7 Tips for Cavity Prevention

Cavities are an unfortunately common dental problem, affecting both children and adults of all ages. Untreated cavities can lead to further tooth decay, abscesses, gum disease, and, eventually, even tooth loss. Some people are simply more prone to cavities than others, but everyone is at risk. Following these 7 tips can help minimize the chances of developing cavities.
Tips for cavity prevention

  • • 1. See the Dentist
    Professional cleaning removes plaque and tartar that home treatment misses. In addition, regular dental appointments allow your dentist to check for signs of emerging problems and treat them before they become severe. Plan to visit every 6 months or as directed by your dentist.
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  • • 2. Ask About Fluoride Treatments
    Most people get enough fluoride from tap water and fluoridated toothpaste, but some need a little extra help. If you are committed to bottled water, use a well, or live in an area with unacceptable tap water, you might benefit from fluoride treatments. Your dentist will advise you as to what kind of treatment you need and on what schedule.

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  • • 3. Brush Regularly
    Food particles and bacteria collect on teeth after every meal or snack, and the longer you leave them there, the harder they are to remove. If possible, brush your teeth after every meal. If you can’t, then brush them at least twice per day. Floss at least once every day to remove particles and debris from between your teeth and along your gum line.

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  • • 4. Rinse Your Mouth

    If you don’t have the opportunity to brush after eating, rinse your mouth with clear, fresh water to remove food debris. Be especially scrupulous about rinsing after consuming sugary or sticky foods or drinks, which make it easier for bacteria to grow. In addition, consider using a medicated mouthwash once or twice a day, rather than one that merely freshens your breath. Over the counter formulations are available, but be sure to read the label to ensure that your mouthwash of choice contains a cavity-fighting active ingredient.

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  • • 5. Watch Your Diet
    Fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as unsweetened gum and hard candy, can actually help flush your mouth by stimulating saliva production. Unsweetened coffee and tea also do a decent job of rinsing away food debris. Limit foods that stick to or between the teeth, such as chips and cookies. When you do eat them, brush your teeth as soon as possible.

    Many people have made the switch to bottled water, but it lacks the fluoride of tap water. Switch back if possible to get the full benefits of fluoridated city water. If your water is safe, but you don’t like the taste, use a home water filter or add a packet of unsweetened flavoring to each glass of water.

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  • • 6. Try a Dental Sealant
    If your teeth are prone to cavities, ask your dentist if a dental sealant is right for you. This is a protective plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, sealing off the grooves where bacteria and food particles can hide. Dental sealants are recommended for all young children, but can also be of benefit to teens and adults. A dental sealant normally lasts for about 10 years, but it should be checked periodically for signs of cracking and replaced if needed.
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  • • 7. Use Antibacterial Protection
    If you are at particular risk for cavities and tooth decay, your dentist might recommend an antibacterial treatment such as a prescription mouth rinse. These treatments are not right for everyone, but can help to protect teeth that are unusually cavity-prone.

 

Cavities are the first step in tooth decay. Untreated, they can lead to further decay, infection, painful abscesses, gum disease, and even tooth loss. With early detection and proper treatment, they can be halted, but not reversed. The best solution is to prevent cavities from developing in the first place. Following the 7 tips above will not necessarily prevent all cavities, but will go a long way towards keeping your mouth cavity-free.

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.

Dental Crowns: What You Should Know

Dental crowns, or caps that cover all of the visible structure of a tooth, are an extremely common part of modern dentistry. From severe decay to cosmetic concerns, dental crowns can address a vast range of tooth problems. Yet with so many different types of available crowns, it can be difficult to decide which one to choose. Here is what you should know about dental crowns.

Dental Crowns

Reasons for a Dental Crown

There are many reasons to place a dental crown. These are just a few of the most common:

  • • To provide protection for at-risk baby teeth
  • • To finish a dental implant restoration
  • • To protect a very large filling
  • • To fasten a dental bridge
  • • To protect a tooth that is cracked or badly worn down

 

Types of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are available in many types. Although some specific restorations require a particular type of crown, in the majority of cases, it is up to you. Your dentist will provide more information and help you select the type of crown that is right for you.

