Author Archives: Savannah Dental

Flexible Dentures: What You Should Know

Flexible Dentures: What You Should Know

Your natural teeth are always the best, but if you lose them due to dental disease or trauma, there are options to help restore both your smile and your ability to chew. If you select dentures rather than dental implants, there are several different types from which to choose. A lesser-known type that is perfect for some situations is a soft, customized flexible denture. Here’s what you should know.


Traditional Dentures

Traditional dentures consist of an acrylic base, possibly with a metal support structure below. Artificial teeth of resin or porcelain are attached, which can appear highly realistic.

However, it can be tough to get used to traditional dentures. A partial denture uses metal clasps or precision attachments to connect to the natural teeth, which may interfere with functionality and can be visible when speaking or smiling. A full upper denture uses suction to adhere to the roof of the mouth, while a full lower denture rests on the gums. Traditional dentures can cause mouth soreness, and they may slip and pinch. The acrylic base can also cause allergic reactions.


Flexible Dentures

Flexible dentures consist of a clear, soft, nylon base that is highly unlikely to trigger an allergy. The natural gums show through, while the material clings to the gums on its own. No attachments, clasps, or adhesives are required. Flexible dentures are more comfortable than traditional dentures, and many people find it easier to speak and chew. Flexible dentures are also far less likely than traditional dentures to break if they are dropped.


Disadvantages of Flexible Dentures

Of course, like any other medical device, flexible dentures are not right for everyone. The nylon base is more likely than a rigid acrylic base to build up bacteria that can cause gingivitis. If you are prone to gum disease, it is especially important to remove the dentures twice per day and thoroughly brush them with a soft toothbrush, and then use a medicated mouthwash.

Some patients also notice that flexible dentures provide less bite strength than rigid traditional dentures. Of course, dental implants are the best way to restore virtually all of your original bite strength, but whether flexible dentures cause problems for you depends in part on your normal dietary habits and how many teeth you are missing.

No single solution is right for everyone. If you are missing teeth, your dentist will work with you to find the restoration that best fits your needs, budget, and goals for treatment. For many patients who do not want dental implants, though, flexible dentures are a more comfortable and less visible alternative to traditional dentures on an acrylic base.


Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Dental Consultation: What to Expect

Dental Consultation: What to Expect

At Savannah Dental Solutions, it is extremely important to us that all patients feel comfortable, knowledgeable, and empowered to participate in their own dental health. That’s why we put a great deal of time and effort into each dental consultation. Here is what to expect.


Dental Exam

First, we will perform a detailed dental exam. Whether you are scrupulous about receiving your twice a year cleanings or have steered clear of the dentist for some time, we never want you to feel shy or uncomfortable about coming to see us. We will perform a judgement-free complete dental exam to determine how we can best restore or maintain your oral health.

We will examine your teeth, gums, and jawbones for signs of cavities, enamel erosion, or gum disease. We will also check your existing dental restorations for any wear or damage. Any issues we find will be carefully noted.


Dental X-Rays

Next, we will take X-rays to assess the areas that are hidden to visual inspection. This gives us a more complete look at your tooth structure, bones, and soft tissue. If you have recently had X-rays taken by another dentist, please let us know. We like to minimize our patients’ exposure to radiation, so we may be able to use another provider’s X-rays to formulate our own treatment plan.


Discussion

After the exam and X-rays are complete, we will sit down with you for an in-depth discussion of your dental goals and desires. You can prepare for this conversation by scrutinizing your smile in the mirror before your appointment. Pinpoint what you like and dislike about your teeth, and take detailed notes. If you are considering cosmetic dental work, it is also helpful to bring in photos of smiles that you particularly admire. If cost is a concern, as it is for most people, please be honest with us about your budget. Many times, we can create treatment plans that maximize insurance benefits and minimize out of pocket expenses.


