Q. If my teeth look and feel fine, why do I need to see a dentist?
Don’t wait until you have pain or discomfort to see the dentist. The best way to avoid huge dental problems is to take a preventative strategy. This way you can catch small problems before they become large issues. Secondly, I think everyone should strive for optimal health. Oral health is no different—or less important—than taking care of any other part of your body. Maintaining healthy gums and clean teeth will help contribute to your overall health and self-esteem.
Dr. Brent Fredrickson, Chalet Dental Care
1651 Dale St. N., St. Paul, Minnesota 55117
651-488-5888 • www.chaletdental.com
Q. What’s a good way to find a qualified dentist?
Certainly having a referral from a satisfied friend, co-worker, or family member can tell you a lot about both the dentist and his or her team. It’s also a good idea to check his or her website and see what information is available. Reviews are nice, but of course they are only going to publish the good ones. Before you make an appointment, visit the office. Is it clean, modern, and up-to-date? Is the staff at the front desk friendly and informative? I believe the team is a very good reflection of the dentist and the treatment you’ll receive. Visit several offices, and you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly where you will feel most comfortable. And if you don’t feel comfortable with the dentist, you can always keep searching.
Dr. Scott D. Lingle, St. Paul Dental Center and The Dental Implant Center
St. Paul and Golden Valley
651-227-6646 • 763-417-9975
Q. What advice do you commonly share with your patients? What are some concerns your patients have?
I tell my patients that their oral health can affect their general health. People with healthy teeth and gums usually live longer and enjoy life more. As far as a common patient question or concern, I’ve had patients express concern that veneers—a popular procedure used to straighten, lengthen or whiten teeth, or close gaps—will look fake or too big and white. If veneers are done right, by a highly trained dentist, they will look like real teeth, very natural.
Dr. Ned Windmiller, Windmiller Distinctive Dentistry
Stillwater and Wayzata locations
651-439-8840 • www.nedwindmillerdds.com
Q. Is there a link between heart health and gum disease?
There’s no question that there appears to be a connection between heart health and gum disease. While there has been no definitive research clearly linking the two, there has been a significant number of studies completed that suggest that oral health and gum disease in particular, are related to serious conditions like heart disease.
A recent study by the American Academy of Periodontology found that people with periodontal disease—a disease of the gums and bone that support the teeth—are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery disease (also called heart disease). And one study found that the presence of common problems in the mouth, including gum disease (gingivitis), cavities, and missing teeth, were as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.
Another study recently published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that people who had higher blood levels of certain disease-causing bacteria in the mouth were more likely to have atherosclerosis in the carotid artery in the neck. Atherosclerosis, also called “hardening of the arteries,” can lead to a heart attack or stroke, depending on the location of the blockage.
The clearest direct link that has been found through research studies is in two areas: 1) bacteria found in gum disease is also found in blood vessels that are going through atheroslcerosis, and 2) CRP, or C-reactive protein, a protein that rises during whole-body inflammation and has been linked to people who have moderate to severe gum disease. There is also a correlation between elevated CRP levels and a person’s risk of a heart attack.
Dr. Walter Hunt, Personal Care Dentistry
2233 N. Hamline Ave., Suite 320
Roseville, MN 55113 • 651-964-3711
Q. I’m not a candidate for bleaching, what other cosmetic procedures are available for me?
If your teeth are dark as a result of intrinsic staining (staining from within the teeth often times caused by injury to the tooth or the use of certain antibiotics taken when the teeth were forming), you may need to consider alternative options such as porcelain veneers or bonding. A porcelain veneer is a thin piece of durable ceramic material that covers the front and sometimes the side surfaces of your teeth. Veneers are used to improve the position, shape color, and often the length of your teeth. They are custom-designed to look like natural, beautiful teeth, oftentimes lending dramatic changes not only to a person’s smile, but also to their entire face.
