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27 Nov 2022
November 27, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

Lasers: A “Groovy” Tool for Dentists

At Family Dental Health, we take pride in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest and greatest in dental treatments and technologies. That’s why we think dental “lasers” are truly smashing. And if you’re worried about paying one million dollars, rest assured laser treatments are more accessible and affordable than ever. Austin Powers jokes aside, we’re here to tell you how lasers work in dentistry and how they can benefit your smile—and make for a more comfortable dental experience!

How do dental lasers work?

Advanced laser technology has been one of the most important improvements in modern medicine and dentistry, allowing us to hang up our other tools while providing treatments that are less invasive, more comfortable, and with healthier results than ever before.

All lasers work by creating energy in the form of light, but the precise function in dentistry depends on the type of procedure. With surgical and other types of restorative dental treatments, the laser functions as a cutting device, replacing sharp dental tools, or as a vaporizer of diseased or decayed tissue—leaving healthy tissue intact. For teeth whitening, the laser functions as a heat source to speed up and enhance the effects of bleaching agents.

No Fear Here

One of the greatest things about dental lasers is they are great for patients with any level of dental anxiety. They eliminate the sharp tools, so you don’t have to hear or feel the scraping on your teeth, or the sounds and vibrations of the dental drill. Lasers create a calmer, more relaxed dental experience that can eliminate dental anxiety for many patients. 

Laser Cleanings

Don’t you just love good teeth cleaning? No? While some folks do enjoy that fresh-from-the-dentist clean feeling, most don’t enjoy the cleaning itself. Lasers can help with that! Rather than using sharp tools to scrape plaque and tartar off your teeth and around the gum line, low-level lasers target and disintegrate plaque and tartar buildup without the invasive techniques. Where traditional cleanings can irritate the gum tissue, causing bleeding, swelling, and pain, laser cleanings leave healthy tissue alone, so you can have a more comfortable cleaning.

Laser Gum Disease Treatment

Similarly, we can also use lasers to provide periodontal therapy or gum disease treatment. Where a laser cleaning focuses mostly on the visible crown portion of the tooth and buildup along the gum line, periodontal therapy goes deeper—under the gum line, removing plaque and tartar while targeting and killing the infection and leaving healthy tissue intact. 

Traditional gum disease treatments involve sharp tools and invasive techniques like scaling and root planing, gum grafting, and gum surgery—and these techniques only treat the physical symptoms of the disease. Laser periodontal therapy, however, gets to the root cause of the problem—treating the infection at the bacterial level and creating a healthier environment for the gums to reattach to. Laser gum disease treatments are more comfortable, more conservative, and garner healthier results so you don’t have to treat and retreat.

Tooth Decay & Root Canals

If you have a cavity or an infected tooth, lasers can help with that, too! Lasers can be used to remove areas of decay from within a tooth and prepare the surrounding enamel for a tooth-colored filling to be placed. If your tooth is infected and you’re in need of a root canal, lasers can help us carefully and conservatively remove the infection and save the tooth.

Biopsies & Lesions

Lesions and tissue abnormalities in the mouth are serious business, so it’s a good thing we’ve got laser technology on our side! Lasers can be used for biopsies, which involve taking a small sample of tissue from the mouth so that it can be screened for oral cancer. Laser biopsies are less invasive and more comfortable than traditional biopsies. Lasers can also be used to remove lesions in the mouth and treat canker sores. What a relief!

Teeth Whitening

By far the most popular cosmetic dental treatment, teeth whitening can be assisted by our trusty dental lasers to speed up the in-office bleaching process. First, we apply a special peroxide bleaching solution, which is then activated further by the laser light which heats up and speeds up the whitening power to full throttle, so you can leave with a dazzling smile after a single visit.

Mr. Powers could have benefited from dental lasers, himself, don’t you think? If you’d like to learn more about laser dentistry and how it can make for a healthier mouth and a more comfortable dental experience, we would love to speak with you. Contact your Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health today to schedule a visit. We would love to help make your smile… groovy baby! Yeah!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Nov 2022
November 13, 2022 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

Silver Diamine Fluoride: An Affordable Filling Alternative

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is an antibiotic topical liquid solution brushed onto teeth to halt the progression of tooth decay. Research has shown the effectiveness of SDF in cavity prevention and arrest, and it has been used safely and successfully worldwide with patients of all age groups. Family Dental Health uses silver diamine fluoride to help our patients alleviate and battle tooth decay in a noninvasive, affordable way. Read on to learn more about SDF and what it can do for you or your child’s oral health!

