Exceeding your expectations

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Local Anesthesia (“Needle Whisperer”)

When talking about “dental work,” it is important to note that one of the greatest restorative dentistry barriers is the fear of pain. Not just the fear of the pain of the procedure, but the fear of the “needle.” There are several actions that we have taken in our office to alleviate this fear.

I teach local anesthesia and pain management to our dental hygienists at the UMA Bangor Dental Hygiene School. I have done so for the past eight years. As a teacher, I am extremely diligent in maintaining the most advanced restorative dentistry techniques in using local anesthesia. I’ve had many patients refer to me as the “needle whisperer” for painless injections!

Buffering Local Anesthetics

Recent advances in the use of local anesthetics have made buffering possible. By that, I mean the stinging or burning sensation that may accompany an injection of a local anesthetic is because the drug used (referred to as “Novocaine”) is very acidic. It has about the same acidity as lemon juice. Ever get lemon juice in a cut?

Our new system allows me to neutralize the acidity or “buffer” the anesthetic just before administering it so that the burning or stinging sensation is gone. Because the anesthetic is neutralized, it goes to work much faster and is far more profound to begin treatment very soon after the injection. No waiting! The comment “Wow, I didn’t feel a thing!” is becoming a regular pronouncement.

Restorative Dentistry

Fixing, repairing, filling, crowning, veneering, and restoring teeth is what we do. Once a tooth is formed and erupted into the mouth, it does not have the capacity to repair itself. Teeth get cavities, crack, and break.

Teeth take a lot of punishment in just chewing food. Let alone the myriad of other things that might make it into our mouths. Teeth don’t always show up or exhibit the best appearance we would like. So, restorative dentistry has taken responsibility for taking care of these problems to repair your teeth and enhance your smile.

You Deserve the Best

It goes without saying that the perfect tooth is the one that grew into your mouth. That is to say, before it ever was assaulted by bacteria and acids, grew cavities, or became worn down. Restorative dentistry has developed very sophisticated materials and systems for restoring teeth.

It is our goal to present to you the best treatments available for the restoration of your teeth. You decide! If a particular plan does not fit your budget, you may select a plan that fits your needs.

Sealants

When that tooth first pops through into your mouth, it is the best it can be. However, it is then that a tooth is the most susceptible to attack by bacterial plaque and the acids that they form. The grooves of the back teeth are the most susceptible to decay.

Sealants are designed to fill in the back teeth’ deep grooves to prevent bacterial plaque from entering those susceptible grooves, protecting them from decay. Sealants are essentially a liquid resin painted into the grooves to “seal” them. Once hardened, these sealants often last a long time and protect the tooth from decay from that source.

Silver-Mercury Amalgam Fillings

Silver-mercury amalgam fillings have been around since the mid-19th century. There has never been a more controversial material so widely used. There are countries in the world that have banned its use.

It is still with us here in the USA today but is going away. The FDA continues to “sit on the fence” on this topic. Silver amalgam, which contains about 50% elemental mercury, has been widely used because of its ease of use and its economy.

By itself, mercury is a poisonous substance. Those who say that the mercury is rendered safe when combined with the other metals in the alloy make up “silver fillings.” Then, some say that these fillings always emit mercury vapor while they are in their teeth.

My opinion, in this practice, is that it is not the best we have to offer for restoring teeth. We do not use it and have not for over 20 years. It is questionably safe to handle mercury in the office while preparing the material to put in teeth. In industrial settings, handling mercury requires a carefully controlled environment using ventilators and other safety equipment to prevent elemental mercury exposure. Therefore, we do not do “silver fillings.”

Composite Fillings

Over the years, dentistry has sought to repair teeth with strong enough materials to withstand the mouth’s hostile environment. When solid silver fillings began to be controversial, white filling materials became popular. Over many years, the science in the manufacture of these materials has improved to the point that these composites nearly have tooth enamel strength. These materials are perfect for use in smaller areas on teeth.

Inlays, Onlays, and Crowns… Oh My!

These terms are dental jargon for repairs of teeth that are, in many cases, too far gone for simpler restorations like tooth-colored fillings. When a larger area of the tooth is missing or more of the tooth is broken down by fracture or decay, we need to use materials that can be stronger that can last a long time. In keeping with the idea that we need to be as “cosmetic” with our work as possible, we use various ceramic materials akin to porcelain for repairing teeth with inlays, onlays, and crowns.

