Our Services and Technologies
What is TMJ?
TMJ actually refers to the temporomandibular joints. These joints, located on either side of the head, work together with the jaw bone, ligaments, and muscles, making it possible for you to chew, swallow, and speak. Problems arise when this complex system is inhibited from functioning properly. This decrease in function could lead to TMD or temporomandibular disorder, this is characterized by pain in and around the ears, jaw tenderness, clicking or popping noises upon opening, headaches and muscle tenderness.
What causes TMD?
It is always important to get a thorough examination from your dentist. TMD could result from dislocation, injury to the jaw, neck, or head, and even from arthritis. The problem could also stem from the way the upper and lower jaws fit together (your bite). Grinding your teeth at night or clenching them during the day is often factors as well.
What can I do if I'm experiencing symptoms of TMD?
If you are experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or other symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Smith or Dr. Kolquist. They will work with you to identify the source of your pain and the best way to correct it. A splint for use at night is often recommended. If a splint is recommended, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth as well as a record of how you bite. From these, a splint is made that specifically fits your mouth. The dentist will then adjust the splint until it functions ideally, relieving joint pain and reducing night-time grinding.
This type of radiograph shows the whole jaw and is a good diagnostic tool. It is an important tool for the extraction of wisdom teeth, placement of dental implants, and for many orthodontic procedures. A panoramic radiograph will show any abnormal growths or cysts in the jaw. Panoramic radiographs are taken every three to five years or as needed for diagnostic purposes.
It is estimated that up to 50% of adults have some snoring disorder. Snoring is such a common problem; people tend to under-rate its seriousness. Disrupted sleep on an on-going basis can lead to relationship problems and affect the physical well being of both the snorer and partner alike.
What Causes Snoring?
When you’re asleep, the muscles and soft tissues in your throat and mouth automatically relax. The lower jaw and tongue drop back, helping block and decrease the airway opening. This results in an increase in the velocity of air flowing through your airway when you breathe. The increased velocity causes soft tissues in your mouth and throat to vibrate. That familiar snoring sound is actually the sound of those tissues vibrating.
In its most severe form, the collapse of the upper airway is so complete that the lungs may not receive oxygen for up to 30 seconds. This is called "Obstructive Sleep Apnea." In response to this deprivation of oxygen, your body triggers an internal alarm and you partially wake. This is usually accompanied by loud gasps for air that can last 3 seconds or more, until you fall asleep and the cycle starts all over again.
Snoring is also affected by diet, health, lifestyle, age, weight, environment and other factors.
A snore prevention appliance is a small oral device professionally fitted by a dentist. It has a unique inner lining that is softened by heat during the fitting process. (Similar to an athletic mouth guard.) The unit is custom fitted to your individual needs. It fits snugly over your top teeth while you sleep and is designed to prevent your tongue from dropping towards the back of your throat. This helps keep your airway open, effectively relieving the main cause of snoring.
SLEEP APNEA APPLIANCE
Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.
Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep 3 or more nights each week. You often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep when your breathing pauses or becomes shallow.
This results in poor sleep quality that makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of excessive daytime sleepiness.
Providing the absolute best service to our patients is of the highest importance to our office. To aid in achieving this goal, we use a new high-tech device called the DIAGNOdent. This small tool is a portable laser that allows us to detect cavities on the chewing surface of the back teeth that would have otherwise gone undetected by previous methods. Diagnosing cavities in the back of the mouth using traditional methods is difficult; studies even show that 50% of cavities are left undetected in these areas. However, the new DIAGNOdent enables us to locate and treat these cavities, putting a stop to further decay. The laser is easy to use, harmless, and will alert us with an audible signal if it detects a cavity. It will even calculate the approximate size of the cavity so we can better plan treatment. By using this device, you can rest assured that cavities will be accurately detected and treated in their infancy.
