COVID-19 Office Status

MPDG Announces New Safety Standards 

 

Our office is now open for normal business hours and we are seeing patients for all treatments. 

At Monterey Peninsula Dental Group, the health and safety of our patients and staff is our top priority as our community makes plans to re-open in a strategic and safe manner. In an effort to ensure your health and safety in our office, we’ve made changes to our facility and implemented new systems to ensure our patients and team receive the best protection possible.  It’s important to us that you feel comfortable & safe while receiving care in our office. 

Here are the steps we’re taking to support a safe and healthy environment: 


A construction crew hoists our new air purifying equipment onto the roof of the building

A construction worker cuts holes in a treatment room floor to accommodate vents for our new negative airflow system

Workers pose with air pumps for our new negative airflow ventilation system

We’re modifying our scheduling to minimize the number of people in our office and instituting new patient flows around the office to minimize your physical contact with other patients.

Patients will be given the option to wait in their cars

We aim to move patients directly into treatment rooms as quickly as possible but are instituting social distancing procedures in our waiting room as well

We’re adding teledentistry, which allows you to have a meeting with your dentist over video chat, eliminating the need to come into the office for simple consults

 

State of the Art Air Ionization and Negative Pressure Ventilation – Ensuring a Clean and Safe Environment:

We’ve completely upgraded our HVAC system and added a CleanAir EXP system – a leading-edge air ionizing unit that virtually eliminates viruses, bacteria and other foreign bodies from the air in our facility.

CleanAir EXP has been shown to destroy 99.99% of Coronavirus from the air in less than 10 minutes. Negative pressure ventilation completely exchanges the air in each treatment room every five minutes. This high-tech ionization and evacuation system ensures the air you breathe will be clean and safe.

Our system will be functioning 24/7 and has sensors that continually test the air and automatically initiate the ionization process to prevent unsafe or virus-contaminated air from circulating.  This additional safety measure will result in your peace of mind during your visit to our practice.

 

Other risk mitigation efforts at MPDG:

In addition to the CleanAir EXP system, we are also initiating  a series of risk prevention measures so we can continue to provide an excellent experience without compromising your health or safety. When you come to MPDG for your next visit, here are a few changes you can expect: 

  • We’ll be asking pre screening questions when we schedule and confirm your appointment. This is to help ensure anyone who has symptoms of illness or who has been in contact with anyone who has symptoms of illness an opportunity to reschedule their appointment.
  • We’ll be scheduling our appointments in a way designed to reduce the number of people arriving in our office at any given time. Our aim is to move patients into a treatment room as quickly as possible after they arrive. This is to reduce the number of people in our waiting areas and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • We’ll be asking patients to arrive at our office wearing their own masks to help maintain an adequate supply of protective equipment for our team’s own needs. 
  • Upon arrival, you will be met in our entry by a team member, who will ask screening questions once again and provide you with hand sanitizer before entry to our facility.
  • We’ll be wearing additional personal protective equipment to ensure your safety and ours.
  • Protective barriers are in place to minimize your contact during business transactions.
  • If you have concerns about potential exposure, we’re adding teledentistry consultations to eliminate the need for you to be physically present to discuss your dental needs.  This allows you to have a virtual meeting online with your dentist.

 

Dental health is an integral part of overall health and we recognize your dental needs don’t stop because a pandemic is happening – if you’re having a dental emergency or are in need of care, reach out to us today. We’re available to provide the care you need while keeping your health and safety a top priority. 

 

We’re grateful for your cooperation and welcome your feedback

If there’s anything more we can do to make you feel comfortable and safe during your visits to our office, we encourage you to contact us.  We welcome your feedback as we continue to strive to make our facility safe and your experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.  

On behalf of the entire MPDG team, we want to express our gratitude to you, our patients. Thank you for trusting us with your care, health and safety.


Post-Op Care for Tooth Extractions

After a tooth extraction, good post-operative care by the patient at home is crucial to a successful recovery. While the extraction procedure is simple and often very quick, it is still a major oral surgery, requiring attention and care to heal properly and avoid any unpleasant complications. The good news is that with the right post-op care, healing after a tooth extraction is relatively quick and recovery time should be minimal. 

