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Join our excitement! Introducing CEREC 3D Dentistry

June 13, 2012

We have integrated the latest generation of diagnostic imaging technology into our practice and our patients love it!  With CEREC 3D Dentistry,  Dr. Bartholomew uses special digital radiography tools and imaging software to analyze 3-dimensional views of oral structures in the treatment planning process.

The benefit to our patients in the convenience of going to a single location and efficiency in communication and treatment planning has received rave reviews!

The 3D Difference

Traditional dental xrays are 2-dimensional views of teeth and jaw structures, making it challenging to see close-up views of underlying bone support from every angle.  3D imaging offers the ability to visually rotate tooth and jawbone structures for 360-degree viewing, providing additional information to support the treatment planning process.

Dental Implants

For years, Dr. Bartholomew has used multiple dental and medical imaging views to evaluate supportive jaw bone and tooth structures in the selection of the optimal location and procedure guidance for placement of dental implants.  Now, with our own 3D imaging system, he can provide this service and acquire even more information in the comfort of our facility!

CEREC® Dental Implant Restoration

After using 3D diagnostics for guided placement of your dental implant, Dr. Bartholomew can further apply the 3D model to design and fabricate a natural-looking implant crown to replace the missing tooth using CEREC®.

  • After your implant has healed, this synchronized approach can be accomplished in a single visit without depending on an outside lab!

Read more about CEREC® 3D Dentistry

If you are in need of dental treatment to help with missing teeth or are experiencing difficulty in biting or chewing, please Contact Us to learn more about what 3D dental technology has to offer.

 

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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

March 17, 2011

Frequently, I have patients ask me about their sensitive teeth.  It is important to understand that there are many causes of sensitive teeth and solving the problem requires an accurate diagnosis to determine the cause of the sensitivity.  Sensitivity is present when there is pain in one or more teeth to a stimulus such as eating or drinking hot or cold food or liquids.  Sensitivity may also occur with biting pressure and chewing hard foods or when eating sweets.  Some sensitivity is only temporary and lasts for a few weeks, some is intermittent in that it comes and goes and some may last for many years.

There are many different types and causes of sensitivity.  In some cases it is due to exposure of dentin or the middle layer of the tooth.  Normally, the dentin is covered with enamel on the crown of the tooth and cementum on the root of the tooth.  Exposure of dentin may be caused by many things such as excessive wear on the teeth due to long-term grinding of the teeth or bruxism, recession of the gums, improper brushing with a hard toothbrush, or a broken or leaking filling.  Untreated tooth decay, gum surgery that results in root exposure and teeth whitening procedures can also cause  dental sensitivity.

Some sensitivity involves the deepest layer of the tooth or the dental pulp.  This type of sensitity may be caused by decay or infection, excessive clenching or grinding, a recent filling, or a cracked or broken tooth.  If you have a sharp pain when biting or when releasing a bite, you may have a cracked tooth.  It is prudent to treat a symptomatic cracked tooth early, usually with a crown.  If the problem is due to excessive clenching or grinding, we can make a night guard for you to wear while you sleep to protect your teeth and jaws.

Occasionally, new fillings cause a tooth to be sensitive.  Amalgam or metal fillings tend to conduct temperature changes to the center of the tooth more readily than natural tooth structure resulting in sensitivity.  Tooth colored fillings require treatment of the tooth with materials to help the filling adhere to the tooth which may irritate the nerve causing sensitivity to cold.  Although recent advances in bonding technology have reduced this problem significantly, it does still occur in isolated cases.  Sensitivity that occcurs after a new filling is usually temporary and decreases over a few weeks.  However, in some cases, additional treatment may be required.  

When a tooth becomes sensitive to heat, it is usually an indicator that a nerve is dying and root canal treatment is likely necessary.  It is important that your dentist be very thorough with your diagnosis to pinpoint the source of your sensitivity.  An accurate history of the problem by the patient will help us diagnose the problem.

Some things you can do to prevent sensitivity include daily, proper brushing and flossing using a soft toothbrush.  Using a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse may help.  You may also use a toothpaste formulated specifically for sensitivity.  Consultation with us can help you chose a regimen that is right for you.  Regular professional care is crucial.  If your teeth are too sensitive to tolerate a professional cleaning, we may recommend using nitrous oxide or local anesthesia to clean your teeth.  In certain instances, we may also apply a fluoride type sealer to the affected teeth.

If you have sensitivity that lasts longer than a few weeks, contact us or feel free to discuss it with us at your next appointment….the solution may be easier than you think.

For  a more detailed discussion about sensitivity click on the following link.   http://www.simplestepsdental.com/SS/ihtSS/r.==/st.31937/t.28119/pr.3.html

Community Service

March 7, 2011

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Our accounts manager/hygienist, Gretchen Anderson, recently did some community service work by representing the dental profession at a Health Fair held by Community Bible Church. She spent the day talking to the folks about dental care and giving out oral care products. Thanks, Gretchen

The Art of Crafting the Ideal Smile

February 9, 2011

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I would like to show you this case that we recently completed to demonstrate the nuances of creating a beautiful smile that is in harmony and balance with the lips, mouth and face.  When we treatment plan a cosmetic case, it all begins with a thorough examination and consultation with a very critical eye to determine what we have and what is possible given the teeth and soft tissue as it exists.  Then, by visualizing the ideal end result, it is possible to outline the treatment sequence that will give the desired outcome.  No two cases are alike and there are a lot of technical considerations that we will not discuss in this setting but lets start by looking at the before pictures above.