Treatment Plan

With the information we obtained from your exam, X-rays, and discussion in hand, we will generate your treatment plan. If the dental issues you have can be treated in multiple ways, we may create several treatment plans, complete with timelines and cost breakdowns, for you to consider. Your treatment is a collaborative process, so please ask any questions you might have and volunteer any thoughts that might occur to you.


Next Steps

Before your consultation concludes, we will work with you to set up your next step. If you have a clean bill of health and no cosmetic concerns, your next step might be a cleaning. If you have complex oral health issues, your next step could be oral surgery or impressions or any of a myriad of other possibilities. No matter what your next step may be, we will set up your appointment and help you understand how best to prepare.


Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

How to Choose Between Braces and Invisalign

How to Choose Between Braces and Invisalign

Traditional braces were long the gold standard for straightening teeth, and they remain highly popular today. Increasingly, though, patients and dentists are turning to Invisalign, “the clear alternative to braces.” Both options can solve the majority of orthodontic issues, and in most cases, the decision is yours. Here’s how to choose.


Treatment Planning

You will receive a customized treatment plan for whichever option you choose, but the process is different. When planning for braces, we will show you the existing problems with your teeth and tell you how the braces will help. After the braces are placed, you will not see your teeth without them until the completion of your treatment.

With Invisalign, we will create a digital 3-D model of your current smile, and then morph the model to show you exactly what to expect at each stage. When you are happy with the models, we will use them to create your personal series of aligners. You will change aligners at home, allowing you to track your progress at home.

When deciding which is better, consider your personality. Do you love surprises? Then you might enjoy having a big reveal at the end. Are you a planner who likes to know what to expect? Invisalign removes the guesswork.


Control Issues

We retain control over traditional braces. We place them, adjust them, and remove them. You will learn a new oral hygiene routine and memorize a list of forbidden foods, but otherwise you only need to worry about keeping your appointments. If any emergencies arise, such as a loose bracket or a popped wire, you will need to see us right away.

Invisalign puts you in control. We will place attachments on your teeth and show you how to care for your aligners, but your treatment is otherwise up to you. You will wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day for two weeks, or as directed, and then change to the next set of aligners at home. You can remove them to eat and perform oral hygiene as normal. We will see you just once every four to six weeks to keep an eye on your progress.

Which you prefer is up to you. Those who like to feel in control and are responsible enough to keep up with their aligners generally prefer Invisalign. Those with a lot on their minds who don’t want to deal with something extra usually like braces better.


Comfort and Aesthetics

Invisalign aligners are generally considered more comfortable than braces. There are no sharp edges or wires to poke, scrape, or scratch the delicate tissues in your mouth. Many people with braces never quite adapt to the feeling of a mouthful of metal.

Aesthetics are a highly personal choice. Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, meaning that no one needs to know you are straightening your teeth. Those who like to make bold statements, though, often like braces in fashion colors.


Cost Considerations

For many years, braces were a good bit less expensive than Invisalign, but this is beginning to change. Upgrades, adjustments, and emergency visits must be added to the base price of braces. Invisalign’s transparent pricing model includes all aligners and all office visits.

Dental insurance is complex, and benefits vary dramatically between plans. Some plans cover both braces and Invisalign, some cover one or the other, and some do not cover orthodontic care at all. Our knowledgeable office staff will help you understand your coverage and out of pocket costs before treatment begins.


Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Getting Used to Dentures: Tips and Tricks

When you first get your new dentures, it can be exciting. Dentures can dramatically improve your smile, giving you straight, white teeth free from decay or missing teeth. However, wearing dentures can take some time to get used to. Here are some tips and tricks to make the process easier.

Getting Used to Dentures


Cut Food into Small Pieces

When you first start wearing dentures, it will take time to adjust to chewing with dentures instead of your natural teeth. Over time, you’ll adjust. In the beginning, it is best to cut food into small pieces so it is easier to chew. If you need help deciding what size is most appropriate, it’s okay to discuss your concerns with your dentist who can give you additional advice.

