Friday, October 29, 2010

Technology in Dentistry Part Two

Restorative materials


Valplast® is a flexible material that is used to create partial dentures. The advantages are less stress on the remaining retainer teeth and no metal that shows. The retentive arms of a partial are made of the pink Valplast® material and can blend in imperceptibly with the gum tissue. The base pink material has a lifetime guarantee against breakage, and is very lightweight and comfortable to wear. Almost all of the partials we now make for patients are Valplast®.


E-max® is a DiLithium Silicate material for the fabrication of tooth colored crowns and bridges which exhibits three times the strength of conventional porcelain.  It can be pressed in the lab, or milled in the office on a CAD/CAM system. The strength advantage means less tooth reduction. The excellent color eliminates and  grey metal margins. We routinely use E-max® CAD blocks for our in office CEREC machine.

Zirconium is an extremely strong material which is used for implant connections, crowns, and bridges. The high strength has been used in the past as an understructure for these restorations. Zirconium allows for a metal free restoration and can block out unsightly dark stained teeth perfectly. Recently Zirconium has been reformulated to be used for bruxers and patients with a heavy hard bite. The most popular brands are Lava™ and now Bruxzir®
Snap-On Smile™

Snap-On Smile™ is a new technique and polymer that can instantly correct crooked, discolored broken, decayed and missing teeth. The Snap-On Smile™ fits over the existing teeth and can even be worn while eating. We have seen patients who were too embarrassed to smile shed tears of joy when they see the results.

Thin Veneers Lumineers®

Thin Veneers and  Lumineers® are a painless way to transform a smile. These no prep veneers are very strong and can be completed in 2 visits. they can change the shape size and color of your teeth. No shots are needed for most cases and no to minimal tooth preparation is needed. 

Ceramic Orthodontic  Brackets

Ceramic Orthodontic Brackets or clear brackets make orthodontic treatment more tolerable for many self conscious people. Now there are some orthodontic wire companies with a tooth colored orthodontic wire which also helps hide what is going on. Some orthodontists use lingual braces. Now several clear aligner companies like Invisalign® offer orthodontic options.

Advanced Nickel-titanium wires and super-wires for orthodontics
Nickel-titanium wires and super-wires for orthodontics can move teeth more quickly and comfortably. These wires can shorten treatment time significantly.

Advanced Bonding Adhesives

Advanced Bonding Adhesives combine multiple steps and give great strength while reducing sensitivity after restoring a tooth. Bonding adhesives can bond to many different materials. These adhesives have gone through several revolutions since their introduction 30 years ago.

Advanced Color Stable Micro-hybrid Composite Filling Materials

Advanced Color Stable Micro-hybrid Composite Filling Materials have also gone through many revolutions including nano-technology and the incorporation  of multiple filler sizes to enhance strength and polishability as well as color stability.

Low Shrink Composites

Low Shrink Composites allow for simpler filling and less sensitivity after curing. Tooth sensitivity after composite tooth colored fillings due to material shrinkage has been a serious problem. These materials do not shrink like the original materials did and now sensitivity is virtually never seen after fillings are placed.
Low Shrink Flowable Composites
Low Shrink Flowable Composites are used in areas of low stress as they are simple and easy to place.

Titanium Alloy

Titanium Alloy is used for dental implants and copings as well as for bridge and denture support bases. This material is light and strong and can be milled by CAD/CAM systems incorporating extremely precise fit of the restorations.

Your comments are welcome

Friday, October 22, 2010

Advanced Dental Care Part One

Advanced technology enhances results, and patient comfort.

I have always believed in innovation to increase patient care and comfort. In this three part series ,I will share with you many of the innovations we use daily to deliver the best dental care possible in the most patient friendly way.

In part one, I will focus on digital and computerized technology that enhances results and patient comfort.

CEREC is a computerized digital imaging CAD/CAM system we use to make crowns inlays and onlays in a single visit. The advantages are no need for a second visit and getting numbed again and no temporary crown that may fall off.

Schick® digital x-rays are super low dose x-ray sensors that we have been using for the past 10 years. Images are instantly available and can be enhanced to better observe conditions. In addition, the patient can easily see the same conditions on the monitor.

Digital imaging with intraoral camera. Now the patient can see the conditions that we see on a monitor, in addition it is often necessary to document a condition that does not show up on x-ray for insurance coverage. The camera is also useful for documenting before and after treatment.