As you can see in the shots, we have a scenario where we want to increase the length of the teeth and decrease the amount of gum that shows at a full smile.  We want to change the shape of the teeth to a more youthful appearance and correct the wear evident.  Additionally, we want to close the small spaces between her teeth and mask the tetracycline discolored dentin that is particularly evident in the lower half of the tooth, making the overall shade whiter and the smile brighter while maintaining a natural look.  

The solution was to do a gum lift which gives her a good tooth to gum ratio in her smile.  Then, we placed porcelain/zirconia crowns from the cuspid back for strength and esthetics.  Porcelain laminates (veneers) were done on the front four teeth so we could be conservative with the tooth preparation and still achieve the desired shade and shape change.

I think you will agree that the result was a fantastic natural smile that is truly in harmony and balance with the rest of her face.

Sedation Dentistry

January 25, 2011

I can’t tell you how often I hear “I hate coming to the dentist.”  Let’s face it, very few people really enjoy having medical or dental procedures.  There are times when the anxiety around this event is so intense that patients avoid dental care to their own detriment.  Most of us know that putting off needed dental care can lead to severe problems including pain and abscesses, loss of teeth and, in extreme cases, life threatening  infection.  Also, there is now evidence showing that periodontal disease, left untreated, can even lead to cardiovascular disease and heart problems (more on this in an upcoming blog).

There are solutions for patients who have extreme anxiety in the dental office in the form of conscious sedation.  This is where the patient takes an oral medication that can practically eliminate all of the anxiety surrounding a dental visit.  The technique varies according to the level of anxiety, the medical history of the patient and the complexity of the procedure.  A consult with Dr. Bartholomew can determine which sedation is right for you.

It is important to know that only dentists who meet the requirements of the Dental Practice Act (http://sos.georgia.gov/cgi-bin/PLBLaws.asp?Board=37 ) in section 43-11-21 of the law can legally administer and prescribe conscious sedation for their patients.  In the state of Georgia the doctor must have a current permit from the Dental Board, in addition to their Dental License, to offer conscious sedation.  Dentists need special advanced training and specific monitoring equipment in the office to meet the requirements for a permit.

You do not have to be paralyzed by fear when you come to the dentist.  We can help you overcome this obstacle to taking care of your dental needs.  Feel free to discuss this with us at your next appointment or schedule a consultation to explore your options.

Mythbusting Root Canals

January 18, 2011

Often, the response that I get when discussing root canal treatment with patients is negativity and fear.  I find it interesting that the universal reaction is such and have questioned the basis for such visceral reactions. 

I hear questions and comments like:

“Is that surgery” and “are you going to remove the root of my tooth?”

“Can you just pull it.”

“I heard that is painful.”

“How many days will I be laid up?”

“I need to be put to sleep to do that.”

And this one always gets me… “I would rather have a baby!”

I have come up with some possible explanations for these reactions.  First of all, I find that the majority of people don’t really understand what  a root canal is and we tend to fear medical and dental procedures that we really don’t understand.  Secondly, comedians and others in the media tend to make “having a root canal” the brunt of jokes about pain and terrible things that can happen to you.  Additionally, dental problems that necessitate a root canal, namely a toothache and/or an abscess tend to be extremely unpleasant and the treatment tends to get grouped in with the problem, giving them a bad, guilt by association reputation.

So, lets start by saying that a root canal or endodontic therapy is performed on a tooth that has had damage to nerve to the point that it has an irreversible pulpitis (nerve inflammation) or an abscess (infection in the pulp canal and the tissues surrounding the tooth).  The damage may be caused by deep decay in, fractures in, or trauma to a particular tooth.  In rare instances, a tooth may need a root canal for no apparent reason at all.  This shows up  as sensitivity in the tooth to hot, cold or biting pressure or as a frank toothache.  A toothache may be intermittent (may come and go) or it can be continuous.  Sometimes the intermittent toothache is brought on by some sort of stimulus such as eating or drinking something that is either hot or cold.  Regardless, there are a number of tests we can do in the office to determine if a root canal is necessary to solve the problem and which particular tooth is the culprit.

Some facts about root canals are:

With adequate local anesthesia, the procedure itself is usually not uncomfortable at all. 

Root canals, when done properly and followed up with a crown, are very successful with long-term success rates in the high 90 percentile.

In the majority of cases the post-operative discomfort is minimal and limited to temporary tenderness with biting pressure which is easily handled with a non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as Ibuprofen.   Occasionally stronger pain medications, steroidal anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics may be prescribed depending on the nature of the presenting problem.

To learn about the procedure, follow the link below.  It is one the best explanations of the procedure…very accurate, concise and easy to understand.  One thing I might add to this video is that we often use rotary files rather than hand files to clean and shape the canals when possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOLLHNve_iA

Meet Lacie

January 13, 2011

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I think we can all agree that Lacie is already a beautiful lady but she was extremely happy with her smile after her gumlift and anterior porcelain crowns.  Our anterior crowns are made with a very strong white Zirconia base with porcelain custom layered on top to create a very lifelike crown possessing the light transmitting properties of natural enamel.  The white Zirconia base provides strength and eliminates the potential for the developement of dark lines that are sometimes seen at the  gum line of the porcelain fused to metal base restoration of the past.  The laser gumlift reduced her gumminess while maintaining an ideal full smile.  The result is  beautiful, lifelike, and strong with long-lasting esthetics.  This is truly something to smile about.