Author Archives: Savannah Dental

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Couple in bed with the woman holding a pillow over her ears and a man snoring loudly.

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common condition that affects millions of people in the United States. Those who suffer from OSA periodically stop breathing for short periods of time while they are sleeping. Sleep apnea can be harmful to your general health and overall quality of life, as it is linked to many health problems including hypertension, diabetes, and in severe cases, sudden death. Possible side effects of OSA include, but are not limited to, excessive sleepiness during the day, grinding teeth during sleep, and even an elevated risk of workplace injuries.

Snoring is a Key Symptom

Snoring may be caused by many things, including allergies, alcohol consumption, or blocked sinuses. However, there is also a strong link between sleep apnea and snoring. Those who snore are more likely to have sleep apnea, while those with sleep apnea are more likely to snore. Therefore, if you snore, it is important to let your dentist know.

How Do I Know if I Have OSA?

Obstructive sleep apnea can only be diagnosed through a professional sleep study in which you are closely monitored throughout the night. In the past, the only option was to spend the night at a sleep clinic. Today, though, the technology exists allowing some patients to complete a sleep test in the comfort of their own home using a portable monitor. Ask your dentist if a home sleep test is an option for you.

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

OSA is a long-term condition that many sufferers aren’t even aware that they have. Although there is no cure, a few solutions have been found to provide relief. The most common is known as a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This machine attaches to your nose and mouth while you sleep to keep your airway open. While effective, it is also bulky, noisy and expensive.

Many doctors and dentists are now turning to a smaller, simpler, highly effective solution. The sleep apnea mouth guard, also known as the “snoring mouthpiece,” is smaller than the palm of your hand, and can be worn comfortably and quietly. Similar to a sports mouth guard, the sleep apnea mouth guard is designed to pull the jaw forward to prevent overnight airway collapse, thus allowing you to breathe regularly. It greatly reduces your snoring so that you and your loved ones may finally get the quiet, deep slumber that your body has been craving.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are looking to get a good night’s sleep, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at (912) 354-1366. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will guide you through the process from diagnosis to fitting to regular care and maintenance.

Are Porcelain Veneers Worth the Investment?

Blonde woman smiling while looking up at dentist

Are Porcelain Veneers Worth the Investment?

Although it can be frustrating, the truth is that first impressions make a difference. Whether you are on a first date or a job interview, a gorgeous, relaxed smile conveys trustworthiness, confidence, and sincerity. If your teeth do not look their best, though, you may be tempted to hide them. Fortunately, porcelain veneers are an excellent way to fix staining, chipping, and other cosmetic imperfections. Yet many people wonder whether they are truly worth the investment. Here is what you should know.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of top-quality dental porcelain that slip over the teeth. Strong, durable, and chemically bonded to the teeth, they can last for many years. Porcelain veneers are color-matched to your natural teeth, ensuring that they are not noticeable.

What Conditions Can Veneers Fix?

If you have existing oral health problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, we must correct them before placing your veneers. Porcelain veneers can fix a wide range of cosmetic issues, such as:

Wear and tear: All teeth wear down over time, especially if you use them as a tool or are prone to chewing on pens, ice, or other hard objects.

Mild breakage: Teeth may crack or chip from light trauma such as a fall or a sports injury. Extensive damage must be repaired, but porcelain veneers can hide minor breaks.

Discoloration: Deep staining and discoloration that cannot be fixed with teeth whitening may be caused by large fillings, root canals, excessive fluoride, and even some medications.

Misshapen or uneven teeth: Teeth that are truly perfect are quite rare. Porcelain veneers can cover teeth that are uneven or misshapen.

Minor crookedness or gapping: Severe misalignment typically requires orthodontic treatment, but porcelain veneers are a great way to hide small gaps and minor crookedness.

The Lifespan of Porcelain Veneers

Few dental restorations last a lifetime, but porcelain veneers are among the longest-lasting solutions. They are durable enough to withstand biting and chewing and, with proper care, they can easily last for a decade or more.

Porcelain veneers are stain-resistant. While teeth whitening must be regularly repeated, your porcelain veneers will remain bright and healthy-looking with excellent oral hygiene.

Do Porcelain Veneers Look Natural?

Many people worry that porcelain veneers will give them a “game show host” look, but veneers are actually designed to look quite natural. The dental porcelain mimics the sheen and translucency of natural teeth, and we will color-match them to your adjacent teeth.

We can give you a brighter smile by whitening your teeth and then color-matching your veneers to your new tooth shade. Just keep in mind that you will need to whiten regularly to maintain the match.