Wear Only as Much as Recommended

It can be tempting to wear your dentures all day and night to show off your new smile. However, this isn’t recommended, as it doesn’t give your mouth time to heal and adjust. For most patients, wearing dentures for 8 to 10 hours a day is what your dentist will recommend, especially in the beginning.

Stay Hydrated

You may find that your new dentures cause your mouth to be drier than normal or that the dentures are more uncomfortable if you have dry mouth. To prevent discomfort, make sure to stay well hydrated to improve your comfort level. Drinking a lot of water can also help to keep your dentures free from tiny debris that could also cause discomfort.

Practice Talking and Singing

With your natural teeth, you were an expert in how to maneuver your mouth to talk. You had many years to practice. With your dentures, it’s going to take time to once again learn how to speak with dentures in your mouth. Speed up the process by spending a lot of time talking and singing while wearing your dentures.

Use a Dental Adhesive

A dental adhesive is an over the counter product that’s readily available to help keep dentures in their place. You can ask your dentist how to use a dental adhesive, which brand they’d recommend, and whether it’s a good idea for you to use in your particular case. When you first get your dentures, it’s possible that your dentist will go over this information with you anyway. If you have a lot of trouble with keeping your dentures in place after a period of time and your dentist doesn’t recommend dental adhesive, it’s worth checking in with them to ask about it.

Over the years, dentures have come a long way to be more comfortable and to have a better fit. If your dentist recommends dentures to you as a way to improve your oral health, it’s normal to have some questions and concerns. Many patients find that, after a period of adjustment, they actually like their dentures.

Want to Learn More?

If you have questions about dentures or other dental procedures, contact us today at (912) 354-1366 to learn how we can help.

Toddlers and Teeth: Starting Your Child on the Road to Excellent Dental Health

Although many parents underestimate the value of baby teeth, reasoning that they will fall out anyway, creating good dental habits in your child’s toddler years can set the stage for a lifetime of excellent dental health. A stunning 60 to 90 percent of kids develop at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and untreated childhood dental issues can cause permanent damage. Here are some tips for starting your child’s dental journey.

Dental Health of Toddler Teeth


Model Good Choices


Your kids learn from you, so this is the time to make a new commitment to your own oral health. Drink plenty of water, brush and floss regularly, cut down on sugary foods, and visit the dentist twice a year. Your kids will grow up viewing dental care as just a regular part of life.


Make Brushing and Flossing Normal


Within the first few days after your new baby is born, start wiping his gums with sterile gauze or a clean, damp cloth. When the first tooth emerges, start gently brushing it with a soft-bristled, child-sized toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste. When two teeth touch, start flossing them. Your child should never remember a time when oral hygiene didn’t happen every single day.


See the Doctor


Pediatricians typically manage infants’ first and second dental visits, which should occur around their first and second birthdays. These are excellent opportunities to learn how to properly brush the baby’s teeth and manage teething issues, as well as to ask any additional questions.


Minimize Sugar


It’s fine to give your kids milk or fruit juice, but keep an eye on the quantities. Teach your baby to drink plain water at naptime and bedtime so that it will feel normal as she grows up. When your child transitions to solid foods, focus on cheese, fruit, and other healthier options. When you allow your child to eat sugary snacks or drink sweet beverages, be sure to brush her teeth right away, or at least rinse her mouth thoroughly with plain water.


Visit the Dentist


Most kids are able to brush their own teeth with help by the age of three. This is the appropriate time to schedule a first visit to the dentist. The goal is to let your child get comfortable in the office without building stress. Some kids are ready for a cleaning and an exam during this visit, while others will just get a quick tour of the office and meet the staff.

After the first visit, consider bringing your child to your appointments to build familiarity. We will also start scheduling your child for his own appointments. We will be by your kids’ side as they grow up, dealing with any emergencies that arise and ensuring that their dental health is the best it can possibly be.


Want to Learn More?