Our office is a completely digital (paperless) dental office. This means all x-rays and charting are made and recorded with the aid of the computer. This technology allows us to maintain your dental records electronically, and cuts down the unnecessary paperwork used with traditional paper charting. Traditional paper charting is difficult to keep standardized from doctor to hygienist to assistant. Even handwriting differences and coding make the charts look different. The computer eliminates this problem by using consistent charting methods that are accurate and precise, making it easy to read your dental chart and see up-to-date information. Digital charting standardizes the charting process so it is clear, easy to understand, and enables us to provide on the most accurate and precise care to our patients. When needed, this method also allows us to quickly and securely share information with your other health care providers.
We use small cameras about the size of a pen, called intraoral cameras, to help clearly see the condition of your teeth and gums.
With this advanced technology we can zoom in on small diseased areas, cracks, chips and worn metal fillings with extreme precision. The full-color images taken with the intraoral camera are sent to a computer screen so we can clearly see and diagnose dental problems much earlier than with traditional dental technology. Because images are displayed on our screens, patients will also be able to see areas being worked on and are able to gain a better understanding of dental procedures being performed.
AUTOMATED APPOINTMENT REMINDER
We use an automated appointment reminder system that will call your home two days prior to your scheduled appointment time to remind you of your appointment. Please listen to the message carefully and press "1" to confirm the appointment and "2" if you wish to cancel. If you do not respond to the message, our office staff will contact you to confirm your scheduled visit. If are not home, a message will be left on your voicemail. Failure to notify our office of a cancellation may result in a charge. See our missed appointment policy for more information.
We use digital imaging software in our office, which allows us to take a digital picture of you and use our imaging system to predict how a particular treatment or cosmetic procedure would change the appearance of your teeth. This software is beneficial for patients who are considering cosmetic procedures but are not sure if they're ready for dramatic changes. Digital imaging also allows us to document your dental case and procedures very well. We take digital images of your face, teeth and smile to provide us with a permanent dental record and to provide a visual documentation of treatment.
Our office utilizes electronic claims processing. This means that rather than sending your dental claim through the mail, it is sent electronically to your insurance company with the click of the button. By filing your claim electronically, information is submitted more efficiently and with fewer errors. This benefits our patients because the turn around time on claims is faster and fewer claims are returned or denied. We are happy to submit your dental claims to your insurance company on your behalf.
CEREC is an acronym for Charismatic Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. This high-tech equipment allows us to restore damaged teeth with beautiful custom ceramic crowns in a single visit, completely eliminating the need or multiple appointments over a several week period. The process can create a ceramic dental crown, inlays, onlays or veneers using a variety of technologies including 3D photography and computer-aided design and manufacturing known as CAD/CAM.
Using an intra-oral camera, a photograph is taken of the tooth and the picture is loaded onto the computer. Using Computer Aided Design technology, the dentist is able to design the restoration and transform the image into a three-dimensional model. This valuable program then allows the dentist to easily calculate the appropriate restoration shape and size to create near perfect restoration. When the model is ready, a milling machine then creates the restoration using a high-speed diamond bur and calculated precision. The restoration is then bonded to the tooth using a resin material. The result is a beautiful and custom designed and produced restoration, made entirely to fit your mouth. CEREC crowns are metal-free and have been used for over 20 years.
COMPUTERIZED SHADE MATCHING
Our office uses computerized shade matching to make restorations that perfectly match the color of your natural teeth. Old methods of shade matching can be inaccurate and inconsistent. Our shade matching system is a small hand-held device that captures tooth hue, value and chroma to create precise color matches. With this technology, you can be confident that your restorations will beautifully match your natural teeth.
CAD/CAM CHAIRSIDE RESTORATION SYSTEM
Our office utilizes CAD/CAM technology. CAD/CAM stands for "computer-aided design" and "computer-aided manufacturing". This technology allows the dentist to use an intra-oral scanner inside your mouth to take a digital scan of a tooth that has been prepared to receive a crown. Using special software, the data from the scan is used to generate a design (CAD) for a custom crown. This program will also generate a custom blue print and guide lines to manufacture the new crown (CAM). This software, paired with a state-of-the-art milling machine, enables our office to create precise and custom crowns, inlays and onlays in one single dental visit.