Keith and Associates

Why You Should Choose Electric Toothbrushes

If you’re used to brushing your teeth with a standard, manual toothbrush, you may be wondering about the possible benefits of switching to electric. Electric toothbrushes offer deeper, longer-lasting cleans than manual brushes. They can also prevent bad breath, gum disease, and dental problems more effectively than manual brushes on average.

Find out how and why electric toothbrushes are the best option for twice-daily cleaning.

Bristles

Electric toothbrushes mostly come with soft bristles. Dentists tend to recommend soft bristles for most patients. Harder bristles can be rough on teeth and gums, which can lead to gum recession and enamel damage. This is especially true if you are used to brushing hard. Brushing hard does not always mean a better clean, especially with harder bristles. Soft bristles can offset hard brushing, since they are less likely to irritate gums even when they are pressed close together.

While soft bristles can bend before reaching the gaps between your teeth, the constant rotating action of the electric toothbrush can get to hard-to-reach places for a deep, gentle clean. Due to the constant motion and rotation happening with electric brushes, it’s best to brush softly yet thoroughly and let your electric brush do most of the work.

Types of Electric Toothbrushes You Should Consider

Electric toothbrush brands claim that electric brushes give deeper cleans, remove more plaque, and prevent overbrushing on the gums. Electric brushes tend to have many more rotations per minute than what you can pull off with a manual toothbrush, which can lead to deeper cleaning.

The Phillips Sonicare line of electric toothbrushes is well worth the investment, due to the efficient, high-quality cleaning they provide. This line of brushes uses motors that can achieve thousands of strokes per minute, which is much higher than a manual toothbrush. Higher-end models offer multiple cleaning modes. Initial prices for Phillips Sonicare electric brushes range from $30 to $180, fitting a wide variety of budgets.

The CDC recommends using an electric toothbrush head for 3 to 4 months before replacing it. After this period of time, the bristles will wear down and bacteria can build up on the brush. As long as you practice good brushing habits and replace your toothbrush head often, electric toothbrushes can enhance your brushing experience until it’s time for your next visit to the dentist.

Other Differences In Electric Brushes

Beyond the bristles and strokes per minute, there are some differences among electric toothbrushes you should consider when picking one out.

Electric toothbrushes can give widely different brushing experiences. Some brushes have different speeds and levels of vibration to balance comfort and cleaning. Some brushes come equipped with a timer to make sure you are brushing for an optimal amount of time, every time.

Choosing the right model of electric toothbrush will ultimately come down to your budget and diligence when brushing your teeth. If you can stick to regular, thorough brushing twice a day, lower-cost electric toothbrushes can serve as useful upgrades to manual brushes.

Good Brushes Go with Good Brushing!

When you’re using your electric brush, you can get the most out of your brush by using it right. Avoiding overly zealous brushing, reaching all areas of the mouth, and brushing for at least two minutes apply to all kinds of toothbrushes. Brushing twice a day should also be combined with thorough flossing and the use of mouthwash, like ACT mouthwash.

Good dental hygiene can keep plaque, stains, and bacteria at bay until your next dental cleaning. If it’s time for you to schedule your next appointment, give us a call at (913) 384-0044 or schedule online through our website at https://missiondentist.com/ today.

What Kind of Toothpaste Should You Buy?

It is common to see commercials and advertisements where a brand of toothpaste earns approval from a majority of dentists. Despite this trend, not every toothpaste can clean your teeth equally. With the range of toothpastes available on the market today, it can be difficult to sift through the advertising and branding to find the best toothpaste for you.

Everyone has different dental needs to consider, but there are some general factors that go into picking out a toothpaste. Ingredients, feel, and effectiveness for different kinds of dental problems go a long way in protecting the health of your mouth and gums.

Toothpaste With Fluoride

Fluoride is one of the most important ingredients for toothbrushing. It is commonly found in toothpastes as either sodium fluoride or stannous fluoride. Fluoride can prevent tooth decay, strengthen teeth, prevent cavities, and improve resistance to many common dental problems.

Many toothpaste brands contain fluoride. Surveys and studies suggest brands of Colgate Cavity Protection and Crest ProHealth as the best choices for general dental health. These products also contain fluoride. Regardless of the brand you chose, fluoride-containing toothpaste should be at the top of your priority list.

Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth is the result of receding gums and tooth wear, which can happen over time without proper dental care. When the enamel, the outermost layer of your teeth, get worn down, a more sensitive layer known as dentin gets exposed.  Eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth can scrape the dentin and cause discomfort and pain. People often turn to better brushing habits to help.

However, certain ingredients in toothpaste can irritate the mouth and make brushing an uncomfortable or even painful experience. People with sensitive teeth tend to look for toothpaste that reduces discomfort while still providing a thorough clean.

Some toothpastes can help combat sensitivity. While toothpaste cannot restore receded gums, ingredients like potassium nitrate, fluoride, and stronium chloride can cover up sensitive areas. Toothpastes designed to reduce teeth sensitivity include brands of Sensodyne, Colgate, and Arm & Hammer toothpastes.

Different Ways Toothpaste Can Clean Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth shouldn’t just remove plaque or fight off bad breath. It can also prevent other long-term dental problems. Good toothpaste and brushing habits can also remove stains and prevent forms of gum disease, like gingivitis.

