12780 W. North Ave., Brookfield, WI 53005, 262-860-1500

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Posts for: December, 2014

By Geary Dentistry
December 29, 2014
Category: Oral Health
MichaelDouglasPleaGetScreenedforOralCancer

Actor Michael Douglas shocked TV audiences across the country when he announced on the David Letterman Show in 2010 that he has stage IV oral cancer. Fortunately, the cancer had not spread and his radiation and chemotherapy treatments were successful. This year, Douglas teamed up with the Oral Cancer Foundation to warn others about the dangers of the disease and the importance of early detection. In particular, he wants younger people to know that even if they don't smoke and drink a lot, as he admitted to Letterman that he did, they are still at risk.

As Douglas states in a PSA he made with the foundation, “the fastest growing segment of the people developing oral cancers are young, non smokers.” That's due to a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus known as HPV16 that can be transmitted through oral sex. So it's important to avoid risky sexual behaviors and to be screened regularly for this devastating disease that claims one life every hour in the U.S., according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

An oral cancer screening is a simple visual and tactile exam done right here at the dental office. We will feel your neck for lumps and inspect your lips and all inside surfaces of the mouth, including the back of your throat, for any suspicious signs. If any are found, a biopsy (laboratory analysis of a tissue sample) can be ordered.

Most oral cancers are “squamous” (small scale-shaped) cell carcinomas that occur in the lining of the mouth and are often preceded by recognizable changes (lesions) of the oral membranes. White or red patches begin to form in the pre-cancerous stage, and as the cancer develops, a non-healing ulcer may appear. If you notice any such changes in your mouth, please let us know.

Michael Douglas ends his PSA with the following plea: “So please, the next time you visit your dentist or your medical doctor, ask for this simple screening. Finding oral cancer in its earliest stages may save your life.” We agree, which is why we always perform this screening during your regular dental check-up. If it's been a while since your last appointment, please come in and see us.

If you would like more information about oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about the disease in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”


By Scott Suter D.D.S., M.S., P.C.
December 29, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Invisalign  

If you would like straighter teeth, but do not want to spend two years or more wearing metal braces, you may not have to. Thanks to Invisalign clear plastic aligners, many of our Geary Dentistry patients have straightened their teeth without anyone ever knowing they were wearing an orthodontic device.

Invisalign clear plastic aligners snap over your teeth and exert forces on them to gradually change your dental alignment. You can Invisalignswitch the aligners out every two weeks until your desired results are achieved. While you may have heard about Invisalign treatments in the past or viewed advertisements, here are five things many of our Brookfield Invisalign patients are surprised to learn.

1. You can eat any food you like with Invisalign.

Braces wearers are often limited in the foods they can eat, including avoiding corn, nuts, chips and raw carrots. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, you can enjoy any food you like by snapping off your aligners (just don’t forget to put them back on after you eat!).

2. Invisalign can straighten the teeth more quickly than braces.

While you must be diligent about switching your aligners, Invisalign can often offer faster results than traditional metal braces. This is because adjustments are made on a twice-weekly basis instead of a six-week basis as metal braces are.

3. Invisalign is suitable for teenagers and adults.

Invisalign aligners aren’t just an adults-only alternative to braces, they also can straighten teenager’s teeth. While Invisalign won’t work on every dental alignment concern, the aligners can help some teenagers straighten mild to moderate dental alignment issues without the need for metal braces. Invisalign even offers an “Invisalign Teen” product that has a compliance indicator that fades with each wear to signify teens are wearing their aligner sets for an appropriate amount of time.

4. You can wear Invisalign if you’ve worn braces in the past.

Your teeth can shift over time, even if you have worn braces to straighten them. Many of our Brookfield Invisalign patients opt to wear Invisalign years after braces as a means to keep their teeth straight.

5. You can afford Invisalign.

Invisalign treatments are often comparable with the cost of wearing braces. In addition, they offer the added benefit of straightening your teeth without anyone ever knowing you are doing so. Our office can discuss payment plan options with you to ensure the process is affordable to you.

