Keith and Associates

5 Ways Veneers Will Transform Your Smile FAST

When it comes to our teeth, wear and tear happens. Some of us are more prone to chips, damage, or staining either because of genetics or lifestyle. Porcelain veneers are a fast and easy way to get the smile you’ve always wanted, even if your teeth have sustained some damage.

This cosmetic procedure is quick, minimally invasive, and relatively affordable. Here are just a few of the many ways veneers can transform your smile into pearly whites you’re proud of.

Restore your teeth from cracks, chips, and damage

One of the most popular reasons to get veneers is to correct uneven teeth. Chipped, broken teeth or even teeth that are naturally smaller than the others can be quickly repaired to give you a symmetrical and beautiful smile.

Whiten teeth with stubborn stains

While teeth whitening technology has certainly gotten better in recent years with in-office services like GLO Whitening, some stains just won’t budge. Tooth discoloration can come from all sorts of sources that whitening treatments can’t solve, like some prescription drugs, root canals, or large fillings. Porcelain veneers are crafted to match the look and color of natural teeth to restore your smile to a youthful white luster, no matter how stubborn the stains.

 Close small gaps without braces

Smaller gaps in your teeth are no problem for veneers. If you have minor space between two teeth, porcelain veneers can be bonded to close it up to restore your smile. More significant gaps are better suited for orthodontic solutions like Invisalign. It’s best to talk to your dentist to see which solution will work for your situation.

Less gum, more grin

Some of us have shorter teeth, or our upper lip just tends to rise pretty high when we flash our brightest smile, which can cause a “gummy” look. This can make a smile feel disproportionate or strangely positioned. Veneers can add some length to your teeth, which gives some smiles the height they need to feel balanced with the gumline. If you have an “overactive” upper lip, we can even inject a little Botox to relax it and create the perfectly balanced smile you’ve always wanted.

Confident smiles are beautiful smiles

The best smiles are confident smiles. When you’re proud of your teeth, you show it with genuine grins and whole-hearted laughs without the worry of judgment. Unfortunately, even if we whiten or straighten, or smile, we just don’t like our overall tooth shape. It’s not uncommon to feel that the look of our teeth doesn’t fit our face shape, or maybe it lacks that ideal Hollywood style. Veneers can soften the curve of your teeth for a youthful look, square them for the ultimate celebrity smile, or adjust the sizes of prominent teeth to address your individual concerns.

A confident smile is a beautiful smile. Veneers provide us with the ability to reshape your teeth for a total teeth and self-esteem transformation.

Porcelain veneers are a simple procedure that is relatively pain-free. However, they are best placed by a doctor experienced in cosmetic dentistry to ensure they are the correct color, shape, and strength.

The doctors at keith + associates have years of experience in smile restoration.  If you’re interested in taking steps towards achieving the smile you’ve always wanted, call us at 913-384-0044 or schedule an appointment online to get started.

Invisalign Clear Aligners for Teeth Straightening: How it Works

Before Invisalign, our options for straighter teeth typically involved metal braces. Braces are highly effective and can correct even severely misaligned jaws, but a perfect smile is attainable without the brackets for most crooked teeth.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a system of clear, custom aligners that fit snugly to your teeth to gently move them into the proper position over a period of months. Since the aligners are made from a transparent and flexible thermoplastic, they’re both sturdy and hardly visible.

As you progress through your treatment plan, you’ll use a series of trays to mold your teeth slowly and gently to the proper position. The aligners are designed to be worn most of the time—in fact, for best results, you wear them for 20-22 hours! Don’t worry. After you get used to them, they’re comfortable and barely noticeable.

What issues can Invisalign treat?

Invisalign is primarily associated with straightening smiles. These clear aligners are highly effective at adjusting the placement of your teeth to close gaps and reduce crowding. However, there are other distinct health benefits that clear aligners like Invisalign can provide.

  • Achieve a perfect smile
    In most cases, Invisalign can correct your teeth alignment in around 12-18 months.
  • Mild to moderate bite correction
    Misaligned bites can wear down your teeth, cause jaw pain, make chewing difficult, and cause speech impediments. Crossbites, overbites, and underbites can often be treated by using Invisalign. Correcting your bite concerns can help correct difficulties chewing, prevent painful injuries caused by unintentional bites to your tongue or cheek, and protect your enamel from grinding teeth.
  • Prevent tooth decay
    Crowded teeth that overlap give bacteria and plaque all sorts of nooks and crevices to hide in that are difficult for even the most advanced toothbrushes or floss to reach. After your teeth are straightened out, bacteria will have less of a place to hide, making your daily brushing sessions and dental cleanings far more effective.
  • Boost your self-esteem
    The mental health toll that comes from being self-conscious about your teeth shouldn’t be understated. Alignment correction helps patients feel more at ease, smile more freely, and feel more confident in their appearance.

