My Blog

Posts for: July, 2018

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
July 26, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   veneers  

Even minor cosmetic imperfections can take a toll on your smile. From stains and discolorations to gaps between teeth and chips or veneerscracks, your smile may not look the way you want it to, but you are not alone. A smile makeover is at the top of many people's wish list for cosmetic improvements. The good news is that depending on your situation, you don't necessarily have to invest in major dental work to fix and dramatically improve your smile. Dr. Gary Machiko, a dentist in Pittsburgh, PA, recommends dental veneers for a number of common cosmetic dental problems.

Get A Brand New Smile with Dental Veneers in Pittsburgh, PA

Chances are that someone you know has improved their smile with dental veneers. They have become a staple of cosmetic dentistry due to their affordability and effectiveness in correcting a number of cosmetic issues like:

  • Chips and cracks
  • Mild to moderate gaps and spaces not related to bite or alignment problems
  • Change tooth size and shape
  • Cover stains and discolorations
  • Seal a tooth after root canal therapy or treatment for tooth decay

Despite the fact that veneers deliver major results that can quite literally makeover your smile overnight, it is a relatively minimally invasive procedure. Veneers are typically made of razor-thin porcelain or composite material that is bonded directly onto the teeth. Each veneer is custom designed to change the size, shape, or color of a damaged tooth. In some cases, a small layer of enamel may have to be shaved down to ensure that the veneer fits properly and evenly over the tooth and a natural-looking finish. In most cases, a good veneer can last anywhere from five to ten years and beyond, provided you maintain a good oral hygiene routine and make regular visits to the dentist for check-ups and professional cleanings. Whether you need to repair some cosmetic damage or just want to make cosmetic improvements, veneers may be a good option for you.

Find a Dentist in Pittsburgh, PA

To learn more about the benefits of dental veneers and other cosmetic dentistry procedures, contact our office by calling 412-367-1319 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Machiko today.


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
July 22, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral surgery  
SimpleProcedureCouldReduceBitingtheInsideofYourMouth

Somewhere between bites during a recent meal, the inside of your cheek found itself in the way of your teeth. You winced with pain at the resulting bite, and while it was sore for a day or two it seemed to heal over. Now, though, you’re noticing this same area of your cheek gets in the way of your teeth a lot more often, with more bites and sores.

What’s likely happened is that you have developed a traumatic fibroma. When the soft tissues of the inner cheek, lips or tongue heal after being injured, a small bit of fibrous tissue composed of the protein collagen forms like a callous over the bite wound to protect it after it heals. If, however, the process is interrupted by another bite, the fibrous tissue that subsequently forms may be thicker and thus more raised on the surface of the skin. This higher profile makes it more likely the site will be involved in repeated episodes of biting.

If the fibroma continues to be a problem, it can be solved with a simple surgical procedure. A surgically-trained dentist or oral surgeon will remove portions of the fibroma (usually with local anesthesia) to flatten the skin profile, and then close the resulting wound with a couple of stitches unless a laser was used. Any discomfort after the procedure can usually be managed with a mild anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or ibuprofen, and the site should heal in just a few days to a week.

Although the vast majority of fibromas aren’t dangerous, it’s routine practice to have the excised tissue biopsied for abnormalities. More than likely the fibroma tissue will be normal; but by having the fibroma removed and examined, you’ll gain peace of mind about your oral health. In the process, you’ll also eliminate a bothersome and painful problem.

If you would like more information on mouth sores, 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 “Common Lumps and Bumps in the Mouth.”


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
July 19, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

For the best in implant dentistry, see Dr. Gary Machiko. What is implant dentistry? It's both the art and science which precisely replace dental implantsmissing teeth with the leading edge in dental prosthetics. Whether you need a small, single-tooth gap filled or require a new arch of teeth on the top or bottom, dental implants from this highly-skilled Pittsburgh dentist are the way to go. You can have a complete, beautiful, and functional smile.

What is a dental implant?