What To Expect

If you have been sedated during the procedure, you should plan on having a friend or family member drive you home. You’ll be sent home with complete instructions on how to take good care of the extraction site. We typically have you bite down on gauze, providing pressure to stop bleeding from the extraction, and will send you home with plenty more gauze to change out over the course of the day. This can be removed once the immediate bleeding stops. Following surgery, you can expect minor bleeding or “oozing” for the first two days. Swelling often takes a week or so to subside, with the worst occurring the second and third days after surgery. General pain and discomfort is expected, but should gradually improve over the course of five or seven days. You may also experience tightness and stiffness in your jaw.

Post-Op Instructions

It’s important to follow your post-visit instructions carefully. Not doing so can lead to a very painful condition called dry socket, in which the usual blood clot protecting the empty socket is disturbed or removed. This can leave bone and tissue exposed, causing great pain and slowing the healing process. To protect yourself from dry socket, avoid disturbing the blood clot. You can do that by avoiding any kind of smoking or tobacco use, avoiding the use of straws or any sucking motion in your mouth, waiting to brush and floss in the area until it’s completely healed, and avoiding rinsing or spitting too hard.

What Can I Eat?

For the first few days, you should stick to soft, cool foods that are neither hot nor cold. Soup at room temperature is good, and so are foods like pudding, cottage cheese, yogurt, applesauce and Jell-O. Stay away from carbonated, iced or hot beverages for several days. After three or four days, you can begin expanding your diet to other foods and temperatures, as long as they don’t cause you pain or discomfort.

Dental Hygiene

In the first 24 hours after a tooth extraction, don’t rinse your mouth at all. After that, we recommend gentle rinsing with lukewarm salt water after eating or drinking , using a tilting motion instead of swishing. You can continue this for a week or two depending on how well you’re healing. You can start brushing gently in other areas of your mouth on the second day, too. It’s not a good idea to brush right around the extraction site for at least two weeks.

Managing Pain

Depending on the patient and the surgery, you may be given prescription painkillers, or we may recommend using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications like Advil or Tylenol. Follow the instructions for any pain medications closely to avoid taking too much or not enough. You may also be prescribed a short course of antibiotics as a preventative measure. Using ice packs is always recommended to keep pain and swelling to a minimum. During the first 24 hours, use ice on the affected side of the jaw or face for 20 minutes at a time, taking at least 10 minutes off between rounds. After that, stop using ice and switch to gentle heat, like a warm wet towel or compress, to soothe the remaining pain and swelling. 

Following Up

Your MPDG dentist will schedule you a follow-up appointment to check on your progress in about two weeks after your tooth extraction. Be sure to bring any questions you have that may have come up during your recovery. And, if you have an increase in pain, swelling, bruising, start running a fever, or other complications before your follow-up visit, call your dentist and let them know right away. Infection and other complications after oral surgery are very rare, but if you’re worried, we’ll be happy to check up on you sooner and make sure everything’s all right. 


How Long Does Treatment with Invisalign Take?

When you’re trying to determine if Invisalign might be the right choice for straightening your teeth, a lot of questions may come to mind. A very common one is: How long does it really take for Invisalign to straighten my teeth? 

Invisalign aligners, an alternative to traditional braces, are nearly invisible, removable, and typically considered more comfortable by patients than traditional braces. They also require almost no food restrictions, are easier to keep clean, and typically have you in the dentist’s office for fewer appointments. They’re a great choice for many patients who seek teeth straightening. 

How long does treatment take? 

Monterey Peninsula Dental Group is a preferred provider for Invisalign treatment, and from experience, we know many patients worry that clear aligners will take much longer from beginning to end of treatment. It’s a misconception based on the gentler feel of aligners vs. braces, and the fact that they can be removed. 

That, however, just isn’t the case. Invisalign can equal a shorter treatment plan in some cases, and is comparable to traditional alignment treatments for most patients. If patients stick to their treatment plan and wear their aligners for the recommended amount of time daily, the process can be relatively quick. 