If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

What to Do About White Spots on Teeth

A beautiful smile has long been viewed as a sign of health and wellness, and those with terrific smiles tend to feel more self-confident. If you have white spots on your teeth, though, you might feel uncomfortable and reluctant to smile. Fortunately, these spots are both common and easy to treat. Here’s what you should know.

White spots on teeth

Common Causes

White spots on the teeth can have many causes. Most cases, though, are caused by one of the following:

Fluorosis: Large doses of fluoride that far exceed the recommended amount can discolor tooth enamel in children. Fluoride stains may be brown or yellow, but they are often a chalky-looking white.

Enamel Hypoplasia: Enamel hypoplasia, or deficient tooth enamel, can be caused by many factors, from nutritional deficiencies to premature birth and high fevers in infancy. Enamel hypoplasia staining looks much like fluorosis staining, and often appears as a milky white.

Demineralization: Demineralization of the tooth enamel is relatively common among braces wearers, but it can occur whenever bacterial plaque accumulates on the teeth. It causes milky white spots that look similar to enamel hypoplasia.

Treatments

There are several different treatments available for white spots on teeth. Which you choose will depend on your budget, the severity of the spots, and your dentist’s recommendations. Some people actually use a combination of different treatments to achieve the best results.

Microabrasion: In microabrasion, the dentist removes the top layer of surface enamel from your teeth. This is highly successful for minor surface spots, and it may be combined with a whitening treatment for even better results.

Teeth Whitening: Whitening toothpastes and over the counter bleaches can help with very minor discoloration. To properly treat white spots, though, it is best to have an in-office whitening treatment or to have your dentist prescribe a take-home whitening kit.

Porcelain Veneers: If you have deep and/or widespread white spots, they may not be fixable with microabrasion or teeth whitening. In this case, porcelain veneers may be the best solution. We will remove less than a millimeter of healthy tooth structure to make room for very thin ceramic shells that slip over your teeth. Extremely natural in appearance, porcelain veneers are highly durable, long-lasting, and resistant to future staining. Note that if you only need a few teeth covered with veneers, you might choose to have the rest of your teeth whitened first. We will then color-match your veneers to your new bright white smile.

You can minimize the risk of white spots through good nutrition, keeping an eye on your child’s fluoride intake, and keeping braces scrupulously clean. Still, it is often impossible to avoid all white spots. Fortunately, with a combination of preventive measures and treatments, there is no need for you or child to suffer from the embarrassment of discolored teeth.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re ready to start your journey to better oral health, contact us today at (912) 354-1366 to learn how we can help.

Understanding Delayed Tooth Eruption

New parents are extremely focused on their baby’s milestones, and keeping an eye out for each new tooth is no exception. If teeth do not emerge when parents expect them, panic can ensue. Fortunately, most of the time, delayed tooth eruption is nothing to worry about. Occasionally, though, an underlying condition could be the reason for delayed tooth eruption. Here is what you should know.

Delayed tooth eruption

Normal Tooth Eruption

When a baby is born, most of his or her teeth are already formed beneath the gumline. They usually start to come in when the baby is around six months old, starting with the front teeth and moving back from there. By the age of three, almost all children have a full set of 20 baby teeth.

Abnormal Delays

Averages are just that, and most “delays” in tooth eruption actually fall within the wide range of normal. For example, the first tooth comes in “on average” at around six months of age, but anywhere from four months to 15 months is normal. If your child has no teeth at all by the time he or she is 18 months, it is important to visit the dentist for a full assessment.

Causes of Delayed Tooth Eruption

Sometimes delayed tooth eruption is simply due to normal heredity. If one parent or sibling had teeth come in late, the new baby is more likely to have delayed tooth eruption as well. In addition, babies that are premature or of low birthweight tend to get their teeth a bit later than average.

Less common causes of delayed tooth eruption include Down’s Syndrome, hypopituitarism, rickets, nutritional deficiencies, and rare genetic conditions. It is important to rule out these conditions, and to treat them if present, but they do not cause the majority of cases.

