Happy National Dental Hygiene Month

What better way to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month than to share a few tips from the women in the dental office trenches, our dental hygienists Jamie and Nancy. They work each and every day to help ensure you’ve got the whitest, cleanest smile that you can flash day in and day out. And while the advice you tend to hear from them is the good old “brush twice a day, floss more often” variety. There are a few interesting bits in this list you may not have heard before, let’s check them out!

  1. Consider a children’s toothbrush. If you have noticed, or the hygienist has told you that you have a small mouth, or you have trouble maneuvering an adult toothbrush around in your mouth, you might want to pick up a children’s toothbrush next time you are in. Using too big a brush can cause you to miss spots when cleaning and can wear down your enamel if you aren’t careful.
  2. Brush first without toothpaste. Brushing without toothpaste first before brushing with toothpaste can help reduce plaque buildup by 63% according to a six-month study published by the Journal of the American Dental Association. This same study saw a 55% drop in bleeding around the gums as well. Now that is something worth considering.
  3. Braces can help keep your gums healthy. When your teeth are crowded it can create areas that are hard to keep clean with brushing and flossing. Plaque can build up in those areas and eventually lead to periodontal disease. Next time you are in for an appointment ask to see what options would be right for you whether it be Invisalign, traditional brackets and wires, or a different option that we might have available here in the office.
  4. Most in-office whitening products don’t work like you think they do. Most, if not all of the in-office whitening products work by dehydrating your teeth. A byproduct of dehydrating teeth is that they whiten in the process…temporarily. Teeth will stay white for a few days after the whitening appointment, but once they rehydrate, they get closer to the shade where they started. This is why we stopped doing in-office whitening here in our office. The best way to whiten your teeth would be with take-home whitening trays, and use them over time. This will ensure that you will have the time it takes for the whitening gel to actually work.
  5. Fluoride isn’t just for kids anymore. We have used fluoride gel for years to help kids protect their teeth against cavities, but studies have shown that the new fluoride varnish that we use can be used on adults as well. Not only does fluoride strengthen enamel, it can be used to help with tooth sensitivity as well. So if you have sensitive teeth and Sensodyne isn’t working for you, ask our hygienists to see if fluoride varnish would be a solution for you.

So there you have it, five simple, easyto-use tips that you should feel free to share with the rest of the world, and from our hygienists, and hygienists everywhere, thanks for taking care of your teeth!

Root Canals: What Exactly Are They, And Why Do I Need One?

The words root canal might possibly be the two most feared words in dentistry by patients. Root canals have had a negative connotation in patient’s minds for years, and the way they were done in the past, we aren’t surprised at all. In any movie or television show you see, if the words root canal are uttered, there is always a reference to how painful they are, or what a nuisance they are to have done. And any time you talk to someone that has had one done, they never have a positive story to tell about the experience.

It is true, root canals in the past haven’t been a pleasant experience for patients to go through. First, if you need a root canal, you are most likely in pain before the root canal is even performed. Secondly, root canals are a very meticulous procedure for a dentist to perform, so sometimes it can be a pretty lengthy procedure.

The good news in all this talk of root canals, is that most of the time, root canals can be totally avoided. Most of the time, a root canal is needed when a tooth has decay present, and that decay has been present for so long that the decay has eaten away at the enamel and dentin of the tooth and has reached the pulp chamber, or nerve, of the tooth. When decay reaches the pulp chamber it starts to infect the pulp, when that happens, an abscess starts to form under the tooth and creates a lot of pressure pushing on the tooth. That pressure equates to pain in the tooth, and can become very uncomfortable.

If the decay is caught before it reaches the nerve, a simple filling can be done. Resulting in a lot less sensitivity, a lot less cost, and the procedure itself is a lot less invasive, and a root canal can be avoided altogether. There are factors, other than decay reaching the neve, that lead to root canals as well. The most common being trauma.

If a tooth is traumatized (i.e. hit with a ball playing a sport, as the result of a car accident, etc.) the nerve inside the tooth could die, and the tooth might start to turn gray. If this happens, the graying can be reversible. What the dentist would need to do in this case, is perform the root canal to remove the necrotic root, and place a bleaching pellet inside the tooth. This pellet will whiten the tooth from the inside out. This tends to take a few visits to complete, with the dentist changing the bleaching pellet each time you come in, and then placing a filling over the access hole once it is done.

Sometimes, patients are apprehensive about getting a root canal done, simply because they don’t know exactly what it is. We wanted to dispel any apprehension by letting all of you know what exactly a root canal entails. A root canal starts out very similar to having a filling done, and you will be extremely numb, so you won’t feel a thing. The doctor will remove the decayed part of the tooth.