Though Invisalign is versatile for most mouths, there are some situations where metal braces are more appropriate for your desired results. Invisalign may not be the right option for you if you have short or round teeth, highly rotated teeth, gaps larger than 6mm, or previous dental work like veneers, crowns, or bridges. If you’re interested and think you fit this criteria—don’t be discouraged. Go ahead and talk your options over with your dentist to see if Invisalign will work for you.

Benefits of Invisalign Over Other Treatment Options

Braces

Invisalign isn’t nearly as visible as traditional metal braces and won’t irritate the inside of your lips or cheeks like braces do. The other benefit of Invisalign is that you can eat any food you’d like during treatment since you’ll take your aligner out during meals. On the other hand, braces require a strict diet that avoids hard, chewy, or sticky foods.

Online aligner companies

Websites have popped up all over the internet, offering supposedly inexpensive clear aligner programs. However, these websites provide treatments that use inaccurate molding methods and aren’t monitored by a dentist.

Some may have good luck with these aligners, however, it’s a gamble. With online companies, you just can’t guarantee the materials will be of high quality, that your aligners will properly fit, or that your progress will be ideal.

Invisalign Treatment Process

Invisalign is a relatively simple process, but it does require a commitment to a few consistent appointments, regular cleaning, and extra care to ensure you get your wear time in. Let’s break down the process so you’ll know exactly what to expect from start to finish.

Initial Appointment

You’ll start by working directly with one of our dentists to ensure that Invisalign is a good fit for your smile goals. If you and your dentist agree that you are an ideal candidate, we’ll work together to determine your treatment time and protocol.

In the past, the mold of your teeth was created using a gooey dental putty that wasn’t much fun or entirely accurate. That isn’t the case now, thanks to advanced technology. Instead, we’ll use a digital scanner to analyze your teeth and create a 3D mold quickly. This method only takes a few minutes, is highly accurate, and can be received at the lab creating your aligners the same day.

While performing your digital scan, your dentist will also simulate what your smile will look like after your complete your Invisalign treatments.

Starting Your Aligners

Once we receive your aligners back from the laboratory, it’s time for your fitting. In some cases, you may have small, clear attachments placed on your teeth to help your aligners fit correctly. These are barely noticeable and temporary. After your aligners are on and you understand the process moving forward, you’ll be ready to get on a clear path to straight teeth.

Now, you will wear your aligners all the time except when you are eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth. When you have your aligners out, go ahead and rinse them out before putting them back in.

While most wouldn’t describe Invisalign as painful, it can cause some mild soreness when you are first fitted with your aligners or when you change sizes.

Progress Reports

After a few weeks, your dentist will want to check in with you to make sure that your teeth are progressing properly. You will have these types of appointments periodically under your dentist’s guidance, however, switching to a new set of aligners will be done at home.

App-Powered Guidance

The nice thing about our approach to Invisalign is not every check-in needs to be in person. We use the app AlignFlow to provide virtual care outside of your regular in-person check-in appointments. This provides you with an easy form of communication so we can answer your questions and track much of your progress without the need for you to visit the office quite as regularly.

The app is truly the best of both worlds. You get detailed, in-person treatment alongside remote monitoring that nets great results with less time in the dentist’s chair.

Finish Line

After you have completed your treatment plan, you’ll have straight teeth! To protect your hard work, you’ll need to wear a retainer regularly at night for a while to give your bones time to adjust to your new teeth positions. Once your jaw settles, you can reduce your time wearing the retainer under the guidance of your dentist.

How much does Invisalign cost?

The cost of Invisalign varies based on your treatment plan, insurance coverage, and individual needs. At keith + associates, we partner with CareCredit to help make monthly payment plans easy and affordable.

Get started with Invisalign

Invisalign has been proven for over 20 years to provide great teeth straightening results safely, comfortably, and affordably. When clear aligners are correctly cleaned and cared for, they blend in with your teeth almost seamlessly, so you can smile with ease, even during treatment.

If you’re ready to get started with Invisalign, the experienced doctors at keith + associates are here to help. Our friendly staff is excited to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. Call us at 913-384-0044 or book an appointment online to get started on the path towards beautifully straight teeth.