What is Silver Diamine Fluoride?

Silver diamine fluoride combines fluoride to promote mineralization, silver to act as a microbial, and ammonia to stabilize the high-concentration solution—so the silver kills bacteria while fluoride prevents further breakdown of the tooth structure. Since it is applied topically with a brush, it requires minimal disruption of the natural tooth—meaning no drills or fillings! Future dental restoration will almost always be necessary, even following SDF treatment, but it can drastically reduce the severity of damage and postpone the need for more extensive dental work.

What Does SDF Do?

SDF has been used worldwide for more than 80 years, particularly in Japan and China. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared SDF for the treatment of sensitive teeth in adults 21 and older, and it is marketed under the brand name Advantage Arrest™ in the United States. 

SDF can accomplish the following:

  • Relieves hypersensitivity in teeth
  • Inhibits bacterial growth on teeth
  • Hardens teeth, making them more resistant to acid erosion and abrasion
  • Stops cavity growth
  • Prevents new lesions on teeth where it’s been applied
  • Stains areas of dentin and enamel that are not sound, providing important clinical feedback to the dentist for a more effective plan of action for treatment

When is SDF a Good Choice?

SDF is effective for use in teeth with healthy pulp that is free of infection and necrosis (which means localized, irreversible death of living tissue). Because it is a noninvasive treatment, but it does stain the teeth where it’s applied, it is a good choice for children, people with disabilities, people who cannot tolerate conventional dental methods or those who have limited access to dental care and traditional restorative treatment for dental decay.

Since SDF has been used successfully overseas for decades, there is plenty of research to back its safe and effective use for children—dentists now treat pediatric patients “off-label” with SDF with positive results and positive experiences in the dental chair. It is a good stopgap measure for kids with baby teeth, and it can be used to treat primary teeth as well, both for cavity arrest and prevention as well as to combat sensitive teeth.

If you are interested in SDF treatment for yourself or your child, Dr. David Case and our dental team in Portland would love to talk more with you about it. Contact us today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Oct 2020
October 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental TechnologyPatient Care

The Buzz on Electric Toothbrushes: Are They Really Worth the Investment?

Family Dental Health discuss what an electric toothbrush has to offerElectric toothbrushes have been on the market for years now, and whether you’re a devout user or a critical skeptic, you may still be wondering: do they really work better, or have we all been duped? Dr. Case is here to break down some of the myths and separate fact from fiction to give us the spin on electric versus manual toothbrushes.

What’s Wrong with Ol’ Trusty?

Well, nothing… really. People have been brushing manually since the Middle Ages and continue to use manual toothbrushes effectively today. So why reinvent the wheel if it already rolls? Simple—technology and innovation drive us forward. Wheels today aren’t made of stone, they’re made from high-tech metals and rubber because we’ve discovered better materials and designs that fit our modern needs. Yes, they both accomplish the same end goal, but one is clearly more efficient than the other. 

So, the question becomes not what is wrong with manual toothbrushes, but what’s wrong with how we’re using them? With the proper technique and routine, manual toothbrushes and floss are usually all that’s needed to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. The problem is, most of us slack off with “drive-by brushing”—we don’t brush long enough or use the proper technique to clean our teeth and gums effectively. 

Don’t Fight the Power

Standing up and speaking out for social justice causes is encouraged, and the power of electric toothbrushes is one movement you may want to jump on board with. Electric toothbrushes clean at up to 30,000 strokes per minute, while manual brushes only produce up to 200 strokes. More brush strokes equal more plaque removed, so that figure alone should tell you an electric brush is well worth the extra cost.

Compared to manual toothbrushes, electric models reduce 21% more plaque and 11% more gingivitis after three months of use according to an analysis of 56 studies published in 2014 by the international evidence-based research organization, Cochrane.

Quit Working So Hard

Do you ever struggle to find the energy to brush and floss right before bedtime? No… just us? Ok. Well if you did, you might be interested to know that electric toothbrushes are not only more effective, but they require less effort than a manual. As the name implies, manual brushes require your own energy to move the brush in small circles (not up and down). With electric models, however, you can sit back and let the brush do the work for you. That is not to say you don’t have to do anything—you still need to move the brush along each tooth surface and get the bristles between teeth and under the gum line—but the brush does most of the heavy lifting. So, if your technique isn’t perfect (like most of us), you can rest assured you’re still getting a quality clean each time. 

