Knowing your options when it comes to dental treatments is an advantage: you’re not just limited to what your insurance will cover or the newest fad that’s being discussed around the watercooler. While the standard treatments to keep your teeth and gums looking and feeling their best are staples — things like teeth whitening, orthodontic devices to better align your teeth and no-frills but necessary cleanings and cavity fillings — there are other services offered that you may not know a thing about but could dramatically change your life for the better.
1. Sleep Apnea Assistance
If you or your partner suffer from sleep apnea, you know that not every moment spent in the bedroom is you living your best life. Snoring may bother you or your partner. The lack of proper oxygen can cause you to feel dizzy, unrested and surly. You might start gaining weight, you may have difficulty performing regular activities like focusing on work or going to the gym, and you may notice an increase in dental decay and bad breath.
While your primary care doctor can and should be your first line of help in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, your dentist can help, too. Specially fitted devices molded to your mouth to keep your airways open at night can aid in mild cases of sleep apnea. The addition of one of these mouthguards can also improve your oxygen levels when used in conjunction with a CPAP machine.
2. Cancer Screenings
Your dentist might not be able to run a full work-up like your primary care doctor can, and they might not be able to provide a definitive diagnosis like an oncologist would, but they’re often the first to spot — and examine — oral abnormalities that could point to cancer or pre-cancer. Because your dentist is familiar with your mouth (you keep your regularly scheduled cleaning and exam appointments, right?), he or she is easily able to spot any signs of change quickly — and time is of the essence when dealing with cancer. Lesions, swollen areas, cysts and tumors are all readily apparent to your dentist, especially if they have a frame of reference to compare it to based on your regular exams.
3. Nutritional Counseling
Nutritional counseling is more than just visiting your dietitian to drop some pounds — it’s about learning how to eat correctly to manage any issues you might have. Your dentist can advise you on the best things to eat (or not eat) to keep your mouth in tip-top shape. Whether you’re struggling with acid erosion, trying to relieve dry mouth or just working to maintain an overall level of good health, talk to your dentist about what you can and should be eating. Most dentists are more than happy to fill you in on the best tooth-friendly snacks to satisfy a sweet tooth, for example, or the best ways to combat chronic dry mouth. While you might not shed your unwanted pounds, your mouth and gums will be better off.
4. Dental Onlays
Think of onlays like reconstructive surgery for your teeth. If you’ve worked through dental issues your whole life, or if you’ve experienced a traumatic injury that caused damage to your teeth (like playing sports without a properly fitted mouthguard, for example), you may have a tooth that’s too damaged for a regular filling. Rather than opt for an extraction or a root canal, you may be a candidate for a dental onlay. Your dentist will first remove any diseased parts of the affected tooth. Then, office staff can scan and design a structure that is manufactured using porcelain and a 3D printer, which is then bonded to the damaged tooth. Most of the time, you’d have to look very closely to see the repair work — it’s just that seamless and high-tech.
Little-Known Services Provided by Your Dentist
While few people know about the less popular services and treatments provided by their dentists, it helps to know what is available to you through your provider. Some dentists, for example, cannot print onlays in their office and must send the design to an off-site printer, increasing the wait time and requiring follow-up visits to fix your smile.
To learn about the options that are available to you and well-suited to your unique oral health needs, it’s best to ask questions when you’re in the office. Your dentist or their staff will be happy to let you know what they can and cannot do to get and keep your mouth as happy, clean and beautiful as possible.
Never fear! Drs. Krieger and Hur know what it takes to keep that smile bright, white and perfect. Call the office today at 201-560-0606 or email us to schedule a checkup and tooth whitening. After all, everything goes better with a smile.