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All-On-4 Dental Implants: A Better Choice for Smile Restoration


If you’ve suffered significant tooth loss, we want you to know that you’re not alone. More than 35 million Americans are missing all their upper or lower teeth. No one should have to live with the mental and physical health toll from a failing smile.

The loss of tooth structure is not only linked to low self-esteem but also brings with it changes to your face’s appearance, speech impediments, chewing difficulties, and bone loss.

Aging, mouth trauma, poor oral hygiene, and genetic predisposition can all lead to tooth loss. No matter the cause, there are modern solutions to fully restore your smile without the discomfort and impaired bite ability that traditionally comes with dentures.

The skilled team at keith + associates are here to help you navigate your smile restoration journey. All of our doctors, including Dr. Bill Keith and Dr. Ekta Patel use modern techniques and digital accuracy to help countless members of the community smile again. Dr. Bill is even a Fellow at the International Dental Implant Association.

When it comes to full-arch dental implants using All-On-4 implants, Dr. Bill’s recommendation for the procedure was glowing, “Once your permanent fixed full-arch bridge is in place, you’re able to eat your favorite foods and retain 98% of your biting function. They are the most comparable to your natural teeth.”

What are All-On-4 Dental Implants?

All-On-4 dental implants are an efficient and permanent way to provide a patient with a full fixed-arch bridge—so, basically, to fully replace your smile. The prosthesis is attached to four implants placed strategically throughout the mouth. The result is a new smile fixed in place, that looks natural, and functions much like your original teeth.

All-On-4 Dental Implants Benefits

  • Convenient and Cost-Efficient
    The main procedure only takes a single surgery. You will leave with brand new teeth in a day!
  • No Additional Surgeries
    Some implant procedure types require additional bone graft surgeries that add weeks of healing to your recovery time. All-On-4 implants generally do not require bone grafts, but if they are needed, they’re performed along with your implants in a single procedure. No additional surgeries required.
  • Comfortable Fit and Stability
    Your new smile will be custom-tailored and fit to your mouth. According to Dr. Bill, the process is seamless, and “All the planning is done digitally, so it’s extremely accurate and efficient for the patient.”
  • Natural Look and Function
    Anyone who sees your smile will never know you have a fixed-arch bridge. Your teeth will look completely natural, all the way down to the color. Since the prosthesis is permanent, you can also chew and speak easily.

All-On-4 Dental Implants vs. Dentures

Think back to your grandparents. For generations, dentures were the most common way to handle extensive tooth loss. While denture creation has advanced in recent years, removable teeth replacements come with significant lifestyle challenges.

Dentures cause bone loss

Dentures do restore your smile, but they don’t protect your jawbones from deterioration. Dentures rest on a bony ridge once structured by your teeth. With only empty sockets, as you bite or place pressure on your dentures, your ridge will start to wear away.

When you undergo the All-On-4 procedure, your new implants will act as a new tooth root structure and help prevent bone loss.

Dentures cause sore spots

Improper cleaning or inaccurate bite can cause frustrating sore spots in your gums. Dentures need nightly removal and proper cleaning to avoid irritation and pain.

Your new teeth will permanently affix to the implants in the All-On-4 method. You brush, water floss, and maintain them just as you would your natural teeth—no removal required. Also, since the bridge is attached to the implants and not your gums, pressure sores are a non-issue.

Dentures severely limit the foods you can enjoy

While adhesives help keep your dentures from shifting while you eat, you still must be careful about the meals you enjoy. Sticky or firm foods can cause your dentures to slip and slide, causing extra irritation.

Even worse, spicy, acidic, or hot beverages can also trigger irritation or get under the acrylic piece which rests against your palate and burn your skin.

Dr. Bill estimates that you’ll only retain about 30% of your biting function with traditional dentures. This means many foods that most people enjoy, like salads, steaks, hamburgers, chewy bacon, crunchy croutons, or crispy tortilla chips are out of the question.

Your full recovery after the All-On-4 procedure will take about 6 months, during which you’ll only be able to eat soft foods. However, once you fully recover and your permanent smile is in place, your new teeth can handle almost all foods without issue. There’s no need to say goodbye to biting into a crisp apple or crunching into fresh corn on the cob.

How long do All-On-4 Dental Implants last?

The implants themselves are permanent. During your recovery, they will slowly fuse with your jawbone to give your prosthesis a sturdy foundation that lasts for a lifetime.

Your full-arch bridge, however, will see wear and tear from daily smiles, bites, and chewing. With proper care and maintenance, they will last a long time. To keep your new teeth looking and functioning great, you’ll need to properly practice good oral hygiene and maintain a regular cleaning schedule with your dentist, just as you would with natural teeth.