Ingredients other than fluoride can keep your dental health up until your next visit to the dentist. Calcium carbonate is an effective stain and plaque remover, and is less likely to harm the gums. Zinc citrate is another ingredient that can serve the same purpose. Some brands use baking soda as a cleaning agent, but baking soda can leave a gritty feel in the mouth afterwards.

Many people look for teeth-whitening options to brighten up their smile, and use tooth-whitening toothpaste for this reason. Some toothpaste brands use charcoal and claim it whitens teeth, but this claim has not been backed up by the American Dental Association.

Effective toothpaste can also keep your gums healthy. Your gums are another area that toothpaste can treat and improve. Gingivitis, gum bleeding, and can lead to receding gums, gum disease, and other issues. If you have ongoing dental problems, you may want to change the brand of toothpaste you buy to prevent further damage.

Common cleaning ingredients in toothpaste can fight plaque buildup and prevent dental  problems, but combining them with good brushing habits can be even more effective. Brushing too hard, or using bristles that are too hard can cause gum recession and bleeding even with quality toothpastes.

Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy in the Long-Term

Using effective toothpaste, practicing good brushing habits, and flossing can prevent serious dental problems, but they are less effective in treating problems that are already there. For problems like excessive plaque buildup, receding gums, chronically sensitive teeth, and other issues, seeing a dentist is your best option. Seeing a dentist regularly can also prevent and spot dental problems that might go unnoticed without a visit to the office.

Consulting with your dentist is one of the best ways to find the right toothpaste, brushing habits, and routines that work for you. Call us today for a dentist you can trust with your health.

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Dental Laser Therapy and You

You might be familiar with some of your dentist’s more common dental tools like scalers and mirrors. But did you know they can also use lasers? While patients might immediately think of ray guns or light shows, lasers aren’t science fiction. In fact, dental lasers are state-of-the-art tools that can be used as part of any comprehensive oral health care plan.

What is Dental Laser Therapy?

In dentistry, dental lasers are versatile tools that can be used in almost any field, with laser therapy referring to any treatment that includes a laser as part of its practice. Lasers don’t replace traditional dental therapies but make existing ones faster and more comfortable for patients.

While there are many kinds of dental lasers, one of the most popular is the diode laser. These lasers do not affect hard tissues like your teeth and are safe to use on soft tissues, such as your gums. This property allows diode lasers to be used in gum treatments like laser bacterial reduction (LBR) and laser decontamination (LD).

What is Laser Bacterial Reduction (LBR)?

Laser bacterial reduction (LBR) is a painless, fast, easy dental procedure that eliminates harmful bacteria from your mouth in a matter of minutes. By focusing the laser in and around your gum pockets, LBR kills the harmful bacteria that hides there, which, if left untreated, could lead to gingivitis and tooth decay.

When used in conjunction with your dentists’ regular teeth cleaning, LBR can improve your oral health in several ways. Eliminating the harmful bacteria from the gums and mouth can help prevent infection, boost your immune system, reduce gum inflammation, and protect you from other inflammation-based diseases that might make it into your bloodstream through the gums.

LBR can also be effective when used as part of a deep tooth cleaning. After your dentist removes the plaque and tartar from your gum pockets around your teeth, the diode laser can kill the bacteria in those pockets and seal them up, speeding up your recovery.

What is Laser Decontamination (LD)?

Using the same diode laser as laser bacterial reduction but at a different wavelength, a laser decontamination treatment (LD) is typically used after nonsurgical periodontal therapy, such as scaling or root planting. Instead of sweeping a wide area and hitting everything around it like in LBT, the LD acts like a heat-seeking missile, zeroing in on diseased gum tissue and destroying the pathogens within, leaving the healthy tissue behind. The laser stimulates the tissue in the process, promoting the body’s healing response.

Is Laser Therapy Safe?

Absolutely. Laser therapy has been around since the ’90s and has only gotten more sophisticated in the years since. Dental lasers have been proven completely safe and approved by the United States Food & Drug Administration (US FDA) for periodontal treatment, periodontal cosmetics, crown lengthening, implant preparation, and other dental procedures. While some people have voiced their concern that lasers shouldn’t be used in dentistry and that more research needs to be done on their use, the results have been positive for decades.

Why use Laser Therapy?

Diode lasers are the best when it comes to destroying disease and cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Regular LBR treatments have been shown to reduce the number of long-term bacteria that cause periodontal disease by almost 100% for up to six months and are more effective than typical preprocedural rinses at eliminating bacteria during a dental cleaning. While rinses can reduce bacteria in the mouth, the diode laser reduces bacteria inside the groove of your gum line where your dentist’s instruments will go preventing cross-contamination. Additionally, LBR therapy decreases the microbial content within the mouth, limiting the number of microbes sent into the air during a procedure, helping prevent the spread of disease.

What is the Laser Therapy process?

The actual process of LBR is fast and straightforward. Your dentist will take a diode laser and sweep it just below the gum line on both sides of each tooth for between five to ten seconds. That’s it. The entire process only takes about five minutes to complete in itself. But since LBR isn’t used alone, you will have to consider what other therapies your dentist is combining with it.