Is Delayed Tooth Eruption Harmful?

Delayed tooth eruption is not serious, but it does increase the risk that your child may need orthodontic work. In fact, children with delayed tooth eruption are 35 percent more likely to need orthodontic care before their 30th birthday. This appears to be the only real risk, though, of delayed tooth eruption that is not associated with an underlying health condition.

New parents tend to panic at any variation from the “typical” development schedule, but individual differences are actually quite normal. Have your child checked by a dentist if she has no teeth by 18 months of age, and otherwise try not to worry.

As a precaution, all children should be assessed for orthodontic issues in early childhood, and those whose teeth erupted late are at higher risk for orthodontic trouble. In most cases, though, delayed tooth eruption is simply due to individual variances and is not likely to lead to future issues. When the baby teeth do arrive, be sure to brush them carefully!

Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about how we can keep your entire family’s smiles in tip top shape, contact us today at (912) 354-1366 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

What to Expect from a Special Needs Dentist

Those with special health care needs (SHCN) need and deserve the same high quality dental care as anyone else, but not all dentists are equipped to address the additional challenges of working with patients with special health care needs. Special needs dentistry is a branch of dentistry dedicated to meeting those needs.

special needs dentist

Dentistry and Special Health Care Needs

Special health care needs include all types of physical, mental, cognitive, emotional, developmental, and sensory impairments, not just orofacial conditions. Those with special health care needs may face challenges to dental care that are not immediately obvious. For example, the patient may be unable to lie flat in the dental chair. She might need extra emotional comfort during even a routine exam, or might not understand what is happening during a treatment. The patient may have medical equipment such as a feeding tube or a drain that must be protected.

The dentist and all staff members working with patients with special needs must be able to recognize these issues and must be flexible in coming up with ways to address them without compromising the quality of care. Special needs dentistry often requires thinking outside the box.

Special Needs Dentist Appointments

Patients with special health care needs generally require more time and more accommodations than traditional patients. Therefore, their appointments are generally set during less busy times, similar to how appointments are set for particularly complex dental procedures. The dentist and staff will fully customize their approach, focusing on the patient’s comfort throughout the appointment.

Many special needs dentists request that patients who need special accommodations make an initial consultation appointment before any exams or treatments take place. This lets you sit down with the dentist and talk about your needs, and work together to figure out which accommodations will work best for you. This is particularly helpful for those whose needs are not immediately apparent, such as those living with complex hidden pain conditions or cognitive disorders, but it can be useful for all patients with special needs. It also allows the dentist and staff to plan ahead for your next visit, making sure that everything is ready for you.

Choosing a Special Needs Dentist

When making the initial appointment, let the receptionist know that you or child has special needs. The receptionist should be helpful and responsive, listen carefully, and perhaps make a few suggestions.

During the consultation, the dentist and staff should show a general understanding of special health care needs and how they affect dental care. Of course, it is not reasonable to expect them to be experts in any specific condition, but they should be aware of the need for flexibility, and should show a willingness to listen and try to understand. Expect them to take a detailed health history and write down any specific requests you make.

Above all, special needs dentistry requires compassion, collaboration, and a team spirit. General anesthesia may be needed for some special needs patients due to their specific challenges, but it should never be used simply for convenience. A good special needs dentist can work around most health challenges while maintaining an excellent attitude and providing the same high quality care that any other patient is given.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

Pediatric Orthodontics: What to Expect at Your Child’s First Appointment

If your child has been referred to an orthodontist, it is normal to feel stressed out and a bit overwhelmed. Orthodontic care can seem complex, and you might worry about everything from how your child will feel to how you will pay for treatment. Fortunately, there is no need for concern. The pediatric orthodontics staff will walk you through each step of the process. Here is what to expect at your child’s first appointment and beyond.

pediatric orthodontics

First Appointment

Most pediatric orthodontics appointments begin with introductions and a brief office tour. This helps both you and your child to feel comfortable and takes away a lot of the nervousness that occurs in an unfamiliar environment.

