Friday, May 20, 2011

Snap-ON-Smile a a real Conundrum

Snap-ON-Smile before

Snap-ON-Smile After

As a cosmetic dental practice, we have many different treatment options to give patients a great smile. One of these is the Snap-ON-Smile™.

The Situation
More and more patients are calling me for consultations for Snap-ON-Smile™ treatment. Now this option is often the only option for some people due to its low cost and immediate change. I love helping people feel good about their smile and themselves so I don’t hesitate to offer it.

The Snap-ON-Smile™ patient
I have been offering Snap-ON-Smile™ for several years, and the vast majority of patients have been extremely happy with the results.  A Snap-ON-Smile™ easily and inexpensively covers a multitude of problems like:
·        Missing teeth
·        Uneven gumlines
·        Crooked teeth
·        Discolored teeth
·        Discolored fillings
·        Decayed teeth
·        Broken teeth
·        Short teeth
·        A skewed upper jaw
·        Crossbite 

The Conundrum 
 I am also now seeing some of the patients come back a year or two later and asking what can be done to give them a great permanent smile without the Snap-ON-Smile™. This is often a very interesting conversation. The normal solution to many of these problems is usually complex.

The Alternative
The dental problems can be corrected, but the correction may take many months to years (if braces or implants and bone grafts are needed). Some cases would require orthognathic surgery (surgery to align the upper and lower jaw). 
For severe discoloration, crowns and veneers are needed. Decay may require fillings, root canals and crowns. Missing teeth may require bridges, implants, or  partial dentures. Now in the dental practice, these solutions are the ones that your dentist is going to recommend because they work and last a long time.

The Commitment
 It is unclear whether people who have ignored the dental problems for so long due to fear or cost or other factors are prepared for the huge investment in time and money to properly treat the situation. In addition if there has been dental neglect, an entirely new set of habits must be put in place to ensure that the treatment does not fail.
 These habits are:
·        Good oral hygiene
·        Healthy diet
·        Avoiding damaging habits like nail biting
·        Wearing a nighttime biteplane if the patient grinds at night
·        Regular dental checkups
·        Having small problems corrected as soon as they are detected.

The Truth
I have seen many people (including phobic and fearful patients) turn their habits around and become excellent dental patients. If cost is not the deciding factor, then Snap-ON Smile™ patients do have other options.

 Either way, we are here for you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

shape up your smile for summer


As summer approaches, we begin thinking of getting in shape. Most of us are attending pool parties, barbeques, graduation parties, weddings, and all sorts of social events. We want to look and feel our best when we are out. Looking good includes a beautiful healthy smile.

 Perhaps you have just graduated and/or will be job hunting soon. A great smile is one of the best things you can show up for a job interview with.

Here are a few ways to get our smile in shape

Professional Cleaning
Having your teeth professionally cleaned can remove stain  and tarter buildup from foods, drinks and tobacco. Remember that healthy gums are also an important part of a healthy smile.

Dull  dingy teeth are  brightened with tooth whitening

A simple whitening procedure either with at home trays or one in office professional ZOOM® treatment can take years off your smile.

For chipped, decayed , worn, discolored teeth bonding, veneers or crowns are the answer

Bonding, veneers and crowns can correct decay, broken teeth and cover up discoloration. Worn teeth can regain their shape with veneers and crowns. Missing teeth can be replaced with implants and bridges.  We have many new materials and methods to correct almost any situation and give you a dazzling smile.

For crowding, spacing , rotated teeth , or a crooked smile can be improved with Invisalign®, or Rapid Clear Braces

The newer technology of Invisalign® and Rapid Clear Braces can move teeth quickly and with virtually no one noticing that you are getting your  teeth straightened.

Snap-ON Smile® can dramatically change a smile in an instant

If  you need a significant change in your smile quickly, a Snap-ON-Smile® may be for you.
A Snap-ON-Smile® can cover up decayed , missing, discolored teeth and change the color of all of your teeth at once. It can also correct some misalignment of teeth also. A Snap-ON-Smile® is an economical  way to dramatically give you a new smile.

These procedures can be combined to obtain a terrific result
Depending on the situation, often a combination of procedures offers the best outcome and most stable result. There is a logical sequence to a treatment plan depending on the situation and the desired result.
After you have that gorgeous smile you may want to invest in a custom mouthguard to wear for athletics  or while sleeping if you grind our teeth at night to make sure you get the maximum smiles out of your investment.

Do your homework and find the right cosmetic dentist
Dentists do not receive much cosmetic training in dental school. Dentist are not required to learn cosmetic  dentistry in order to treat patients. Not every dentist has the skill and experience to offer a cosmetic solution that will be right for you. All of these fine services are available at Crystal Lake Dental Associates, and  Dr. Neal has had extensive training in Cosmetic Dentistry.

Your Comments are welcome.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Oral Cancer revisited

Oral cancer (not my patient)

Oral Cancer.
Recently, someone showed up at my office for a dental exam. I had known that there was a history of smoking and alcohol intake which had continued for more than 20 years. Knowing the link between alcohol, tobacco and oral cancer, I was sure to look very carefully at the tissues in the mouth. In addition to a few teeth needing treatment was a red and white lesion under the tongue. He did not noticed that there was anything going on under his tongue. I took pictures and tested it with our Vizilite Plus® oral cancer screening system. Sure enough it looked suspicious. Without trying to scare him, I mentioned that he have it looked at and removed ASAP. The diagnosis came back as oral cancer. Apparently a few lymph nodes were enlarged  and a PET scan was performed. The scan came back normal. I don’t know the follow up treatment that will be instituted at this time, but I am concerned for this person.