  • • Resin Crowns: A composite material that is typically the least expensive, resin crowns can be color-matched to the other teeth. They are a good choice for people who are allergic to metals, as they contain no metal at all. However, resin does not age as well as other crown materials. Over time, it is likely that a resin crown will fail and need to be replaced. In addition, resin can cause gum inflammation, and a large amount of tooth structure must be removed for a resin crown to properly fit.
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  • • Stainless Steel: In adults, stainless steel is generally used only as a temporary protective measure while waiting for a permanent crown to come back from the lab. In children with tooth decay, however, stainless steel crowns are often the treatment of choice. The reason is that the baby tooth will fall out anyway, and will be replaced by a healthy adult tooth. Therefore, there is little reason to put the child and parents through the trauma and expense of switching from a temporary crown to a permanent one.
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  • • Gold and Other Metals: Gold, palladium, and base metal alloys are an interesting choice for dental crowns. They do not require as much tooth structure to be removed as other types of crowns, and they are not likely to damage the neighboring teeth. Metal crowns are durable, and are at low risk for breaking or chipping even under high bite forces. However, the distinctive metallic color makes them unappealing to many patients.
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  • • Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal: These crowns combine the natural look of porcelain with the functionality of metal. The under-structure provides enhanced strength and durability, while the porcelain overlay can be color-matched to the other teeth. However, the porcelain is at risk for chipping or cracking, and these crowns are more likely than all-metal crowns to damage the surrounding teeth. In addition, the aesthetics are not perfect, as the metal can show through as a dark line along the gums.
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  • • All-Porcelain Crowns: All-porcelain crowns are metal-free, making them an excellent choice for those with metal allergies. They are also the best for those who are particularly concerned with aesthetics, as they provide the best color-matching and most natural look. However, these crowns are more prone to damage than metal-based types, so care must be taken not to bite down too hard or to grind the teeth.

 

Like any treatment, dental crowns are not the right solution for every situation. Crowns preserve a great deal of healthy tooth structure, but not as much as more targeted solutions, such as fillings or veneers. A crowned tooth retains its nerve structure, which could be problematic if your tooth is sensitive to pressure, heat, or cold. In addition, a crowned tooth will never be as strong as a healthy tooth. The tooth will always be at greater risk for bacterial invasion and decay, although scrupulous oral hygiene can help to minimize this risk.

Only your dentist can help you decide whether a crown is right for you and, if so, which type is the best choice. Always discuss your treatment plan and any other options with your dentist, and decide together how to proceed.

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.

Root Canals: Understanding This Feared Dental Procedure

A root canal is a common but frequently misunderstood dental procedure. Although modern dentistry has rendered root canals virtually pain-free, they are arguably the most feared of all dental treatments. Knowledge is power, and understanding the process can help ease your mind if you are facing a root canal.

Root Canals and their treatment explained

What Is a Root Canal?

In a root canal, the dentist first numbs the tooth completely. He or she then creates a small opening from the tooth’s crown to its root chamber, exposing the canals. The canals are thoroughly cleaned of infected pulp and tissue, smoothed and reshaped as necessary, and then filled and sealed with a material that is biocompatible. Posts can be placed in one or more canals to help support the tooth. Finally, a temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth while a crown is created.

Why Are Root Canals Performed?

Root canals are performed whenever a tooth’s nerve becomes inflamed and the pulp tissue becomes infected. Trauma and bad decay are the most common causes for root canals. A root canal can often save a tooth that would otherwise have to be pulled.

Although teeth that need root canals occasionally show no symptoms, this is not often the case. Most of the time, you will experience such symptoms as severe pain when chewing, sensitivity to heat and cold, tooth discoloration, or swelling in the gums around the infected tooth.

If the tooth is not treated or removed, it is likely to cause an abscess. Hallmarks of abscesses include severe pain, weeping bumps on the gum, and moderate to severe swelling. If left untreated, an abscess can cause further tissue damage, grow around the bone, and even cause systemic infections.

Are Root Canals Painful?

With modern techniques, root canals are no more painful than any other dental procedure. In fact, since most teeth that require root canals cause pain, many people report feeling better immediately after the procedure. If you experience pain or discomfort at any time during any dental procedure, let your dentist know right away so that more numbing medication can be applied.