X-rite digital shade taking gives us a check against our eye for shades that a dental lab will use for fabricating crowns veneers and other esthetic restorations. A computer file of the image with data on the shade is emailed to the lab.

Eccovision® is used to send sound waves and map the size and shape of the nasal and oral airway. This is used to help detect restrictions and collapse of the airway during sleep. Airway testing is part of our screening process for snoring and Sleep Apnea.

Embletta® is a portable recording device worn at night to detect sleep related breathing abnormalities. We use the Embletta to test Sleep Apnea oral appliance effectiveness during sleep at home.

Carifree® is a testing and treatment programs for patients who display a high level of tooth decay. We test the plaque for high bacterial activity with a digital sensor . Once a baseline is recorded a special rinse protocol can be used to change the bacterial activity and reduce decay in the future.

CAESY® is a computer patient education program utilizing a series of videos to help patient understand their dental conditions and options. The customized videos can be burned onto a disc for the patient and others to view at home.

Invisalign® is a digitally created series of plastic aligners used to straighten crooked teeth. the series of aligners can be previewed on a computer to show the progress of the movement prior to beginning. the final tooth position can be assessed as well as each aligner step.

CT scanning allows us to visualize the tissues in 3-D. This visualization is helpful in dental implant cases where placement requires high precision and bone quality is questionable.

Simplant® is a computer program that works with a CT scan to determine exact placement of dental implants and a final design of a prosthesis (crown, bridge or denture). The use of the Simplant system incorporated CAD/CAM technology to create guides and frameworks for the dental prosthesis.

Softdent® patient management system allows us to seamlessly integrate all of our technologies sin an electronic file for our patients. Information is never misplaced or lost. Scheduling and insurance tracking are quick and easy.

Smilereminder® works with Softdent to stay in touch with our patients and keep them current through text messaging and emails.

All of these technologies and more are available in our office except the ICAT which we have access to through our local oral surgeon.

We at Crystal Lake Dental Associates have been leaders in technology and innovation for decades. To learn more call us of visit our website.

Your comments are welcome.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gum Recession, Caues and Cure

Gum Recession has many causes-many treatments

Gum Recession is very common.

Most adults eventually have some gum recession. As long as the remaining “Attached Gingiva” is adequate in thickness, there is no problem.

The Attached Gingiva is a protective barrier against bacteria and debris.

Recession occurs when the “Attached Gingiva” is injured or is pulled away from the neck of the tooth. When this barrier is weak and recedes, the underlying root and bone become infected. This accelerates the bone loss and more recession occurs.

Many patients complain of sensitive teeth to hot cold or sweets when they have recession. Many others notice notching of the roots or the long appearance of a tooth or teeth.

Early detection and treatment is key to success.

Advanced recession can lead to embarrassing tooth loss when it occurs in the esthetic zone or the smile. When the amount of attached gingiva is less than 2 millimeters, there is cause for concern. During a normal dental examination, the dentist should be looking to make sure there are no areas where the attached gingiva is less than 2mm , the tissue is so thin that you can see through it, or a muscle attachment can cause the tissue to blanch when stretched. Any patient wearing lip or tongue rings must we warned of the potential for damage to the teeth and gums due to trauma. Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment must be observed closely before during and after treatment to see in any teeth are likely to be moved out of the bone in order to achieve alignment.

Causes of Recession

  • Heredity can be a factor as you inherit body tissue type from your family or origin. A thin or weak inherited gingival tissue type is more prone to recession.

  • Gum disease (Gingivitis, Periodontitis) can lead to recession over time. Also certain types of treatment for gum disease can cause recession in order to clear up the infection process.
  • Prominent roots either occurring naturally or after orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth can lead to recession.
  • Muscle pulls from muscle attachments too close to the roots of the teeth can pull on the attached gingiva and lead to recession.
  • Aggressive brushing can also lead to recession and put notches in the exposed tooth roots.
  • Trauma from excessive biting forces and Bruxism (tooth grinding) can break down tissue and lead to recession.
  • Trauma from objects like lip rings, and tongue rings or other habits that place foreign objects on the roots and gingival tissue can lead to severe recession.

Since the causes of gum recession may be a combination and are so varied, proper diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

Treatment of Recession

Depending upon the severity and nature of the recession, there are several courses of action including:

· Determining the cause of the recession and/or notching and correct the cause.

