My Blog

Posts for: October, 2011

Anytime you are considering an implant surgery to replace missing teeth, you should take the time to gather the facts so that you have clear understanding of the procedure, your options and any potential risks. You should also feel comfortable with the dental team who is treating you. For these reasons, we created the following comprehensive list of questions so that you can obtain the answers you need to help you feel at ease prior to treatment.

  • Am I a good candidate for dental implants?
  • What is the success rate for dental implants?
  • How long have you been placing implants and how many do you place each year?
  • Can you show me some before and after photos that illustrate your work?
  • What are the risks, benefits and alternatives to dental implants?
  • Are dental implants ever rejected?
  • How do you assess whether I have enough bone to anchor dental implants?
  • Can you tell me about the surgical procedure for implant placement?
  • How long will the entire process take from my first appointment until I have my implant(s) and crown(s) in place?
  • Do I have to go without teeth while my implants are healing?
  • What type of anesthesia will you use during my implant surgery?
  • What can I expect in the hours and days following my implant surgery?
  • How long will it take my implants to heal?
  • How long can I expect my implants to last?
  • Will there be any maintenance required with my implant(s)?
  • How much will dental implant(s) cost?
  • Will my insurance cover all or a portion of the cost?

To learn more, read “Dental Implants, Evaluating Your Professional Options For Care.” Or, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.


By Drake Tollefson DDS
October 23, 2011
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   oral hygiene  

How good of a job are you doing with brushing and flossing your teeth? This is an important question, because a healthy mouth depends on regularly removing dental plaque (a whitish, sticky film of bacteria that grows near your gumline and on the surfaces of your teeth).

Daily Plaque Removal
Most people need to brush and floss at least once a day to remove plaque. Twice a day may be ideal, as plaque forms every 12 to 24 hours on your teeth, and it will also make your mouth feel fresher. Be thorough but gentle with your teeth — excessive brushing or flossing can cause damage.

The use of an antibacterial mouthrinse to help reduce the plaque you may have missed as well as to reduce bacteria that are clinging to soft tissues or membranes in your mouth, should be included in your daily hygiene routine.

Tongue Test
When you run your tongue around your mouth after a professional dental cleaning, you sense a smooth, slippery feeling. This is the way your teeth should feel after you brush your own teeth every day. The tooth surfaces should feel smooth and slick throughout your mouth and at the gum line.

Floss Test
After running floss up and down a tooth surface, notice whether there is blood on the floss or whether the floss has an odor. If the floss squeaks when you run it up and down a tooth surface, that indicates that the tooth is squeaky clean.

Check for Bleeding
Bleeding gums are a sign of inflammation, called gingivitis, in the gum tissue. Healthy gums do not bleed. If you have recently begun using more effective brushing and flossing methods, your gums may bleed at first but then stop as your gums become healthier.

Use Disclosing Solutions
Disclosing solutions are harmless dyes that can stain plaque and make it visible. Rinsing with these solutions may surprise you by revealing the plaque on your teeth you had no idea you missed.

Visit Our Office
We can check your mouth and tell you how well you are doing in your program of daily plaque removal. As a bonus, we will give you a toothbrush so that while you're here we can check your technique to make sure you are brushing correctly.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about oral hygiene. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Hygiene Behavior.”


Thanks to technological advances, today there are more than 40 types of traditional or standard implants. A traditional dental implant actually replaces the root of a tooth, upon which a crown is built — the part you see in the mouth. There are 2 others types that are quite similar to standard implants. Mini implants are most like traditional implants except they are smaller in diameter. Micro-mini implants are an even smaller variation with an even narrower, more screw-like appearance. Micro-mini implants are also designed to be used on a temporary basis, thus can easily be removed. Together all of these types of implants provide us with a wide variety of options for permanently replacing missing teeth.