An alternative to porcelain veneers is a process called composite bonding. A composite resin is sculpted directly onto a tooth surface or surfaces. It is most commonly used to repair a chipped tooth or to close a space between teeth, but it can also be used in more extensive cases to change the shape or shade of teeth. This is a great option for children and teens because it requires very little or oftentimes no tooth reduction.
Porcelain veneers offer more of a long-term solution because—in addition to their strength—they don’t stain or discolor.
Dr. Nancy Norling
1660 Minnesota 100 Suite 122
Minneapolis, MN 55416
952-544-4129 • www.drnorling.com
Q. What are the pros and cons of different whitening products on the market?
I don’t recommend whitening toothpastes—they can be abrasive and rarely make much of a difference in the color of teeth because the whitening agent isn’t in contact with teeth for long enough to take action.
In our office, we offer both in-office whitening and take home custom tray systems. Both are good options. The in-office whitening is perfect for someone who is looking for quick, effective results. The take-home custom trays are the most effective, with the longest-lasting results, the gold standard of whitening. They fit what most people are looking for in both convenience and budget. Some people experience minimal temporary tooth sensitivity while wearing the trays, but there are products and techniques available that can help with that problem.
Dr. Anthony Boe, Lakeside Family Dental
1880 Wayzata Blvd. Long Lake, MN 55356
952-475-0989 • www.anthonyboedds.com
Q. What’s new in the field of digital dentistry?
Dentistry has changed so much recently, and for the better. The latest advances include 3D imaging and Computer Aided Design (CAD)/Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) restorations that mimic natural teeth. When it comes to 3D imaging, the entire mouth can be visualized using one image—replacing the need for 2D x-rays. This is particularly useful when placing implants. Many times we can save the patient additional surgeries, making it more comfortable for patients and lowering costs. This new technology also reduces the patients’ exposure to radiation, and makes it easier to store and transfer information. The advantages of chair side CAD/CAM restorations include achieving highly aesthetic crowns, partial crowns, and veneers in just one visit. Using a digital impression we save the patient the discomfort of gooey impressions and the need for temporaries.
Dr. Bryan Laskin, Lake Minnetonka Dental
109 Bushaway Road, Suite 300
Wayzata, MN 55391 • 952-475-0225
Q. What foods help keep our teeth healthy?
A balanced diet is best to keep your teeth healthy. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts have antioxidants and nutrients which strengthen immunity and help fight bacteria and inflammation—this helps protect teeth and gums. Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, have calcium and vitamin D to support bone growth and recharge tooth enamel. Soda, carbohydrate-rich, acidic, and sugary foods contribute to tooth decay.
Dr. Drew Spencer, Edina 5-0 Dental, P.A.
3948 West 50th St., Suite 205
Edina, MN 55424 • 952-922-8111
Q. What are dental implants?
Nothing can replace a healthy set of teeth, but dental implants give you the option of replacing a single tooth, a couple of teeth, or a whole mouth full. The implant itself is made from materials that are compatible with the body, like titanium. The post is placed where the root of the tooth once was with in the bone. The bone integrates around the post and can then be restored with a crown by your dentist. More and more insurance companies are helping patients cover the cost of dental implants and crowns.
Dr. Stacy Roszkowski, Lifelong Dental Care
1525 Livingston Ave, West St. Paul, MN
651-457-4888 • www.lifelongdds.com
Q. What is sedation dentistry?
Anxiety during a dental appointment can create unhealthy stress, which can complicate many pre-existing medical conditions. IV sedation is considered “conscious sedation”—which is the safest yet most complete level of sedation you can have. I can perform all cosmetic dentistry under IV conscious sedation, eliminating the fear of dentistry aspect for my patients. All procedures done in our office are performed by a highly sophisticated and trained dental team in a warm, welcoming, and relaxed environment. Every care is taken to ensure that our patients have a pleasant visit.
Dr. Atif H. Rizvi, Dentistry by Design
17809 Hutchins Drive, Suite 108
Minnetonka, MN 55345
952-474-5041 • www.dentistrybydesignminnetonka.com