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During this year's National Public Health Week in April, health issues like vaping and the opioid crisis are taking a back seat to what is front and center on everyone's mind: the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This highly contagious viral infection is upending business as usual for most of the world in a way unlike anything we've experienced. Nothing is “normal” right now, including dental care.
As with other aspects of daily life, you can expect disruptions in dental care because of COVID-19, especially involving routine visits. But with that said, we're working hard to ensure your teeth and gums aren't overlooked during this global crisis. We are here for you, so please call us for any questions you may have, and especially if you are experiencing dental pain.
If you do need to visit the dentist for treatment, you might be concerned about potentially exposing yourself or others to COVID-19. Like every business that interacts with the public and especially all healthcare providers, dental offices are implementing extra precautions during this time to protect both patients and staff against infection.
This isn't something new: The dental profession as a whole has strict protocols for preventing infection that have been in place for several years. Infection control is a top priority for dentists at all times, not just during outbreaks like COVID-19. Here are some of the things we do—and are expanding because of the novel coronavirus—to keep you safe during dental appointments.
Barrier protection. Dental providers routinely use disposable items like gloves, face masks or eyewear to prevent disease spread during procedures that involve close contact with patients. For extra precautions with COVID-19, we're adding more of this type of barrier protection.
Sterilization and waste disposal. Instruments and equipment that we use repeatedly are thoroughly sterilized to remove all microorganisms, including coronavirus, from their surfaces. For disposable items used during treatment, we keep these separate from common waste and dispose of them according to strict protocols for handling bio-medical waste.
Disinfection. Even though the main pathway for spreading COVID-19 is through respiratory droplets in the air, we're continually disinfecting office and treatment surfaces that the virus might potentially contaminate. In doing so, we're using substances recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). By the way, you can find a list of such products at //www.americanchemistry.com/Novel-Coronavirus-Fighting-Products-List.pdf.
These are uncertain times for all of us. But while we're cooperating with social distancing and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, we're still here partnering with you to keep your family's teeth and gums healthy.
If you would like more information about special dental precautions during this time, don't hesitate to contact us. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Infection Control in the Dental Office.”
Compared to other dental restorations—a few of which have been around for over a century—implants are a relatively recent development. But even though it's just now entering its fourth decade, recent advances have catapulted implant therapy well beyond where it began.
That's due mainly to digital technology. Two examples of this, computed tomography (CT) and 3-D printing, are increasing the accuracy and efficiency of implant placement.
Properly placing an implant is one of the most important elements in achieving a natural and attractive result. But finding the best location is often difficult due to a lack of suitable bone volume, the patient's bite or the proximity of anatomical structures like nerves and blood vessels. CT imaging, especially Cone Beam CT scanners (CBCT), is helping to make implant placement planning easier.
Unlike the static, two-dimensional views of standard x-rays, CBCT takes hundreds of images and digitally blends them together to create a virtual 3-D model of the patient's jaw and face. Dentists can view this highly detailed model on a computer monitor from various vantage points and better identify possible obstructions. With better information about what "lies beneath," they can more accurately pinpoint the best implant site.
Creating the ideal plan is one thing—successfully implementing it is another. Dentists often create a surgical guide that helps them drill in precisely the right positions during surgery. The guide, which resembles a mouthguard, fits over the gums and contains marker locations for drilling.
Many dentists are now using 3-D printing to create these surgical guides. A 3-D printer turns a digital model of the guide based on measurements of the patient's mouth and proposed implant locations into an actual physical object "printed out" layer by layer of special polymer material. The end product can be more precise than guides created by other means.
These and other technological developments are helping implant therapy rise to a new level of success. With the resulting increase in accuracy, efficiency and less treatment time, tomorrow's implant patients will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
If you would like more information on restoring missing teeth with dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Technology Aids Dental Implant Therapy.”
At the first-ever Players Weekend in August 2017, Major League Baseball players wore jerseys with their nicknames on the back. One player — Cleveland Indians shortstop, Francisco Lindor — picked the perfect moniker to express his cheerful, fun-loving nature: “Mr. Smile.” And Lindor gave fans plenty to smile about when he belted a 2-run homer into the stands while wearing his new jersey!
Lindor has explained that he believes smiling is an important part of connecting with fans and teammates alike: “I’ve never been a fan of the guy that makes a great play and then acts like he’s done it 10,000 times — smile, man! We’ve got to enjoy the game.”
We think Lindor is right: Smiling is a great way to generate good will. And it feels great too… as long as you have a smile that’s healthy, and that looks as good as you want it to. But what if you don’t? Here are some things we can do at the dental office to help you enjoy smiling again:
Routine Professional Cleanings & Exams. This is a great place to start on the road toward a healthy, beautiful smile. Even if you are conscientious about brushing and flossing at home, you won’t be able to remove all of the disease-causing dental plaque that can hide beneath the gum line, especially if it has hardened into tartar, but we can do it easily in the office. Then, after a thorough dental exam, we can identify any problems that may be affecting your ability to smile freely, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or cosmetic dental issues.