Proper brushing technique requires a certain level of dexterity, which can make it difficult for children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. Electric brushes are great for everyone, of course, but these particular demographics that may otherwise struggle to brush effectively can have a trusty tool on their side to get the job done better.

But They’re So Expensive

Not compared to a dental crown or gum disease treatment! We know, the cost of an electric brush can be more than three times that of a manual (and often you get a manual brush for free after seeing the dentist), but if you look at the lifetime value and return on your investment, electric is the way to go. Electric brushes can range anywhere from $30-$200+ dollars, but with up to 150x the cleaning power, the investment is well worth it. 

If you’re an expert brusher and flosser with perfect technique and you’ve never had any issues with tooth decay or gingivitis, then a manual toothbrush is probably just fine—but if you’re like the rest of us, an electric toothbrush is the way to go. Dr. Case would be happy to recommend one that suits your individual needs and budget. Whatever brush you use, be sure to use light pressure, a 45-degree angle, and small circular motions for at least two minutes, twice per day for the best results.

If you’d like to talk toothbrushes with Dr. Case, contact your Portland dentist at Family Dental Health today! And remember, when it comes to choosing a toothbrush—you gotta feel it… it’s electric! Boogie woogie woogie woogie!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Aug 2020
August 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental ServicesDental Technology

Dental Implants: A Brief History of Tooth Replacement Innovation

Dental Implants: a brief history of innovationToday’s dental implants boast a long-term success rate of near 97%. Because implants support surrounding teeth, encourage new tissue growth and continued bone formation, and give patients back full chewing ability and a complete smile, they have become the industry standard for tooth replacement. 

Today, your Portland dentist, Dr. Case, would like to share some interesting history about dental implants and how we got to where we are today.

History of Dental Implants

    • 4,000 Years Ago: The first record of temporary dental implants were bamboo pegs used to replace missing teeth in China.
    • 3,000 Years Ago: The first recorded case of a metal replacement tooth (a copper peg) fixed to a jawbone occurred in the mouth of an Egyptian king. Experts believe it may have been placed after death due to how painful placement would have been to a living person. There is also evidence that the Egyptians tried to stabilize teeth with ligature gold wire around this same era.
    • 2,300 Years Ago: An iron tooth was found among real teeth in a Celtic grave in France. Experts again concurred replacement teeth like these were likely to have been placed after death.
    • 2,000 Years Ago: People replaced missing teeth with human teeth purchased from underprivileged people or teeth stolen from corpses or animals. Teeth like these would be rejected by the host due to infection.
    • 1,350 Years Ago: An excavation of Mayan ruins in Honduras uncovered a jawbone with what may be the oldest recorded permanent tooth replacement using seashells. The replacement tooth had actually begun the process of fusion with the jawbone, indicating that it was placed during life, not after death.
  • 800 AD: A stone implant was found among cultural artifacts from early Honduras.
  • 18th Century: A European doctor implanted a still-developing tooth into a rooster – and the tooth integrated with the rooster’s tissues.
  • 1886: A porcelain crown mounted on a platinum disc, silver capsules, corrugated porcelain, and iridium tubes were some of the materials to make implants during this time without much success.
  • 1930s: Drs. Alvin and Moses Strock are believed to be the first to place the first endosteal (in the bone) implant made of a biocompatible metal.
  • 1940s: A number of different doctors continued to experiment with and design implants made of different types of metal, perfecting the design along the way to allow for greater stability in the jaw.
  • 1952: A Swedish orthopedic surgeon named Branemark discovered titanium fused and regrew bone while studying blood flow in rabbits.
  • 1960s: The 1960s saw more innovations in implant design from many different doctors. Implant design expanded to allow for placement into the maxilla or the mandible and to accommodate more than one missing tooth. 
  • 1965: Branemark placed his first titanium implant into a live human volunteer. Branemark continued to research bone healing, performing experiments and publishing studies, eventually making dental implants a commercial endeavor in 1978. 
  • 1980s: The 1980s ushered in the use of titanium for implants, which have continued to improve to the present day. Recent developments include antibiotic coatings to prevent infection and even more biocompatible materials like zirconia and ceramic.

