My Blog

Posts for: August, 2012

By Drake Tollefson DDS
August 30, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
HowtoMakeDentalFearsGoAway

Three quarters of people surveyed have admitted to having some fear about going to the dentist. About 10% to 15% are so afraid that they never go. Because they put off checkups and treatment they end up with toothaches, infections, and even lost teeth.

You should know that even those who are most afraid of the dentist can learn to reduce their fear and have dental treatment in comfort.

How does fear of the dentist get started?
Fear is learned behavior. People may learn it from stories they have heard from their parents or others, or they may learn it first hand by having a bad dental experience. Once the fear is planted, they avoid going to the dentist, so there is no way for them to learn that a visit can be a positive experience.

If you are among those who fear going to the dentist, the fearful feelings you have can be enough to reinforce themselves. Sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, and a queasy stomach are not pleasant, and if you experience such feelings they may be your main memories after an appointment, even if the visit was not frightening in itself.

Dental fear can be a subconscious automatic response. This means that you can't control it and make it go away. But there are things you can do to reduce your fear and feel comfortable during your appointment.

Move slowly and get help to conquer your fears.
You need to have new, positive experiences to counteract the bad experiences you had in the past. Realize that you are not alone, many people share this fear. Then talk about your fears with our office. We will start by doing things that cause only mild or no anxiety. You want each visit to be a good experience, so you are able to leave our office with a feeling that this was okay, and you can do it again. It may take a while to train yourself to get over your fears, but we have helped many people accomplish this — and you can, too.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about any fears you may have. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Overcoming Dental Fear & Anxiety.”


ClearOrthodonticAlignersAnAlternativeToBracesForAdults

If you are insecure about your misaligned crooked teeth, then you may be a perfect candidate for clear orthodontic aligners. This system is an alternative to traditional braces that uses a sequence of individual, clear, removable “trays” that fit over your teeth to gradually straighten them. Each tray is completely clear and covers all the teeth thus making it virtually invisible. Each tray is designed to slightly move the teeth until the teeth are in proper alignment. Typically, each tray must be worn for 20 hours a day for 2 weeks before progressing to the next tray in the sequence with each tray moving you closer towards your goal — perfectly aligned teeth.

However, clear orthodontic aligners are not for everyone. If you are interested and wonder if they can benefit you, contact us so that we can schedule an appointment for a thorough evaluation to assess your specific situation. Below, we have briefly outlined some situations when they will and will not work.

Clear orthodontic aligners work if...

  • You have mild to moderate crowding or spacing issues between teeth
  • Back teeth fit together properly

They may not be the right choice if...

  • You have moderate to severe crowding or spacing issues between teeth
  • When your bite does not align properly (for example, if you have a large over-, under-, or cross-bite)
  • When your teeth are “rotated” way out of position; such misaligned teeth will require special or complex techniques to rotate them back into position, or to pull them down into place or to fill the space left after pulling a tooth to resolve excessive crowding of teeth

Want to learn more?

Contact us today to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the article “Clear Orthodontic Aligners.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
August 13, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
SixWaystoGetWhiterTeeth

Time to tune up the brightness on your teeth? Here are six modern methods of whitening and brightening your smile.

  • In-office “power” bleaching under the supervision of my staff and me is recommended if your teeth are badly stained, or if you are about to have veneers or crowns made. It's quick, safe, and effective. Gels containing high concentrations of bleach are applied to your teeth in our office, often with the enhancement by heat and light to make them act faster. Results show teeth becoming up to ten shades lighter in about an hour.
  • “Take home” whitening solutions and trays are designed to fit your mouth and can also be provided by my office. The technique is easy to perform and is less expensive than in-office power whitening system, although it takes longer to see the same results. General recommendations are for 30 minute applications twice a day. You can usually see a change after two to four sessions. This requires patience, because it is important not to exceed recommended exposure in order to avoid damage to your teeth, gums, and the inside skin of your mouth. After two weeks of use, teeth can be expected to be about eight shades lighter.
  • Whitening strips look like clear Band-Aids that are applied to the tooth surfaces. They should be worn twice a day for 30 minutes each time, for seven days. On average, they claim to lighten teeth more than three shades. They take about two weeks to work at 30 minutes per day.
  • “Paint on” or “Brush on” whitening formulas are also available. These are gels that are painted onto the teeth every night at bedtime, for two weeks. Some claim that this line of home whitening can whiten teeth two to five shades. These gels may make your mouth feel goopy, but they are relatively inexpensive. Some gels come with a small brush to scrub them onto the teeth.
  • Over-the-counter “mouth-tray” whiteners use mouth trays that are not designed for your particular mouth, so they may not fit well and may be messy or uncomfortable. They are filled with gel and worn 45 minutes a day for one week. On average, teeth become two shades whiter.
  • Whitening gum is a relatively new product. It requires chewing two pieces for at least 20 minutes, four times a day, to see an effect.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about tooth bleaching. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
August 12, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   smile  
TheElementsofaBeautifulSmile