When it comes time to replace your permanent full-arch prosthesis, there is no need for further oral surgery. Instead, we will fit you with a new prosthesis arch that is installed painlessly in the dentist’s chair—no numbing necessary.

Who is a good candidate for All-On-4 Dental Implants?

Most candidates have significant tooth loss along their dental ridge, have already transitioned to dentures, or are currently losing teeth and extensive dental work is no longer serving them.  In these cases, someone could be a good candidate for All-On-4 implants regardless of age. The most important requirement is that you must have a strong jawbone and gum structure to support the implants. If you have suffered bone or tissue loss, communicate openly with your dentist to see what your best options may be.

Dr. Ekta has helped numerous patients through this process. She explained that generally, the ideal candidate is “Someone who has had extensive dental work or is quickly losing teeth.” She also noted that “Periodontal disease patients who have some bone loss that caused them to lose teeth” are also strong candidates.

All-On-4 Dental Implant Process

The All-On-4 Dental Implant process is relatively quick at keith + associates, with only a few major appointment requirements due to their efficient process. According to Dr. Bill, “The traditional way takes about 12 appointments, but with our digital accuracy, we can knock it to less than half that.”

 Consultation

The first step is the consultation. In this appointment, you can expect for the dentist to verify you fit the criteria required for the procedure and you understand the process, commitment, and cost. This meeting serves to open the line of communication between you and your dentist and allows you to ask any questions you have.

When you make a big decision like dental implants, it’s so important to know you’re in good hands. Dr. Ekta summed up the sentiment that everyone at their office shares best, “We’re in it together. We’re there for you every step of the way.”

Procedure Day

The process takes around half a day. You’ll be comfortably sedated and sleep through the procedure, so there’s no need to worry about any anxiety or discomfort. The doctor will remove any remaining teeth and strategically place the dental implants in your mouth.

There is no waiting time for receiving your temporary arch. It’s affixed right after surgery, so you can leave with a new teeth in a day.

Adjustment Period/Healing

Most patients will be pretty sore for a few days after the procedure. Some find they need to use prescription pain medication during the first couple of days, while others get along fine with over-the-counter medicine like Tylenol or Advil.

By day 4 or 5, most of the pain will dissipate to only a mild ache. Within ten days, you should experience little to no discomfort.

Your temporary smile will be in place for about six months, which gives your bones and dental implants time to heal and fuse. This creates a sturdy foundation for your final dental prosthesis.

During the first two weeks of healing, you’ll want to keep your diet strictly liquid, like smoothies, soups, yogurts, and protein shakes.

After two weeks, you’ll graduate to 6 months of soft foods to give your implants time to fully fuse before your final arch is installed.

Final fitting

Once your implants are ready for your permanent appliance, your last appointment in the process is a breeze. Your temporary teeth will be quickly and painlessly swapped out for your permanent new smile.

Maintenance

Just like natural teeth, your permanent fixed-arch bridge and All-On-4 implants will require cleaning and care. You will still need to brush your teeth and use a water flosser to keep your new teeth clean and your gums healthy.

You will also need to visit the dentist, just as you did with your natural teeth, twice a year for a cleaning and check-up.

How much do All-On-4 Dental Implants cost?

Complete smile restoration prevents bone structure loss in your jaw, restores your bite to its normal function, and gives the appearance of natural, healthy teeth. However, it is also an in-depth surgical procedure, and the cost reflects this.

You should be prepared to invest anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 per arch for this type of implant and prosthesis.

Unfortunately, most dental insurance plans do not cover this procedure, but in some rare instances, medical coverage may.

While cost is certainly a barrier, it is achievable. Many patients use a home equity line of credit to finance their oral restoration. If that isn’t an option, keith + associates can work with you to space out payments over the course of 6 months.

Dr. Bill notes this one-time investment not only restores your smile’s appearance but frees you of the bite disability caused by tooth loss or dentures. Unlike a car or other purchases at this price point, this will improve your daily life for the rest of your life.

How to start your All-On-4 Dental Implant journey

The kind and experienced staff at keith + associates are ready to help you on your journey toward full restoration. All our skilled doctors, including Dr. Bill and Dr. Ekta, provide this life-changing dental solution.

For many, All-On-4 Implants are the clear choice, but each person’s oral health journey and situation is different. Call us at 913-384-0044 or book an appointment online to take the first step towards full tooth replacement.