Next, the orthodontist will want to determine whether your child needs treatment, and what procedure(s) might be the best. Your child will receive a complete clinical examination, including x-rays and oral photos. The orthodontist will consider all of the clinical findings and provide a diagnosis and a thorough explanation of any issues that were found. Dental impressions may be taken to assist with treatment planning, or you may receive a recommended treatment plan first, with impressions taken right before treatment begins.

With the treatment plan in place, you will receive a detailed breakdown of costs, along with a full review of your insurance benefits and expected out of pocket payments. Staff will explain your options for payment plans and financing if needed.

You will receive a detailed description of any needed appliances such as braces or a palate expander, as well as an estimated treatment length. You will also learn how often your child will need appointments.

The appointment generally lasts for one to two hours, depending on the complexity of your child’s orthodontic needs. You will have plenty of time to ask questions and ensure that you fully understand what to expect.


Future Appointments

If you choose to proceed with treatment, you will make an appointment for your child to have the appliance placed. At that appointment, you and your child will learn how to care for the appliance, and any new oral hygiene routines that must be used to care for the teeth while the appliance is in place.

In most cases, your child will need an appointment every 6 weeks or so. This allows the orthodontist to check the progression of treatment and make any needed adjustments. Your child may also need occasional emergency appointments, such as if a wire pops or severe mouth irritation develops. At the first appointment, you will learn what signs to look for to determine if a visit is needed.

Orthodontic treatment can seem scary, but there is no need for fear. Your child’s orthodontist and staff are there for you and your child every step of the way.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.

What to Do About Common Problems with Braces

Braces have long been the most common treatment for specific orthodontic issues. While they work well, braces can sometimes cause minor oral problems. Many issues can be cared for at home with simple techniques. Here are some suggestions.

upper jaw expansion

Soreness

Soreness is extremely common in the first three to five days after you have your braces placed. You may also feel sore for a few hours after each adjustment. You can relieve tenderness by rinsing your mouth vigorously with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of slightly warm water. You can also use Orajel or a similar over the counter topical medication. If needed, an over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol or ibuprofen may be used.

Your braces may also cause mouth irritation to the cheeks, tongue, and lips, especially during the first two weeks. Your orthodontist will show you how to apply wax to the braces to minimize irritation.

Broken Bracket

The braces are bonded to your teeth with a strong dental cement, but individual brackets may occasionally break free, especially if you bite into hard or sticky food. This will not damage your tooth, but the bracket will need to be re-bonded. You do not need an emergency visit for a broken bracket, but you should make an appointment at your earliest convenience rather than waiting for your next scheduled visit. If the bracket is loose but still connected to the arch wire, leave it in place if possible, coating it with wax if it irritates your mouth. If the bracket comes off the wire, put it in a safe place and bring it to your repair appointment.

Loose Band

Like a broken bracket, a loose band is not an emergency, but it must be repaired as soon as it is reasonably convenient. If the band stays in place, leave it where it is. If it comes off completely, put it in a safe place and bring it to your repair appointment.

Poking Wire

Most of the time, a poking wire has simply slid to one side or the other. Look in the mirror to see if it appears uncentered. Use tweezers with very light pressure to gently push it back into place. If you are unable to do so, or if it appears centered, use wax over the poking area to prevent irritation. You can also use a pencil eraser to gently move or bend the wire so that it no longer pokes. Let your orthodontist know about any poking wires at your next visit or make an emergency appointment if you develop mouth irritation that you cannot manage at home.

Popped Wire

If a wire pops out of place, use tweezers to gently put it back where it belongs. If you are unable to do so, try using wax to minimize discomfort. As a last resort, you can use small, sterilized fingernail clippers to clip the wire behind the last tooth where it is still fastened in place. Let your orthodontist know what happened at your next appointment or make an emergency appointment if all or most of the wire popped.

Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.