Whether porcelain veneers are worth the investment is a decision only you can make, based on your budget, goals, and the issues you want to correct. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, though, porcelain veneers are an excellent way to boost your self-confidence for a decade or more.

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.

Is It Worth Repairing My Failing Teeth?

Person smiling with broken front teeth

Is It Worth Repairing My Failing Teeth?

The answer to this question is a resounding, YES! Fear of the dentist, lack of insurance or even funds for the deductible are reasons to avoid regular dentist check ups to our local dental health professional. But it is important to take care of your failing teeth before it’s too late.

Why Are My Teeth Failing?

Tooth enamel is one of the hardest tissues in your body. Your teeth begin to fail because the enamel covering them begins to fade, leaving the tooth compromised. There are numerous reasons for the need for tooth repair such as:

Poor dental hygiene
Daily brushing, rinsing with fluoride and flossing is imperative to keep your teeth healthy.

Bad habits
Things such as smoking, ice chewing, and excessive intake of things such as wine, coffee or sugary snacks can lead to the downfall of your teeth’s regular health.

Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism)
This is a common thing for people, especially in times of great stress. This weakens the teeth causing cracks and discomfort.

Other factors also include things from playing contact sports without a mouth guard to tongue piercings. Accidents are also a common cause for a problematic mouth.

How Do I Know My Teeth Are Failing?

There are many levels of failing teeth, but the signs will show you quickly if you learn to pay attention to what your mouth is telling you.

Toothache
This is caused by the beginnings of tooth decay and/or gum disease. This also includes hypersensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. It can be quite painful and is not fixed simply by over the counter pain relievers and chewing with the other side of your mouth. A toothache is caused by an underlying issue such as infection or worn off enamel.

Stained teeth
Many factors can affect the teeth causing discoloration. Things such as what we ingest, play a major role. If you’ve ever eaten a grape popsicle and ended up with a purple mouth, you know this feeling. Other factors such as smoking and coffee may lead to surface stains as well. However, gum disease may also be the cause of your teeth being stained from the inside.

Cavities or a chipped/cracked tooth
When the enamel becomes worn, it leaves our teeth susceptible to debris. This can cause holes in our teeth that will need to be repaired by a dental professional before an infection develops, which can sometimes lead to heart problems, stroke, and even death.

Rotting teeth, gum disease (gingivitis) and impacted teeth are also common ailments that will need attention. As well as crooked teeth, which can bring about pain in the jaw.

How Do I Repair My Failing Teeth?

Modern dentistry has an array of options to help you with your teeth woes. Depending on the severity of your problem they can guide you swiftly through the process. Whether you need something as simple as a sealant to keep your teeth strong or as complex as a root canal or a crown. A simple consultation can easily get your teeth on the road to recovery.

Are you ready to start your journey towards better oral health? Call us today at (912) 354-1366 to schedule your appointment.

Traditional vs Implant-Supported Dentures

Dentures graphic of a persons lower jaw.

Traditional vs Implant-Supported Dentures

When you hear the word “dentures,” you automatically think of old people, right? Visions of the horror you felt the first time you saw Grandma’s teeth in a glass run through your brain giving you chills. The truth is that there are many reasons that people of all ages need dentures. Drs. Chad and Alexandra Schnabel at Savannah Dental solutions are proficient in all of the newest dental technology and able to help you if you decide it is time for this process.

Reasons One Might Need Dentures

Although we all associate dentures with the elderly, plenty of other situations may put you in need of the procedure such as:

  • injury
  • gum disease
  • rotting teeth
  • abrasion of the enamel
  • and of course, age

Anything that would cause you to lose 4 or more teeth, can be a reason to talk to your dentist about the possibility of dentures.

Types of Dentures

There are two most common types of dentures (also known as “false teeth,) both with their own positive and negative aspects. It is important that you know the differences so that you make the best decision. A brief and informative consultation with your dentist will help you to decide which one is the proper choice for your mouth.

Traditional Dentures
These are the more conventional approach (like the type in the glass next to grandma’s bed.) They are formed to the shape of your mouth and rest on top of the gums and bone relying on them for structure and support. Some of the aspects of traditional dentures include:

  • Removable

This will allow them to be clean outside of the mouth. They will then be placed back in and held down with denture adhesive.

  • Affordable

Conventional method dentures are often much less expensive than other denture options.

  • Uncomfortable

They are known to rub against gums, creating sore spots. They also make it often difficult to chew making eating a lot of food (such as popcorn or apples) is no longer an option.