Clear aligners from Invisalign are customized for every patient, so the exact timeline to getting straight teeth is a little different for everyone. It’s recommended that patients wear their Invisalign aligners for 20-22 hours each day. By following their dentist’s treatment plan, patients typically use their aligners for around 12 to 18  months, approximately half the time of traditional braces.

Why is there such a difference compared to braces?

The reason Invisalign offers a faster course of treatment than braces for adults is due to the personalized approach of clear aligners. Patients have their aligners changed approximately twice a month, and sometimes even more often, whereas braces are adjusted less frequently. 

For many patients, changing Invisalign aligners doesn’t require a new appointment twice a month in order to see the dentist. In most instances, the new aligners can be changed at home with appointments being required just once every six weeks for checkups and any additional adjustments that may need to be made. 

In fact, patients will likely spend less time in the dentist’s chair than they would with braces due to the latter’s occasional issues like broken wires and brackets. 

What is the personalized approach with Invisalign? 

Your Monterey Peninsula Dental Group family dentist will create a full digital model of your teeth right in the office using cutting-edge 3D scanning equipment. The complete model of your teeth is then processed into a set of correctly-fitting, BPA-free clear plastic aligners, created in a lab. Such advanced techniques allow patients to use their clear aligners 20-22 hours a day, which results in a shorter treatment time to the final result of straighter teeth and a more confident smile. While the Invisalign process can be a little different for everyone, we encourage you to get in touch with us and find out how it might work best for you.


What Are The Symptoms of Dry Socket?

If you’ve ever been around anyone who has had a tooth extracted, you have no doubt heard the phrase “dry socket”. The condition, also known as alveolar osteitis, sometimes happens when a patient has one of their permanent adult teeth extracted via dental procedure. It is the most common complication following a dental extraction.

If a tooth extraction is in your future, it’s important to be informed and aware of what a dry socket is, what the symptoms are, and what to do if the condition does occur. 

The goal of any tooth extraction is to perform the surgery with minimal pain and discomfort.  Once the tooth is removed, it’s expected that a blood clot will form at the extraction site. That clot works to protect the underlying bone and the nerves within the now-empty socket. The clot eventually helps the patient’s body form soft tissue over the tooth socket, and promotes growth of new bone beneath the soft tissue. 

However, there are times when that blood clot fails to develop, or gets dislodged before the extraction site has a chance to heal properly,  and that’s when dry socket can begin. 

What is dry socket? 

When that blood clot fails to protect the exposed bone and nerve endings left behind following an extraction, a dry socket begins to form. The socket becomes inflamed, and intense pain begins to develop typically within one to three days following the tooth extraction. That pain isn’t usually limited to just the socket, but also along the side of a patient’s face as the irritated nerves begin to react. As food debris and other irritants enter the socket, the pain typically grows. 

Unfortunately, typical pain medications available over the counter are usually not capable of relieving the pain of a dry socket. If patients begin to suffer pain at the extraction site or are concerned dry socket may be developing, it is important to contact their MPDG dentist to determine if they need to come in and be seen. 

What are the symptoms of dry socket?

There are multiple symptoms of a dry socket, and those include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Intense pain radiating from the extraction site within a few days following the removal of the tooth
  • The loss of the blood clot in the empty socket, which can usually be confirmed visually and sometimes includes visible bone
  • Pain that extends from the socket along the side of the face and possibly to the temple and around the side of the neck 
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth, often accompanied by bad breath or an undesirable odor emanating from the mouth

How can you prevent dry socket? 

It’s important to follow all your dentist’s instructions for home care after a tooth extraction. Patients are cautioned against several things that can lead to the blood clot either not forming well or becoming dislodged or broken up. 

When you first resume eating and drinking, avoid the extraction site by chewing on the other side of your mouth, and stick to soft foods only. Staying hydrated is important after dental surgery, but avoid using straws or allowing liquid to slosh around the extraction site. Any kind of sucking or swishing movement in your mouth can dislodge the clot and lead to dry socket. 

Avoid sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages while your mouth is healing, and most importantly, avoid any kind of tobacco use. Tobacco use is the main cause of dry socket, because it prevents good clotting and introduces bacteria into the mouth, along with slowing your body’s natural healing processes. The inhalation and exhalation of smoking a cigarette or other tobacco product, or chewing tobacco, also can disturb the blood clot and pull it out of place.