How Long Will Healing Take?

After the numbness wears off, you may experience some mild discomfort that is roughly equivalent to what you would expect after a filling or other common procedure. A mild, over the counter pain reliever should be enough to alleviate any lingering discomfort. You might find that the tooth is sensitive to pressure and temperature extremes for a few days, so try to avoid chewing directly on that tooth. Of course, if you experience any unusual pain, it is important to call the office right away. Most people feel completely back to normal in just a couple of days.

What Are the Risks of a Root Canal?

Root canals are considered very safe, but like any major medical or dental procedure, very slight risks always exist. The most likely, though still rare, complication is a re-infection. This is normally caused by the breakdown of the sealing material over time, although it could happen more quickly if your dentist misses one of many infected canals. If you experience any pain or signs of infection, call your dentist immediately.

What Is the Long Term Prognosis for Root Canal Treatment?

Root canals have an effectiveness of roughly 95%, and many teeth that receive this treatment last for a lifetime. While you are waiting for your permanent crown, try to avoid biting or chewing directly on the affected tooth. Once your restoration is complete, however, your tooth will look and act identically to any other tooth. Make sure you practice excellent oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and dentist visits, and you are unlikely to experience any problems with the tooth.

What Are the Alternatives to a Root Canal?

Unfortunately, there is no alternative to a root canal besides pulling the tooth. At that point, the tooth can be replaced with a dental implant, a partial denture, or a bridge. These procedures are excellent alternatives for teeth that cannot be saved, but ultimately nothing is as strong and useful as your own natural teeth. Therefore, if you have a badly infected tooth, it is important to perform a root canal as soon as possible.

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 are the Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease affects approximately 80% of adults in the United States. Many are unaware that they have it, as the symptoms can be subtle until the disease is advanced. Yet it is important to recognize the early warning signs, as gum disease is significantly easier to treat in its earliest stages.

Gum.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease starts with plaque, a sticky blend of food debris and bacteria that coats the teeth. If it is not promptly and thoroughly removed, plaque hardens into tartar, which irritates the gums and makes it easy for bacteria to invade. This leads to the chronic infection known as gum disease.

The earliest form of gum disease, or gingivitis, is inflammation. Over time, the bacteria begin to attack the soft tissues and bones that support the teeth. At this stage, known as periodontitis, you are at risk for severe decay and even tooth loss. Gum disease can also impact your overall physical health.

Below are the top signs and symptoms of gum disease. If you notice any of these warning signals, see your dentist right away.

Bad Breath

Although halitosis, or bad breath, can be caused by many different things, chronic halitosis can be an early sign of gum disease, especially if your mouth tastes strange. The invading bacteria create distinct odors and tastes that do not go away with brushing or mouthwash.

Always call your dentist to report bad breath, even if you are certain that you do not have gum disease. Most causes are relatively minor and simple to treat, but can worsen if left untreated.

Visible or Painful Gum Changes

Healthy gums appear pink or coral, and are even across your teeth. They feel firm to the touch, and are not painful or sore.

Gingivitis causes mild irritation to the gums. If yours are swollen, red, or tender, especially during brushing or flossing, you might be suffering from early gum disease.

As gum disease advances, the gums actually start to recede from the teeth. Your teeth will start to look longer, and your gums might appear uneven throughout your mouth. These are signs of worsening periodontitis, so it is crucial to see the dentist right away.

Bleeding Gums or Pus Pockets

As gum disease causes irritation, it only makes sense that bleeding gums are a very common sign. If your gums bleed while brushing or flossing, or eating crunchy foods, tell your dentist as soon as possible.

Progressing gum disease leads to small pockets of pus between the teeth and the gums. These small spots feel swollen to the touch, and can be either hard or soft. You might pop one of these pockets while eating, and notice a sudden, very bad taste in your mouth. As gum disease continues to worsen, the small pockets tend to give way to large, tremendously painful abscesses.

Changes in the Way Your Teeth Fit Together

Untreated gum disease eventually causes the gums to loosen from the teeth. As bacteria work their way into the gaps, and down into the bones and tissues that support the teeth, they cause changes to the bite. If your teeth seem to close oddly, or you have a partial denture that sits differently in your mouth, your gum disease is likely worsening.