  • Jaw can shrink

With no teeth or implants to stimulate the jaw bone, the shape of the mouth tends to adjust. This will affect the shape of your mouth, causing you to have to have the dentures replaced.

Implant-Supported Dentures
This is a dental prosthesis which is supported by four or more
dental implants that are embedded in the bone. Since they do not rest on your gums but are instead adhered to actual bone and/or teeth, there is no need for glue. A few elements to consider include:

  • Long-lasting

This type of denture draws strength for the bone, which prevents slipping and allows for the preservation of the existing bone.

  • Less maintenance

Because they are not removable, only the dentist can take them out for occasional cleaning and upkeep. Otherwise, they are there for life.

  • Long Term Investment

Although implant-supported dentures can be more expensive than the traditional counterpart, they tend to last longer requiring fewer adjustments or replacements.

(or styles of implant-supported dentures) have become commonly used in modern dentistry as a solution to the problems found with a traditional denture. Most can be done in just a few visits, if not a single day.

(also known as “Teeth In a Day”) can replace the upper or lower quadrants of your teeth by using 4 specifically placed implants.

are also popular to replace smaller amounts of teeth than the entire upper or lower half by only needing as little as two teeth for placement.

The benefits over traditional dentures make both options popular due to the fact that these styles of dentures are realistic looking, comfortable and allow you to eat difficult foods such as corn on the cob, apples , and steak.

If you think that dentures may be right for you, contact Savannah Dental Solutions today at 912/354-1366 for a consultation. Or click herehere for more information. Dedicated to helping people in Savannah and the surrounding areas, this team of skilled professionals is ready to get you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Dental Financing Options

Person wearing a blue button down shirt with a white tooth ornament in front of them stacking coins.

Dental Financing Options

Going to the dentist is a regular cause for anxiety. Dentophobia (also known as a fear of the dentist) is a common malady for many people. Dental health is often ignored, be it due to being afraid of the pain or even worse, the price tag that comes with it. The good people of Savannah Dental Solutions wants to help you to calm all of your concerns, including the financial ones. Be it through dental financing, a payment plan, or dental insurance they will help to guide you through the process necessary to make sure that your dental needs are handled. Because they truly believe that everyone should be able to afford dental health.

How Can I Pay For My Dental Procedure(s)?

Not many of us have the money to pay for medical treatment outright. Fortunately, there are quite a few options available to you to ensure the affordability of the quality treatment that you want and deserve.

1. Savannah Dental Solutions is a care credit dentist. They work with the financial loan company Care Credit to help finance for the dentistry that you require. Be it large or small, if approved, this will allow for reasonable monthly payments versus having to pay the entire sum at once.

2. Many corporations offer what is called a “Flex Spending Account.” This is where an assigned amount of money is taken out of your paycheck pre-taxes and is saved in an account for medical emergencies, which include dental. Ask your employer if this is an option for you.

3. Payment plans are also an option. These are decided on a case-by-case basis but can be an easy and interest-free alternative to allow you to pay for your dentistry. Much like layaway, this is where you would pay a small amount weekly or monthly until the total is accrued allowing you to then have your procedure worry-free

4. Dental insurance is also offered through many health insurance companies. This will not usually cover all of the expenses, however, it will pay for a large portion thus making the weight of the expense less daunting. The staff at Savannah Dental Solutions will be happy to file your dental insurance claim for you to guarantee the maximum benefit.

5. Paying out of pocket is, of course, also a viable option. Your dentist will usually accept cash, checks and most major credit cards.

Dr. Chad Schnabel, DMD , and Dr. Alexandra Schnabel, DMD are proud to serve the citizens of Savannah and it’s surrounding areas by bringing quality dental care at an affordable price.
If you are in need of a dentist, don’t be afraid any longer. Call Savannah Dental Solutions at 912/354-1366 today or contact them for more information on dental financing options. The polite and friendly staff will help to guide you through the steps needed to bring back your happy and healthy smile.

Seeing the Dentist When You’re Sick

dental visit when sick

Should I Keep My Dentist Appointment If I’m Sick?

Getting a dental appointment can take some time, and regular visits are vital to preserving oral health. Therefore, many people hate to cancel an appointment. But what if you’re sick? Is it better to keep the appointment or to reschedule it? Here is what you should know.

Cancellation Policies

It should go without saying that you should never cancel a dental appointment without a good reason. Your dentist and staff members have carved out time to see you, and they may not be able to cover your missed appointment with another patient, especially if you cancel at the last minute.