What Should I Expect from Post Laser Therapy Care?

Because LBR therapy is a non-invasive procedure, you won’t have to worry about any symptoms or side effects from the procedure itself. But because LBR is used with other techniques, you may still experience some side effects from the other treatments. For instance, if your dentist uses laser therapy along with a deep cleaning to treat the effects of gingivitis, you may experience a small amount of bleeding afterward, but this would be from the gum disease, not the laser treatment.

What Other Uses Does Laser Therapy Have?

Besides destroying harmful bacteria in the mouth, lasers can also be used in dental surgeries. Laser assisted periodontal therapy (LAPT) is a minimally invasive treatment used to treat periodontal disease, the advanced form of gingivitis. LAPT uses a laser to target and destroy diseased gum tissue and the bacteria trapped within periodontal pockets. This treatment provides a gentler and more comfortable experience for patients than traditional oral surgery as only the diseased tissue is removed, which results in less bleeding, pain, and swelling. It also benefits from only requiring half the number of visits a traditional dental surgery usually requires.

Lasers can be used to make existing operations less painful. For example, lasers can make the fluid that flows out of dental tubules more viscous. This process slows the liquid down, which helps to reduce the pain a patient feels when a powerful rush of liquid strikes their sensitive nerves.

Diode lasers have also been shown to effectively treat and speed up the recovery time of herpes lesions and aphthous ulcers. In the same way LD treatment penetrates the soft tissue to target the disease within, the laser destroys the herpes virus, allowing the body to start healing faster, providing immediate relief and preventing future outbreaks in the area treated.

Finally, lasers can be used in cosmetic dentistry as well. In laser teeth whitening, a concentrated whitening gel is placed on your teeth. Then, a laser is used to heat the gel, activating the chemicals within and enhancing its whitening power. Unlike other whitening treatments, the laser allows the gel to work fast, and most patients notice a marked improvement with just one treatment.

Conclusion

Your mouth is a vital part of your overall health. Gingivitis and periodontal disease have a way of sneaking up on us when we’re not paying attention. If you’d like to make an appointment to see how your gums are doing, or if you would like to know more about how the dentists at keith + associates can use laser therapy to give you your healthiest smile, give us a call at 913-384-0044, use our Contact Form, or schedule an appointment with us online.

What to Look for in a Dental Care Team

No matter who you are, taking care of your teeth is a team effort. Your part involves brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, using mouthwash and regular dental visits to keep your mouth clean and cavity-free. But it’s not just you on the team. You also have a dedicated group of experts devoted to ensuring that you have the healthiest smile possible.

Think about your last visit to the dentist. Who did you interact with? When you arrive for your appointment, you don’t just see one person, but many dedicated professionals who work together to give you the best care possible. The receptionist greets you and schedules your follow-up appointment. The hygienists take x-rays, dental impressions, as well as cleans, polishes, and applies fluoride to your teeth. Finally, the dentist examines and diagnoses your oral conditions, recommends and carries out treatments, and performs emergency procedures when needed. Each of these high-quality professionals plays an essential role in your dental health.

The Keith + Associates Team Approach

Just like your family doctor, dentists must stay knowledgeable on all aspects of oral health. In a typical dentist’s office, they see many patients, each with unique challenges to solve. For some cases, just as your doctor would refer you to a specialist, general dentists need to refer you to another practice for a deeper level of care.

That’s why the dentists at keith + associates dentistry advocate for a collaborative approach with our very own care team. Each day, our team of dentists work together to review every appointment, profile, and procedure to learn about each of our patient’s needs and concerns. This approach allows our dentists to share their knowledge and collaborate to direct your care appropriately.

The Dental Care Team

Regardless of your dental needs, our dental care team has you covered. Friendly, focused, efficient, and effective, we have dentists who are knowledgeable about periodontal disease, dental implants, family dentistry, restorative surgery, and cosmetic dentistry like veneers. From Invisalign to same-day crowns and All-On-4 Implants, there’s no oral need our expert team of smile advocates can’t find a solution for.

We believe that each oral health concern requires the right skills, expertise, and tools for the job. So, rest assured that each dentist that works with you on your oral health goals is the most knowledgeable person to guide you. As your goals or reasons for visiting change, you may see a different dentist to whose skills and experience better match your procedure.

With our collaborative approach and our wide range of focuses, we’re able to give you the personalized care you need—no one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter solutions.

Conclusion

When discussing the health of your mouth and body, we’re all in this together. The keith + associates care team is ready to answer your questions and offer their expertise to provide a level of care that few can match. If you have questions you’d like to pose to your care team, please contact us to schedule your consultation online or call us 913-384-0044.

Navigating Dental Insurance: Know Your Options

Insurance coverage helps millions of Americans make regular dental visits and it can be a major hurdle for those who don’t have it or when their employer changes plans. After all, nothing is more important than your health, and a healthy mouth is a crucial component of a healthy body.

In those situations, what happens if you have a dental emergency? Will your insurance cover what you need? What if you don’t have insurance? Will you still be able to pay? At keith + associates, we take numerous dental insurance plans and offer our in-house membership plan K-Club to make sure you can get the care you need.