Gold has been an excellent choice for the repair of teeth for centuries. It is strong, has low toxicity, and is compatible with human tissues. Unfortunately, it may not be seen as the most esthetic thing to dazzle your smile. In recent years, it has become a costly material to use. Nevertheless, we still occasionally use gold in several applications in restoring teeth.

CAD-CAM Dentistry / Same Day Dentistry

Have you ever had a “temporary” crown come off while waiting for the dental lab to complete your restoration? At its best, the “old way” of restoring teeth with crowns was annoying. It required messy impressions, temporaries, a waiting period of 2-3 weeks, and a return to the office to have the tooth numbed again to have the new crown put on the tooth.

In September 2001, as a matter of fact, the day after 9/11, our CEREC CAD-CAM system arrived. This was the first of its kind technology in the greater Bangor area. There has been no looking back. This has been life-changing technology for dentistry.

With CEREC (Chairside Economic Restoration with Esthetic Ceramic), there is no more need for messy impressions or any of the traditional steps required for restoring your tooth with a crown. It is all done in just one visit that takes less than a couple of hours. No more waiting! No more temporaries coming off. The vast majority of the work we do can be done in just one visit.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Just about everything we do in dentistry these days has an eye towards the cosmetic, smile-enhancing effects of our restorative dentistry. Whitening teeth bonded “composite” and ceramic restorations, clear braces like Invisalign and ClearCorrect, are all considered in enhancing your smile.

Indeed, our hygiene staff’s professional cleaning of your teeth is one of the most important cosmetic services we offer. So-called cosmetic services in dentistry may include replacing blackened old silver fillings, replacing missing teeth, straightening teeth, reshaping badly worn teeth, or malpositioned teeth with veneers or crowns. All are done here in our office.

Snap-on Smile

The 3D printing technology that has made clear braces possible has also made the “Snap-On-Smile” available for patients who may desire a quick cosmetic fix for missing or unsightly teeth. In effect, the SOS is intended to be a “temporary” cosmetic “fix.” Molds of your teeth are made, and a 3D printed “shell” is fashioned that is a thin, esthetic special plastic that fits over your existing teeth.

It literally snaps onto your teeth! This restoration can be worn 24/7 and even during chewing. It just needs to be removed for the daily maintenance of your teeth. They do eventually wear out. However, they are guaranteed to last at least a year. Of course, the teeth and gums that will support a Snap-On-Smile need to be healthy to begin with.

Prosthetic Dentistry

Prosthetic dentistry is the facet of dentistry that is involved with replacing missing teeth. “Prosthetics” may be removable, as with dentures and partial dentures. They may also be attached or fastened to existing teeth.

A complete denture or “dental plate” is designed to rest on the gums and replace all of the teeth on the dental arch.

A partial denture is a removable appliance that may replace only one or possibly many teeth in one dental arch.

An implant-supported complete denture or partial denture is when one or more implants are placed in the jaw that can hold up the denture and attach it in such a way as to hold it in place during its use.

A bridge refers to a restoration that replaces teeth by attaching by cementing or bonding to the teeth that are adjacent to the missing ones. If you are missing just one or two teeth, this may be the best way to restore your smile and chewing ability.

Implants

Dental implants have been around for many years. Techniques and materials have evolved over the years to be one of the most reliable ways to replace missing teeth. Minor oral surgery is needed to place the dental implant in the jaw.

Once this has healed, we can then use the implant to replace one tooth, many teeth, or support a denture or partial denture. We rely on the training and expertise of our local oral surgeons to place these implants. After this, we take over the restoration process to complete your case.

Endodontic (Root Canal) Therapy

When a tooth has been so damaged by decay or fracture that the vital “nerve” tissue has either died or become irreversibly painful, a “root canal” may be necessary to save a tooth that is still structurally sound enough to be useful. Root canals may, unfortunately, have something of a bad reputation. Not too many years ago, these tasks required multiple visits to the dentist or root canal specialist (endodontist) to be completed. Not infrequently, these treatments were associated with pain.

Technology has changed for the better! Anesthetics are much improved, and improvements in materials and restorative dentistry techniques have allowed more dentists (non-endodontists) like us to do these uncomplicated procedures in just one visit. If a tooth can be saved using endodontic therapy, it may be far more economical than replacing it later with an implant or a bridge. Ultimately, the goal will be to alleviate the dental infection process and to restore the tooth to function once again.

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John T. Hauge, DMD, has been a practicing dentist for nearly 41 years, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and has been practicing in Maine for the last 17 years. Although he has ample experience in all areas of dentistry, Dr. Hauge has special interest and extra experience in treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea and TMJ pain problems.