Follow the aftercare instructions for dental hygiene closely to help prevent dry socket. These include avoiding the area with toothbrush, floss or mouthwash for the first 48 hours after an extraction, and refraining from brushing for several days. Instead, you can rinse your mouth gently by tilting your head back and forth, using lukewarm saltwater or an antibacterial mouthwash. Be careful not to disturb the area until a good clot forms in the socket and your healing is well underway. 

If you have any questions after a tooth extraction or concerns for your MPDG dentist to address, contact our offices anytime. 

 


Invisalign vs. Smile Direct Club

It’s not uncommon to look in the mirror while you’re getting ready in the morning and find yourself being less than enthused about any crooked teeth you may see reflecting back at you. The desire to have straight teeth and a beautiful smile is shared by a large portion of the American public, as has been shown by a boom in the number of companies offering clear aligner products

The clear aligner industry is essentially dominated by two companies — Invisalign, which was founded in 1997, and Smile Direct Club, established in 2014. Clear aligners can create generally straighter teeth, but they also treat many different smile issues such as gapped teeth, crowding of teeth, open bites and cross bites, and even overbites or underbites. Before you make the decision to get clear aligners, it is important to find out which product is the better option. 

Invisalign Vs. Smile Direct Club

Which brand of aligner is best for you may depend on what problems you’re trying to fix, and how much risk you’re willing to take by handling your own aligners, versus having your treatment overseen by a dental professional. While both Smile Direct Club and Invisalign can handle simple cosmetic straightening cases, Invisalign also has aligner options that can treat more complex dental needs. 

Comparing the two in terms of treatment isn’t quite apples-to-apples as a result. Smile Direct Club promises a treatment time of six months at a typically lower cost than Invisalign, which can take up to 18 months to complete. But the shorter, cheaper option might not be the best one for your oral health and long-term smile improvement. 

Differences in Fitting

While the companies have similar products, the process of getting your fitted clear aligners is completely different between them. If a customer doesn’t live near one of Smile Direct Club’s SmileShops, he or she would have to order the product and have it sent to their home. Then, customers will have to make their own dental impression at home. Sometimes the customer doesn’t have complete success in that process, and the end result is a clear aligner that doesn’t properly fit.

Invisalign takes the at-home human error out of the equation. Your Monterey Peninsula Dental Group dentist will take complete 3D scans of your teeth right in the office. Those scans will result in a complete model of your teeth, which is then processed into a set of correctly-fitting, BPA-free clear aligners. To do this, Invisalign uses an advanced form of 3D printing that actually makes them the largest worldwide user of the technology. 

Invisalign aligners also have the option to use small attachments between your aligners and the teeth in need of straightening, which are placed by your dentist, and allow them to tweak and customize how the aligners are moving your teeth. Smile Direct Club aligners don’t have this feature, which can lead to aligners slipping and improper pressure on the teeth. If you have any existing dental issues, at-home aligners not only might not work to straighten your teeth, but they could do your bite and smile harm. A qualified dentist can use your dental history to individualize your clear aligners and get the most out of the treatment. That’s why we always recommend Invisalign to MPDG patients and carefully help them through the process in our office. 

As for the aligners themselves? Well, there’s not much difference; they are made from similar materials, and the process by which they straighten your teeth is essentially the same. But, there are some key differences in how supervised and personalized your treatment will be, and that can have real effects on the results you get from your aligners. 

Dentist Supervision

The fitting process isn’t the only place Smile Direct Club and Invisalign differ. With Smile Direct Club, you get your aligners mailed to your home and you switch them out as you progress through the treatment plan. Invisalign, however, has a more hands-on approach that involves your dentist helping create an individual care plan with personalized attention to ensure your teeth are properly moving in the right direction. 

The involvement of your dentist is really the largest difference between the two companies and their products. With Smile Direct Club, you have the opportunity to arrange for a phone consultation, but personal attention beyond that is minimal. That leaves the customer to determine if the clear aligner is pushing their teeth too far, or even causing damage in the mouth. 

