My Blog

Posts for: January, 2018

By Ronald L. Schoepflin, D.D.S.
January 24, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: air abrasion  

Does the sound of the dental drill make you nervous? Well, many people react to this important instrument, even in the hands of a highly air abrasionskilled dentist. Fortunately, for some restorative and cosmetic procedures, your Port Orchard dentist, Dr. Ronald Schoepflin, offers a wonderful alternative for tooth preparation. It's called air abrasion, a pain-free, quick and effective way to remove decay, even rough surfaces and more. Learn more here about this innovative technique used at Schoepflin Dental Excellence.

What is air abrasion?

Literally, it's a little sandblaster, operating on the same principal as pressure washers and other construction tools which clean and resurface concrete and stone. Used instead of a high-speed drill, the air abrasion tool delivers tiny particles of aluminum oxide directly to tooth enamel, removing decay, reshaping chips and cracks or getting enamel ready for composite resin bonding.

Fortunately, air abrasion eliminates the noise and vibration associated with many dental procedures, thereby making patients more comfortable and relaxed. Also, most air abrasion procedures require no locally injected anesthesia or other sedation. So, if needles or the idea of oral or inhaled sedative make you wary, air abrasion could be your ideal choice.

How it works

Say, for example, you need a filling repaired with composite resin. To begin the procedure, Dr. Schoepflin installs a rubber dam in your mouth to isolate the tooth and to protect your lips, gums, and tongue. Next, he uses the air abrasion tool to deliver the aluminum oxide particles at high speed, literally blasting away the decayed portions of the tooth. (Air abrasion works well for mild to moderate decay.)

As the dentist works on your tooth, his assistant removes the aluminum oxide particles and other debris with a small vacuum and rinses your mouth. Then, Dr. Schoepflin adds the composite resin to the prepared site, hardening each layer with a curing light.

The Academy of General Dentistry says that air abrasion is gentler on tooth structure, and by using it, your White Plains dentist removes only the decayed portions of the tooth. In essence, this restorative technique is less invasive than traditional measures.

Other uses

Dentists use air abrasion to recontour chips, cracks, and pits in tooth enamel. It effectively treats cavities in their earliest stages and is ideal for children and other patients who experience dental anxiety.

Contact us

Today's innovative tools and techniques make restorative and cosmetic dental treatments easier than ever. Why not ask Dr. Ronald Schoepflin about air abrasion the next time you come to Schoepflin Dental Excellence for a check-up and cleaning? Call today for an appointment: (360) 871-2959.

By Ronald L. Schoepflin, D.D.S.
January 20, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Twice a year dental cleanings are an important aspect of optimal oral health. But if you’re not brushing and flossing every day, your dental visits could change from regular maintenance to teeth rescue missions.

These two hygiene tasks don’t take long—a single trip with floss around each tooth and a couple of minutes of brushing at least twice a day—but you’ll need to perform them effectively to get the most out of them. Not to worry, though: with a little practice and helpful advice from us, this small investment in time and effort could save your teeth—and your money.

The first thing to know, though, is the reason behind brushing and flossing: to remove disease-causing bacterial plaque that can build up daily on teeth. Bacteria produce acid, which at elevated levels can erode enamel and lead to decay; and some bacterial strains can cause periodontal (gum) disease. These infections could ultimately lead to gum recession, bone deterioration and tooth loss.

Daily brushing and flossing lowers your risk of this occurring. It’s your preference in what order you do them, but for now let’s start with flossing.

There are a number of techniques—and tools—for effective flossing. If you’re using thread floss, simply cut off about 18 inches and wrap each end around the middle finger from each hand. Use the remaining fingers to create a small amount of floss between the two best fingers for a particular area of the mouth and gently pull the floss in between the tooth gap. Form a “C” shape around one of the tooth sides and rub up and down until you hear a squeak (which you’ll only hear if you use un-waxed floss). Now, repeat the action with the adjacent tooth, then move to the next and each succeeding gap and do the same until you’ve cleaned each side of each tooth.

When brushing, hold your toothbrush gently like a paintbrush or pencil at about a 45-degree angle with just a small amount of toothpaste on the end bristles. All it takes is a gentle scrubbing or wiggling motion and the abrasives and detergents in the toothpaste will do the rest.  Just make sure you fully brush all your teeth and gum surfaces, which should take about two minutes.

Along with regular dental visits and a low-sugar diet to discourage bacterial growth, brushing and flossing will help you avoid disease and enjoy the best oral health possible.

If you would like more information on keeping your teeth and gums clean, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene: Easy Habits for Maintaining Oral Health.”

By Ronald L. Schoepflin, D.D.S.
January 05, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.

As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.

Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.

Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.

Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”