Family Dental Health can give you all the information you need about the history of implants and how they exist today and everything they can do to bring back your full, healthy smile. If you are curious to discover more about implants or wonder if you could be an implant candidate, contact us today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Mar 2020
March 27, 2020 by David CaseDental HealthDental Technology

Salivary Diagnostics: What Can Your Saliva Reveal?

If you’ve tuned in to any crime scene investigation shows, you’ve probably heard of salivary testing, but did you know it’s becoming increasingly common in dental offices? Salivary testing has a bright future in medicine because of how much it can tell us about your state of health—both oral and overall.

One of the reasons it’s especially important in the dental office is because we screen for oral cancer, and the number one culprit for diagnoses in recent years is human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be detected through saliva.

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27 Jan 2020
January 27, 2020 by David CaseDental Technology

Rising Oral Cancer Rates – Have You Been Screened?

The prevalence of oral cancer in America is increasing, with an estimated 49,750 people being diagnosed in 2017 alone. Of those newly diagnosed individuals, it is projected that only 57% will live 5 years beyond receiving the news. Oral cancer will cause almost 10,000 deaths annually, equating to nearly 1 person per hour.

These statistics are a lot to digest and can cause quite a bit of fear. This fear might be elevated when we look at the reason oral cancer death rates are high—not because it’s more difficult to remove, but because it’s usually discovered in late stage. This makes sense knowing that only 14-18% of dentists in the United States screen for oral cancer. That’s right, 14-18%.

However, Portland dentist Dr. David Case wants to provide you with peace of mind by educating you on what to look for and screening you for oral cancer regularly. Read on to learn more and feel free to give us a call with questions and concerns.

Open Up

A lot of us feel we’re familiar with the appearance of our mouths. We conduct diligent oral hygiene routines (we certainly hope this is true!) and take note of any discomfort, pain, and/or abnormal coloring of our tongue, teeth, and gums. But what about your cheeks, hard and soft palates, uvula, tonsils, and underneath your tongue? Do you regularly examine your inner lips, lift the top and lower the bottom in order to see more of your gums?

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27 Jun 2019

Dental Crowns 101

Sometimes in life, you just need a do-over. That’s precisely what dental crowns are—a new start for your tooth.

Teeth are important players in your life! They’re not only the first responders for your digestive tract, but they can make a great first impression – so you deserve a beautiful, fully-functioning set. If your teeth need a real makeover, a crown might be just the thing you need.

A crown is a custom-made shell that fits perfectly over your natural tooth. Crowns look and act exactly like your original tooth – but better. Crowns restore broken and badly decayed or discolored teeth. Crowns also top off dental implants and build dental bridges.

 Dr. Case, Portland dentist at Family Dental Health shares what you need to know about getting a crown.

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13 Jun 2019

Dental Implants – A Security System for Your Smile

Your mouth is an intelligent system made to work with every piece doing its part. When you’re missing a tooth, the empty spaces are more than unsightly; they can be dangerous. Your other teeth, your gums, and even the bones in your face rely on you having a full smile.

Enter: dental implants. Thanks to improved technology, you can replace a single tooth or a whole row of teeth quickly and effectively. Dental implants can improve your overall oral health and are now considered the gold standard in tooth replacement technology.

Dr. Case at Family Dental Health in Portland offers professional placement and restoration of dental implants[LINK], so let us tell you more about them and how they can help protect your greatest asset and secure your smile!

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13 Jun 2018

Don’t Get Kicked in the Teeth! The Importance of Mouthguards in Sports Safety

It’s no secret that residents of Portland love sports! The folks around here work hard and play just as hard, whether it’s football, baseball, basketball, or numerous other high-impact sports that can cause harm to your family’s mouths – at least 13% of all oral injuries happen during sports activities. Dr. Case wants you to know how to keep your teeth out of harm’s way and still enjoy a good game, so please read on to learn how to win big with a safe, healthy smile!

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27 Apr 2018

HPV & Oral Cancer: What You Need to Know

We love to talk about the fun and interesting sides of oral health, but today, there is something much more serious on our minds. We care about the health of everyone in Portland, and as dental care professionals, we feel it is our duty to educate you on how to be as safe and healthy as you can be. While you have probably heard of the human papillomavirus and oral cancer, most people don’t know that they are linked. Here is some information from Dr. Case about the topic. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Family Dental Health.

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