Insurance plans we accept

We accept most PPO plans. These include:

  • Delta Dental
  • Atna
  • Signa
  • Humana

Plans we don’t take:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield

In the case of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, we’ll still work with you the best that we can by submitting the claim on your behalf. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay all costs upfront and be reimbursed by Blue Cross and Blue Shield later. Not all plans work this way though, some work on a fee schedule instead. Let us know, and we can call on your behalf and check your benefits and figure it out.

Do you take Delta Dental?

Yes, we do! In 2020 we changed how we work with them, changing from being a Delta Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) to a Delta Premier provider. Unfortunately, this change caused letters to be sent out erroneously stating that we no longer accepted Delta Dental. If you heard this don’t worry, it isn’t true!

Check out K-Club: It’s better than insurance

K-Club isn’t a traditional insurance plan, its actually a membership plan and we find that for many of our patients, it actually covers more of their needs and is priced to be affordable to families and businesses in Kansas City.

Basically, K-Club allows us to cutout the middle man and help you directly. Our monthly membership plan allows you to gain access to special discounted rates on dental services. Since K-Club isn’t insurance—and we handle your care in-house—there are no insurance companies, deductibles, or long waiting periods for care.

What does K-Club cover?

K-Club includes consultations, oral exams (2 per year), cleanings (2 per year), diagnostic x-rays (bite wings and panoramic every 3-5 years) at 100%.

Further discounts include 50% off scaling in the presence of gingivitis, a $1500 credit towards a complete implant package, 10% off Invisalign treatment, and 10% off “All-on-4” Implants.

Does K-Club cover cosmetic dentistry?

Yes, of course! While insurance companies typically don’t cover cosmetic procedures or the restoration of teeth missing before your coverage, K-Club does.

Beyond restorative dentistry, K-Club also includes the majority of services we offer at keith + associates, offered at 20% discount, including:

  • Nightguards
  • Extractions
  • Fluoride
  • Fillings
  • TMJ Botox Treatment
  • Crowns & Bridges
  • Moderate IV Sedation dentistry
  • Gum grafting
  • And many more procedures

K-Club is simple to use, with a one-time activation fee and monthly membership fee. Once you’re setup, you can get service right away. For many insurance plans, you’re required to wait 12 months before any major work can be done, even if you’re in pain. It’s also common in insurance to deny insurance claims for a pre-existing missing tooth or to feature low maximums that limit your coverage.

No matter your smile goals, whether its to maintain a healthy mouth or completely restore your smile, we want to be your partner in dentistry.

If you have any questions about your smile journey, K-Club, or your current insurance plan, we’re always here to help.

Not sure if we take your insurance? Call our office at 913-384-0044, contact us online, or send us a message via Facebook with any insurance coverage questions you have or for more details about K-Club.

 

 

The True Benefits of Flouride

Fluoride. Everyone’s head of it. It’s proudly displayed on countless toothpaste tubes as a featured ingredient, and it’s even included in some of the nation’s most popular mouthwashes. We’ve all heard our local dentist say that it’s good for our teeth, but do many of us know why?

Many of our patients ask: what is fluoride? Is it safe? What does it even do? This naturally occurring mineral has earned its place in dentistry for good reason. It’s basically Mother Nature’s secret weapon against tooth decay.

What is fluoride?

Most of us are familiar with fluoride from a few sources: our toothpaste, dentist, or even hearing about fluoride in our water.

Flouride is a naturally occurring mineral (like salt) found in rocks, oceans, rivers, lakes, and wells. Ancient humans got fluoride from the plants and animals they ate and the rivers and lakes they drank from.

Today, trace amounts of fluoride can still be found in everyday foods and drinks such as:

  • Spinach
  • Grapes, Raisins, and Wine
  • Black Tea
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Canned Shrimp

While fluoride is found all over the planet, naturally occurring amounts aren’t that high, typically less than 0.05 mg/L (milligrams per liter). To put that in perspective, the fluoride in your tap water is only between 0.7 to 1.2 mg/L, which is about the same amount found in a single serving of black tea. The Mayo Clinic recommends adolescents and adults intake between 1.5 to 4 mg/L a day from a combination of food, water, and supplements.

In some rivers and lakes, however, the amount of fluoride found can vary greatly. While typical water sources have less than 0.5 mg/L, groundwater sources near volcanos or mountains can have as much as 50 mg/L. When there’s that much fluoride in the water, a process called defluoridation must be used to make the water safe to drink. Remember, too much of anything can be toxic, but fluoride poisoning is very rare. The amount of fluoride found in tap water, toothpaste, mouthwash, and even fluoride supplements has all been carefully measured and poses no danger to either adults or children with proper use.

What does fluoride do?

Fluoride has long been touted as a “cavity fighter,” but why?

In short, fluoride makes your teeth harder, which protects them from decay.

See, your teeth are designed to take a lifetime of stress while cutting and grinding your food. They can do this because they’re coated in a shiny shell called enamel, which protects the inner part of your tooth from damage, like a suit of armor. Your enamel is also why you can drink hot coffee or eat an ice cream cone without pain; it also acts as a sort of thermal shield to the nerves in your teeth.