They then clean the nerve out of the pulp chamber, effectively relieving the pressure that was built up from the abscess. In the past, dentists used hand files to do this, and that is where most of the apprehension came from with patients. Performing a root canal with hand files takes a long time, and the hand files aren’t the most pleasant to look at. Thankfully, here in our office, we have new technology in the form of the Wave One Reciprocating Endodontic System. What that does is that it automates the file process, and cuts the length of the filing process pretty much in half. It also is a lot more pleasant to deal with than the hand files that we used a few years ago, and that most dentists still use today.

Once the nerve has been removed and the canals have been cleaned, the dentist then fills the canals with a substance called gutta percha. Gutta percha is a rigid natural latex derived from trees. Gutta percha is used to fill the canals because of its biocompatibility, ductility, and malleability, making it the ideal substance for dentists to use. Filling the canals after the root canal is performed is important to prevent them from getting re-infected with bacteria.

The dentist will then fill in the hole that was used to access the canals and build the tooth back up with filling material. This buildup prepares the tooth to be structurally sound enough to place a crown on the tooth. While the tooth is structurally sound with just the buildup done, it is still considered to be in a very fragile state until a crown is placed. The crown provides 360-degree coverage and protection for the very fragile tooth underneath, and is an essential part of the root canal process.

The alternative to having a root canal done, is usually just to have the tooth taken out. While extraction might look like an easier option at the time of treatment. If you choose this route, things get a lot more complicated in the long run. First of all, you will most likely be in more discomfort immediately following an extraction than you will be following a root canal procedure, as there is more trauma to the surrounding jaw and gum tissue during an extraction than a root canal. Then there is always the risk of a dry socket following an extraction, which can be extremely uncomfortable.

Secondly, if you do not replace the tooth that is taken out, you might not be aware of this, but it greatly affects the surrounding teeth and gums. When you chew, the forces of chewing on the teeth that you have stimulates the bone around each tooth, enabling growth and health of the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, there is nothing left to stimulate the bone, so the jawbone begins to break down, or resorb. This lead to issues resorptionsuch as:

  • Changes in your facial profile and distortion of facial features.
  • Surrounding teeth shifting and “tipping” in toward where the tooth is missing – changing your bite and putting extra forces on those teeth and the TMJ, temporomandibular joint.
  • Super-eruption of the opposing teeth – since the opposing tooth has nothing to bite against, it will become loose over time, and eventually will be lost as well.
  • Shifting and misalignment of other teeth – When there is a space created that wasn’t present before, the surrounding teeth will start to shift over time into that space, misaligning all of the other teeth in the mouth, that can normally only be corrected with orthodontics.

Lastly, it is usually more expensive to replace a tooth that has been extracted than it is to get a root canal done. There are a few options to replace a missing tooth, such as an implant, a bridge, and a partial denture, all of which have their own pros and cons associated with them.

So if you have been told that you need a root canal, and are holding off on getting the procedure done because of stories that you have heard from others or the media, give us a call to schedule an appointment so we can bring you in and walk you through the steps so you can see how simple and easy the procedure is. If you have cavities that you have put off getting filled for any reason, call the office and get in before a filling cannot save the tooth anymore. Or if you opted to have a tooth taken out instead of a root canal and have not had the tooth replaced yet, give us a call so we can discuss which option would be best for you.

The whole key, for everyone in general, is to catch issues when they are small and inexpensive. So really, the best way to avoid big expensive procedures is to come in for preventative maintenance as often as possible, and have great home care when you are away from the office, which our hygienists can help you with as well!

“Regular” Cleaning vs. Deep Cleaning

Our hygienist Jamie describes the differences between a “regular” cleaning and a deep cleaning. She also exposes a big secret about dentist offices across the country.

Transcription of video:

One of the biggest questions we get here in our office is, “What is the difference between a “regular” cleaning and a deep cleaning? And we wanted to make this video to help you understand the difference.

First, a “regular” cleaning, known in dental offices as a prophy, is a preventative cleaning done for the purpose of maintaining healthy gums. Healthy gums are firm, pale pink, and there is no bleeding when you brush your teeth. A regular cleaning can only be done when the gums re healthy and there is no presence of gingivitis or periodontal disease.

A deep cleaning, or what is known as scaling and  root planing in most dental offices, is done when a significant amount of bacteria and tartar has built up underneath the gums. A lot of times you cannot see the bacteria or tartar with the naked eye, but it does cause the gums to become puffy, inflamed, and start to bleed.