Invisalign doesn’t leave customers with those kind of worries. The continual involvement of your dentist in your treatment plan means you’ll always have a professional available to regularly check on your progress and give you peace of mind. Get in touch with us to find out more — We work closely with Invisalign as a preferred provider, and recommend their products to our patients who are seeking a straighter, more beautiful smile. 


How Are Invisalign Aligners Made?

If you’re looking at Invisalign as an option for straightening your teeth, you may be wondering just what exactly it is you’d be wearing in your mouth for months to come. 

Invisalign aligners are made individually for each patient based on digital scans taken from their own teeth and bite. The teeth-straightening system works by gradually moving from one set of aligners to another over the course of the treatment, and reshaping your smile along with them. In the same way that traditional metal braces are tightened or adjusted to guide teeth into a new shape, Invisalign aligners will put gradual pressure on your teeth to move them into their new places. 

Sometimes, your dentist may apply small tooth-colored protrusions to your teeth before you begin using Invisalign aligners. These are called SmartForce attachments, and allow your dentist to straighten teeth that are difficult to move or need multiple directions of force to be moved. They attach to the aligners and allow them to exert force more precisely on teeth that might present a more complex problem. The attachments allow Invisalign aligners to do more and help address issues that otherwise might call for metal traditional braces. 

What They’re Made Of

The clear, removable aligners are made from a patented material from Invisalign called SmartTrack. It’s called this because it’s made with small blue indicators that can tell you or your parents whether you’ve been wearing the aligners long enough each day to accomplish your goals. (Invisalign patients usually need to wear the aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours a day to stay on track with their progress.) 

SmartTrack is an extremely durable, BPA-free hard plastic material that is clear, and fits closely to your teeth. These qualities make the aligners near-invisible, which looks more pleasing than metal braces typically do. The material is chosen for comfort while wearing, and to fit your teeth tightly. It is tough, but light and flexible, and capable of gently moving your teeth during treatment.

How Aligners Are Made

The process starts at your MPDG dentist’s office, as he or she will create a custom treatment plan for you. A detailed digital scan is taken of your teeth with a scanner designed specifically for that purpose. That’s used to create a 3D image of your bite and smile. The images allow your dentist to map out a thorough, exact treatment plan that will gradually move your teeth into the desired new shape. At this point, you’ll also know about how long Invisalign treatment will take for your needs — it can be different for each person.

Your aligners are made by Invisalign at a lab, using an advanced 3D printing process. (An interesting fact for you — Invisalign is actually the world’s largest user of this kind of cutting-edge 3D printing.) When they’re ready, they’ll be sent to your dentist, who will then check to make sure they fit correctly. The aligners are trimmed to fit your gumline comfortably, based on the scans of your teeth taken earlier. 

Over the course of your treatment plan, you’ll switch through several sets of aligners. Each set helps you progress toward your end goal of having straight teeth. You can usually expect to move on to the next set of aligners every few weeks, but the timing is an individual process that depends on the condition of your teeth and what problems your dentist is treating with Invisalign. 

Our Invisalign Experience

Monterey Peninsula Dental Group is proud to be an Invisalign Preferred Provider. This means we’ve gone through certification with Invisalign to prove we are well-versed in using the Invisalign system, and have continually and successfully treated many cases with it. In fact, we are a top Invisalign provider for the Monterey Peninsula. It also means our staff is familiar with helping our patients through the billing and insurance process with Invisalign and can answer all your Invisalign questions. Get in touch with us to find out more about whether Invisalign might be right for your dental goals.


Invisalign vs. Braces: Which Is Best For You?

If you have orthodontic issues like gapped teeth, an overbite or underbite, crooked teeth, an open bite and other irregularities in your smile, you may be considering braces or Invisalign to fix them. At Monterey Peninsula Dental Group, we’re a preferred provider for Invisalign in the Monterey Peninsula, with lots of experience helping our patients with Invisalign.