Unfortunately, unlike other parts of your body, your enamel isn’t made of living cells. It can’t regenerate, and once it’s gone, either from wear or holes created by bacteria, it’s gone. Your tooth armor has now been compromised, and only the care of your dentist can patch the armor up and restore your tooth so it can keep doing its job.

So, where does fluoride fit into this? Well, believe it or not, but our body actually does have a way of preventing cavities and even healing our teeth, but only a little. But before we go further, it’s helpful to understand how our mouths work when they’re correctly taken care of.

Our mouth has its own unique ecosystem. Living inside it are billions of different microbes, with hundreds of different bacteria surviving there. Most of the bacteria in our mouth are actually good; they help with digestion and help regulate our various body functions. Some bacteria, however, are harmful to our teeth. They live off sugars and produce a powerful acid known as lactic acid as a byproduct. Over time, this lactic acid is powerful enough to destroy tooth enamel and cause a cavity that requires dental fillings. Usually, this isn’t a problem because they’re low in number and are checked by good bacteria. These good bacteria raise the pH balance of your mouth and release special proteins, both of which make it hard for the harmful bacteria to multiply.

Another form of natural protection your teeth have that you might not have known about is your very own saliva. It acts as a physical barrier against harmful bacteria and washes your teeth in a bath of calcium, phosphate, and (when regularly consumed) fluoride. These minerals can fit into the minor tears and abrasions that your teeth get from all the hard work they do and fills in those gaps through a process known as remineralization. This helps shore up weak points in your teeth, and the fewer of those in your enamel, the stronger your teeth are. This is what we mean when we say that fluoride makes your teeth “harder.” With no weak points, harmful bacteria have a tougher time creating cavities. It can even help repair damage caused by small cavities, but not big ones that have already caused significant damage to the enamel.

This is why fluoride is a crucial oral hygeine measure: it makes your teeth more resistant to cavities and can even heal small amounts of damage to a tooth’s enamel. Along with regular dental visits, this means that if any trouble does crop up, it will be minor enough and caught soon enough to avoid major dental procedures.

How dentists use flouride

Dentists use fluoride in the office for the same reason you would use it at home: strengthening tooth enamel and preventing tooth decay. Along with your regular brushing and flossing regimen, your dentist may want to provide you with a professional fluoride treatment as part of your visit. But unlike at home, your dentist has specialized tools and treatments to help give your teeth a massive fluoride boost. The American Dental Associate (ADA) recommends that patients get a professional fluoride treatment every 3, 6, or 12 months depending on their overall oral health.

These treatments can take the form of a highly concentrated rinse, gel, varnish, or foam and are typically applied with a swab, tray, mouthwash, or brush. Because the dentist is applying fluoride directly to your teeth, the amount of fluoride in the treatment will be higher than you would find in tap water, toothpaste, or mouthwash. It’s not unusual for your dentist to advise waiting 30 minutes before eating or drinking to allow time for the fluoride to fully absorb into the teeth. Your dentist may also prescribe a fluoride gel or rinse to use at home if you are at high risk for cavities.

What fluoride doesn’t do

While adding fluoride to your oral health routine certainly helps keep your enamel strong, its ability to repair your teeth is limited. Think of it as a maintenance policy, not repair. If you have cracks, chips, or tooth decay, your teeth will require fillings, veneers, or other procedures from your dentist to help and protect them.

Fluoride is powerful, safe, and beneficial to your overall oral health. If you’re ready to get on the road to a healthier smile, the experts at keith + associates are ready to be your guide. At our practice, your smile is cared for by a team of experts for a holistic view of your overall oral health.

If you’d like more information about fluoride or would like to come in for a professional fluoride treatment, schedule an appointment online or give us a call at 913-384-0044.

Hold the phone! Did you know you can schedule your dentist appointment online?

Take a guess. When do you think the most popular time to book a dental appointment is?

If you guessed during working hours, you’d be right! For most of us, finding time to make a phone call during office hours can be a struggle. Wouldn’t it be great to book your appointment whenever it pops up in your memory? Imagine, booking an appointment before you head to work, as you’re settling into bed, or even on a Sunday!

Well, the future is here. At keith + associates, we always strive to bring you the latest technology to make your dental visits more comfortable, efficient, and accurate. Now, we’ve done the same with our online booking. No matter what time or day it is, when it comes to scheduling your regular check-ups or periodontal maintenance, you can now book your appointments online.

Thanks to our integration with LocalMed, you can easily see when we have openings in our schedule and reserve an appointment that works for you right from our website.

How to schedule an appointment online

To get started on any page throughout our website, just look for the red “Schedule Online” button on the right side of the screen. You can also click the blue “Schedule Online” button in the upper right-hand corner if you’re on a PC.

Image of schedule online button for Keith and Associates Website

 

First, the system will want to know if you’re a new or a returning patient.

New patient

Before booking your appointment, you’ll want to make sure to have your dental insurance in hand.

For new patients, you can select from “New Patient Cleaning – Adult” or “New Patient Cleaning – Child (Ages 13 and Under).” A new patient cleaning will include a thorough look at your dental history, x-rays, if necessary, plus a check for gum disease and cavities.

