Archive for the ‘Cosmetic/Aesthetic Dentistry’ Category

Treating Gum Recession with Dr. Chao’s Pinhole Surgical Technique (TM)

Traditionally, the way gum recession is treated is by performing gum grafts. Gum grafts are essentially stitching extra gum tissue (taken from elsewhere in the patient’s mouth) to the affected area, sewing everything up, and waiting several months for it to merge and heal and return the patient to normal. This method is effective and is how dentists are trained to treat more severe cases of gum recession. However, gum grafting is slow, invasive, riskier, and generally an involved, expensive process that interferes with the patient’s daily life.

That’s why I am so excited about the PST. If you saw the video I previously shared, you can see an illustration of the two methods compared side-by-side. The PST is a quick, simple, low-maintenance procedure with healthy and natural-looking results. I imagine patients would watch it and think, “Why on earth have dentists not come up with this sooner?” I agree. Sometimes solutions come along that are just so logical, so sensible, it makes you wonder why we even started out with more complicated treatments. Kudos to Dr. Chao!

PST is a method by which a tool is inserted directly into the gum tissue and is used to gently, partially separate the tissue from the underlying facial bones. The tool is like a hooked needle, which sounds awful, but it means nothing gets sliced up; the only mark left behind is — you guessed it — a little pinhole that heals up in a matter of hours.

After the insertion and loosening of the gum tissue, the gums are then pushed downward (or upward, depending on where we’re working) in sweeping motions around sterile teeth. When the gums are nice and cozy up against the teeth again, treatment is finished. Collagen is then inserted behind the gums to stabilize them and speed up the healing process.

Essentially, the Pinhole Technique not only physically manipulates the gums so that they once again surround and envelop the teeth, but also stimulates the surrounding area so the gums continue to grow and flourish and stay put in their proper place. A clean, disease-free environment is important, however, and this technique is not appropriate while gum disease is present.

Healing takes place in a matter of days, even overnight for some cases. The patient may not have to take time off work or interrupt his or her busy life. The pain and medical risks are minimal, if any. It is truly amazing, and I’m excited to incorporate it into my practice. I hope many future patients will benefit from this new technique.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Our office is closed until September 24th for renovations. Please contact us when we’re up and running again to schedule an appointment. Thank you! www.dds4smiles.com

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Gum Recession: the How and the Why

How do people end up with recessed gums? Gum recession is a common result brought about by gum disease  (or its more advanced stages of gingivitis and periodontitis) and abrasive over-brushing (brushing your teeth too harshly too often with the wrong brush). Perhaps poor dental work in the past has caused an imbalance in the mouth, possibly a bite malfunction that has, over time, negatively affected occlusal (bite) functionality.

As a side note, yes, even slight imbalances in bite mechanics can cause long-term diseases and vulnerabilities that seem unrelated. That’s why holistic dentistry is so important: we get to the root of the problem, considering the whole patient. If you try treating gum recession without first considering the possibility of TMJ problems, mercury poisoning and tissue rejection from amalgam fillings, or miscalculated restorations, you may only have to do it again, with poorer results each time.

So why is gum recession a problem? Recessed gums weaken and loosen the roots of teeth, exposing the vulnerable parts to physical injury and infectious bacteria. Gum recession sets the stage for tooth decay and tooth loss. Practicality aside, bad cases of gum recession are not aesthetically pleasing and may cause patients to be self-conscious.

In my next post, I’ll talk a little bit more about the Pinhole Surgery Technique (PST) by Dr. Chao that’s used to correct gum recession without surgery.

What about you? Have you had any experience with gum recession, or do you know someone else who has? News of this Pinhole Surgery Technique may be a welcome relief, then… or maybe something you wish your dentist knew a long time ago.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Icon Dental Treatment

There’s a very new kind of treatment recently released for early-stage cavities. This treatment is fabulous in that it uses no drilling or anesthesia for halting and even reversing growing pre-cavities. If you happen to discover white spots on your teeth, see the dentist. A white spot is actually an indication of enamel weakness and where a cavity will eventually develop. Icon gets rid of these, not only restoring the enamel, but also the tooth’s consistent pearly-whiteness.

The treatment is a quick step-by-step process where the tooth and damaged area are cleaned and kept dry (easy for me with my handy-dandy ozonating machine); a series of Icon’s special gels are applied, each left to sit for a designated activation & infiltration time, then carefully cleaned off; the teeth are polished; and that’s it! The entire process can be as short as 15 minutes with absolutely no painful drilling or invasive removal of natural materials. Immediately after the procedure, dramatic cosmetic improvements will be noticeable.

Check out Icon’s demonstration on YouTube… and if you are one of those individuals who are dentist-phobics, don’t be alarmed. None of this feels as weird as it looks, by far. If you still can’t get past the atmosphere of the place and letting someone prod around your mouth, I have that covered too.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

P.S. By the way, “caries” are going to be mentioned a lot in the video. Caries is just another name — the sciencey, dental-world name — for cavities. Enjoy!

Dental Injuries

Ouch! This topic may not be so pleasant to visualize. But harm does come to folks’ teeth all too often, maybe because of a car accident, a sports or recreational accident, or some other dreadful mishap. Children are most apt to suffer much damage because of their activity levels and still-developing mouth.

When I say tooth damage, this does not always refer to the visible damage you might see on the surface (the crowns), such as an obviously chipped or broken tooth. A significant amount goes on beneath what can be seen without x-rays or probing about. If an injury causes a tooth to move from its original position, the tooth’s pulp (nerves, blood vessels, etc.), dentin, and the surrounding bone and gums could very well be damaged as well, and that’s where things can get tricky and painful.

We will cover a few kinds of injuries and how they may be fixed over the next few days.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com

Cosmetic Dentistry That Lasts

Cosmetic dentistry is the artsy part of dentistry — where we get to give your teeth makeovers. But cosmetic dentistry is more than just making your teeth look good on the outside. The beauty must go further than skin deep (er… enamel-deep…?). What if a crown or restoration conflicts with the way the opposing teeth bite against it? That seems like an obvious problem, but if you are not aware of how much a tiny adjustment can impact your entire jaw/head, then it is, in fact, an issue that must be approached with special care and consideration.

In most cases, though, it will be the restoration that shows signs of deterioration first. Cracking, chipping, even falling off altogether… and this may harm whatever natural tooth or tissues are bonded to this restoration. Pankey takes great care in training its dentists to take careful measures to ensure cosmetic improvements will also be functional and long-lasting. A little extra time and effort may go into forming a nicely fitted restoration, but the longterm benefits outweigh the initial installation process.

Perfectly colored or straight-looking teeth are only the tip of the iceberg!

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

http://www.dds4smiles.com