Smile! Keith + Associates Is In-Network for Delta Dental

Good news! keith + associates is in-network for Delta Dental PPO and Delta Dental Premier plans and accepting new patients in Mission, KS, and the surrounding Kansas City Metro area.

Delta Dental is one of the largest and most common dental insurance providers in the U.S. It’s a popular choice for employers who want to offer dental coverage as a work benefit. It’s also an affordable option for self-employed and individual customers.

If you’ve just recently joined the more than 80 million Americans who have dental coverage under Delta Dental, or you’re ready to make the switch to another in-network provider, call us at 913-384-0044 or book an appointment online.

Delta Dental for Preventive Dentistry

Delta Dental’s insurance plans are designed to help you keep your mouth healthy. The more care you give to your oral health now, the less chance you’ll require major work down the road.

Preventive dental care includes essential procedures like your regular dental check-ups, x-rays, fluoride treatments, exams, and cleanings. These routine care appointments let us watch for cavities and gum disease, give you pointers to adjust your home routine for maximum results and keep your mouth healthy.

Beyond preventive care, Delta Dental will also pay a portion towards basic care, major treatments, and some plans even partially cover implants.

Delta Dental covers 50-80% of basic care costs, depending on your plan, so if a cavity does pop up or a tooth needs to be removed, it’s still affordable.

Since these plans have strong coverage for preventive dentistry, their goal is to avoid major work. However, even diligent brushers can be predisposed to tooth decay and gum disease. Most Delta Dental insurance plans cover 50%-70% of root canals, crowns, and periodontal treatment, though not all do.

What to Expect During Your First Visit?

It’s natural to be a little nervous about your first visit to a new dentist. Our bright and clean office features comfortable seating and plenty of natural lighting to help you relax before coming back to the chair. Each exam room is equipped with a personal TV to catch up on your favorite shows during procedures.

Our dentists, hygienists, and administrative staff are here for you every step of the way. During your initial visit, we will review your oral health history, examine your teeth, and perform x-rays if they haven’t been done recently. We will often perform a dental cleaning during your first appointment, though sometimes we will have to wait if your needs are complex.

When it comes to your oral health, we’re in this together. We strive to soothe your dental anxiety and explain your treatment options with a thoughtful, communicative approach every step of the way.

Keith + Associates is in-network for Delta Dental

Whether you’re just ready for a change in your oral health care or it’s been a bit since you’ve made it to the dentist’s chair, our friendly and gentle staff are here to support your smile every step of the way.

We care about keeping your smile clean and oral health on point. We’re proud to accept Delta Dental as an in-network provider in the Mission, KS, and the surrounding Kansas City Metro Area.

Get started on the road to healthier teeth and gums today. Give us a call at 913-384-0044 or book an appointment online.

Botox: A Surprising Source of TMJ Relief

Botox: A Surprising Source of TMJ Relief

A stressed jaw is a painful jaw. Whether it is caused by stress or a misaligned bite, TMJ (also known as TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder) causes aches and discomfort for nearly 10 million Americans.

To those that suffer from TMD, it can be both painful and frustrating. Simple tasks like eating or sleeping can be disrupted by pain radiating from your jaw. Sometimes, something as simple as yawning is painful.

The tension caused by TMJ causes more than simple jaw pain. In fact, it has been known to cause chronic pain and stiffness in the neck, back, and shoulder, as well as trigger migraines. This disorder can also trigger inflammation in your facial muscles that puts pressure on your ear canals, which can sometimes cause hearing loss or ringing in the ears.

Traditionally, treatment for TMJ is done through mouthguards, stretches, and anti-inflammatory pain relievers and the success of these methods tends to vary. Fortunately, there is a new treatment available with encouraging results.

What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ or TMD isn’t a singular disorder. This pain in your jaw joint and surrounding muscles can have multiple sources and causes.  On each side of your head, near the front of your ears, is the temporomandibular joint. This sliding hinge controls the up and down movement of your jaw. When this joint aches, clicks, grates, or freezes, it’s possible you have a TMJ disorder.

 Symptoms of TMJ disorders

The symptoms of TMJ vary from person-to-person, but in general, they may include:

  • Pain, swelling or aching at your jaw joint
  • Aches or pain in your jaw muscles
  • Aches or pain inside or near your ear
  • Pain, clicking or locking when chewing or opening/closing your mouth
  • Aches and pains around the lower half of your face
  • Pain, crackling, ringing or popping in the ears
  • Difficulty chewing from stiff jaw
  • Experiencing lockjaw after opening mouth wide
  • Blurred vision, dizziness or vertigo

 What causes TMJ/TMD?