For many patients, you’ll also receive a teeth cleaning during your first visit. However, if you appear to have signs of gum disease or other dental health concerns, your first cleaning may have to wait until treatments like scaling and root planning are scheduled and completed.

In any case, we like to specially plan these new patient sessions to give you ample time to get to know us, ask questions, and allow us to develop a thorough picture of your long-term smile goals.

Returning patient

Returning patients have a few options. If you’re just looking to book a standard cleaning, you can select from “Teeth Cleaning – Adult” or “Teeth Cleaning – Child (Ages 13 and under).”

In a dental emergency that involves intense pain from an abscess or cracked tooth, select “30 Min Emergency/Toothache.” If you don’t see hours pop up, it’s ok, please call us at (913) 384-0044. We know how awful a toothache can be and would never want our patients to suffer while waiting for an appointment. Your comfort is important to us, so we will always try to get you seen as soon as possible.

If you are actively being treated for gum disease and have a periodontal maintenance plan with us when you’re ready for your next appointment, select “Adult Perio Maintenance” to get on the books.

Select a date/time

After you’ve selected your visit type, you can find the best time that works for you.

Interested in the first available appointment? A red button will appear on the middle right side of the screen. If you click it, this will show the first available appointment on the schedule below.

Otherwise, use the arrows on the right and left sides of the screen to look through potential dates, or use the “Change Date” link just under the “Schedule a Confirmed Appointment” heading to type in the date you are interested in manually.

 

Once you see a date and time that works for you, click it to start the booking process.

Finalize your appointment

Last, we’ll just need a little information from you. If you have a LocalMed account, you can sign in and access your stored data to save time on the form.

Otherwise, if you’re new to us, the more information you provide, the quicker your check-in process will be.

After you submit this information, you’re done! We’ll send you a reminder before your appointment and look forward to seeing you.

Booking a dental appointment doesn’t have to be a hassle. At keith + associates, we understand that you’re busy. We want to take down as many hurdles as possible that exist between you and your oral health.

If you’re ready to pay us a visit, why not give our system a try and schedule online?

Not ready to make an appointment for a cleaning, but just have some questions about our services or cosmetic dentistry? Contact us by phone at (913) 384-0044 or online. We’re always happy to help.

Dental Night Guards Bring Lasting Relief

When we sleep, some of us are jaw clenchers. In fact, clenching your jaw or grating your teeth at night is caused by numerous genetic, physical, and emotional factors, either individually or compounded together. So, while a select few of us can control this behavior through good mental health practices, not everyone is so lucky.

Regardless of if it’s a temporary issue or a chronic behavior, if you’re someone who deals with that persistent painful grind, you know how uncomfortable it is. Bruxism, the official name for teeth clenching and grinding, causes not only TMJ or jaw pain but can also wear down and damage your teeth without you realizing it.

Thankfully, nighttime dental guards are a common and simple fix for those who suffer from bruxism. These humble dental guards are excellent at protecting your teeth from harm. For many patients, dental mouth guards can help with TMJ symptoms and even treat dangerous conditions like sleep apnea.

Benefits of Custom Fit Night Dental Guards

No two mouths and no two dental situations are the same. Some of us have misaligned bites or cosmetic dentistry, like veneers, to protect. If you’re looking for relief from pain caused by nighttime clenching and grinding, a custom-fitted dental guard is a simple way to precisely fit your needs to bring long-lasting relief.

Many people are particular about how they sleep, so comfort is of the utmost importance. When you are custom-fitted for a nightguard, your dentist will work with you to find the ideal solution for your pain points. For example, if you’re only a mild grinder, we can fabricate your night guard with soft and flexible materials to protect your teeth without sacrificing comfort. On the other hand, if you tend to put a lot of pressure on your teeth at night, then we’ll need to use a sturdier material or even a hybrid guard, which is soft on the inside and hard on the outside.

We fabricate our night guards using precise specifications in a dental laboratory with only the highest quality materials. With detailed digital scans from our office, your guard will be custom designed to fit your mouth precisely with the stability to provide relief for years to come.

Helping Sleep Apnea with Night Guards

Sleep apnea is a common yet serious sleep disorder that affects about 25% of men and 10% of women. This sleep disorder is characterized by gasping, choking, or noticeable pauses in breathing throughout the night. Unfortunately, for many sufferers, this disorder often goes undiagnosed and can have a lasting impact on their health and life by causing excessive daytime drowsiness, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and decreased metabolism.

Dental guards are a known treatment for sleep apnea, but since this disorder often goes undiagnosed, many don’t realize they need to seek them out. The trouble is, sleep guards not designed for patients who suffer from sleep apnea may improve their bruxism symptoms but can worsen the effects of their sleep disorder by interfering with the wearer’s airways.

Considering this, keith + associates performs sleep studies on patients to check for sleep apnea and ensure we treat the precise cause of your pain before prescribing your dental night guard.

If sleep apnea is an area of concern, we can fabricate nighttime sleep guards far more comfortable than traditional CPAP machines. These night guards gently move the jaw forward to increase the size of the upper airways. This will reduce the air resistance that is a frequent contributor to sleep apnea issues.

