My Blog

Posts for: October, 2015

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 21, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

You’ve probably heard a lot about dental implants as replacements for missing teeth. So, why are they so popular with both patients and dentists? While other restorations can mimic the color, shape and texture of natural teeth, dental implants have one clear advantage — and it’s all about the bone.

The bone in your jaws provides stability and structure for teeth — without it and the intricate system of gum tissue attachments teeth couldn’t survive the normal biting and chewing forces they encounter every day. That’s why bone health is crucial for maintaining tooth integrity.

Teeth also help bone to remain strong and healthy. The forces we generate as we chew transmit through the tooth roots to the bone, which stimulates continuing growth. If a tooth is missing, however, the bone around it doesn’t receive this stimulation and may begin to lose some of its volume and density — up to a quarter of its width in just the first year after tooth loss.

This bone loss continues even with other restorations because they’re not able to stimulate bone growth. But dental implants can. This is because the portion of the implant imbedded into the bone is constructed most often of titanium, which has a natural affinity toward bone. Bone cells are naturally attracted to titanium and will begin to grow and attach to the metal surface, a process known as osseointegration.

Through osseointegration, the implant develops a durable bond with the jawbone a few weeks after surgery that surpasses other restorations, and is a prime reason for their success rate. Although installing implants can be an expensive undertaking, their proven longevity may result in less maintenance, repair or replacement costs over time than other replacement options.

If you’re considering dental implants, remember it’s what you can’t see beneath the attractive crown that makes them special. And it’s a choice you can depend on to provide you a beautiful smile for years to come.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 16, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Lumineers  

Find out if these porcelain veneers could give you the smile you want.

Some patients who’ve been interested in improving the overall look of their smile often find dental veneers a wonderful option. The only Lumineers downside is that it does require your Pittsburgh dentist Dr. Gary Machiko to shave down healthy tooth enamel in order to place the veneers on. This makes the procedure irreversible. If you aren’t sure whether you are ready to commit to traditional veneers you have another option: Lumineers.

What are Lumineers?

These ultra-thin (about 0.2 mm) translucent shells are placed over the front of your teeth to hide dental flaws and improve the overall look of your smile. When patients opted for traditional veneers in the past it required their dentist in Pittsburgh to grind down healthy tooth enamel. But with Lumineers you can still get the same look and feel as traditional veneers but without the tooth preparation.

What imperfections can Lumineers hide?

Lumineers are able to cover all the same problems that traditional veneers can including:

  • Discolorations
  • Cracked, chipped or misshapen teeth
  • Crooked or misaligned teeth
  • Spaces between teeth

For some patients, getting Lumineers can actually reshape the smile enough that they don’t need to spend time and money on braces. While this isn’t always true for those with more severe cases, if you are only dealing with minor issues then Lumineers might be able to help.

What should I expect from my visit?

Once we deem your smile right for treatment it only takes two visits to our Pittsburgh dental office to get your new smile. During your first visit, we will make a mold of your teeth and also determine which shade your veneers should be. This mold will then be sent to a lab where they will make your Lumineers.

During your second visit, the Lumineers will be attached to the front of your teeth with a special resin, which we will then harden with a laser. This procedure is completely painless and won’t require needles or anesthesia.

How long do Lumineers last?

Studies have found that with the proper care these veneers can last over 20 years.

Can Lumineers be removed?

Yes! If you decide for any reason that you would like to go back to your original smile, we can remove your Lumineers. Because we don’t have to grind down healthy tooth enamel beforehand this procedure is completely reversible.

The only way to truly find out if Lumineers are right for you is to schedule a consultation with your Pittsburgh, PA dentist. During this consultation, we will exam your smile and make sure Lumineers are the best choice for your smile. Call us today!

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 06, 2015
Category: Oral Health

A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.

“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”

That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.

Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:

  • Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
  • Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
  • Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!

So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”