Two in one month! 
Interestingly enough I had another spouse of a new patient visit me recently who had just been treated for oral cancer  also. He had a large swelling in his cheek where they had to do a skin graft from his leg to close the surgical site. He was a tobacco chewer. Wow, two oral cancer patients in one month. In my 30 plus years of practicing, I have only seen a handful of oral cancer patients.

Predisposing factors.
The most common predisposing factors for oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol.
There is no safe tobacco. There is also no safe way to use tobacco in the mouth. There are at least 28 carcinogens  in the tobacco. Alcohol tends to dry out the gum tissues and also leads to cancers.

Other problems caused by tobacco.
In addition to oral cancer, other problems associated with tobacco are gum disease  (periodontal disease, and gum recession). Tobacco users have a poorer response to periodontal treatment, and have a reduced micro-vascular circulation condition leading to more bone loss Finally tobacco users seem to have a low pain threshold requiring more anesthetic and post operative pain management medications.  

Precancerous lesions in the mouth.
I see these very commonly, especially in tobacco chewers. they are grey or white patches in the cheek or vestibule.  These must be closely monitored for and changes.

What is the  big deal with Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer has a 50% mortality rate.Two people each hour are diagnosed with oral cancer in the US and one of them will die from it. Early detection and aggressive treatment are required for the best outcome.

Screening is critical.
If your dentist and dental hygienist does not routinely screen for oral cancer at every checkup visit, find a new dentist.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is dead... Now what?

Osama Bin Ladin

What should be disclosed about this operation?
The  US and world press clamoring to discuss what was done, how it was done, who should get credit, and should pictures be posted. I think the less publicity that is given to" who, what, where, when, and how" the better. There are conflicting stories about the details, so don't say anything. If some people want to believe it is a hoax, fine let them. 

More to do.
The main point is There is much yet to do like analyzing the information collected by the Seals. The terrorist network will pass the info around quickly enough.The quicker and more secretly this can be sifted through, the better. there are lots of terrorists out there that still need to be rounded up, and the less publicity given to things, the better the chances of tracking these folks. Do not give these terrorists any clues as to how things get done, let them remain in the dark.

It seems that our relationship with Pakistan is quite complicated. Back channels are the best place to discuss this operation rather that making claims that the Pakistanis were negligent or complicit in harboring Bin Laden.

Presidents Speech.
Even though President Obama wants to make a speech at Ground Zero, I think it is inappropriate to indicate that killing Bin Laden closes the chapter on 9/11. Afghanistan and Iraq remain huge drains on US resources, and a tidy end to either of these operations is unclear. 

Political football.
Americans and the media need to stop trying to figure out who gets credit and realize that this is a continuum of effort from the first time Bin Laden and al-Qaida first surfaced to today and going forward.  President Clinton, Bush, and Obama and their security teams and defense departments have all focused on the threat to the level they perceived it to be. Politics should not be part of this discussion, and the quicker we can stop making it so the better. Nobody wins that game.

It is still about oil and money.
  Oil and money are part of the Bin Laden story. If there were no oil in the Arabian Peninsula, this story would be so different. Bin Laden's hatred of the US and his radical Islamic ideals needed to be funded in order to go forward. If Bin Laden were running amuck in central Africa, he could not have done near as much damage, because the resources were not there. Since he has gotten his message out, many others around the world have joined the cause.

A call to energy Independence. 
The US also needs to focus on energy independence so that things in the Middle East have less impact at home. Our economy is in a shambles, and unless we can stop being held hostage to high oil prices  and being the world's police force, we will continue to be depleted.

In the mean time.
We need to stay vigilant, track down these terrorists, and stop the public grandstanding.

Just my Humble Two Cents worth.

 I welcome your comments.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Smiles in Honduras

Restoring a tooth

Having just returned from our 6th annual Honduras medical brigade  mission trip, I thought I would comment on the dental health  we saw last week.
The dental Team 
Tooth decay is a severe health problem in the population of Honduras.
Almost every dental patient I see has multiple large cavities. Of the hundreds of patients I have seen over the past 6 years, I don't believe I have seen more than a couple of patients who still have all of their teeth. Replacement teeth with crowns or bridges are not affordable and most patients only have the front teeth filled. Typically a patient in the brigade has a choice of filling a tooth or extracting 1 or 2 teeth. They will most likely choose to fill a front tooth and suffer with the abscessed back teeth.
A typical young dental patient
Why so much tooth decay?
Some reasons for the high decay rate include:
  • Lack of access to dental care
  • lack of access to clean water
  • Lack of a fluoride program in water
  • Lack of education about proper hygiene
  • Lack of hygiene products, tooth brush, floss toothpaste due to cost
  • Dehydration leading to low saliva flow
  • A carbohydrate rich diet including bags of sugar water and soft drinks

A happy patient 
What is the effect on the population?
Most of the patients we see are in constant pain. The psychological  impact of a person having badly decayed or missing teeth and an unattractive smile in huge. You use your teeth to chew your food, and digestion is affected by painful and missing teeth. These dental infections drag down the immune system making the person more prone to other health problems. It is reported that blood born infection from tooth decay is one of the leading causes of death among children in Honduras.

removing infected tooth 
What can be done?
Greater participation in sending dental teams to Honduras to treat this widespread disease.
Education is critical to helping change hygiene habits.
A topical fluoride varnish can be placed to slow the decay process.
Ultimately, a healthy economy and improved infrastructure are also key in improving the overall health of the Hondurans. 

patient having teeth cleaned 
In conclusion. 
This problem of tooth decay is so widespread and entrenched that it may take decades to see a radical change. Every little bit helps and I believe it is our duty as an affluent society to get involved.

 I welcome your comments.

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.