· Desensitize a sensitive root with a special toothpaste or a protective sealer on the root.

· Filling in the notch.

· Grafting the gum area to strengthen the gum or recover the root.

Grafting before

Grafting After

Recession can be a serious problem and can lead to tooth loss if not addressed.

We have found that the best course of treatment is to identify the causes and correct them early. Early treatment of an area of recession results in a less invasive procedure and a better outcome.

Gum recession is a form of gum disease, and needs to be treated. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

We regularly evaluate all patients’ gums for recession as part of our professional hygiene appointments. If you have any questions or concerns about gum recession, please let us know.


Phillip C Neal DDS

Crystal Lake Dental associates

280 B Memorial Court

Crystal Lake, IL 600104

We welcome your comments.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Your mouth... gateway to your body

We all know that a nice smile is one of the most noticeable and attractive qualities of our appearance. Also a mounting body of evidence tells us about the importance of mouth body connection.

A simple examination of the mouth tells a lot about a person’s health. The mouth is the gateway to the entire body and is a major influence on important areas, including the digestive tract, heart, circulatory system and the brain. Science is discovering that the mouth also plays an important role in the body's long-term health. Genetics, exercise, nutrition, stress and personal habits contribute to an individual's overall wellness also.

The mouth is home to our sense of taste. Saliva or breath can be valuable indicators of uncontrolled diabetes. The mouth's mucous membranes are full of blood vessels that provide a ready connection to other parts of the body. For example, drugs placed under the tongue, like nitroglycerin pills for chest pain, are rapidly absorbed through the membranes into the circulatory system.

There is a 2 way street of cause and effect.

On one hand oral disease can lead to systemic disease, and on the other hand systemic disease and medications can lead to oral disease and breakdown. Some saliva tests can help determine the health of other systems in the body.

There is mounting evidence of the role the mouth and periodontal medicine play in conditions such as strokes, coronary artery disease, low birth weight, osteoporosis, inflammatory diseases like arthritis, and diabetes. According to studies, bacteria found in dental plaque are feared to be entering the bloodstream and causing clotting in arteries.

There is also evidence that medications and medical conditions can lead to deterioration of oral tissues. For example there are thousands of medications which reduce saliva flow leading to more gum disease and tooth decay. GERD (Acid Reflux), and Bulimia, lead to erosion of the tooth enamel and loss of structure. Stress induced clenching and grinding wear and fracture teeth, periodontal disease, and lead to TMJ symptoms and headaches. Sleep Apnea can lead to tooth grinding, dry mouth and other serious medical conditions.

Dermatologists often check the mouth to determine a skin diagnosis or detect sexually transmitted diseases. Cardiologists continue to theorize about how much bacteria in the mouth triggers inflammation and immune system response inside the arteries.

The mouth-body connection is also apparent in our nutritional habits. It is interesting to note that there are people around the world who have never used a toothbrush or flossed. Nevertheless, they have lived their entire lives free of cavities and gum disease. Here in the United States, however, there are millions of people with tooth decay or gum problems even with a daily brushing and flossing routine. Why? Poor diet, processed food and personal habits play a major role in these dental problems.

It is wise to consume alkalinizing foods that encourage saliva production, particularly fruits, vegetables and seaweed products. Drinking plenty of water and fruit juices is also recommended to supplement saliva flow and maintain healthy teeth.

When we ingest too much sugar, flour, bread, grains and meat, the saliva's alkalinity drops and causes a buildup of cavity-causing acids. While these foods are often part of our daily diet, they should be combined with fruits and vegetables to reap the nutritional and saliva-inducing benefits. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they are the "founding fathers" of dry mouth ... and bad breath!

Proper mineral balance also goes a long way in preventing tooth decay. Calcium is the most important mineral for protecting your teeth. The amount and type of calcium in the diet must be considered, along with a balance of iron, potassium and magnesium, as they all encourage salivary activity.

Dentistry has come a long way.

Patient friendly procedures and prevention are hallmarks of the modern dental practice. Good homecare, and proper nutrition can go hand in hand in making regular visits to the dentist something to smile about.

Here’s to good health and great checkups.

Phillip C. Neal DDS

Crystal Lake Dental Associates

280 B Memorial Court

Crystal Lake, IL 60014

About Me

My photo
Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.