthodontic care, please contact our office. Our staff can schedule an appointment with our cosmetic dentist to help you determine if Invisalign Express is an excellent treatment choice for you.

How is Periodontal Disease Diagnosed?

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Our patients here at our dental office are often concerned about Periodontal disease also called gum disease. They are curious about prevention and how we diagnose it in our practice. Because it is usually painless, it is easy to develop gum disease and not know you have the disorder. This is especially true for patients who have gone for long periods of time with no dental care.

Our dentist finds most cases of periodontitis during routine dental exams. The earliest symptoms are easy for our periodontist in San Francisco to spot.
These signs include:
• RED AND SWOLLEN GUMS- These are one of the earliest signs of a problem with your gums. The gums react this way because they are fighting off the attacking infection.

• LOOSE TEETH- Unless you still have baby teeth, loose teeth are always a sign of a problem. Your tooth should stay anchored in place and never move. Even if your teeth that wiggle just a few millimeters, it could indicate gum disease.

• BLEEDING GUMS- Healthy gums do not bleed when gently brushed or flossed. The bleeding could mean you are overly aggressive when caring for your teeth, but it is quite likely that it is a signal of a periodontal problem.

If our dentist suspects gum disease, he will examine your teeth with a dental probe. The probe is a small and thin dental tool that measures, in millimeters, the size of gaps between your teeth and gums. Any pockets more than three millimeters deep indicate gum disease additionally, bleeding when our dentist inserts the dental probe is also a sign of periodontitis.

Another way to diagnose periodontal disease is with x-ray technology. A panoramic x-ray will show the level of bone around your teeth. If our dentist sees a variance of bone levels, it denotes gum disease.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can create problems like tooth infection, tooth loss, and bone loss. Fortunately, there are treatments which are highly successful in eliminating gum disease. These vary according to the severity of your condition.

The best option is to prevent periodontal disease by:
• Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush at least twice a day
• Flossing your teeth at bedtime
• Regular dental check-ups

If you suspect you have gum disease, or would like more information, please contact us. We are always happy to help.

Uses of CAD/CAM Technology

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Anybody who has been the recipient of one or more cosmetic dental implements over the course of their life is probably more than aware of how long and drawn-out the process can be. While the final result is always pristine, there is usually more than a bit of back and forth to and from the dental office. The most significant waiting period is probably the time between being measured for the new addition and the time spent waiting for it to be physically produced in a dental lab. Technological breakthroughs in recent years, however, have made this inconvenience completely obsolete. With the advent of CAD/CAM technology, our dentists are now able to outfit your smile with the appropriate enhancements in less time than ever before.

 

In the past, an initial consultation appointment with out dentist was required to both go over the goals of the patient and also to prepare the mouth for the fixture and take the impressions an off-site dental lab would use to manufacture your new crown, bridge, or onlay. Once the fixture was ready, you had to go back to the office to have it placed. The CAD/CAM workflow streamlines the process, allowing our dentists to restore your teeth with much less unnecessary waiting.

 

CAD/CAM technique involves special equipment that enables our dentists to complete the process entirely in our own office and in one visit. After the tooth or teeth in question have been cleaned, sculpted, and prepared in anticipation of the coming procedure, a highly-accurate scanner is used to gather as much data as possible about them, and a digital 3D model of the patient’s mouth will be generated. From this model the appropriate measurements will be taken. This data is then used to instruct a built-in, extremely precise milling chamber on what to build and how to build it. Using this information, your new fixture will be hewn from either composite resin or porcelain. When the machine has finished producing the implement, the rest of the process is as simple as having it placed, set with cement, and adjusted within the context of your bite.

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

The snoring

Sleep apnea is associated with out-of-control snoring. But that’s just one symptom, and it’s harmless. Multiple other symptoms could be more disruptive of your quality of life. Comparing your symptoms to a list won’t help you feel better, but it could put you on a path to a diagnosis.

 

Sleep apnea is a pattern of interrupted sleep, caused by the collapse of throat muscles. This condition can be either obstructive, when the cause is physical, or central—when the cause is neurological. Either one is bad for the business of your sleep. While it’s up to your sleeping partner to rate your snoring, there are signs you can notice yourself. These include:

 

Waking multiple times per night to urinate
Waking up with a headache, sore throat or dry mouth, or a sore jaw
Recurrent reawakening or insomnia
Persistent feelings of fatigue
Inability to concentrate or increased irritability during the day

 

In an apneic episode, the body ceases to breathe. In severe cases, it happens consistently throughout the night. Obviously, this can impact your health. Along with the pre-existing health patterns that may have led to sleep apnea in the first place—like obesity or alcoholism—you should treat your sleep apnea with urgency. This means getting a diagnosis, which often means getting a sleep study. Sleep physicians like our San Francisco dentist often recommend a sleep study both before and after diagnosis—one to determine a course of treatment, and the other to determine the effectiveness of that treatment.
Available treatments include CPAP—or continuous positive airway pressure—and OAT—or oral appliance therapy. CPAP is a machine that regulates airflow through a mask. OAT is for patients who do not respond to the invasiveness of CPAP, and uses a mouth guard to reposition the jaw for better breathing.