In many cases, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of TMJ. However, some common risk factors are often associated with this kind of pain:

  • Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Poor posture in the neck and back
  • A misaligned bite or crooked teeth
  • A recent or past jaw or teeth injury
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth when stressed or sleeping
  • Connective tissue diseases like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
  • Heightened stress or anxiety
  • Previously wore orthodontic braces
  • Excessive gum chewing

Traditional Treatments for TMJ

Many sufferers of TMJ go untreated or try to treat the pain using anti-inflammatory medications, ice packs, and stress management. However, there are many ways that doctors and dentists approach treating this disorder. Unfortunately, many find the recommended treatments for TMJ to be uncomfortable, invasive, or even ineffective.

Dental splint or TMJ bite guard

A dental splint or bite guard is one of the most commonly prescribed measures to help fight TMJ pain. In general, these guards are used to protect your teeth from clenching or grinding while you sleep, as well as treat some bite alignment issues.

While these splints are relatively economical, most wearers find them to be uncomfortable or they don’t work well with other health appliances like CPAP machines. In many cases, while these splints help protect your teeth, they don’t always relieve jaw pain.

TMJ Surgery

There are several surgeries performed for moderate to advanced levels of TMJ that are not responsive to other treatments.

Arthrocentesis

A simple and minimally invasive procedure that involves washing the inflammatory byproducts from your joint to reduce pressure and stiffness.

Arthroscopy

A slightly more complex procedure where a surgeon makes a few very small incisions to insert a camera and tube into the joint to remove scar tissue, reshape the joint, or provide other pain relief techniques.

Open-joint surgery

This surgery involves a much larger incision, normally a few inches long, and involves surgery directly on the joint for severe cases. This surgery is normally done when there is a lot of tissue or bone blocking the joint, the joint has fused or the intended surgery cannot be done using arthroscopy.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy for TMJ can take many forms. Either led by your dentist or in conjunction with a physical therapist, these treatments can involve simple stretches, exercises, and massages. Since TMJ can also be caused by poor posture and alignment in the upper neck and shoulders, these areas will also be checked for muscle contractions, tension, and inflammation. Further treatments include TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), ultrasound therapy, and removal of scar tissue through focused temporomandibular joint movement.

Steroid injections

Steroid injections into your jaw joint can help reduce the pain and inflammation you may suffer while talking or chewing. These injections generally help with the pain for about a month but can have serious side effects including the risk of damage to your cartilage and bone, as well as effect diabetic treatments.

Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications

Since many sufferers of TMD or TMJ clench and grind their teeth due to stress or anxiety, some patients find relief after medical intervention for their mental health troubles.

Muscle relaxers

During severe flare-ups, muscle relaxers can be used to block pain and reduce muscle spasms. These drugs are best used only for a short period when symptoms are at their most painful as muscle relaxers cannot be used while working, operating a vehicle, or performing most daily tasks.

Botox Treatments for TMJ

You may be familiar with Botox injections from the cosmetic health industry. These simple injections have been used for years by doctors to reduce the signs of aging. This works by blocking the nerves’ ability to send signals to the muscle to contract, which helps wrinkled facial features relax around the eyes and frown lines.

Many patients are eager to treat their TMJ symptoms but struggle with the other treatments out there. Some find that mouthguards are uncomfortable or don’t work in conjunction with their other medical issues. Using Botox is a quick treatment with fast results, patients can often find relief quicker than with traditional dental appliances and without the hassle of daily management.

How it works

Much like treating wrinkles by stopping nerve signals to contract, Botox can work the same way when injected into your jaw. When the movement in your masseter and temporalis muscles is limited, they relax over time. Once they’re relaxed, patients feel less pain, decreased headaches, less popping and clicking, and general relief from many of their TMJ symptoms, and no further treatment is needed.

In advanced cases of TMJ, a nightguard may still be needed to protect teeth from grinding or clenching and keep muscled relaxed while sleeping.

How long does it take to go into effect?

Botox treatments are not immediate. After your injection, it can take anywhere from 2-10 days for the therapeutic effects to take hold. Remember, it often takes years of clenching, grinding, and stressing to create the type of pain and tension TMJ patients experience. It’s natural for your muscles to take a while to return to a relaxed state. Most patients note that in between 2-3 months, their symptoms have improved over time.

Additional treatments

If the trapezius muscle trigger points don’t return to a relaxed state through Botox treatment, dry needling can help the process along. This treatment involves inserting a dry needle into trigger points to break up fibers causing the tension. Along with this procedure, the dentist provides a numbing agent and Botox to offer immediate relief.