Cosmetic Dental Treatments. If your oral health is good but your smile is not as bright as you’d like it to be, we can discuss a number of cosmetic dental treatments that can help. These range from conservative procedures such as professional teeth whitening and bonding to more dramatic procedures like porcelain veneers or crowns.
Tooth Replacement. Many people hide their smiles because they are embarrassed by a gap from a missing tooth. That’s a shame, because there are several excellent tooth-replacement options in a variety of price ranges. These include partial and full dentures, bridgework, and dental implants. So don’t let a missing tooth stop you from being Mr. (or Ms.) Smile!
If you’d like more information about oral health or cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”
Choosing the right toothpaste can be a bit overwhelming when you go to the drugstore and find yourself bombarded with numerous options. With so many varieties available to you, it may be difficult to know which features or combinations of features or ingredients are best for your mouth. Dr. Thomas Cherry and team are here to help!
The majority of all dental patients should use toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel on your teeth; it makes them stronger and more resistant to cavities. Even if you live in an area that adds fluoride to your drinking water, the fluoride protection in toothpaste is necessary.
The American Dental Association has updated guidelines that recommend fluoride be used as soon as the first teeth erupt in children. However, the amount should be minimal and swallowing should be prevented.
If your teeth are sensitive to temperatures, toothpaste with sensitivity protection can work wonders for your discomfort. Ingredients in these pastes or gels work to block the pathways to the nerves that react to hot or cold. Do not give up on this type of toothpaste after only a few days; the full results may take a few weeks.
Plaque, Tartar, and Gingivitis Protection
Everyone has bacteria in his or her mouth, and this bacteria is normal. Unfortunately, some bacteria also causes plaque. If the plaque remains on your teeth, it hardens into tartar or calculus. Tartar is an almost cement-like substance that cannot be removed by brushing alone. When bacteria and tartar are left behind, the deposits will form under the gum line. This leads to gingivitis and gum disease.
Since there is a wide variety of toothpastes and ingredients for preventing tartar and gingivitis, ask Dr. Thomas Cherry and our staff what the best choice is for your teeth. We can help you select the right combination of ingredients.
White teeth are desirable, and manufacturers are heavily marketing whitening toothpastes. Most brands do not contain bleaching ingredients; they use abrasives to polish stains away. Unfortunately, too much abrasive use can be damaging to your teeth. If you’re interested in teeth whitening, our office can recommend a number of safer and much more effective options, including personalized whitening trays made especially for you here in our office.
Feel free to ask Dr. Thomas and our staff at Florence Family Dentistry about the best choice in toothpaste to meet your individual needs. And remember to look for the ADA approval seal on any toothpaste you are considering.
Florence Family Dentistry & Dr. Covington
Our results-oriented Florence dental practice is devoted to restoration and enhancement of our patients’ smiles. Our treatment style is to use both conservative techniques and advanced, state-of-the-art procedures that result in the natural, long lasting beauty of your smile.
An excellent standard in personalized dentistry care assures the quality dental services our patients deserve. We provide comprehensive planning in treatment and use cosmetic and restorative dentistry to attain an optimal level of dental health. Should you have a dental emergency, we will strive to see and take care of you as quickly as possible.
Prevention & Education
Our practice believes that preventative education and care are instrumental to optimum dental health. We put forth every effort to provide patients with health care rather than disease care. We rely upon thorough dental exams — checking the health of teeth and gums, performing scans for oral cancer and taking x-rays if necessary. We know how helpful regular cleanings, sealants and flossing can be toward preventing dental disease. We’re focused on your smile’s beauty as well as your dental health.
Reviewing the patient’s medical history keeps us informed about their overall health, medications they take and any illnesses which could affect dental health.
Control over infection is very important in our dental office. We maintain strict sterilization and cross contamination preventative measures to protect both ourselves and our patients. The standards we practice are processes recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Expertise & Training
We are dental health professionals — you can be confident that we are highly trained, skilled clinicians. We pride ourselves in providing the dental care you need to maintain a healthy smile. We participate in continuing education and learning programs in order to always give you the best possible results. The lectures, conventions and meetings we attend keep us informed on the latest products, new dental techniques and leading edge equipment to utilize so that our modern office may provide you with state of the art dental care.
We also have memberships in several professional dental associations to help us stay current on changes and recommendations for the dentistry profession.
A Feeling of Community
We treat each of our patients as special individuals — it builds a foundation of trust — and it’s vital to the success of our practice. We understand that some of our patients may feel a little uneasy about their visits and we help by providing a relaxing, positive experience for them. Our entire staff is dedicated to providing the very best in personalized service and case-by-case care to make your visits as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
Thank you for the opportunity to take care of your personal dental needs — we look forward to serving you.