Loose or Shifting Teeth

In late-stage gum disease, the teeth actually begin to loosen and shift within the mouth. This is a serious sign that you are at risk for imminent tooth loss. You must see your dentist right away to save your teeth.

Gum disease affects the vast majority of adults, and it is highly reversible in its earliest stages. Over time, however, gum disease that is left untreated will continue to progress, affecting your overall health and putting you at serious risk for losing your teeth. Even in later stages, however, there are measures your dentist can take to halt and possibly reverse the damage. No matter what signs and symptoms you are currently experiencing, now is the right time to contact your dentist.

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.

Understanding TMJ: What You Need to Know

If you are experiencing sensitive or unusually worn teeth, a popping or clicking jaw, or unexplained pain such as headaches and earaches, you might be suffering from TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disease. This is a serious and often progressive disease which, over time, can cause permanent damage to your jaw joint and the supporting structures. Fortunately, with proper diagnosis and treatment, TMJ can be halted or even reversed.

understanding-tmj

What Causes TMJ?

The complex temporomandibular joint normally operates like a sliding hinge between the skull and the jawbone. Cartilage and discs cushion and protect the joint, allowing smooth and pain-free movement. In TMJ, however, this joint becomes misaligned.

TMJ sometimes appears after an impact to the jaw. Hormonal fluctuations may be responsible for some cases, as it is most frequently diagnosed in women between 20 and 40 years of age. For most of the 35 million sufferers in the United States, however, the root cause of TMJ remains a mystery.

Stress is often implicated as a cause, likely because those with anxiety are more likely to grind the teeth or clench the jaw. However, in most cases of TMJ, an actual structural misalignment of the teeth is found. If the teeth do not come together properly, chewing will pull the jaw out of alignment to create a more balanced bite. This puts intense pressure on the joint capsule and surrounding muscles, leading to the characteristic pops, clicks, and pain that are hallmarks of TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ

Every case of TMJ is unique, and everyone’s subjective experience is different. Still, most people with TMJ experience at least a few of these common symptoms:

  • – Jaw pain or tenderness
  • – Earaches
  • – Headaches
  • – Facial pain
  • – Painful or difficult chewing
  • – Clicking, popping, or grating sounds when moving the jaw
  • – Joint lockup, making it difficult to fully open or close the mouth

 

TMJ Treatment Options

The goal for TMJ treatment is to relax the jaw by ensuring that the bite is in harmony with both itself and the joint. This allows you to use your mouth normally, eliminates pain, and stops the progression of the disease.

Because everyone is different, there is no single right way to accomplish this goal. Depending on your individual needs, your dentist might select one or more of the following treatments:

  • – Medication
  • – Bite splint or orthotic
  • – Physical therapy
  • – Equilibration and functional reconstruction

 

Other specialized treatments are also available. Your dentist will perform a thorough examination and go over the results with you in detail. The treatment process often takes several appointments to complete, and is individualized based on your symptoms, their severity, and the complexity of the underlying issues.

Home Remedies

In most cases, a TMJ treatment plan will include both in-office and home treatment procedures. In mild cases, home remedies may be all that is required. Your dentist will give you a specific home care plan based on the results of your examination, but here are a few common suggestions:

  • – Soft foods: While the goal of treatment is to return your jaw to full use, eating certain foods can worsen the pain during the healing process. Choose soft, easy to chew foods such as fish, scrambled eggs, yogurt, and well-cooked vegetables. Cut other foods into small bites, and skip hard or sticky foods for a while.
  • – Ice packs: Ice can help to ease pain. Ask your dentist to explain exactly when and for how long you apply each ice treatment.
  • – Intentional relaxation: Stress can lead to clenching and jaw tension, so build relaxation breaks into your day. Consciously hold your teeth slightly apart, placing your tongue between them if needed. Minimize large mouth movements such as yelling or singing.
  • – Avoid chewing gum or ice: The process of chewing can cause TMJ pain, so eliminate all unnecessary forms of chewing while you heal.
  • – Over the counter pain medications: Check with your dentist to make sure you do not have contraindications based on your current medications or health status. For most people, however, over the counter medications can bring temporary pain relief. If these do not work for you, ask your dentist to prescribe something a bit stronger.