When should I see a dentist?

If you suspect you have TMJ and it is causing you pain, don’t ignore it. Take a step to protect your teeth, jaw, ears, and facial muscles from grinding, clenching, and tension. There are safe, effective measures the skilled dentists at Keith & Associates can use to relieve your TMJ symptoms. Give us a call today at 913-384-0044 to book an appointment.

Keeping you safe in a post COVID-19 world

As we all prepare to come back to some semblance of normalcy, we at Keith + Associates Dentistry, wanted to take a few moments to outline what we do to keep you, our patients safe. Some of these items are precautions we have always taken; some are new to keep you safe in a post COVID-19 world. Regardless, the safety of both you and our team are of the utmost priority. Should you have any questions or concerns during your visit you are all welcome to contact me directly at the email address below.

We have always taken infection control extremely seriously. We abide by the American Dental Association (ADA), Kansas Dental Board and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) recommendations to use Standard Precautions.

This includes:

  • Sterilizing instruments
  • Using Cavicide to wipe all services each room between each patient
  • Wearing gloves, masks and glasses while treating patients
  • Regular hand washing in-between patients
  • High Speed Evacuation used in doctors rooms
  • Nightly cleaning of our entire office
  • Comprehensive health history being updated regularly

Some new precautions we have implemented which you may see when you are in the office include:

  • Pre-appointment screening questions to avoid sick patients entering the office when not necessary
  • Screening temperature taken at front desk prior to entering reception area
  • Screen of team members when they arrive each day
  • DryShield high speed suction used in hygiene rooms to remove aerosols
  • Additional cleaning done regularly in the non-treatment areas (we already did this in treatment rooms between patients)
  • Contact-less check-in/check-out

COVID-19 is a very real concern and one which we do not take lightly. With that said, there are numerous other diseases which we are also protecting you from and have for years. These include HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C, tuberculosis,  influenza, norovirus, and numerous others. The precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are not significantly different than those mentioned above. Standard Precautions are in place to prevent the spread of any disease from patient to patient, patient to healthcare provider, or healthcare provider to patient. With that said, we have taken this opportunity to review our policies and improve them where we can. We feel implementing these additional measure will take an extra step to keep both our patients and team safe from all pathogens, even long after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

Current guidelines allow us to only see emergent appointments. Our regulators have defined this as something which could become a life threatening problem in the next few weeks. If this is you please give us a call we have a team answering the phones as well as our emergency line.

As of now we are planning to return in early May to see urgent cases. This would include anything causing pain, lost crowns, broken teeth, gum infections, etc. We currently do not have a timeline to return to normal elective treatment such as implant placement, but expect it to return sometime over the summer. We are also working with the ADA and KDHE to determine when we can begin routine cleanings. As you are all aware, they are extremely important for your oral health as well as your overall health.

Should you have any questions or concerns please let us know. Our family is here for yours!

Dr. Bill

Contact Dr. Bill

Myths About Whitening

Myths-about-Whitening
Everyone wants to have a whiter smile but making the decision to pursue whitening treatment can be tough. Myths and stereotypes can lead to negative connotations, inhibiting you from moving forward with treatment. Below are three misconceptions about teeth whitening:

1. Teeth whitening treatments at my doctor’s office are no more effective than those purchased at drugstores.
On the contrary, the maximum strength bleach that our dentists provide delivers the best and fastest teeth whitening results. Another factor that makes dentist-provided whitening kits most effective is the fact that the trays are customized to fit each individual patient perfectly which keeps the gel in closer, more precise contact with your teeth. Don’t waste your time at the drugstore when you can get a brighter, whiter smile from us in record time!

2. Tooth whitening harms enamel.
Despite this negative misconception, teeth whitening does not actually harm the enamel of a tooth. Bleaching works by opening the pores of a tooth. This allows for the peroxide to enter the inner structure of the tooth and remove stains. The pores will close again over time, leaving the enamel unharmed.

3. You can never drink coffee or wine again after whitening.
While patients are told to stay away from heavy staining and acidic foods, such as red wine and coffee, it’s not forever! Dentists recommend this just for the first few days after treatment because the pores in your teeth remain open and the chemical reaction takes place over the course of a few days.

Whitening treatments can be intimidating, especially if you are not properly informed. It’s important to know the facts when making decisions about your teeth! We want you to have a smile that will make you feel confident. If you have any questions about teeth whitening, contact our office today. We are always here to help!