One major difference is that Invisalign can be done through your general dentist’s office, eliminating the need for additional appointments with an orthodontist. Traditional braces need to be put on and maintained with the help of an orthodontist, while Invisalign is easily removable at home for eating and cleaning. This feature also makes Invisalign attractive to many people, because you can eliminate the tricky brushing and flossing needed to keep braces clean and teeth healthy. With Invisalign, you remove the aligner trays and brush and floss normally, then replace the trays.

Treatment times and costs can be quite similar between Invisalign and braces, but both depend on individual patient needs, and how long it will take to address the issues with each patient’s smile. No matter which you choose, it’s important to have well-aligned teeth and a solid bite, which help you eat and talk more effectively. Crooked or misaligned teeth are also at higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease, since they are harder to keep clean.

Why Invisalign?

For many patients, the biggest draw to Invisalign is the improved aesthetic appearance of your smile. It’s made with clear plastic forms called aligners, that fit tightly over your teeth and gradually guide them into the new, desired places. So, unlike braces, when you smile, all that can be seen is the clear aligners over your own teeth, not metal brackets and wires. Patients also typically report less mouth pain with Invisalign, which is a more gentle, and sometimes slower, approach to reshaping your smile. And, patients who play contact sports should be aware that Invisalign is a safer choice than braces, to lower the risk of orthodontic or soft tissue injuries to the mouth from such sports.

Invisalign is an effective orthodontic treatment and has been around for about 20 years now. They’re suitable for both teens and adults, and are customized to each patient. Your MPDG dentist will start by taking digital 3D images of your teeth, then have the aligners made to fit them precisely. Over the course of months, you’ll receive several sets of new aligners, each one getting your teeth a little closer to the final goal. Invisalign aligners are easy to clean and come with an Invisalign cleaning system to help you keep them clean.

Why Braces?

Even with all the benefits and good qualities of Invisalign, there are good reasons why you and your dentist might want to choose braces for you instead. There are some complex orthodontic problems that Invisalign can’t fully address. For instance, if you have persistent bite issues with your back teeth, or if teeth need to be moved vertically or rotated, braces are a more effective choice. Patients with existing bridgework should also not use Invisalign, because the pressure on the teeth can’t be customized to protect the bridgework the way an orthodontist can with braces.

Another consideration, especially for teenagers, is whether they will have the discipline to keep Invisalign aligners in for up to 22 hours a day. Braces can’t be taken out, so you can be sure they are working. However, Invisalign has come up with blue indicators on the aligners so that parents can check and see if their teens are wearing the aligners enough.

Every patient is different, so it’s important to talk with your dentist about which treatment option is the best for you. Whether it’s Invisalign or braces or another option, MPDG is here to help point you in the right direction to solve your dental problems and help you get the smile you want to see.


What to Expect with Dental Sedation

Dental sedation doesn’t need to be a fearful or worrisome experience for patients — It’s a very common procedure that makes many dental treatments easier to perform, and helps patients relax and get through the treatment pain-free.

There are a variety of drugs used in dental sedation, and which ones your dentist will use depends on factors like age, weight, overall health, any allergies, anxiety and other medical conditions, and what procedure is being done. They include medications for pain control, to induce sleep, and to help relaxation.

Sedation vs. Anesthesia

Sedation is different from anesthesia. With nearly every dental procedure, a local anesthetic is also used, whether you’re sedated or not. This is usually done with a precisely targeted local injection in your mouth to numb the area being worked on and ensure you don’t feel pain during treatment. Local anesthetic wears off over the course of a few hours after it’s given. There are no special precautions or side effects associated with it, except we usually advise patients to be careful while biting or chewing, to avoid damaging the numbed area while they can’t feel it.

In some major oral surgeries, like wisdom teeth extraction, you may also undergo general anesthesia, which results in a temporary loss of consciousness during the procedure. When this is used, patients are not awake or aware of anything while under anesthesia. Recovery can take up to a day before you’ll be back to normal, and you won’t remember the experience.

Conscious Sedation

More commonly, some form of conscious sedation is used to reduce fear, anxiety and pain in dental office visits. The experience of being sedated is a little different for everyone, but there are some common things you can expect during each kind of sedation. What type of sedation you’ll have depends on what kind of dental work is being done, how long it will take, and your own personal medical history. Often, dental sedation is used for both children and anxious patients to help them relax and get through the procedure calmly and safely. It’s also possible to combine two different forms of sedation for patients who are very anxious or who have challenges or resistances to anesthesia.