Humans naturally react with pleasure to a beautiful smile. Starting with our mother's joy at seeing our first smile, we have learned throughout our lives that a smile is an invitation to a positive interaction. But are some smiles more beautiful than others? What is it that makes a smile beautiful?

As with art and music, people's perceptions of beauty differ with their backgrounds and culture. Most people respond well to an appearance of healthy teeth and gums. Some feel that teeth must be very white and bright, while others look for even alignment and proportionally sized teeth. With today's dentistry, all of these factors can be changed and enhanced.

Let's look at the components of a smile, starting with the teeth. Evenly sized, white teeth are generally considered to be the basis of an attractive smile. Chipped or discolored front teeth can be repaired by bonding tooth-colored composite resin restorations. Thin porcelain veneers can be applied to teeth that are too small, misshapen or discolored. Tooth colored fillings can be used to repair damaged or decayed back teeth, or porcelain crowns may be used to replace the top part of a tooth that has been seriously damaged. If teeth are missing because of trauma or loss due to decay, today they can be replaced by dental implants, topped with crowns that are colored and shaped exactly like the natural teeth.

Of course, if your teeth emerge from inflamed, infected gums, your smile needs improvement. Healthy teeth and gums result from good dental hygiene habits and regular professional dental cleanings and checkups. Teeth can be whitened and brightened both through home methods and in the dental office. Ask us about the options available for tooth whitening.

Another factor that goes into a smile is the relation of the upper to the lower jaw, or the bite. A poor bite is called a malocclusion. Orthodontic treatment, with the use of traditional braces or clear aligners, can move the teeth into a better bite position so that they look and function better.

Repairing parts of your smile that make you feel self conscious will help your smile in more ways than one. If you feel good about yourself, you look better. We get the process started, and you do the rest.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A time for change.”


By Drake Tollefson DDS
August 10, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
DentalCrownFAQs

Dental crowns are excellent tools that we use to restore functionality, color and/or beauty to teeth and your smile. And while many people may have heard of them, often times there are many questions surrounding the process, costs and their maintenance. This is why we have put together this list of some of the questions we are commonly asked on this subject. Our goal is to provide you with straightforward answers so that you have a clearer understanding of the treatment and are comfortable making the decision to go forward with these excellent tooth restorations should they ever be required.

What Is A Crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” or cover that a dentist places over a tooth that is badly damaged from trauma or decay in order to restore its color, strength, size and functionality. They are also used for cosmetic reasons to improve discolored or misshapen teeth.

Why Can The Cost Of Crowns Vary?

The reason the cost of a crown can vary greatly, even from dentist to dentist is quite simple. The most beautiful crowns require the artistry and years of experience of a team of dental professionals; your dentist and the laboratory technicians that handcraft crowns. To meet higher expectations of some individuals requires more experience, artistry and skill. And great art just tends to cost more. A customized temporary crown may even be used as a preview to see what a final crown will look like. Another critical factor is the choice of materials used. For example, while all porcelain crowns are made from high-quality ceramic (glass) material, they are not equal. It is therefore more expensive in terms of time, skill and expertise to produce the most natural looking results.

How Long Will A Crown Last?

Most dentists expect a crown to last at least 7-10 years with normal wear and proper maintenance. However, depending on the materials used and location of the tooth, they can last upwards of 50 years or more. For example, a gold crown has the longest lifespan because gold is such a durable material that has little to no negative impact on surrounding teeth. On the other hand, porcelain produces a completely natural look but can cause wear to adjacent teeth.

What Materials Are Most Often Used For Crowns?

The three most common materials used to make crowns are as follows:

  • Gold
  • Porcelain-Fused-to Metal (PFM)
  • All porcelain

To learn more on this topic, read the Dear Doctor article, “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.” You can also contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule a consultation.