919 N. Michigan Ave. 3rd Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60611 (312) 951-5230

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General Care, Early Diagnosis and Non-Surgical Treatment of Gum Disease, Office Infection Control, Fillings or Restorative Care and Anti-Snoring Devices

General Care

Comprehensive exams:

At your first visit and every subsequent recall visit, several things will be performed and discussed.

For example, a thorough medical history listing all allergies, medications taken, and systemic problems will be required. Without complete knowledge, your care could be compromised. If medications change or problems arise between dental visits, Dr. Fiss should be notified immediately.

Recent diagnostic X-rays are always needed to access current and future care and serve as an educational tool for the doctor to demonstrate to the patient their dental needs.

The doctor will review any oral symptoms which exist, such as: teeth which are sensitive to pressure or temperature, and muscle pains of the head and neck.

Careful clinical exam for pathology in the head and neck area as well as cancer screening will be performed.

A clinical exam for decay and gum diseases should be reviewed with a discussion of home care, brushing and flossing, as well as diet. It is at this point that the frequency of professional cleanings are set so your dentist can help create a preventative versus systematic patient.

Early Diagnosis and Non-Surgical Treatment of Gum Disease

There are many factors which affect the health of gum tissue. These include home care like brushing, and flossing, diet, systemic problems and the medications taken to control them. Even people who regularly go to the dentist can have an easily reversible inflammation called gingivitis, at the time of their regular cleanings.

When their teeth are cleaned, this condition is generally resolved. People with gum tissue that bleeds on a regular basis, feels very tender or puffy may have moved into a more serious stage of periodontal disease called periodontitis. Using a periodontal probe, which measures pocket depth, and current X-rays, your dentist and hygienist can regularly monitor the health of your gum tissue and health of the supporting soft and hard tissue around your teeth. The perio-probe and X-rays demonstrate the difference in height between the tissue around the neck of your teeth and the bone underneath. When the pocket depth measured exceeds 4mm, the patient can no longer reach the depth of the pocket with dental floss, and the disease will progress without immediate care. Patients with pocket depth between 4 and 6mm usually receive excellent results when a non-surgical gum disease treatment called sealing and root planing or deep cleaning is performed.

Using local anesthetic, the hygienist goes below the tissue using an instrument which scrapes the tooth surface as well as the pocket lining. Once this occurs, the healthy tissue will reattach and shrink to the clean tooth, reducing the pocket depth.

Dietary restriction, special oral rinses, and home care after this procedure must be followed to provide successful results. To ensure continued health, these patients should be seen four times per year for cleanings and exams to ensure patient compliance and tissue health.

If you have areas that do not heal sufficiently or are deeper than 6mm in depth you should be referred to a specialist for care.

Office Infection Control

This issue, although rarely discussed, is on the minds of most patients. Knowledge of what to expect from your dental office is the first step in having confidence in your health professional. All the instruments should be ultrasonically cleaned and rinsed, autoclaved, and sealed in protective bags. The doctor and all assistants should wear masks and gloves, and wraps should cover the chair side workstation. Disposable products are used whenever possible. Currently, there are some offices that go beyond the guidelines of OSHA and the American Dental Association. These offices place all the disposable items, which usually arrive at a dental office in bulk, into pre-packaged, hospital-style sterile packs. The contents of these packs contain all the disposable items needed for that patient's appointment. Each patient has their own sterile pack, thereby reducing the risk of cross-contamination and creating complete peace of mind.

Fillings or Restorative Care

Many people feel that they should only go to the dentist when there is pain. However, problems may exist without any symptoms. During routine dental exams and cleanings, new decay or breakdown of existing fillings may be noted. There are many different kinds of filling materials. All dental fillings or restorations have an average life span. This life span is affected by both the provider's correct choice and placement of the materials as well as the patients home care and maintenance. Patients who chew ice or gum or eat excessive amounts of candy and have poor home care will be more prone to new decay as well as early failure of existing fillings. The choice or selection of materials used for fillings depends on the location of the tooth and the size of the fillings. Years ago only metal fillings were used. We now can provide metal-free dentistry. These new restorations now meet the hardness and wear resistance of metal fillings, along with satisfying patient's expectations for cosmetics. Most fillings can be completed in a single visit. As the size of the filling grows, sometimes multiple visits are needed. After a thorough clinical exam, your dentist can determine what is best for you.

Photos of a silver filling and a tooth colored filling.

Anti-Snoring Devices

It is estimated that more than 80 million people in North America snore while sleeping. During sleep, the muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth relax, making the breathing airway smaller. This decrease in the airway space increases the velocity of the air flowing. As the velocity increases, the soft tissues surrounding the space vibrate, creating noisy breathing or snoring. Snoring also increases with excess body weight, alcohol consumption, and sedatives. Surgical techniques are available to remove this excess tissue, but with moderate success, twenty to forty percent. Dentists, with their knowledge of the oral cavity, are best equipped to create devices that move the lower jaw into a forward position, increasing the airway space and reducing the velocity and noise from snoring with success rates of seventy to a hundred percent. Severe cases of air blockage, where there are periods of asphyxiation lasting longer than ten seconds, are called Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. OSA can be a serious medical condition, and your dentist should refer you to a sleep center for further treatment.

For more information about snoring and sleep apnea please view my video.