Keith and Associates

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.

Dental Anxiety? Moderate IV Sedation Can Help!

Even we get a little nervous going to the dentist sometimes. So, we recognize going to the dentist can be scary at any age, even if it’s for something as simple as a cleaning or x-ray. For some potential dental patients, fear and anxiety are major reasons they avoid necessary dental work, especially with more extensive procedures like extractions or root canals. The doctors at Keith + Associates strive to make every patient feel welcome and comfortable no matter what their appointment is for. Your peace of mind and relaxation are a top priority for us!

Thanks to new advancements in dentistry, several tools to reduce and eliminate these worries are now available in many dental practices, and we are proud to say Keith + Associates is one of them! For those who have severe anxiety, have difficulty remaining still, or require an extensive procedure, we offer Moderate IV Sedation to help patients shake off those dental jitters!

What is Moderate IV Sedation?

Used as an alternative to nitrous oxide or pills, Moderate IV Sedation is a sedative we deliver through your bloodstream via your hand or arm. Utilizing Moderate IV Sedation not only you to relax, but you may also even lightly fall asleep during the procedure! It also allows for the dentist to adjust levels of sedation for your personal needs. We administer Moderate IV Sedation often, so our doctors have experienced creating a safe and stress-free experience for you.

Have dental anxiety? We’ve got you!

After you’re under sedation, you won’t have to worry about nervousness or jitters during your procedure. You’ll relax with little awareness of time. Your senses will dull, including your ability to feel pain, and at the end of your dental procedure, you’ll barely have a memory of it. Most patients describe their recollection of the experience afterward as being almost like a dream. Throughout your entire time in the chair, we’ll carefully monitor your comfort levels and adjust them as needed to keep you at ease throughout your time in the chair.

Patient Preparation for Moderate IV Sedation

An appointment with Moderate IV Sedation takes a little preparation. Commonly, we suggest patients avoid eating before their procedure. We also require sedation patients to arrive with a driver to safely bring them home. It is crucial to follow your dentist’s advice before and aftercare to ensure the success and comfort of the procedure and proper healing of the affected area.

What to Expect from Moderate IV Sedation During and After a Procedure

When you arrive for your dental procedure, we’ll get you comfortable in the chair before starting an IV in your hand or arm. In just a few minutes, you’ll feel the relaxation kick in. As we perform your dental procedure, we’ll monitor your vital signs and ensure your comfort throughout the entire process. We’re here with you every step of the way.

After we complete your dental procedure, we will stop the medication and remove the IV. You will slowly come back to your senses; however, you will not be safe to drive.

You’ll typically feel tired for a few hours after your procedure. The next day, you should take it easy and avoid physical activity, driving, or operating heavy machinery. Give yourself time to recuperate from your dental procedure and indulge in a bit of self-care. During this time, you should avoid any unapproved medications, alcohol, and drugs until your dentist clears you. While complications are incredibly rare, it is important to pay attention to any issues you may be experiencing. Be sure to contact us immediately if any concerns arise.

If you’re ready to experience a stress-free dental appointment, give us a call at (913) 384-0044 or schedule an appointment online today!

 

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.

Tags: , ,

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.