Posts for: April, 2012

By Sarah J. Morris, DDS, PLLC
April 28, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: CAT scans  
UnderstandingtheNewStandardinDentistryCATScans

CAT scans or Computer Assisted Tomograph scans have been around for years. However, it is quickly becoming the new standard in dentistry. The reasons are clear both literally and figuratively, as they provide our office with millions of pictures so that we can combine them together to create 3-dimensional (3-D) images. Prior to this technology, we could only image the body in 2-dimensions with x-rays (radiographs) — a technology first developed by Roentgen.

One of the best features of CAT scans and CBCT (Cone Beam Computed Tomography) scanning is that they enable us to see and experience the body from the inside. Having this ability changes (and many times) improves upon the way we diagnose. Here's how they work in very simplistic terms. Picture your favorite multi-layered cake with each layer representing an image. A three-layer cake requires just three images. For us to build a 3-D image similar to the cake, we require millions of very thin layers (images) that we put together, one on top of another, until our results, one 3-D image. And by having so many thin layers, we are best able to diagnose. For example, in our cake analogy, it is easier to determine if the cake contains finely chopped nuts, berries or other ingredients when you cut numerous very thin slices of cake to examine versus having one large chunk of cake.

It is important to note that in our office we may not recommend using this technology in all cases, as it may not be necessary for your particular diagnosis and/or treatment. While the technology can prove invaluable, it is quite expensive and a simple 2-D x-ray may provide everything we need. However, some dental specialty areas where CAT scans are currently used include:

  • Orthodontists and pediatric dentists
  • Cosmetic dentists and tooth replacement specialists (prosthodontists)
  • Oral surgeons
  • Root canal specialists (endodontists)
  • Gum specialist (periodontists)

To learn more about CAT scans and how they are used in the various specialty areas, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “CAT Scans in Dentistry.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your specific questions.


By Sarah J. Morris, DDS, PLLC
April 20, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
QuestionsToAskBeforeGettingACrown

It is always good to be prepared before you have any dental or medical procedure. Make sure that you are informed and know what to expect to make you as comfortable as possible. We recommend that you have a list of questions with you to ask us during your consultation. If we inform you that you need a crown, consider asking any or all of the following questions:

  • Am I a good candidate for a crown?
  • Can you do a computer-generated mock-up of my new smile with crowns? (This question is only applicable if the crown is for a front or visible tooth.)
  • Is there a way that I can “test-drive” my new smile and crown(s) before making them permanent?
  • How long will the entire process take from my first appointment through completion?
  • What are the risks, benefits and alternatives associated with the type of crown(s) you are recommending?
  • Is there any discomfort associated with crown procedures?
  • Will I need or receive any type of sedation when you prepare (drill) the tooth or teeth for a crown?
  • Is what you are recommending commonly done?
  • Can you show me some before and after photos of cases that you have done?
  • How much will my crown(s) cost?
  • Will my insurance cover all or a portion of the cost?
  • How long can I expect my crown(s) to last?
  • Will there be any maintenance required with my crown(s)?

To learn more about crowns, read the Dear Doctor article, “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.” Or you can contact us today to discuss your situation and schedule a consultation.


By Sarah J. Morris, DDS, PLLC
April 12, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
OralSedationmdashWhatYouNeedToLetYourDentistKnowFirst

When it comes to patient comfort, one of the most important developments of the 21st century has been sedation dentistry, which enables you to relax in both mind and body allowing you to focus on feeling peaceful rather than anxious. And the prescription medications we use are some of the safest on the “therapeutic index” (the scale pharmacists and health professionals use to measure the safety of medications.) However, it is critical that we are aware of any medications you are already taking and your medical health and history, so let us know all about you so that we can avoid adverse (negative) reactions. Please note that we will take a full history to gain this information prior to any treatment or sedation — our utmost concern is your safety. During this time, it is vital that you are honest and feel comfortable sharing your responses to our questions. It's also our way of getting to know you and the first stage in relieving your anxiety. We will need to know all about:

  • All medical conditions for which you are currently being treated.
  • All prescription medications you are taking.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, remedies, or vitamins and/or supplements you are taking. This even includes aspirin, St. John's Wort, and Kava Kava. (Why? If taken daily for good heart health, aspirin thins your blood and thus may interfere with blood coagulation. And St. John's Wort and Kava Kava may be beneficial in helping relieve depression, but they can negatively impact how oral sedation medications work.)
  • Foods and drinks you consume, such as alcohol and even grapefruit (juice or the fruit), can negatively impact how your body responds to both your treatment and sedation medications.
  • And lastly, we need to know if you are a tobacco user — especially if you are a smoker. In addition to increasing your risks for oral and other cancers, tobacco can negatively influence the effectiveness of sedation medications.

To learn more about this topic, read the article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.” Or you can contact us today to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.


By Sarah J. Morris, DDS, PLLC
April 04, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
TestYourDentalVocabulary

When dentists talk to patients, they often use specialized vocabulary referring to various dental conditions. Do you understand what they mean when they use these words — or are you wondering what they are talking about?

Here's your chance to test your knowledge of ten words that have a particular meaning in the context of dentistry. If you already know them, congratulations! If you don't, here's your chance to learn what these words mean in the dental world.

Enamel
In dentistry, enamel is the hard outer coating of your teeth. It is the hardest substance produced by living animals. It is a non-living, mineralized, and composed of a crystalline form of calcium and phosphate.

Dentin
The dentin is the layer of a tooth that is just beneath the enamel. It is living tissue similar to bone tissue.

Pulp
When dentists speak of pulp, we mean the tissues in the central chamber of a tooth (the root canal) that nourish the dentin layer and contain the nerves of the tooth.

Bruxism
Many people exert excess pressure on their teeth by clenching or grinding them. This is called bruxism, a habit that can be very damaging to teeth.

Occlusion
By this we mean how the upper and lower teeth are aligned, and how they fit together. This can also be referred to as your bite.

Dental caries
This term refers to tooth decay. Dental caries and periodontal disease (see below) are two of the most common diseases known to man. Today, these diseases are not only treatable, but they are also largely preventable.

Periodontal disease
A term for gum disease, this term comes from “peri,” meaning around and “odont,” meaning tooth. It is used to describe a process of inflammation and infection leading to the progressive loss of attachment between the fibers that connect the bone and gum tissues to the teeth. This can lead to loss of teeth and of the bone itself.

Erosion
When you consume acidic foods or drinks, the acids in your mouth react directly with minerals in the outer enamel of your teeth, causing chemical erosion. This is not the same as tooth decay, which is caused by acids released by bacterial film that forms on your teeth (see below).

Dental implant
A dental implant is a permanent replacement for a missing tooth. It replaces the root portion of the tooth and is most often composed of a titanium alloy. The titanium root fuses with the jaw bone, making the implant very stable. A crown is attached to the implant and can be crafted to match your natural teeth.

Plaque
Dental plaque is the whitish film of bacteria (a biofilm) that collects on your teeth. Your goal in daily brushing and flossing is to remove plaque.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss any questions you may have about your teeth and gums. You can also learn more by reading Dear Doctor magazine article “How and Why Teeth Wear.”




Dentist - Fort Worth
2551 River Park Plaza
Fort Worth, TX 76116
817-732-4419

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