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EMA Dental Blog

Prosthodontics to the Rescue!

April 30, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — emadental @ 8:04 am

prosthodontic treatmentWhen a person is missing a few or many teeth, it can really impact their quality of life. Chewing can be next to impossible, requiring the person to miss out on a wide assortment of foods. Speech can be difficult, particularly if front teeth are missing. Smiling can be embarrassing.

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Porcelain Veneers. IKEA Would Be Proud.

April 15, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — emadental @ 10:42 am

Affirm Laser TreatmentYou know veneers. Sure, they’re the actually wood that overlays lower quality wood underneath in dressers and stuff you buy at IKEA, right?

True, but these aren’t the veneers we’re interested in at EMA Dental. We’re interested in porcelain veneers as a great way to cover up imperfections in your teeth, and show the world a perfect smile.

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Trust the Prosthodontic Specialists at EMA Dental

March 30, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — emadental @ 6:47 am

ProthodontistsDo you have plans for National Prosthodontics Awareness Week yet? Come on, it’s coming right up, April 3-9, 2016!

OK, so Prosthodontics Awareness Week isn’t on the tip of everyone’s consciousness, but maybe it should be. After all, you don’t have your general practitioner do knee surgery, so why would you have just any dentist place dental implants, bridges, and the other items that a prosthodontist specializes in?

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Titanium is Your Friend — Implants 101

March 15, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — emadental @ 7:07 am

dental implantsFor many people, there is the impression that dental implants are a relatively new advancement in dentistry. Not so. Implants have been used for tooth restoration for over 50 years. They’ve actually been around longer than that, just not the modern types made of titanium.

Archeological digs have unearthed implanted seashells and ivory in the jawbone of ancient Mayans and Egyptians. Even for our most ardent Cape Cod patients, at EMA we won’t do seashell implants!

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Uh Oh. You Knocked Out a Tooth. Now What?

February 28, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 7:15 am

Just like a broken water pipe in the winter or power failure, they rarely happen during normal business hours. Dental emergencies are usually the same. At EMA, we have one of our dentists on call to handle your emergencies.

Here are some typical dental emergencies and what to do

Knocked out teeth
You were playing a little pond hockey and someone didn’t get the memo about no lifting of the puck. Now you have a knocked-out tooth. First thing, find it. Then rinse if off with water. Don’t scrub it or remove any tissue fragments; they may help save your tooth. Try and put the tooth back in place, but if you can’t, put it in a glass of milk or water with a pinch of salt. The tooth has a better chance of being saved if you see us within the first few hours, so call us because we always have a dentist on call.

Chipped or broken teeth
chipped toothWere you zealously diving into that sandwich only to find there was more than just chicken in that chicken salad? Crack! The key is to save the chipped part, if possible, or the pieces if it’s broken. Just as with a knocked-out tooth, rinse your mouth out with warm water and rinse the tooth pieces. Gauze will stop the bleeding, and a cold compress held outside your mouth or cheek will help with pain. Again, call us immediately.

Loose fillings or lost crowns
If that caramel you were chewing pulled out a filling or a crown, call us immediately. In the meantime, you can fill the gap temporarily with sugarless gum or dental cement. Don’t use sugared gum; it will cause pain. If a crown is off, find it and bring it with you. Reattach it is possible and you can keep it in place with over-the-counter dental cement or denture adhesive. Clove oil (in the drug store or spice aisle in the grocery) can alleviate the pain and sensitivity in the area.

Toothaches
Toothaches really don’t qualify as “emergencies,” but they are still out of the ordinary. If you have a really bad toothache, rinse your mouth with warm water to make sure it’s clean. There are brush-on over-the-counter toothache relievers, but don’t get the substance on your gums. That will burn the gum tissue. If the toothache lasts more than a day or two, call us.

Objects stuck between your teeth
If you get something lodged between your teeth, so if you can first floss it out. Don’t use a sharp object to try and force it free. You can damage the enamel on your teeth and your gums.

At EMA Dental, we’re all about the finest care for your teeth, whether it’s during business hours or in the middle of the night during an emergency. Call us at either our Longmeadow or Northhampton offices for your next appointment.

Whiten Those Pearly Whites in our Refresh Whitening Spa

February 15, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 8:48 am

Most people wouldn’t function without a couple cups of strong coffee in the morning. And what’s relaxation after a hard day at work without a glass of wine with dinner? Unfortunately, these regular pleasures in life can leave your teeth stained and dull. So can healthy foods such as berries, juices, even spaghetti sauce!

Fortunately, the Refresh Whitening Spa at EMA Dental can brighten your smile for all the world to see. This is the second anniversary of the opening of the Refresh Whitening Spa and we want to make sure all of our patients know about their whitening options.