 

TMJ is a complex and highly personalized disorder that generally gets worse over time. With proper diagnosis and treatment, however, it is possible to stop and even reverse the disease. Your dentist will draw up an individualized treatment plan based on your symptoms and the severity of your condition.

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.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea: What You Should Know

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a chronic medical condition that affects an estimated 18 to 30 million adults in the United States. It causes sufferers to stop breathing for short periods during the night, increases the risks for many health conditions, and can even lead to sudden death.

One of the most common symptoms is snoring, yet snoring can also be caused by anything from allergies or a cold to the shape of your sinuses. How can you tell if you have sleep apnea, and what can you do about it if you do? Here is what you should know.

sleep apnea

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Besides snoring, sleep apnea has many signs. Each person is different, so you might experience all, some, or none of the following symptoms:

  • – Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • – Noticeable pauses in breathing during sleep
  • – Nighttime teeth grinding

 

In mild cases, these symptoms may be nearly undetectable, or easily chalked up to other things such as a poor night’s rest. In particularly bad cases, on the other hand, some people report that they wake during the night feeling unable to catch their breath, or like they are drowning. Some feel physically unable to stay awake during the day, even when they seem to have gotten plenty of sleep.

TMJ Indicators

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disease, is not always related to sleep apnea. However, if you have symptoms of TMJ, it may be worth investigating whether sleep apnea is the cause, particularly if you also have other signs of the condition. Here are some common symptoms of TMJ:

  • – Teeth grinding or clenching
  • – Worn or chipped teeth
  • – Worn away tooth enamel
  • – Increased dental sensitivity
  • – Muscle tightness in the jaw, neck, and shoulders
  • – Earaches
  • – Headaches
  • – Facial pain

 

Sleep Study

The only way to know for sure if you have sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study. Traditionally, these have been held in medical facilities known as sleep labs. You will be asked to arrive in the evening, typically between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. You should bring your medications, comfortable sleeping attire, and your morning hygiene supplies.

After checking in and filling out forms, you will change clothes and be hooked up to a variety of wires. Electrodes are used to monitor your sleep stages throughout the night, as well as your facial and body movements. You will also wear an EKG monitor to track your heart rate and rhythm, an oxygen sensor on your finger, and a nasal monitor to track your breathing. Finally, you might have elastic bands placed around your chest and stomach to monitor breathing effort and a microphone at your throat to check for snoring.

You will sleep in a provided hospital bed until early morning, typically around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. Then you will be awakened by a tech, who will disconnect the monitoring devices, ask you to sign a few more forms, and escort you to the lab’s facilities for showering and morning hygiene. Your results will be sent to your doctor or dentist, who will discuss them with you at a follow-up appointment.

Home Sleep Tests

Although most sleep labs go out of their way to make patients as comfortable as possible, sleep studies are not much fun. In some cases, you might be able to conduct a home sleep test instead. This allows you to conduct your nighttime monitoring in the comfort of your own home and bed.

If you qualify for a home sleep test, you will receive a small monitoring system about the size of a telephone handset. Just connect the various monitoring devices as instructed before you go to sleep, and leave them on throughout the night. Home sleep tests do not include the electrodes used in lab-based sleep studies.

You will be instructed to use the monitoring equipment for one to three nights, depending on your individual circumstances. Then you will simply return the device to the coordinating office, receive your results, and share them with your dentist for follow-up.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

Sleep apnea is traditionally treated with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which keeps your airway from collapsing during the night. Although these machines typically provide excellent results, many people struggle with breathing normally while using one. Others dislike the bulky equipment and elaborate setup, which can be especially difficult for frequent travelers.

There are other variations on the CPAP, but many people prefer a sleek and simple anti-snoring mouthpiece, also known as a sleep apnea mouth guard. Instead of a bulky machine, these mouthpieces are small and easy to carry. They look something like a football player’s mouth guard, and are designed to hold the mouth and jaw in alignment to prevent nighttime collapse.

Snoring and sleep apnea are complicated disorders, and should only be diagnosed and treated by a professional. If you show any signs or symptoms, please bring your condition to the dentist’s attention right away. With proper diagnosis and treatment, there is no reason to suffer any longer.