From roots to crown, a dental implant is a complete replacement tooth with three distinct parts:

  1. A titanium metal cylinder or screw surgically inserted into the jaw
  2. A metal alloy abutment, or post, which extends above the gum line
  3. A realistic, custom-made porcelain crown

Because it resides in the jaw, an implant possesses superior stability. Unlike conventional bridges or dentures, dental implants actually exercise and improve the health and strength of the jaw, avoiding bone recession and compromised facial appearance. They do it through a miraculous process called osseointegration, creating rock-solid artificial teeth that can last up to 50 years or more, says the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness.

Because Dr. Machiko is a Diplomate in the American Board of Oral implantology and because of his added credentials as a mechanical engineer, his implant placements are precise and reliable. Whether he places one or multiple implants, the patient is assured of a pain-free and highly successful experience.

Qualifying for and receiving implants

In his Pittsburgh office, Dr. Machiko examines and X-rays his prospective implant patients. An older teen or adult must possess adequate jaw bone density to receive the titanium cylinder and to have it integrate to the jaw. If bone grafting is needed to augment the jaw, Dr. Machiko can do that, ensuring the implant will have sufficient supportive structure.

If all is well, the implant procedure itself takes just one visit. A local anesthetic is all that is required as the dentist creates an access hole in the jaw, inserts the implant device, and sutures the area closed. Over the ensuing weeks, osseointegration happens, preparing the site for eventual enhancement with the abutment and porcelain crown.

Regarding larger smile gaps or full denture placement, Dr. Machiko specializes in "teeth in a day." He can extract teeth, insert implants, and place temporary prosthetics in one day. Implant-supported dentures are called "All-On-4" because the dentist uses four titanium implant devices to support a full denture--either upper or lower.

Benefits of dental implants

To sum up, dental implants are versatile, long-lasting, and super-stable. They avoid the destructive effects of tooth loss by building up the jaw bone and allowing patients natural oral function and appearance.

Additionally, once implants are fully integrated, they require simple twice daily brushing and flossing--just like natural teeth. Your six-month visits with Dr. Machiko are important as well.

Why wait?

Don't struggle with tooth loss and smile gaps. Explore the best in modern tooth replacements--dental implants from Dr. Machiko in Pittsburgh. Call his office today for a consultation: (412) 367-1319.


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
July 12, 2018
Category: Oral Health
NoGleeinToothGrinding

Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.

“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.

Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.

Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.

Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.

If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.

When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.

Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.


PeriodontalSurgeryAllowsustoAccessDeepSurfacesforPlaqueRemoval

All treatments for periodontal (gum) disease focus on one goal — to remove any bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that are at the heart of the infection. Plaque is a thin surface film of food particles and bacteria that cause gum disease.

Plaque builds up on tooth surfaces due to inadequate oral hygiene. And as the disease progresses brushing and flossing won’t be enough — you’ll need our services and specialized equipment to fully remove the plaque and calculus. The basic technique is called scaling in which we remove plaque and calculus manually from tooth surfaces above and just a few millimeters below the gum line.

As the disease develops, though, the slight natural gap between teeth and gums may begin to increase to form voids known as periodontal pockets. Filled with infection, these pockets can extend below the gum line onto the roots of the tooth. If the pocket extends more than 4 millimeters, basic scaling may not be able to remove all of the plaque and calculus.

Periodontists (dentists who specialize in the treatment and care of gum tissues) can perform a surgical method to access these deeper areas. Known as flap surgery, this procedure aims not only to reach and disinfect periodontal pockets and root surfaces, but also repair damaged gum tissue and create a better environment for future hygiene and treatment.

As the name implies, we create an opening in the gum tissue with one side remaining attached to the gum structure — much like the flap of a paper envelope. Through this opening we’re able to reach areas to remove plaque and calculus, as well as install both bone grafts to regenerate lost bone and growth factors to stimulate tissue growth. Once finished, we stitch the flap back into place with sutures and, in many cases, place a moldable dressing to protect and hold the flap secure while the incision heals.

This relatively minor procedure can be performed with local anesthesia and requires only a few days of recuperation. The results, though, can provide long-term benefits — reduced infection, better bone and gum health, and a more conducive environment for future maintenance of health — that could save your teeth and your smile for many years to come.

If you would like more information on treatments for gum disease, 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 “Periodontal Flap Surgery.”