In-office vs. at-home whitening

teeth whiteningThe real difference between in-office and home whitening is the strength of the agents used to whiten your teeth. Because there isn’t any supervision and the potential for overuse exists, home gels have far lower concentrations of the bleaching agents. This, of course, requires more applications over a longer period of time than in-office whitening.

Both tooth-whitening options use peroxide-based bleaching agents. The gel we send you home with contains from 3% to 20% carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. Our in-office concentrations are from 15% to 43%, depending on the solution and on the amount of your staining. The difference between in-office and at-home whitening really comes down to how long the agent stays on your teeth.

In office

Whitening at our Refresh Whitening Spa can give you brighter teeth faster. Not only is the concentration of the bleaching solution stronger at the Spa, but we also use activators to intensify the whitening process. Since we are applying a stronger solution, we monitor your progress carefully during your in-office whitening.

At the Refresh Whitening Spa, we can brighten your teeth from three to eight shades. This depends on the causes of your staining and other factors.

At home

For our patients who opt for home whitening, we first make custom trays based upon impressions taken of your teeth. These trays hold the whitening gel that we give you to use at home. How long we instruct you to keep the trays with the peroxide gel on your teeth varies, again depending on the causes of staining and on your teeth.

Tired of your dingy, stained teeth? Call us at EMA at either our Longmeadow or Northhampton offices and let’s talk tooth whitening.

Mini Implants vs. Full Implants

January 30, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 6:40 am

Most people know about dental implants. They are the best solution for a missing tooth or teeth, as, once in place, an implant behaves just like a natural tooth.

Most people don’t know that there are also mini dental implants. At EMA Dental, we are asked about the difference between the two and when use of mini implants makes sense.

Implant size

dental implantsBoth full and mini implants are made from titanium. Titanium is unique because it is a metal that is completely compatible with the human body. The implant is actually the screw that is inserted down into the hole formerly occupied by the tooth root. Once inserted, the jawbone then grows around the implant, fully integrating it into the jaw. Next a post is attached to the implant, and a crown onto that.

The difference between full and mini implants is the size and the top.

Full dental implants are 4-5mm in diameter. They are generally made of two pieces. There is the external screw that is inserted into the bone. Then there is the internal thread that allows various components to be torqued down and attached to the implant.

Mini dental implants are a solid one-piece screw, measuring less than 3mm in diameter. They feature a ball-shaped end that sticks out of the jawbone. Mini implants are often used as the support for dentures, which have a rubber O ring that is intended to fit around the protruding ball from the implant.

Comparing the two

Because mini implants are only about half as big as standard implants, they only provide half the support. Two implants would be necessary to create the same support of a single standard implant. Because they are smaller, mini implants also allow for less chewing force, and they don’t last as long due to stress on the jawbone.

Still, mini implants are great for securing dentures because of their small size and versatility with placement. The healing/integration time is shorter than full implants. And they cost about half as much.

If you’re considering replacing a tooth with an implant, let’s talk. Call either our Longmeadow or Northampton offices for an appointment.

Implant-Retained Dentures for Stability

January 15, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 6:07 am

At EMA Dental, we believe dental implants are far and away the best solution to replace missing or extensively damaged teeth. But in cases where the patient has lost the majority of his or her teeth, dentures are still a more affordable, easier path to take.

However, if we combine the two, we can get the rock solid anchoring of implants with the large number tooth replacement of dentures. We call them implant-retained dentures.

Dentures

When all the teeth in the patient’s mouth need replacing, dentures can return full functionality. They allow normal speaking and eating and, of course, present a perfect smile to the public.

denturesDentures are made from acrylic and porcelain and include upper and lower sets. And, while fitting dentures with the use of modern panoramic cameras is much more precise than it used to be, due to the nature of the gums dentures still can slip and move. What they need are anchor points.

Adding implants for stability

That’s where implants come in. Implants, by their very nature, provide the stability needed to keep dentures in place. Implants are basically titanium screws that are placed into the hole formerly occupied by the tooth root. The body then builds new bone and totally integrates the new implant. Once this process is complete, a post is attached to the implant and, in normal circumstances, an artificial tooth atop that post.

But with implant-retained dentures at EMA Dental, we simply attach the full dentures to the implants, rather than placing a crown on top of them. The number of implants we will use depends on how much jawbone mass has been lost while your teeth have been missing. When teeth are missing for longer periods of time, the jawbone beneath them begins to deteriorate because it doesn’t get the stimulation from the tooth above. Usually, we recommend four implants on top and bottom for ultimate stability.

If you’re missing most of your teeth, or have badly damaged teeth, call our Longmeadow or Northhampton offices and let’s talk about implant-retained dentures.

Give Your Mouth a 2016 Smile Makeover

December 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 8:00 pm

Are there things that you hate about your smile? Every morning as you’re getting ready for work, there they are. Well, what if you gave your smile a mulligan of sorts? Whdental careat if you gave it a smile makeover from EMA?