The following list details the types of implant restorations:

  • Single tooth replacements: As the name suggests, these implants are used to replace single teeth.
  • Multiple tooth replacements: Implants can be used to replace multiple teeth in a variety of ways. This includes acting as bridge supports to permanently replace missing teeth.
  • Combinations of fixed and removable bridgework: Dental implants can be used to support permanently fixed in teeth, bridgework or removable bridges or dentures. Their biggest advantage over dentures alone is that they stabilize the dentures and preserve the jawbone to which they attach, thus preventing the jawbone from melting away under the pressure of dentures.
  • Over-dentures: These restorations are now considered the new gold standard. In this application two or more standard implants (or multiple mini-implants) are used to attach and stabilize full dentures. Over-dentures are especially useful for tooth replacement in the lower jaw, where denture stability is often problematic.
  • Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADS): These special implants are a tool that orthodontists can use to obtain a stable, non-movable anchor for moving teeth more quickly and easily. They are small, easy to place and easy to remove once their job is done.
  • Temporary bridgework: In this case, mini-implants are used to support temporary bridgework. They are placed between permanent implants and later removed when the permanent implants have healed and teeth are permanently placed on them. Mini-implants ensure that a person is never without teeth during the process of teeth replacement.

To learn more on this topic, read the Dear Doctor article, “Dental Implants, Your Third Set Of Teeth.” Or if you prefer, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.


By Drake Tollefson DDS
October 09, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

We have noticed that there are two types of patients when it comes to enhancing a person's smile. One type, which we'll call the “Perfect Minded” patient, expects teeth that are completely regular in their arrangement and of maximum whiteness and brightness, often beyond the range of traditional guides for tooth color. They are looking for a perfect “Hollywood” smile. The other, the “Natural Minded” patient, is looking for a more natural look. This person expects a general sense of regularity and alignment of teeth with definite brightness, but not so much that the teeth are noticeable before and above other facial features. Which type are you?

The “Perfect Minded” Patient
While you expect maximum regularity and alignment of teeth along with maximum whiteness and brightness, the “perfect minded” patient requires a smile completely symmetrical (balanced from one side to the other). If we drew a vertical line down the center of your face (midline), it would fall directly between your front teeth and your smile would look just the same on each side of the line. You also expect your smile to be horizontally symmetric, so that it matches the curvature of your lower lip and the gum lines match from side to side.

The “Natural Minded” Patient
You are looking for a more subtle, natural look produced by including some minor irregularities in your look. Like the “Perfect Minded” individual, you still expect your teeth to be generally regular and well aligned but you also want to have some minor asymmetries (not matching) as you move farther back along your jaw to make your teeth look real. Your preference in tooth color is not a super shade of white, but for a tooth color that looks very natural for your facial skin and hair color.

There is no right or wrong here. What is important is to be sure to communicate your expectations to us before embarking on a program of smile redesign.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about Smile Design. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Great Expectations — Perceptions in Smile Design.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
October 02, 2011
Category: Oral Health

Did you know that Americans spend nearly 3 billion dollars each year on fresh breath remedies including gum, mints and mouthrinses to address their fears of halitosis (bad breath)? This simple fact clearly reveals that Americans are obsessed with having pleasant breath. Some other interesting statistics on this subject include:

  • 60% of women and 50% of men say they use breath freshening products like candy, chewing gum and sprays
  • 50% of middle-aged and older adults have bad breath
  • 25% of the population has chronic bad breath
  • 20 to 25% of adults have bad breath due to their smoking habits

However, the best way to determine what is causing your bad breath is to have a thorough dental exam followed by a professional cleaning. The first important step of this process begins when we obtain a thorough medical history. This includes asking you questions so that we can:

  • Identify your chief complaint and whether or not your bad breath is noticed by others or just a concern you have
  • Learn about your medical history as well as what medications (prescription and over-the-counter), supplements, and vitamins you are currently taking
  • Learn about your dietary history to see if pungent foods such as garlic and onions are foods you often eat that are contributing to the problem
  • Conduct a psychosocial assessment to learn if you suffer from depression, anxiety, sleep or work problems
  • Identify personal habits such as smoking cigarettes, cigars or a pipe that contribute to your bad breath

To learn more about the causes and treatments for halitosis, read the Dear Doctor article, “Bad Breath — More Than Just Embarrassing.” Or you can contact us today to schedule a consultation for an examination, cleaning and treatment plan.