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.

Dental Implants vs. Dentures: Which Should I Choose?

Choose implants or dentures?

For many years, the only solution for failing or missing teeth was a partial or full set of dentures. Today, however, most people have another option. While dentures rest on the gums and can be unstable, dental implants actually replace the tooth roots, giving the final restoration a strong, supportive base. Yet dental implants are not right for everyone. When deciding between dentures and dental implants, keep the following considerations in mind.

Existing Dental Health
Dental implants can only be placed inside a healthy mouth with strong gums and bones. For this reason, many patients undergo a period of wearing dentures, even if they plan to move on to implants in the future. This allows you to break up extensive dental work over time, and allows your mouth to heal between the time diseased teeth are removed and the time implants are placed. This is not always necessary, depending on your individual situation and your dentist’s preferences.

If you have lost a significant amount of jawbone to dental disease, you might need bone grafting before your new dental implants can be placed. In addition, some people need a sinus lift or other oral restructuring. In this case, you might temporarily wear dentures until your procedures are completed.

In rare cases, the existing structures in the mouth simply do not allow for the placement of dental implants. If this happens, your dentist will work hard to craft dentures that fit perfectly into your mouth and allow you to regain as much functionality as possible.

Cost
Although prices are coming down and more insurers have begun to cover dental implants, they remain a more expensive option than dentures. If cost is a concern, talk to your dentist about a mid-range solution such as implant-supported removable dentures. These require far fewer implants, and thus have a lower price tag, than fixed solutions, while restoring most of the functionality of natural teeth.

Aesthetics
Although surprisingly lifelike dentures are now available, many people feel that anything removable in the mouth takes away from the natural aesthetics of real teeth. In addition, dentures that are unsupported by implants can shift and slide when you chew, laugh, or talk. If you have a partial denture, the clasp that connects it to your existing teeth can show. For these reasons, the aesthetics of implants are considered far superior to those of traditional dentures.

Comfort
Dentures sit on the gums with no additional support, which can be quite uncomfortable. Many people find that their dentures slip and rub, creating sore spots. These problems are worsened when eating tough foods such as steak, as well as crunchy or chewy foods. Dental implants are integrated into the jawbone, providing a secure base for the final restoration that vastly improves comfort.

Strength and Stability
From corn on the cob to taffy, many people find that they have to give up favorite foods when they get dentures. Traditional dentures provide only 25 percent or less of your natural bite strength. Chewing can be difficult, especially if the dentures slip. With stable, secure implants, you can regain more than 90 percent of your bite strength, without the fear of a tough or chewy food causing your teeth to slip.

Future Oral Health
When teeth are removed, the underlying structures that supported those teeth begin to resorb into the body. Over time, this process can cause severe loss of gum tissues and jawbone. This can give the face a sunken appearance, promote wrinkles, and cause even the most carefully crafted dentures to become loose.

In addition, dentures can cause sores in the mouth, and even lead to chronic inflammation known as denture stomatitis. These conditions can make wearing the dentures uncomfortable, add challenges to your daily oral hygiene routine, and even increase your risk for gum disease underneath the dentures. Dental implants solve these problems by providing a secure, stable foundation that closely resembles the natural tooth structure.

Each person’s dental situation is unique, and what is right for one person may not be the best choice for another. Your dentist will carefully assess your mouth and make a professional recommendation. In many cases, however, whether to choose dental implants or dentures is left up to the patient to decide.

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.

Cosmetic Dentistry: Giving You a More Perfect Smile!

Cosmetic Dentistry, giving you a perfect smile

Loosely defined as any dental procedure that improves the look of your smile, cosmetic dentistry is an excellent solution for those with broken, stained, misshapen, or otherwise imperfect teeth. The focus is on appearance rather than functionality, but many cosmetic procedures also improve the overall quality of your teeth. Here is an overview of some popular cosmetic dentistry solutions.