Patients who utilize custom dental guards for aiding their sleep apnea symptoms have found their cost-effectiveness to be a suitable option to some alternatives and a significantly more comfortable sleep compared to utilizing other devices. In addition, using a mouth guard at night for sleep apnea also allows for a more discreet and quiet option in comparison to bulky and uncomfortable CPAP machines.

Can I buy a night guard from the store?

When you think of a dental guard, your mind may first turn to the ones you’ve seen in your local drug store. But, unfortunately, while their affordability and convenience may be tempting, most mass-produced solutions just don’t perform well due to their inferior material quality and cookie-cutter approach.

In general, as you browse your pharmacy aisles, you’re apt to see two major types of guards: the stock ‘one size fits all’ guard or the boil and bite style.

Stock-style dental guards are certainly a more affordable option for some, given their generalized sizing approach. However, their imprecise fit frequently makes them ineffective and sometimes causes unintended damage to your teeth. These guards are also bulky, uncomfortable, and flimsy, with plastics that can irritate delicate gum tissue and the interior skin of your mouth.

Boil and bite dental guards are similar to those you may have seen in recreational sports. This style is made of soft thermoplastic that becomes pliable when warmed in boiling water so that you can create a custom fit by gently biting into it.

For store-bought guards, this type performs a little better when treating nighttime bruxism than their stock-style counterpart. But, unfortunately, they still lack the long-term build quality of a dentist’s custom-fitted guard. Also, if you unknowingly struggle with a disorder like sleep apnea, this type of guard could aggravate your condition instead of improving it.

Tooth damage and jaw pain from nighttime grinding can end up being terribly painful. In addition, this common affliction can affect your quality of sleep, the longevity of your teeth, and your ability to eat without aches. If these symptoms sound like you, a custom dental guard may be your ticket to more restful nights.

The experienced staff at keith + associates are your experts in mouthguard fabrication. After a sleep study, we use modern scanning and modeling techniques to create your guard quickly and comfortably. If you’re ready for a good night’s sleep, free of grinding or sleep apnea disruptions, we can help.

Call keith + associates at (913) 384-0044 or schedule an appointment online to book your consultation as the first step towards more restful nights and pain-free days.

 

Mind the Gap! Your Options for Replacing a Missing Tooth


There comes a time in almost everyone’s life where a tooth goes missing. Tooth decay and gum disease are the most common culprits for sure, but let’s not count out the occasional wipeout from over-confidence in athletic prowess.

Whatever the case, there’s no need to struggle with being self-conscious about a missing tooth gap. You have options to restore your smile! For most gaps from missing teeth, you have four main choices: ignore the problem, replace it with a partial, get a bridge, or go for implants.

Option 1: Ignore it

Hey, no judgment. Sometimes, it’s just easier to ignore something if it isn’t causing you pain or a change to your smile. But look, when it comes to your oral health, a lot of issues like gum disease or bone loss happen right under your nose. This is why ignoring a missing tooth can be surprisingly dangerous, even if it is a molar.

The empty area where your tooth used to be is now a prime spot for food and bacteria to collect, leading to decay in the surrounding teeth, gum disease, and potentially bone loss. This freed-up space can also cause your teeth to shift and even become unstable.

If the tooth is closer to the front of your mouth, like a lost incisor or canine, ignoring it can also cause untold damage to your self-esteem. No one should feel embarrassed or ashamed while smiling, laughing, or speaking. There are cosmetic dentistry options available for a wide range of budgets.

The dentists at Keith and Associates are happy to help you navigate your options. Together, we can come up with a plan to restore your smile and protect your oral health.

Option 2: Replace It with a Partial Denture

A removable partial denture is an affordable way to replace a missing tooth anywhere in your mouth. These tooth replacements are designed to attach to your mouth using metal clasps and should be removed at night for soaking.

These appliances can complete a smile by replacing one or more missing teeth, but they have a few disadvantages. Since they aren’t permanently fixed, these dentures tend to shift and move while speaking or eating—in fact, you’ll only regain about 30% of your bite force back. This means that while your smile will look complete, you’ll have to be careful about the types of food you eat.

Another con is on the cosmetic side. The clasps that hold these dentures in place can often be seen when you smile, which may make some wearers feel self-conscious.

Option 3: Get a Bridge

A dental bridge restores a lot of your biting function and looks natural. Before implants came onto the scene, bridges were the gold standard for smile and bite restoration.

Basically, a dental bridge involves cutting down the teeth on both sides of the missing tooth and placing a crown on them. Then, the replacement tooth (or teeth, as this process can handle two and sometimes more teeth provided there is good structural support) is placed between the crowns and relies on the crowned teeth for structural support.

In general, bridges are a reliable option for teeth restoration, but they have some limitations.

If your missing teeth are in the front of your mouth in the smile zone, this area has the most flexible options for bridges. If your rear teeth are missing, a traditional bridge can close the gap, but you will need to be cautious of crunchy and sticky foods that can damage your restoration.

For many patients, bridges are a reliable option for tooth restoration, and they can be put in place in only a few weeks.

Option 4: Go for an Implant

If you want to restore your biting function and have teeth that look natural and are easy to maintain, implants are the way to go. Whether you’re missing a single tooth or have very few teeth left, there are implant options, like All-On-4, available to restore teeth in any area of your mouth.