To make up for the potential loss of revenue, many dental practices charge a cancellation fee. If you are sick, and you don’t have a history of missing appointments, you may be able to get this fee waived, but this is never guaranteed. Call as soon as you know you need to reschedule, as some offices only charge for cancellations within a certain time frame, such as the day of the appointment.

How Sick Are You?

Whether or not to go to your appointment depends largely on how sick you are. For example, a headache is a common condition that could make you think about cancelling. However, not all headaches are the same. If you have a reasonably high pain tolerance and a simple headache, you might prefer to suffer through. If you have a severe migraine, though, the sights and sounds of a dental office could be too much to bear. Only you know how sick you are, and what your personal tolerance level is.

Are You Contagious?

If you have a contagious illness, you might want to think twice about keeping your appointment. Your dentist and hygienist will be up close and personal with your mouth, so it isn’t fair to cough and sneeze all over them. Even if you are no longer coughing or sneezing, you could still be contagious for a full week after your symptoms first developed.

If you suspect that you are contagious, call the dentist’s office and ask about the policy for these situations. You might be rescheduled, or you might receive advice on how to cope with the illness during your appointment.

Are You Having an Invasive Procedure?

Oral surgery and other invasive procedures are typically more complicated to schedule than simple cleanings, as they take longer and require extra materials. It is best to keep your appointment if possible.

On the other hand, an existing illness weakens your immune system, increasing the risk of infection and potentially lengthening healing time. If you have a fever or other signs of a bacterial or viral illness, it may be best to reschedule your procedure. Call your dentist as soon as possible for advice.

What Should You Do If You Keep Your Appointment?

When checking in, let the office staff know what symptoms you are experiencing. Wash or sanitize your hands before and after filling out any paperwork. Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow rather than your hands. Avoid direct contact with other patients and staff members.

In the treatment room, let each professional you interact with know that you are sick so that they can take precautions to avoid catching your illness. If you have congestion, breathing through your nose can be difficult. Let your treatment team know that you may need to take breaks to catch your breath.

Being sick is never fun, and visiting the dentist with an illness can magnify your misery. Take a hard look at your symptoms and the likelihood that you are contagious, and make an informed decision on whether to reschedule. Never hesitate to reach out to your dentist’s office for advice. If you do keep the appointment, take steps to avoid sharing your germs with others.

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.

Understanding Standard Dental Office Hygiene Procedures

dental office hygiene

Fear of the dentist is incredibly common, even though modern dentistry is nearly pain free. For many people, though, the fear isn’t necessarily of pain, but of the sights, sounds, and smells of a dental office. Others worry about germs. Whichever fear you have, understanding the hygiene procedures that dental offices follow can help. Here is what you should know.

General Precautions

Modern dental offices are clean and well-kept, with sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming taking place frequently. But because it is a medical facility, your dental office goes far beyond these basic cleaning procedures.

Dentists, dental technicians, and hygienists wear gloves whenever they come into contact with a patient’s mouth. This protects them from germs the patient may be carrying, but it also protects you against any germs that might be on their hands. Depending on the procedure you are having, they may also wear disposable face masks and gowns. Just like any other medical professional, this protects them from saliva and blood that could splash around, and it protects you from having your dental professional sneeze or cough in your face.

Spray disinfectants are used liberally, both in the waiting room and in the treatment rooms. This helps to guard against common colds and other easily transmitted illnesses.

Reusable dental tools are required by law to undergo an extensive sterilization process between patients. Increasingly, many dentists are using disposable tools instead. That way, they simply have to open a new pack for each patient. If you ever see someone at your dental office using a package of tools that is already open, ask for an explanation.

Protective Eyewear for Patients

Some dentists now provide protective eyewear for their patients, although this is not yet standard. There are a few reasons for this. One is to protect you from the glare of the light, which must be very bright to properly illuminate the back of your mouth.

In addition, dental tools contacting your teeth and gums can cause fluids to splash. Protective eyewear prevents those fluids from getting into your eyes. Likewise, since your dentist or hygienist is always above you, it is smart to protect your eyes from an errant cough or sneeze, especially if the dental professional is not wearing a mask.

Finally, dental tools tend to be sharp and/or heavy. If one is dropped, protective eyewear can ensure that you do not end up with eye damage.

Protective Eyewear for Dental Workers

Likewise, many dental offices now have employees wear protective eyewear or face shields when treating patients. This protects their eyes from your coughs or sneezes, as well as from being splashed with your blood or saliva.