  • Planning Your Smile: Your cosmetic dentistry journey begins with a cohesive plan of action. If you have any existing dental disease, such as cavities or gum disease, the first step is to treat those issues and restore your mouth to optimum health. Then, you are ready for a full assessment of your current smile and the areas that could use improvement. Your dentist will take all aspects of your features into account, from skin tone to eye color, as well as the dental issues that you want to correct. With this information, your dentist will lay out a proposed treatment plan.
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  • Teeth Bleaching or At-Home Whitening: Whiter teeth are a top request among many dental patients, and thanks to new technology, this is easier to achieve than ever before. Whether you prefer an in-office deep bleaching solution or a custom-formulated at-home whitening kit, the results are generally dramatic and can last for many years. If your teeth are in good shape, but are suffering from stubborn stains or darkening, this may be the only cosmetic procedure you need.
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  • Dental Veneers: Strong and durable, yet thin and unnoticeable, porcelain dental veneers are an excellent solution to dental problems ranging from deep staining to misshapen or broken teeth. In many cases, dental veneers can even cover gaps and misalignment. Today’s veneers are stain resistant and incredibly natural looking, giving you a brand-new smile in just two visits.
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  • Mercury Filling Replacement: Silver-mercury amalgam fillings were the treatment of choice for cavities for many years, and some dentists still use them today. However, dental research has consistently shown that they are not the best solution.

     

    It is difficult to detect new cavities or cracks behind these fillings, and the material does not bond to the tooth surface nearly as well as composite resin does. In addition, silver-mercury fillings create an obvious dark spot that takes away from the aesthetics of your smile. For these reasons, having your silver-mercury fillings replaced with white composite materials can dramatically improve both your smile and your overall dental health.

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  • Dental Implants: The most natural replacement currently available for severely damaged or missing teeth, dental implants are an excellent solution to major dental issues. A biocompatible titanium implant is placed where the tooth root used to be, and is finished with a very natural looking crown. Much stronger, more stable, and more comfortable than dentures, dental implants feel and function like your own teeth.

     

    Dental implants can be used to replace individual teeth, to anchor a bridge that spans a run of missing teeth, or even to support an entire upper or lower arch of replacement teeth. Depending on your individual needs and existing oral health, you might even qualify for an All-on-4, a single-visit procedure that eliminates the traditional four to six-month healing process between placing the implants and creating the final restoration.

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  • Crowns: A time-tested solution for badly failing teeth, crowns are still an important part of modern cosmetic dentistry. New techniques and technology allow your dentist to carefully remove only the damaged portion of the tooth, leaving its underlying structure largely intact. Today’s crowns are highly realistic and natural in appearance, and are strong enough to restore an average of 98% of the original tooth strength.

 

For those whose teeth are healthy but aesthetically displeasing, cosmetic dentistry is a wonderful way to restore self-confidence and create a winning smile. If you have underlying dental disease, it must be treated first to create a healthy, optimal environment for cosmetic solutions. No single procedure is right for everyone, so your journey will begin with a thorough examination and proposed treatment plan. Depending on your existing smile and the results you hope to obtain, you might undergo one or several procedures to create the best new smile for you.

 

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.

Sedation Dentistry: Know Your Options

Sedation Dentistry_ Know Your optionsAlthough modern dentistry techniques have rendered dental procedures virtually pain-free, dental anxiety and even phobias are surprisingly common. In fact, many people put off needed dental work solely due to their fear of the dentist. Fortunately, sedation dentistry can help. From mild sedation to take the edge off through general anesthesia, sedation dentistry is an excellent way to face your dental fears. It is also a great choice for those whose busy schedules require multiple procedures to be done at the same time.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is the mildest form of dental sedation. You will wear a mask over your nose to deliver a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. Your dentist will control the ratio of nitrous oxide, and you can always remove the mask if you do not like the way you feel. This ability to control the sedation makes nitrous oxide a good solution for those with a fear of being “put under.” In addition, nitrous oxide wears off very quickly, making it safe for you to drive yourself home after your procedure.

While under the influence of nitrous oxide, you will be aware of what is going on. You can respond to your dentist’s instructions, and will know that you are having a dental procedure. However, you will be deeply relaxed and unafraid.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation comes in the form of a pill, such as Valium or Halcion. Depending on the dose you are prescribed, you might feel minimally or moderately sedated. You can respond to instructions, but typically have little conscious awareness of exactly how your procedure is progressing. Some people under oral sedation relax enough to fall asleep, but are easily awakened.