A smile makeover is the process of improving the appearance of your smile through one or more cosmetic procedures: dental veneers, composite bonding, tooth implants, and whitening.

So, what’s the difference between a smile makeover and a full mouth reconstruction? You choose to have a smile makeover for aesthetic reasons. You need to have full mouth reconstruction.

 

Things that we consider for a smile makeover

At EMA Dental, we take many things into consideration when planning a smile makeover — your facial appearance, skin tone, hair color, teeth (of course!), gum tissue, and lips. We then customize your makeover to what you need. Here are the areas we address.

Tooth color — Your teeth may be badly stained or very dull. You may want to mask silver or amalgam fillings. Your tooth whiteness should balance the tones of your face.

Alignment and spacing — Your teeth may be crooked, overlapping, or have gaps.

Balance — Uneven, chipped, or cracked teeth can be bonded to provide balance. A gummy smile can be re-contoured.

Fuller Cheeks, Lips, and Smile — An aging face can be rejuvenated with orthodontics or maxillofacial surgery.

Tooth length — Long teeth connote youth, and aging wears down the teeth. A gummy smile makes your teeth appear shorter, as well.

Smile line — Your smile line is an imaginary line that follows the edges of your upper teeth from side to side. This line should mirror the curve of your lower lip when you smile.

Tooth proportions — Your teeth should be proportional with each other. Most pleasing smiles present the two central front teeth as dominant and have a width-to length radio of 4 to 5.

These are the areas we consider when planning your smile makeover at EMA Dental. If you’re unhappy with your smile, let’s do something about it! Call us in our Longmeadow or Northhampton offices and let’s discuss a smile makeover.

Understanding Gingivitis Beyond the Ads

December 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — @ 7:20 am

It’s a sign of how effective Listerine television advertising has been — everyone has heard the word gingivitis. That’s because those TV commercials always say that the mouthwash helps prevent gingivitis. It’s a great word to scare people into buying Listerine because it sounds ominous, scary.

But if you asked anyone what gingivitis actually means, the percentage would be remarkably low. At EMA Dental, we like educated patients, so we’re going to give you a little primer on gingivitis.

And no, it’s not a dental condition that affects only red-haired people!

Gingivitis, the gums have it

“Gingivitis” sounds scary. Actually, its meaning is fairly benign — the term gingivitis simply means gum inflammation. And, just like your younger brother, plaque is the main irritant involved here. Plaque is the sticky film that forms on the teeth throughout the day consisting of bacteria, bacterial waste products, food residue, and saliva. This is an ongoing battle. When you brush and floss you remove the plaque. Then it starts to rebuild, only to be removed again when you brush.

“When you brush.” That’s key, because if you neglect your oral hygiene the plaque can develop beneath the gumline, where it is very irritating to your gums. If allowed to stay there, the plaque hardens into tartar, causing more persistent irritation. And this is where things get dicey. Because while the term “irritation” sounds innocent enough, if this irritation is allowed to continue and progress, it leads to gum disease, clinically known as periodontitis. And periodontitis is not a word you want to be associated with your gums!

What are signs of gingivitis?

dental careIt’s one thing to know what gingivitis is; it’s another thing to know when you have it. Gum irritation is easy to spot. Your gums should be pink all over. Any bright red patches show irritation. Your gums should also lie flat against the teeth; inflamed gums tend to recede and pull away from the teeth. Your gums will also be prone to bleeding and this shouldn’t normally happen if you’re using a soft toothbrush. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation. And finally, as in the commercials, your breath will reek. The commercials get this part right — your bad breath is caused by bacteria that is being left to its own devices by your poor oral hygiene.

Treatment

To keep your gums healthy and keep gingivitis at bay, it all starts with good home hygiene. But since your friends at EMA Dental can’t nag you while you’re at home brushing — “Hey, you still have 45 second more brushing to do!” — here’s how we treat gingivitis when we see it.

  • Prophylactic cleaning
    This is a fancy sounding term for your regular twice-yearly cleanings at EMA. Why twice a year? That generally is the time it takes to start forming tartar and other issues that lead to decay. During these cleanings and checkups, not only will those problem areas receive a thorough cleaning, but we will also point them out to you for more attentive care at home.
  • Scaling
    If you have a fair amount of tartar built up under your gumline, we will scrape it off with dental tools. This is called scaling. Why? Because “scraping with dental tools” sounds pedestrian. Depending how much we have to do, we may give you a local anesthesia.
  • Root planing
    In root planing, any tiny grooves or pits are removed from the tooth roots to make it easier for the gums to adhere and stop receding. This is done in multiple appointments with local anesthesia.

So, there you have it. You’re an expert at gingivitis, and you didn’t even have to study! The best defense is a good offense of good home hygiene. If you have any questions about what you’re doing, or to schedule your next regular checkup, call us at EMA Dental in our Longmeadow or Northamptom offices.

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