 

To find out if you have sleep apnea, contact our expert in sleep apnea in San Francisco.

How Does Acceledent Work?

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Once you make the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment, you will be excited to see the results of your new smile. With Acceledent, that may happen sooner than you would expect. Acceledent is an FDA-approved device that can significantly speed orthodontic treatment. Our cosmetic dentist in San Francisco can help you decide if this treatment is right for you.

During orthodontic treatment, continuous pressure is applied to the teeth through braces or invisible aligners. Acceledent uses vibrations that can speed the bone remodeling process. You will wear the Acceledent mouthpiece for 20 minutes a day. During this time, you simply bite down on the appliance while you read, watch TV or relax. The gentle vibration will help the tissues adjust to treatment so that your teeth move more quickly. There is never any pain or discomfort associated with Acceledent, and the vibrations are mild enough that the system can even be used for patients with low pain tolerance.

If you want to unveil your new smile faster or simply speed your orthodontic treatment, Acceledent might be an appropriate solution for you. Call to schedule your consultation today to learn more about Acceledent in San Francisco.

Teeth Whitening Process

Friends having funOur teeth are supposed to be bright and white. Unfortunately, they can quickly become darkened and yellowed over time. This is often due to certain diet staples, such as berries, red sauce, tea, and coffee. It can also be caused by some lifestyle habits, such as smoking. Our dentist in San Francisco can perform a teeth whitening treatment in order to remove these extrinsic stains.

There are many different types of teeth whitening treatments, however most of them work very similarly. It will begin with a teeth cleaning, in order to remove any plaque, tartar, and food debris. Then they will apply a rubber block in order to protect the gums and other soft tissue of the mouth.

A whitening liquid or gel is then applied directly on to the teeth. It will be activated with a special dental light or laser. For most types of treatments, the liquid and light will stay in place between a few minutes and fifteen minutes. It will then be removed and reapplied one to two more times.

If an in-office treatment is not what you are looking for, we can also offer take-home kits. These provide you with the tools, materials, and instructions you need to brighten your teeth at home.

Endodontic Treatments

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Are you experiencing a tooth ache? If so, you are likely in a lot of pain right now, and wishing for something that can magically take it away quickly. Fortunately, there’s a special dentist specifically for this purpose. Endodontists can perform root canal and other types of treatments in order to save your tooth and eliminate all pain.

Root canal treatments involve using a drill to create a hole in the tooth. This gives our expert in endodontics access to the pulp, which has become infected. All of the infected tissue is removed and replaced with a special dental packing material. The tooth is then restored with a crown or filling.

Endodontic retreatment is sometimes necessary after root canal therapy. This is needed when some infected tissue has been missed and not removed, typically from deep in the bottom of the canals. Our endodontist can go back into the tooth and ensure any infected tissue is gone. Endodontic treatment is also sometimes necessary after a physical accident in which a tooth has been broken, or the pulp otherwise affected.

If you are suffering from a tooth ache, do not ignore the pain – it will not go away on its own. You will need the help of our experienced dentist in San Francisco as soon as possible.

Periodontal Treatments

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Periodontists are dentists that specialize in the gums. Many patients can do an acceptable job taking care of their teeth, but completely ignore their gum health. This leads to varying levels of gum disease.

A mild level of gum disease is called gingivitis. Symptoms include excessive tenderness, redness, and bleeding. At this stage, increased dental care and oral hygiene may be enough to reverse the process. This includes improved brushing and flossing, as well as more frequent visits to our cosmetic dentist in San Francisco.

If the condition has become more progressed, our periodontist can perform a scaling and root planing, or SRP. This involves using a special tool to remove the plaque and tartar from just above and just below the gum line. If this is not successful, a gum flap surgery is typically attempted next, wherein incisions are made in the gums in order to better access and clean the tooth roots.

Other periodontal treatments include gum tissue and bone grafting. Failure to seek treatment for gum disease can lead to deep decay, abscessed teeth, and even tooth loss. If you have recognized any of the above symptoms in your gums, schedule an appointment with our dentist today.