Oral Sedation

This is a form of conscious sedation induced with oral medications before the procedure. Oral sedation is good for longer or more complex dental work, and is always customized to the needs of each patient. Patients take a combination of sedatives and anti-anxiety medications before their treatment. When they arrive at the dentist’s office, the dentist gives them additional medication if needed.

When the dentist is sure you’re adequately and safely sedated, he or she can proceed with the needed dental procedures. Patients report this experience is like being half-asleep and half-awake. They often can respond to direct questions or instructions, but don’t remember much about the procedures themselves once the sedation wears off. Typically, people who have oral sedation will be feeling normal again soon, but we don’t suggest that they drive, work, or make big plans for the rest of their day, to allow the effects of the medications to completely clear their system.

Nitrous Oxide

Often called laughing gas, this form of sedation is given in gas form through a nasal mask or tube before and during dental procedures. The gas is odorless and takes effect quickly, and the dose is calculated for each patient. This method is common for sedating children, because its effects fade quickly afterward and its use allows patients to remain fully conscious. What patients report feeling with nitrous oxide sedation is a sense of relaxation, comfort, and happiness, which gives the gas its popular nickname.

There is no memory loss after nitrous oxide sedation, and adult patients can often drive themselves home or go back to work. Children sometimes experience sleepiness or nausea afterward, so it’s best if they don’t return to school or daycare.

At Monterey Peninsula Dental Group, our concern is always our patients’ well-being. We understand that undergoing sedation can be a frightening idea for many people, and we work hard to minimize any associated risks. With any anesthesia or sedation, we carefully monitor each patient’s responses and vital signs to ensure the medications are working throughout the treatment. We also ensure our staff and dentists who administer sedatives and anesthetics are well-trained and qualified to do so, and follow all guidelines for patient safety closely. Your dentist will work with you to explain every step of the sedation process and what you can expect.


How Safe is Sedation Dentistry?

While it may seem being sedated during a dental visit could be risky, that impression couldn’t be farther from the truth. One misconception that leads to worries about sedation dentistry is that it’s like undergoing anesthesia before surgery. In reality, it’s more like taking a prescription sedative for most patients.

For patients who have fears or anxiety about dental work, sedation before procedures actually makes the experience safer and more comfortable. If you struggle with going to the dentist because of worry, fear or anxiety, or if you’ve had negative past experiences with dental work, gentle sedation can help. Other reasons to have sedation dentistry or conscious sedation might include having phobias of needles or drills, having a poor gag reflex or a resistance to anesthetics. Sedation can also help patients who need long, in-depth dental treatments or who have a limited amount of time and need a lot of dental work performed.

At MPDG, we also offer sedation to help children who are very fearful at the dentist’s office, or who have to undergo long dental procedures and may not be able to keep still. Parents are often understandably concerned about having their child sedated. Your MPDG dentist will be happy to talk with you and answer any questions about the safety and efficacy of sedation. For most patients, including children, it is a very safe and comfortable experience.

Types of Sedation

Dental sedation can be done in a few different ways. Choosing a method depends on the patient, what kind of dental work is needed, and how long a procedure might take.

Oral conscious sedation is what is usually referred to when we talk about sedation dentistry. This type of sedation is done with oral medications taken before the dental appointment. The type and amount of sedative medication depends on the patient, and is carefully personalized to ensure the right amount of sedation. These may also include anti-anxiety medication if that is the reason for the sedation.

This method results in a relaxed, half-awake state during the treatment. Patients can still respond to directions from the dentist and won’t be unconscious. With conscious sedation, you’ll need someone to take you to and from the appointment, as driving is not possible for the patient.

Nitrous oxide sedation is another choice, best suited for simpler or shorter treatments, as its effects don’t last as long. It’s especially good for children who may need sedation during routine appointments. Sometimes called laughing gas, it’s administered through a breathing mask or tube, and customized precisely to suit each individual patient. Patients don’t fall asleep during nitrous oxide sedation, and can usually go back to work or drive themselves home afterward.