Last time you were in a dental office, you might have noticed the dentist or hygienist calling out numbers before they started the cleaning. What these numbers are, are measurements of your gums, and it helps the dentist and hygienist to determine the health of the gums. The lower the number the better, and if you hear all threes or under, you are in great shape. When you start to hear fours, fives, and sixes, that means that the bacteria has gotten under the gums and started to create pockets between the teeth and gums, and a deep cleaning needs to be done.

Those are the biggest differences between a regular cleaning and a deep cleaning, and if you have any questions about where you stand, we would be happy to answer them at your next appointment.

Soak The Doc Campaign

Whew! Monsoon season in Phoenix is a tough time to keep cool. Here we are mired in triple-digit temperatures, and if that isn’t enough, the humidity has finally shown up. To put it nicely, it is miserable outside right now. So much so, in fact, that the dentists here at Legacy Dental Group, Dr. Louis Core and Dr. Julie Brann, have agreed to participate in our ‘Soak The Doc’ campaign.

The ‘Soak The Doc’ Campaign is something new that we are doing this summer. We knew that our docs were laid back and fun, so we asked them to participate, and they took it and ran with it. So what the campaign is, is this:

When you are here for your appointment,

soakthedoc2
A drop in the bucket.

all you have to do is take a selfie. It can be just of yourself, or with  one of our great team members, and then tag our location and post it to one of your social media accounts with the hashtag #branncorewaterwar. Each time a patient posts a photo, we get to add a drop to the bucket, and once the bucket is full, we get to soak the docs! To add a little incentive to the campaign, Dr. Core went out and got a $100 Visa gift card, and once the bucket is full, we will randomly be picking a winner for the gift card.

One problem we are having is exactly how we are going to soak the docs, and this is where you guys come in. How should we soak the docs? Super Soakers? Water balloons? Ice Buckets over the head? Nothing is off limits, and we could use some suggestions. Comment below about how you would like to see us soak the docs, and the best idea will get to watch our docs get soaked in the manner they suggested!

Stay tuned or pictures and videos of the event. I know that all of us here are looking forward to it!

Introducing Dr. Julie Brann

We are so excited to announce the newest member of our dental team, Dr. Julie Brann. Dr. Core has been on an exhaustive search for the past few months to find the exact right person to join our team, and we have finally found her!

Most of your know that our office is open 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, but what you may not know is that Dr. Core has been working all six days by himself for the past 8 months. None of us know  how he has been able to keep up that pace, but he has been nothing short of amazing during this time. Dr. Brann will be taking over on Fridays and Saturdays for him going forward, and working alongside him during the week and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

We first met Dr. Brann while she was in her residency at the St. Vincent DePaul Lutheran Medical Center here in Phoenix in early 2016. We were so impressed with her clinical knowledge and her level of dentistry that she was performing, we know that she was going to be the right fit for us. The only issue was that she was not available to start until July due to her obligations with her residency. So, Dr. Core pushed on, working six days a week, until Dr. Brann was available because he knew she would be a perfect fit for us.

An Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency is a year-long program that less than 5% of all dentists enter after they graduate dental school. It is reserved for the most talented dentists in their class, and only for dentists that are dedicated to furthering their education and learning the latest techniques in dentistry. As stated above, Dr. Brann completed her residency at the St. Vincent DePaul Lutheran Medical Center after finishing dental school at Tufts University in Boston, MA. Before Tufts, Dr. Brann received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Oakland University in Eastern Michigan where she is originally from.

What we love most about Dr. Brann is her compassion for her patients. She has completed mission trips to Rajahmundry, India in 2011, and Port-Au-Prince, Haiti in 2014 providing dental treatment to underprivileged children and adults who were without access to dental care. She has carried that compassion throughout her residency, and through to her work here at our office.

Dr. Brann has only been a Phoenician for a little over a year, so when she is not here in the office seeing patients, she is out exploring what Phoenix has to offer with her husband Glen. You can also catch her cheering on her beloved Michigan Wolverines, but we will convert her to a Sun Devil fan in no time at all!

Catching Up With Dr. Core

It has been a couple of years since we have checked in with you here on the blog. How have things been going lately?

Oh my gosh, things have been pretty busy these past couple of years. The office is open on Saturdays now, so that has been occupying a lot of my time, but thankfully our new associate, Dr. Julie Brann will be starting soon, so I’ll have some more time to spend with my family. We also added new technology last year, so taking continuing education classes to see how to utilize the new technology to best treat our patients has also kept me pretty busy.