Oral Health: All About Gums

Oral-Health-All-About-Gums
Why should teeth get all the fame? Since the beginning of time, teeth have taken center stage in the oral health arena, while their close cousins, the gums, have occupied more of a back-seat role. So, we have decided to dedicate this article to gums! What makes them healthy, what makes them sick, and why they are so important for whole-body health?

Gingiva, or “gums”, are the mucosal tissue that cover the jaw and hold the teeth in place. When they are healthy and properly intact, they offer a protective barrier for the jaw and tooth roots against food and bacteria.

Healthy Gums:
Healthy gums typically are coral pink in color, and not recessed far above the tooth. They show a scalloped appearance over each tooth, are firm and resist movement. They take brushing and flossing well, usually with no reaction whatsoever.

Unhealthy Gums:
By contrast, unhealthy gums may exhibit red, white and even blue hues, have a puffy or orange peel texture and may bleed when brushed or flossed. Untreated periodontal disease can affect the whole body, as it is related to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Also, it can result in lost teeth and poor nutrition down the road.

Prevention is Key:
The good news is that most cases of periodontal disease are preventable. While we don’t know exactly what role genetics play in terms of periodontal health, we do know that practicing good oral health is the first step to preventing periodontal disease. Habits such as brushing twice and flossing once per day and regular exams and cleanings can help many people prevent or slow the progression of gum disease.

We hope you have learned something new about your gums!

If you have any questions about your gums, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Dental Implants: Aftercare

Dental-Implants-Aftercare
Are you considering dental implants but are worried about the recovery time?
Don’t worry, we’re here to give you the facts!

The recovery time following dental implant surgery tends to vary but is usually based on the number of teeth being implanted, whether or not a bone graft was needed and how well the individual manages his or her recovery. The science and technology behind dental implants have improved drastically over the last few years, improving post-surgery pain and comfort for patients.

Recovery Time
Typically, you will have the fastest recovery time if you had a standard, single dental implant placed with no bone grafting. With a simple procedure like this one, there is very little discomfort or pain after the surgery. Mild bruising and soreness can occur, but this can typically be managed with over the counter pain relievers. In more severe implant cases, such as those where multiple teeth are implanted or severe bone grafts are needed in order to accomplish the implant, the recovery time tends to be longer and the discomfort can be more intense.

Post-Op
It is important to keep your mouth clean after surgery, which can be done by rinsing your mouth gently with saltwater beginning the day after surgery. You may begin brushing your teeth the night after the surgery, but make sure to be extremely gentle around the surgery area as to not disrupt the healing process. Remember that in the week following your surgery, there should be no smoking and no sucking through a straw, as this can seriously inhibit your healing process. Stick to a diet primarily consisting of soft foods for the first 7-10 days following your surgery before beginning to return to your normal diet.

As you can see, the recovery process after receiving a dental implant is fairly predictable and comfortable. It is important to follow the instructions that we give you, and always remember that if you have any questions or concerns regarding a procedure or following your surgery, you can always give us a call.

Can You Whiten Teeth Naturally?

whitennaturalblogFrom powders to pastes, there are many ways people try to whiten their teeth. However, not every recipe we see online truly whitens correctly. It may be tempting to think ingredients in our own kitchens could hold the key to a brighter smile, but just because a method is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, DIY whitening may do more harm than good to your teeth.

With Fruits, like acid packed lemons and apple cider vinegar, you put your pearly whites at risk with prolonged contact. Using baking soda and lemons, for example, to scrub your teeth can wear away your enamel. Enamel is the thin outer coating of your teeth that protects you from tooth sensitivity and cavities. This enamel cannot be grown back, so it is very important to keep it in tip top shape.

With Scrubs like activated charcoal and baking soda mixes you may be using materials that are too abrasive on your teeth! This can end up actually making them look more yellow. Enamel is what you’re looking to whiten, but if you’re using a scrub that is too rough, you can wear it away. When that happens, the next layer of your tooth can become exposed – a softer, yellow tissue that’s called Dentin.

With Spices and Oils, like coconut oil and turmeric, there is really no evidence that these are helpful. Over using coconut oil has potential to be poor for your body, so using these strictly when cooking could be more beneficial than using them to whiten your teeth.

To best ways to whiten your teeth naturally is to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
• Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes
• Use a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance
• Cleaning between your teeth once a day
• Limiting foods that stain your teeth, like coffee, tea and red wine
• Not smoking or using tobacco
• Regular visits to your dentist for checkups and cleanings

With these steps you should be well on your way to achieving that sparkling smile you are looking for, naturally! Call us today for more info, and to schedule an annual teeth cleaning Keith + Associates Dentistry Phone Number 913-384-0044