My Blog

Posts for: August, 2018

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 27, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental Implants Replace Missing TeethPeople suffering from tooth loss also often suffer from self-esteem issues. Are you missing a tooth and want an aesthetically more attractive smile? If you need dental implants, speak with your Pittsburgh, PA, dentist, Dr. Gary Machiko, about dental implants.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are made up of a titanium post that is surgically inserted into your jaws to replace your missing tooth root. Dental implants help stabilize, strengthen, and prevent weakening and shrinking of your jawbone. Dr. Machiko is dual degreed, both his dental degree and his mechanical engineering degree offering his patient's the advantage of precise measurement and placement of their dental implants. The next step involves sealing your gums and allowing 3 to 6 months for osseointegration, the process in which the titanium post fuses to the jawbone, to occur.

You will then need to come back to the dentist's office in Pittsburgh so that Dr. Machiko can re-open the area above the titanium post, insert a screw, place an abutment above the screw, and secure a crown on top that matches the rest of your teeth.

What are dental implant advantages?

Having a great smile isn't the only advantage dental implants provide:

  • A dental implant can restore one tooth, a few teeth or all of your teeth.
  • Unlike dentures, dental implants are fixed in place, so they don't fall out.
  • The dental implants can last a lifetime.
  • They can restore bite and chewing function.

How do you care for dental implants?

Like the rest of your teeth, make sure you brush your teeth and floss every day. You have to brush at least twice a day and, for at least two minutes each, and floss at least once before bedtime.

Also, a change in diet may benefit your dental health. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding sugary foods to prevent accumulation of plaque is good preventative dentistry. Make sure you drink plenty of water that will remove food debris and help avoid cavities.

Need a consultation?

Dental implants are a great investment that can last a lifetime. If you have more questions about dental implants, call Dr. Machiko in Pittsburgh, PA, at (724) 719-2866 Dr. Machiko is dual degreed in both dentistry and mechanical engineering, offering his patients the advantage of precise measurement and placement of their dental implants.


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 21, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

It is an undeniable fact that has been proven by smile surveys conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and theCosmetic Dentist Consultation Harris Poll. The quality of your smile affects your self-confidence, attractiveness, and social habits. It may even affect how likely you are to keep up with good dental hygiene habits in the future. Some people are conditioned to make judgments about you just by looking at your teeth. Dr. Gary Machiko, a Pittsburgh, PA cosmetic dentist, can significantly improve your smile with a cosmetic dentistry procedure.

Your Cosmetic Dentistry Options
The great thing about modern cosmetic dentistry is that you will often have more than one treatment option for bettering your smile. These are some of the most common aesthetic dental treatments that may help your smile:

- Veneers and crowns
- Professional teeth whitening
- Dental bonding and contouring
- Braces and Invisalign
- Dental implants and implant supported devices

What Happens At a Cosmetic Consultation?
There is a good chance that you have more than one complaint about your smile's appearance. Your Pittsburgh cosmetic dentist will first consult you about what you want to change, then look at your teeth visually and with dental X-rays to decide on the best course of action. You may be presented with more than one option, such as teeth whitening and crowns or partial dentures and bonding. The cosmetic transformation might begin that day, or you can come in at a later date to start treatment.

Benefits of a Better Smile
When you're embarrassed about your teeth, it can affect how you navigate your day. With a changed smile you can finally face everyday social and professional situations knowing that your teeth aren't a potential distraction. You'll also want to see your dentist more often for checkups and cleanings to make sure that your smile continues to look radiant, bright, and perfectly aligned.

Your Cosmetic Consultation 
After one visit to your Pittsburgh, PA, cosmetic dentist, you'll have a better idea of what dental treatments will give you the results you've been looking for. Call (724) 719-2866 today to schedule a visit with Dr. Machiko.


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
August 21, 2018
Category: Oral Health
ActressEmmaStoneRevealsHowThumbSuckingAffectedHerTeeth

It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.

“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”

While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)

When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.

Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.

But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.

Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”


DiabetesDoesntHavetoStopYouFromAcquiringDentalImplants

One of the best and most successful tooth replacement choices available is the dental implant. No other restorative method is as similar in both form and function to a real tooth as an implant; and with a success rate of 95-plus percent after ten years, it’s one of the most durable.

But there can be extenuating circumstances that make obtaining an implant difficult or sometimes impossible. One possible problematic situation is the systemic disease diabetes.

Diabetes is a hormonal condition in which the body is unable to sufficiently regulate the amount of glucose (a basic sugar that provides energy to the body’s cells) within the blood stream. Normally, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin to reduce excess glucose. But diabetes interferes with this insulin production: if you have Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas has stopped producing insulin altogether; if you have the more common Type 2, the body doesn’t produce adequate insulin or it doesn’t respond sufficiently to the insulin produced.

Over time diabetes can affect other areas of health, especially wound healing. Because the condition gradually causes blood vessels to narrow and stiffen, the normal inflammatory response to disease or trauma can become prolonged. This in turn slows the rate of wound healing.

Slow wound healing can have a bearing on the recovery period just after implant surgery, especially the necessary integration process that takes place between the bone and the titanium metal implant that provides its signature strength. If that process is impeded by slow wound healing caused by diabetes, the risk increases dramatically for implant failure.

That’s the worst case scenario if you have diabetes, but only if your condition is out of control. If, however, you have your blood sugar levels well regulated through medication, diet and exercise, then your chances for implant success could easily be on par with someone without diabetes.

So if you’re diabetic and are considering dental implants for missing teeth, it’s important to discuss the possibility of obtaining them with both your dentist and the physician caring for your diabetes. With your overall healthcare team working together, there’s no reason why diabetes should stop you from enjoying this premiere restoration for missing teeth.

If you would like more information on obtaining 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 & Diabetes.”


SedationAlongwithUnderstandingcanRelieveYourDentalVisitFears

For most people, going to the dentist is as routine as getting their oil changed. But if you're like the one in ten people with severe anxiety, dental visits are anything but routine.

What may have begun as a childhood fear has turned for many people into a lifetime avoidance of dental care.  This absence of dental cleanings, checkups and treatments can have an adverse effect on not only their oral health but their general health too.

But there are ways you can reduce dental visit anxiety, beginning first with finding a compassionate dental provider. A good dentist-patient relationship is important for everyone, but more so for people with anxiety. Building a trust relationship with a dentist who listens and accepts your fears without judging is your first step to overcoming them.

Though finding an understanding provider is important, it may not be enough in the beginning of your return to regular dental care. To help you further relax during visits, we can also provide medicinal therapies known collectively as sedation.

Although it has some similarities, sedation is different from anesthesia. The latter deadens pain sensation; sedation aims to calm your emotions. The most common sedation is taken in oral form, usually a pill (or syrup for children) taken an hour or so before the appointment. Oral sedation is often used in conjunction with gases like nitrous oxide and local anesthesia.

For a more relaxed state (especially during an involved procedure) we may use intravenous (IV) sedation. With this method we deliver the medication through a small needle or catheter inserted into a vein.

IV sedation places you in a reduced state of consciousness. But it isn't a “sleep” state as what's achieved during general anesthesia, but more of a “semi-awake” state. You won't need assistance with breathing or heart function and you can respond to verbal or touch commands. Many drugs used for IV sedation also have an amnesiac affect, so you won't remember many details about the procedure.

Depending on your level of anxiety, we can match the right therapy to induce calm and relaxation. Sedation can help you see dental visits in a more positive light so that it truly does become a life routine.

If you would like more information on sedation therapy during dental visits, 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 “IV Sedation in Dentistry.”