You mentioned new technology, and we have talked about it here in the past, but could you go into a little more detail about it?

Sure, yeah, most of the new technology has to do with the images we take here in the office, which is a huge part of dentistry. It is what helps me determine what treatment each patient needs, so the advances in the imaging we have here helps me immensely.

We have the new Schick 33 sensors which are the latest sensors on the market, and are a huge upgrade to what we used to use. The images that come from these sensors are so crisp and clear and makes my job so much easier.

The other addition we added last year was the Galileos Cone Beam, which takes 3D CT scans of both the upper and lower jaws, as well as the airway. This has been the biggest change here because now I can see 3D renderings of patient’s head, so I can tell exactly what is going on with the teeth, the gums, the sinuses, the jaw joints that contribute to TMJ, and the airway that has a lot to due with sleep apnea.

It has been nothing short of amazing in helping me understand the whole picture of what is going on with our patients, and has made the process of placing implants such a breeze. It is so nice that we are able to provide that service to our patients here at our office now.

Wow, that’s really impressive! Last year you were approached by DentalTown Magazine to write an article teaching dentists about IV Sedation, how did that feel?

Oh wow, that was a surreal experience. It felt great to be thought of as an “expert” in the field of Sedation Dentistry. They came to me because they are based here in Arizona, and I help the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners certify that dentists are qualified and prepared to administer IV Sedation in their offices.

I just love the options that Sedation Dentistry gives me. Most people are afraid to come to the dentist for one reason or another, and Sedation Dentistry allows them to push past that fear and get the treatment that they deserve, and ultimately need. I would write 100 articles if it helped more dentists feel comfortable offering sedation to their patients.

 

We hope you get the chance to! It’s almost halfway through June and you are about to wrap up your 2nd Smiles For Life Campaign. How has that experience been?

Anytime you are able to help kids in anyway, you just do it. For those that don’t know Smiles For Life works with dentists around the world to provide whitening services to patients in return for donations for children’s charities. These charities help sick, malnourished, disabled, and impoverished kids around the world, and here locally.

We were able to work closely with the Boys and Girls Club here in Glendale to provide them with some desperately needed resources for the kids, and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. It has been an absolute pleasure working with our patients, giving them something that they really want, and being able to help all of these children at the same time. We couldn’t have done it without our patients!

That’s so inspiring! We know you’re busy, so we won’t take up too much more of your time. What’s next for you and Legacy Dental Group?

Wow, for me, hopefully a vacation! In all seriousness, what I see for us in the future is to continue to grow and be here as much as we can for our patients. To keep taking continuing education classes so that we can provide the best care for our patients, and to keep adding new products and procedures to make our patient’s visits here the best they can be. Our patients are why we are here, and we’ll continue doing everything we can to make coming to the dentist an enjoyable experience.

Take that vacation, you seriously deserve it! Well that wraps up our time here, thank you so much for checking in and taking the time to answer our questions!

It was my pleasure. Thanks!

New Referral Reward System!

It’s an exciting time of year, with the holiday season upon us once again.  Dr. Core and our team here at Legacy Dental Group want to express how grateful we are for having you all as part of our dental family.  Our practice thrives because of all of our wonderful patients, and we are honored that continue to choose us to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.

It is because of this that we wanted to improve our patient referral reward system.  In the past, we have been thanking our patients with a $5 Starbucks gift card for referring patients to our office.  But now, we are changing that to a $20 Visa gift card that can be used anywhere.  Not only will the referring patient get a gift card, but that patient making the appointment will receive one as well when they come in for their appointment.

referral card (2)

We have printed up some referral cards that we have available here in the office.  Next time you are in, remember to take a few with you to give out to friends and family.  They are available at the front desk, and in every treatment room here at the office.  Before you give the card to the patient that you want to refer, just write your name on the back of the card so that we can track who to send the gift card to.

If you don’t have an appointment coming up, and would still like to take advantage of this promotion, don’t worry.   Just have the patient that you want to refer mention this referral program when they schedule, and don’t forget to tell them to let us know who referred them, so that we can make sure that the gift card gets to the right place.

If you don’t have an appointment scheduled, now is as good a time as any to call and schedule one.  We do still have some appointments open in December so that you can come in and maximize your insurance benefits before the end of the year when most insurance plans renew.  Once those plans renew at the beginning of the year, those unused benefits are lost, as they do not roll over into the New Year.  Appointments are going fast, so call us today to schedule that appointment so that we can reserve your time.