For more information on Invisalign treatments in Brookfield, please call our office at (262) 860-1500. A member of our office staff will answer your questions or schedule a consultation.


By Scott Suter D.D.S., M.S., P.C.
December 23, 2014
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged
 
How Long Does a Dental Crown Last?
 
Dental crowns are often referred to as a restorative dental treatment. This is true because a crown can have two purposes: to improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth and/or to protect a highly damaged tooth. At Geary Dentistry, dental crowns are used for both purposes. One of our Brookfield dentists may recommend a crown after undergoing a root canal or if a patient has a highly chipped, stained or otherwise cosmetically imperfect tooth. Crowns are also used in a dental bridge. The crowns are placed over surrounding, healthy teeth to anchor the replacement tooth.
 
Crowns play an important role in dentistry, but it's understandable if you are contemplating a crown to improve your smile that you might be curious about how long you can expect the crown to last. This answer depends upon several factors, including how you, the patient, care for your teeth and your crown.
 
Typically, you can expect a crown to last anywhere from five to 15 years. Several reasons exist why a crown may need to be replaced. These include excess wear, especially in patients who grind their teeth; due to tooth decay that has formed near the crown; due to damage to the crown itself or because the crown appears discolored when compared to surrounding teeth.
 
Because your teeth are responsible for creating significant forces to chew and cut your teeth, crowns are subjected to the same wear and tear and may ultimately need replacement. However, there are ways you can work to maintain your crown's health as much as possible. This includes following good hygiene habits, such as brushing at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day. You may also have to modify some of your habits to reduce the likelihood a crown will crack or chip. These include avoiding using your teeth as openers, scissors or for anything other than chewing. This includes biting your fingernails and using your teeth to open packages. Additionally, if you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep, you may wish to consider a customized-mouthguard to prevent wear and tear on your crown.
 
For more information on crowns or how you can keep your crown in excellent condition, please call our Brookfield dentists' office at (262) 860-1500.

MoreThananewSmile-DentalImplantsHelpStopBoneLossasWell

Since their introduction over three decades ago, dental implants have evolved into dentistry’s premier tooth replacement choice. While their primary purpose is to replace missing teeth and rejuvenate a patient’s smile, they’re also regarded for another important benefit: they can slow or stop bone loss accelerated by the loss of teeth.

Like all living tissue, bone has a life cycle. Older bone dissolves and is absorbed by the body, a process called resorption. New bone forms and grows to replace the resorbed bone in response to stimuli occurring within the body. In the jaw, this stimulation comes from the forces the teeth receive when we bite or chew.

When a tooth is lost, however, it no longer transmits these force stimuli to the adjacent bone. This results over time in less new growth to replace resorbed bone, and the overall bone mass shrinks. In fact, about a quarter of the normal bone width will diminish in the first year alone after tooth loss. Other serious problems follow, like gum recession or chewing and speaking difficulties. A person’s appearance may also suffer, because as resorption continues unchecked, the underlying foundational bone will continue to shrink. As more teeth are lost, a decrease in the distance between the nose and chin may result causing the lower third of the face to become smaller in size.

Dental implants can interrupt this process by encouraging bone growth around the implant. Implants are made of “osseophilic” titanium, meaning the metal has a natural affinity with bone. After implantation, bone cells will begin to grow and attach to the titanium post. The enhanced growth stabilizes bone loss by providing stimulation to the bone as teeth once did, thereby maintaining bone levels and minimizing potential effects on the patient’s appearance.

Ironically, too much bone loss could make the installation of implants more difficult, since they require a minimum level of bone mass for anchorage. Receiving an implant as soon as is practical once a tooth is lost will minimize the chances of that occurring — and a better chance of improving bone health overall.

If you would like more information on how dental implants improve bone health, 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 “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”


By Geary Dentistry
December 04, 2014
Category: Oral Health
NoGleeinToothGrinding

Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.

“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.

Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.

Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.

Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.

If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.

When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.

Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.