Dental Dams

Many patients find dental dams uncomfortable, but they are very important. Made from thin latex, the dental dam separates the area that is being worked on from the rest of your mouth. This provides the dentist, tech, or hygienist with a clear view of the working area. It also helps to reduce the amount of fluid exchange with the rest of your mouth, making it easier to contain blood and tooth fragments and to clean you up when your procedure is finished.

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 Anxiety: 4 Soothing Tactics Dentists Use

Calming Office Space

Sedation Dentistry and Soothing Tactics to Help Your Fear of the Dentist

Dental anxiety is extremely common. Some people experience a mild nervous feeling, while others have outright terror that reaches the level of a phobia. If your anxiety is severe, you might even go out of your way to avoid critical dental work. Fortunately, many dentists today are aware of dental anxiety and take proactive steps to help patients feel less afraid. Here are 4 soothing tactics your dentist might use.

Calming Office Space

Dentists are increasingly aware of how the look and feel of their office can affect patient anxiety levels. When visiting a new dentist, take a moment to look around the reception and waiting areas. Is the lighting scheme calming? Is the furniture warm and inviting? Is there space for each patient to speak privately with the receptionist? Some dentists go even further, borrowing ideas from high-end spas to create a soothing oasis. Even if yours doesn’t quite go that far, a calming office space is a good sign that the dentist is dedicated to reducing patient fears.

Sensory Aids

While most dentists today allow patients to bring earbuds and listen to their own music during treatment, many offices provide sensory aids to help soothe their nervous patients. Relaxing music, chairside movies, warm blankets, and heated face cloths are just a few ways that dentists attempt to make the treatment room as relaxing as possible.

Communication

Each patient is different, so communication is absolutely essential. Choose a practice in which staff members are aware of the signs of dental anxiety and know how to communicate with anxious patients. The receptionist might let you know what to expect. The hygienist might offer you a blanket or show you how to operate the remote control. The dentist should take a few minutes to sit with you and discuss your fear, and provide some suggestions for helping you feel more in control. For example, he or she might ask if you would feel more comfortable with the chair in a position other than flat, or suggest a hand signal for you to give if you need a break.

Sedation Dentistry

Many dental offices now offer sedation dentistry, which can be a real game changer if your anxiety is severe. From mild nitrous oxide to deep IV sedation, there are several options to keep you calm and comfortable. Talk to your dentist about your choices, including the pros and cons, risks, and any activity restrictions that may be required with a specific type of sedation.

Dental anxiety can range from mild to severe. If you have a serious dental phobia, you might need to consider seeking help from a mental health professional. For many people, though, soothing tactics and sedation dentistry can help manage the fear and turn a visit to the dentist into a comfortable and relaxed experience.

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.

Understanding Dental Scaling

Understanding Dental Scaling

Understanding Teeth Scaling & Dental Deep Cleaning

Although it sounds a bit like a medieval torture process, dental scaling is actually a routine procedure designed to treat gum disease. While a regular dental cleaning focuses on the surfaces of the teeth, dental scaling goes below the gumline to treat built up plaque. It is typically performed in conjunction with root planing, which smooths the tooth roots and helps them reattach to the gums. Here is what you should know about dental scaling.

Why Do I Need Dental Scaling?

Brushing and flossing are the first line of defense against dental plaque, but they are not sufficient on their own. Regular dental cleanings remove the plaque and hardened tartar that home oral care leaves behind. In people with healthy gums, the gum tissue forms a tight seal just 3 millimeters or less below the gumline that prevents this plaque and tartar from invading any deeper.

If you have skipped a few dental cleanings or simply have bad genetic luck, these pockets can deepen, allowing plaque and tartar to build up below where regular dental cleanings can reach. If you have pockets of 4 millimeters or deeper, you will need dental scaling to clean them out.

Dental Scaling Methods

There are two basic methods for dental scaling. The first uses handheld instruments. Your dentist will gently insert thin metal tools known as a dental scaler and a curette below the gumline to scrape away plaque and tartar.

The second method is ultrasonic. In this case, your dentist will use an instrument with a vibrating metal tip and cool water spray. The tip chips off the plaque and tartar, while the water flushes it away.

Is Dental Scaling Painful?

Dental scaling can feel uncomfortable or even painful to those with sensitive gums. Talk to your dentist about using a local anesthetic to numb your gums if you have concerns about pain.

Some dentists prefer to divide the mouth in half, or even into four quadrants, and scale one section per appointment. If you are particularly nervous, though, or just prefer to get the process over with, ask your dentist if it is possible to do your entire mouth in a single appointment.