Because oral sedation can leave you feeling groggy, you will not be allowed to drive yourself home. Bring a friend or relative to your appointment to give you a ride.

IV Sedation

IV sedation ranges from moderate to deep, depending on exactly what medication and dosage are used. Your dentist will control the level of sedation based on your health history and current needs. With IV sedation, you will probably feel very tired and a bit “out of it.” Falling asleep is extremely common, though you can be aroused quickly.

If you are receiving IV sedation, you may not have anything to eat for at least 6 hours prior to your appointment. In addition, you cannot drive for the rest of the day. Bring someone who can take you home and, if possible, remain with you for several hours. You will likely spend most of your time sleeping, and having someone nearby to care for you can make you more comfortable.

General Anesthesia

Just like any other surgery, dental surgery can be performed under general anesthesia. You will be completely unconscious, and cannot be awakened until the anesthesia wears off. Your vital signs will be carefully monitored, and you will not be sent home until you are fully awake.

General anesthesia requires an empty stomach. Do not eat or drink for 6 hours before your appointment. You may not drive for 24 hours after general anesthesia. Bring a relative or friend to drive you home and care for you until the residual effects of the anesthesia wear off.

Regardless of which type of sedation you select, your tooth will be thoroughly numbed. You do not have to worry about feeling pain or discomfort from the procedure. Depending on exactly what procedure was done and your own personal needs, you might also be sent home with prescribed pain medications. The best way to minimize pain during healing is to stay ahead of it, so be sure to take your medications as instructed.

Sedation dentistry is a popular option for both adults and children with severe dental anxiety, as well as those who will have extensive work done in a single appointment. However, it is not right for everyone. We will assess your current overall health and any medications you are currently taking, and make a professional recommendation. We are one of the few dental offices in the state certified to administer all levels of dental sedation.

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.

Are Your Loose Dentures Slipping Away?

Set of dentures
Have you experienced tooth loss? Are you currently a denture wearer? Studies show that by the time you reach the age of seventy-four, about 26% of us will have lost all our permanent teeth.

Usually, the most widely-know solution has been dentures that slip over the gums. The unfortunate problem is the fact that the dentures that “slip” over your gums continue to slip, cause sores, and make it difficult to eat and speak. Dental adhesives can help but aren’t the ideal solution.

Not to paint a bleak picture, but the jawbone will deteriorate because the roots of the teeth no longer stimulate it. Dentures will need to be adjusted, realigned, or replaced.

New technologies and approaches are always being developed, but most patients haven’t considered dental implants. Dental implants are not new. They’ve proven the test of time and are a solid solution for many patients who require dentures.

What are Dental Implants?
In simple terms, dental implants are dentures that are anchored to your jaw. Patients report that these implanted dentures look and feel like natural teeth. There are options for implant-secured dentures that can be removed and cleaned. Or, you might decide that fixed implant dentures are right for you. This option becomes a permanent solution.

Talking with Dr. Schnabel will determine which option is available for your particular situation.

Immediate load implants are a relatively new approach where the entire procedure can happen in one visit. There’s no waiting time before you can immediately enjoy the benefits.

Overdentures are yet another option. Your bridge or denture is secured with implants and you’ll be amazed at the comfortable fit. They not only look great, but provide stability when eating and speaking.

Benefits of Dental Implants
• Easier to eat your favorite foods
• Implants are attached and won’t slip
• Implants look, feel and function like real teeth
• No adhesives to deal with
• Laugh, speak, and enjoy life as if they were your real teeth

How Successful are Dental Implants?
Each case varies, but a success rate of up to 98% is impressive. With the right care, your implants can last a lifetime.

Custom dentures may be the right choice for you. The denture plate is anchored so you don’t need to worry about slipping, shifting, tilting or other problems associated with this approach.

If you are ready to discuss the alternatives to dentures, let us know. Our goal is to bring back your confident smile and let you get back to living your life.

Savannah Dental Solutions
Drs. Chad and Alexandra Schnabel

9A Medical Arts Center
Savannah, GA 31405
Phone: (912) 354-1366
Website: SavannahDentalSolutions.com