Risks of Sedation

The safety of our patients is our top concern when using any kind of sedation or anesthetic. We adhere closely to all medical guidelines for amounts of sedative and techniques used to administer them. There are, however, a few factors that might require we avoid the use of sedation for a specific patient. Some lifestyle habits, like smoking and drinking, may affect sedation, as do some medications and health conditions, like sleep apnea. A thorough health history is taken to ensure every patient’s safety.

During sedation, we carefully monitor heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs, to make sure sedation is safe and effective throughout dental treatment.

Children can sometimes have difficulty dealing with the aftereffects of sedation, which may include dizziness, sleepiness and nausea. We always recommend that children who undergo sedation dentistry do not go back to school or daycare afterward, and that they are monitored by a parent or responsible adult.

We’re also happy to answer any questions or explain steps of sedation and monitoring to patients who are curious about the process. Our staff places the highest priority on making each and every patient feel comfortable with their dental care, and sedation dentistry offers us options for doing just that. Get in touch with your MPDG dentist with any questions or concerns you have about sedation.

 


Veneers Vs. Crowns

Among the many restorative dentistry technologies available to improve your smile and correct dental problems, it’s easy to get lost in comparing treatments and trying to figure out what the right approach for you personally might be. Here, we’ll talk about two of the more versatile options to restore good dental health and appearance: veneers and crowns.

Repairing Damaged Teeth

Both crowns and veneers have the ability to fix several common dental problems. Gaps between teeth, misshapen or crooked teeth, stains and discolorations, and minor cracks and chips are some of the dental issues for which you might be considering a crown or veneer.

Sometimes, the location of the tooth will have an impact on which is a better choice. For instance, front teeth are the most visible, and concerns about appearance might make a veneer a more attractive option when we’re trying to fix damaged teeth in the front of the mouth. The severity and location of the damage is also a consideration. Veneers are placed on one side of the tooth, while crowns repair the tops of teeth. It’s also possible to combine both restorative options depending on how extensive the damage or discoloration is and how many teeth are affected.

Veneers

Here’s a little on how veneers work, and what might make them the right restorative choice for your smile. The veneers we use are extremely thin, porcelain shells that we bond directly to the front surface of the teeth in question. This stabilizes small chips and cracks, but would not address deep cracking or damage to the tops and backs of teeth.

Appearance-wise, porcelain veneers create a very attractive, clean, white and natural-looking smile, so they’re the treatment of choice for cosmetic issues like staining, discoloration, and badly shaped teeth. Crooked and gapped teeth also are common reasons for choosing veneers. If you have issues with your tooth enamel, the porcelain can help protect your teeth in place of healthy enamel.

Veneers are made especially for each patient, to match each individual tooth. They also blend in well with your other teeth, able to take on your natural tooth color because of the thinness of the ceramic layer. Veneers typically last anywhere from 10 to 15 years, and would have to be replaced after that.

Crowns

Crowns are also sometimes made partially of porcelain or ceramic, and traditional gold crowns are another option. Crowns, sometimes called caps, are also made to custom-fit each tooth on an individual basis. They can cover the top of the tooth and wrap around the upper part of the sides, fitting precisely as needed to cover damage, and support broken or cracked teeth. They also can smooth out jagged top edges of teeth, and preserve and strengthen damaged or worn-down teeth that otherwise might be at risk of needing a root canal or even extraction.

Crowns consist of a tooth-like covering that’s both protective and supportive, placed over the top of your natural tooth. They can be attached to other dental work, like bridges, and are a permanent restorative procedure. There are different types of crown materials and methods of fabrication, which your MPDG dentist can discuss with you and evaluate which is best in your case.

Both veneers and crowns are created in our office, customized for each individual patient using CEREC technology. This allows us to serve our patients quickly and effectively with the best dental technology available. If you’re wondering what your choices are for improving your smile, we’re happy to consult with you about how best to address your dental concerns — get in touch with us online anytime, or book an appointment with us to see a qualified and experienced MPDG dentist.