Unlike dentures or partial dentures, after a dental implant heals, you can eat all your favorite foods, and your smile will look completely natural. In addition, while the other methods on this list require cleaning your replacement teeth either through removal and soaking or meticulous cleaning using special floss, an implant can be maintained much like your natural teeth with proper brushing and regular dental cleanings.

If you’re missing a tooth, the dentists at Keith and Associates are experts at restoring smiles. Our office specializes in general and cosmetic dentistry, with in-house doctors specializing in bridges, partial dentures, and implants.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards smile restoration, we’re here to help. Our team of caring experts can help you understand your options and develop a plan to restore your oral health and smile. Call us at 913-384-0044 or schedule a consultation online to get started.

Don’t Be Nervous! What to Expect from Gum Grafting

Your oral health is interconnected. Some folks struggle with cavities and tooth decay, while others are more prone to issues with their gums. To have a sturdy smile that lasts a lifetime, your teeth, roots, and your gums must all be protected.

However, for a lot of people, gum recession happens so slowly they don’t even notice. As your gums slowly pull away from the root, patients often feel more tooth sensitivity, but that is only the beginning. Over time, gum loss can lead to bone loss, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults over the age of 35.

To help your gums grow and reattach, we sometimes recommend gingival grafting, also known as gum grafting. We know it sounds a little scary, but this procedure is quick and straightforward. Dr. Bill and Dr. Jonathan at keith + associates are experienced gum grafting professionals and are here to make sure you’re safe and comfortable throughout the entire process.

What is gum grafting?

Gum grafting, or gingival grafting, is a simple surgical procedure that can correct receding gums and other painful or deteriorative gum-related issues. Much like a skin graft is used to cover an injured part of your skin, a gum graft fills in missing or thin areas of your gums. Traditionally, gum grafts were performed using donated tissue from another person or area of your mouth, however, you’ll be relieved to know that isn’t the case at our practice!

Instead, we use an allograft product called Alloderm, a technology popular in plastic surgery, that allows us to perform grafts without harvesting tissue from a donor.

This procedure is routine, quick, and performed under local anesthetic.

Benefits of gingival grafting

From pain relief and cosmetic improvements to tooth decay and loss prevention, there are several reasons your dentist could recommend a gum grafting procedure.

Protection from decay

Gum grafting has a high success rate. With proper care and upkeep, this procedure can keep your gums from further recession and protect your exposed roots from further harm.

Decreased dental sensitivity

For many folks, one of the first signs of gum recession is tooth sensitivity. Once your gum graft has healed, it helps insulate your roots from hot or cold food and beverages to lessen sensitivity and keep pain at bay.

Smile restoration

Gum recession can occur around visible front teeth, which causes them to appear tall or elongated. For a lot of folks, this can cause a serious blow to their confidence. Gum grafting can quickly restore your original gum line to give you a more confident smile.

Connective tissue gum grafting

A dentist will go over the different gingival grafting options available and assess what is best for you and your needs. The three most common procedures are free gingival grafts, connective tissue grafts, and pedicle grafts. Since grafts at our office do not typically require donor tissue from the patient’s mouth, our grafting options are simplified.

In a connective tissue graft, we use a small, dehydrated piece of tissue called Alloderm. This procedure only takes a few minutes and involves us simply stitching the grafting tissue to the area in need of additional gum tissue.

Gum grafting procedure

Initial consultation

A dentist will perform a deep cleaning procedure and comprehensive oral assessment for gum disease and evaluate surrounding bones’ health. If your dentist sees the need for a gum grafting procedure, you will have time to discuss your options, why it is necessary, and what to expect before scheduling the appointment.

On the day of the procedure

If you opt for moderate IV sedation to manage anxiety during your procedure, you’ll be required to fast for 6 hours prior to treatment and secure a ride home. Regarding aftercare, patients will want to avoid brushing the grafted tissue and surrounding areas after their appointment. Softer foods are recommended for the first few days following the procedure until a patient is comfortable enough to try solid foods again.

Your doctor will provide additional aftercare information and advice tailored to the patient’s individual needs, habits, and comfort. While complications are infrequent with this type of procedure, there is a possibility of infection, uneven healing, loose sutures, and swelling. Therefore, it’s important to follow your doctor’s directions precisely and closely monitor your feel in the days following your procedure. Recovery is different for everyone, but at keith + associates, we will be here to guide you towards easy healing.

How much does gum grafting cost?

Depending on a patient’s individual needs and the severity of potential issues, gingival grafts can vary in price. However, many procedures are covered or partially covered under dental insurance. For a cosmetic procedure or one not covered by your insurance, each area costs approximately $1,200.  However, with insurance coverage, there is possibly little to no cost involved. If your dentist recommends a gum grafting procedure, our benefits and billing associates can help you determine your best path to payment.

Get started with gum grafting

If you are concerned about receding gums, gingivitis, or other oral health issues, the experienced team at Keith + Associates is here to help. Our resident gum grafting experts, Dr. Bill and Dr. Jonathan, an addition to the rest of our experienced staff are here to make your journey towards a better smile simple and transparent. Give us a call at 913-384-0044 or book an appointment online to get started on your journey towards healthy teeth and gums.