Aftercare

It is normal to experience some soreness and sensitivity, along with minor swelling and bleeding, for a few days after dental scaling. Your dentist might suggest that you use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth during this time. You may also receive a prescription mouthwash to help ensure that your gums remain clean and healthy. Though your mouth may feel sore, it is critical to brush and floss as normal to prevent plaque from re-forming in the same places.

You will be scheduled for a follow-up visit several days after your scaling procedure to measure the depth of the gum pockets and ensure that you are properly healing. Over time, if you maintain excellent oral hygiene, the pockets should heal. However, those who have had gum disease remain at increased risk for future recurrence. Your dentist may want you to have four cleanings per year instead of two to minimize this risk.

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.

Understanding the Basic Dental Tools

dental tools

The dentist’s office is not most people’s favorite place. Unfamiliar sights and sounds, and the prospect of mysterious tools entering your mouth, can be downright unnerving. Fear of the dentist is extremely common, and some people are so afraid that they actually postpone even routine dental visits. Fortunately, knowledge is power. In many cases, simply understanding what to expect can help ease dental anxiety. Here is what you should know about the basic dental tools.

Mouth Mirror

Let’s start with the most basic and least intimidating tool of all, the mouth mirror. A small mirror attached to a metal stick, the mouth mirror has two basic purposes. First, it lets your dentist see clearly into the difficult to access parts of your mouth. Second, it lets your dentist easily move your tongue and the insides of your cheeks out of the way.

Sickle Probe

A sharp-looking hook attached to a long handle, the sickle probe can look terrifying. In reality, though, it causes minimal, if any discomfort. The sickle probe is used to examine the pockets between the teeth, to investigate visible cavities, and to remove plaque and tartar. It won’t necessarily feel pleasant, but use of the sickle probe doesn’t really hurt.

Scaler

Though brushing and flossing are vital for oral health, they are not enough on their own. A scaler is used to remove the plaque and tartar that are left behind. It looks sort of like a long metal stick that is bent at one end. Like the sickle probe, a scaler doesn’t feel entirely comfortable, but it should not cause much actual pain. It plays a vital role in preventing or reversing gum disease, and minimizes the risk of tooth decay.

Suction Device

A suction device is a vital but somewhat amusing dental tool. When your dentist is working on your mouth, it is often important to keep the surfaces dry. Yet you don’t necessarily want to swallow with a mouthful of dental tools. The suction device removes saliva, along with the added water used for some treatments, from your mouth. It’s sort of like a tiny wet vac, suctioning moisture away. It tends to stick to the cheek or tongue, and it makes some odd noises, but it is not in any way painful.

Dental Syringe

Dental syringes are feared by many people. They are fairly large, with hollow needles that deliver injections of local anesthesia. These shots are known to sting for a moment until the numbness takes over. This happens fast, but many dentists administer a topical numbing gel first to remove the pain of the shot. If you are afraid of needles, close your eyes or look away, and the shot will be over before you know it.

Dental Drill

The dental drill is arguably the scariest dental tool of all. It spins at more than 250,000 rpm while simultaneously spraying cooling water into your mouth. The result is loud sounds and strong vibrations that can drive patients nuts. Dental drills are absolutely essential in many procedures, though, from removing decay from a cavity to opening a hole in the jawbone for a dental implant. Fortunately, your mouth will be numb from local anesthesia, so while you will hear the noise and feel the vibrations, the drill will not cause pain.

Impression Materials

If you need a dental crown, bridge, custom mouthguard, or other prosthetic device, your dentist will need to take impressions of your teeth and oral anatomy. Although digital impressions are becoming more and more common, traditional impression materials are still frequently used.

Your dentist or tech will fill a small tray with a soft substance and ask you to bite down into it. Over the next minute or so, the impression material will harden in your mouth, and your dentist or tech will gently rock the tray to release it. The material doesn’t take the best, and some people feel like they’re gagging, but the entire process is generally over in less than two minutes and is not painful.

Other Tools

Dentistry is in a state of flux, with new technology constantly coming online alongside the tried and true. Dental lasers, 3-D cone beam scanners, digital panoramic x-rays, and more are important parts of many dental practices. Like the tools that came before them, these items can be intimidating but are ultimately harmless.

Dentists, hygienists, and techs are generally good about explaining what will happen before they begin, and if you have any questions, you are always welcome to ask. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that each tool plays a vital role in maintaining your oral health, and modern anesthetics keep even the most intimidating tools from causing pain.

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.