Sunnyvale Dentist – Comprehensive Dentistry
Why Comprehensive Dentistry?
Are you someone who is tired of running from one dental crisis to the next? Or do you feel your teeth are pretty healthy, but you want to make sure you still have them at age 93? Like many others, you may be looking for a comprehensive approach to dental care. Comprehensive means addressing current problems and future potential problems. Comprehensive Dentistry views the mouth as the gateway to the human body. Liquids and solids enter the body through the mouth and digestion starts here. Proper functioning of the mouth is vitally important. Several types of cardiovascular diseases may be linked to oral health; heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke and bacterial endocarditis. Research is ongoing to substantiate this discovery. Nothing in the human body exists or functions in isolation. In comprehensive care, Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Antonious looks at the mouth as more than teeth and gums – we include the soft tissues of the surrounding oral cavity and the muscles used for chewing and movement, including those around the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). In fact, these muscles that help create your “bite” or occlusion are often a source of problems that show up as jaw pain, neck or headaches, tooth wear and stress, failure of dental restorations, and which further can affect the health of your gums and jaw bones.
Many times Sunnyvale Dental Care patients are surprised when a comprehensive exam reveals problems with their occlusion. Usually the uneven wear patterns and the way the teeth fit together become apparent when Sunnyvale Dentist Dr. Antonious helps you explore what you can feel and see in the mirror.
Your teeth do not function in isolation either. Looking at your mouth comprehensively, if a new restoration is recommended to repair a tooth, or a tooth cannot be saved and extraction is an option, the impact of those treatments on the other teeth in your mouth is best to be explored. It may mean that restorations or extractions are planned in a way to protect your other teeth from additional problems by maintaining optimum occlusion, or aid in correcting a malocclusion, or bad bite. It means looking at tooth replacement as a part of the solution of extracting a tooth. Treating “just one tooth” is often not in your best interest for long-term dental health.
There are Four Reasons Why People get into Trouble with Their Teeth
- Decay. Did you know that there are between 32 and 37 types of bacteria in our mouths that cause dental decay? Scary, huh? Dental decay is definitely on the decline, thanks to fluoride, availability of regular dental care, and education about the importance of regular dental care. But for some people, with “bad genes” or who take many medications, dental decay can become rampant and debilitating.
- Gum Disease (periodontal disease, or what used to be called, “pyorrhea”). Back in the “old days” of dental care, this was often ignored because there were so many decay related problems to treat! But now, with the well known and published links between gum disease and heart disease, these problems can no longer be ignored. Fortunately, the treatment of gum disease has probably advanced more than any other aspect of dental treatment.
- Stress. This can be stress on your teeth from improper alignment or bite, or stress that causes abnormal wear (grinding).
Your dental bite is influenced by many things; the health of the jaw joint and associated chewing muscles, the alignment of the teeth, the direction that you chew and the muscle activity of the muscles of your face.
About 10% of people grind their teeth at night and about 20% of people grind their teeth during the day! Many of these folks are totally unaware of this condition, but grinding (bruxism) can accelerate the wear on teeth 10 to 20 times normal!
A dental bite (occlusion) that is misaligned can put extra, unbalanced forces on teeth and chewing muscles. This can also cause extra wear on the teeth or headaches from muscle strain.
- Medical or systemic problems. Did you know that 25-50% of patients suffer from Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and are totally symptomless? An early sign of the disease is inappropriate wear or loss of enamel on the teeth. So half of all GERD patients could only be diagnosed by your dentist. Unfortunately, undiagnosed or untreated GERD can lead to the pre-cancerous condition of Barrett’s Esophagitis. Many medications today can cause “dry mouth syndrome”. Patients with deficient salivary flow often develop extensive tooth decay. Diabetes is another common cause of deficient salivary flow.
The Foundation of Comprehensive Dentistry is a comprehensive exam
At Sunnyvale Dental Care we interview our patients. The objective of this interview is to listen to your concerns, dental and health history and goals. Then a thorough medical history is taken, paying attention to medications, supplements, allergies and existing conditions.
Radiographs are taken with newer digital x-rays, which have the lowest radiation and instant viewing for our patients. A panoramic x-ray is valuable in looking at structures other than the teeth, including the jaws, sinuses and jaw joints. As part of the soft tissue exam, Sunnyvale dentist Dr Antonious will include an oral cancer screening. Each tooth and restoration is thoroughly examined. Also, a periodontal exam is done to investigate the gums, pocketing, recession, bleeding, bone loss and mobility. An assessment of the patient’s hygiene is done as well. An occlusal exam is done to analyze the ‘bite’, the muscles, ligaments, tempromandibular joints and how they all fit and work together. ‘Smile analysis’ is also an integral part of a comprehensive exam.
At Sunnyvale Dental Care, Dr. Antonious has been providing comprehensive dentistry for over 2 decades.