Virtual Reality Has Become Reality in Dentistry | Alhambra Dentist

For Implants: Dentist Places Virtual Implants into 3D Computerized Image of Your Jaw Then Computer-Generated “STENT” Guides Implants to Place – No Incision Needed

Virtual reality has become reality in dentistry – for dental implants. Virtual reality in the form of 3D imaging is changing the practice of dentistry. With state-of-the art digital imaging, dentists can analyze the anatomy of the patient’s jaw without surgery, which saves time and money and shortens implant recovery time, according to the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI). ICOI further states that it’s like having the patient’s jaw on the computer screen and helps make implants the most predictable procedure in dentistry today. By incorporating advanced, highly precise computer-guided technology, dental implant surgery has made implant procedures faster, highly predicable and long-lasting with a success rate of 97 percent.

Life-like 3D images are obtained by means of specialized CAT scans. Assisted by specialized software computer systems, the dentist is able to precisely measure volume, shape and density of the bone and location of sinuses. Just as importantly, the precise location and distribution of nerves and blood vessels are also determined and measured with high precision. This eliminates uncertainty about which spots in the jawbone are the right sites for the placement of implants and what angulation of the implant ought to take. In this way the precision of the CT scan and implant surgical planning software gives the dentist a vivid, precise 3D simulation (virtual reality) of the patient’s mouth to pinpoint potential problems and plan the entire implant procedure in advance with confidence.

In planning the procedure, the dentist considers the computerized data and the clinical examination results and general health information of the patient, as well as the subjective preferences of the patient. The dentist then determines which, out of a myriad of types, shapes and sizes of implants, would be the most appropriate and optimal for the best long-term function of the implants. Furthermore, where anterior teeth are involved the dentist will particularly assess and control the cosmetic effect the implant will have on the smile. The dentist may also generate a simulated image of the implant crowns during the consultation appointment. This way the patient can see a virtual reality of the new smile and further indicate preferences in terms of appearance. Based on the totality of information, the final implants are chosen. Then the dentist prescribes a “stent” or a guide that will precisely direct the implants into the correct location at the correct angulation. According to the prescription the implant manufacturer will fabricate this stent.

At the implant placement appointment the stent is used to guide the implants into the exact spot and at the exact angulation that the dentist had pre-determined on the computerized 3D image of the jaw. Generally no incision or cutting or lifting (flap elevation) of the gum is necessary. Rather, the implant is simply inserted, with a minimal disturbance to the site. Most single implants do not take more than one hour. Routinely, healing is rapid and uneventful.

If you have questions regarding your particular needs, consult with your dentist.

If you would like more information about virtual dental implants, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Denture Problems: Instant Cure with Affordable Dental Implants | Alhambra Dentist

Denture wearers most often have problems with looseness of the fit. In the vast majority of cases this is because, while dentures do not change dimensions, bone and gum do. This soft and hard tissue shrinkage is further accelerated by the forces of mastication and bruxism (common habit of grinding and clenching the teeth). Over time, the gap between the denture and the underlying gum and bone increases. Some patients have the ability to adapt to this looseness, sometimes with the help of denture adhesives. Others develop “denture sores” that persist and simply limit their diet to soft, nutritionally deficient foods. Poor nutrition can lead to a cascade of common health problems, such as obesity, high blood sugar and diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disorders. Emotional and self-esteem issues are often the result. On the other hand it is amazing how new; well-fitting dentures can elevate the mood and sense of well-being in the patient who had been suffering with ill-fitting dentures.

Recent advances in implantology have allowed denture patients to have existing, functional dentures to be attached to “one-stage, immediate loading implants” in one visit. The best news is that these “mini-permanent implants” are substantially less costly than conventional two-stage implants.

Through a procedure, called “minimally invasive micro-surgery,” your dentist can place an implant that measures 1.8 mm (less than one tenth of an inch) in diameter and one-half inch in length at appropriate locations in the jaw. No incision or stitching is needed. Generally four implants are required for the lower denture and six for the upper denture. Discomfort is minimal and patients generally can eat immediately afterwards.

Where the current dentures are serviceable, there is no need to make new dentures. If necessary it is possible to “reline” the denture when the implants are being done.

There is also welcome news for gaggers or anyone who prefers not to have anything covering the roof of the mouth. With upper implants holding the denture in place, the roof of the denture is no longer necessary, and can be removed.

Discuss your denture needs with your dentist and see whether you are a good candidate for mini-implants. You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy this can be done.

If you would like more information about dental implants, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Receding Gums Awareness Month Declared for January | Alhambra Dentist

Because January has been declared Receding Gums Awareness Month, it is important that we spread the word of this revolutionary new procedure to patients that are in need of repairing their receding gums, Dr. Chao’s Pinhole Surgical Technique. If gums recession is left untreated, this condition will worsen and lead to more severe dental issues in the future, even tooth loss. In order to combat this issue, the Pinhole Surgical Technique can reverse the issue with little to no pain, making it the ideal option for patients suffering from receding gums.

In this video, Dr. Chris Bowman visits the set of Charlotte Today to discuss the procedure and educate their viewers on the benefits of having it done. Each one, teach one…

If you would like more information about Receding Gums Awareness Month, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Don’t Want Implants? Hopeless Teeth Can Be Saved | Alhambra Dentist

A combination of traditional techniques and latest technology can save teeth previously diagnosed as hopeless. This innovative approach can often save seemingly loose, hopeless front teeth and prevent tooth loss.

If a patient presents with teeth that have hardly any bone left due to “periodontitis” (gum disease), this new approach would offer the “stabilization” of the loose teeth with the traditional method of “splinting.” The latter calls for bonding (gluing) wiring on the back (lingual) side of the teeth and making them, in effect, one unit. This splinting process is like tying loose boards together to make them stronger. Once the teeth are not loose, but stable, they can be “deep cleaned” without having to do surgery, as it traditionally indicated. However, with the use of “endoscopy” dentists and hygienists can now remove “tartar” sticking to the roots of the teeth under the gums without surgery. Endoscopy calls for the use of a miniaturized cameras that is inserted under the gum to broadcast magnified images of the tartar on the roots. Using special ultrasonic instruments, the tartar is removed thoroughly. Thus the roots become infection-free.

With the teeth stabilized and source of infection removed, it has been found that gums will likely heal and be free of infection long term if the patient follows strict standard maintenance and special homecare instructions. In many cases even bone will grow back.

In some cases the bite has changed because of drifting of the teeth. Gapes open between front teeth. Some teeth my look longer. The good news is often the teeth can be brought together in the first visit and then “splinted” together. The original smile can be restored in one visit, in many cases. Sometimes spot adjustment of the longer teeth may need to be done to provide a more normal bite and a normal smile line.

Most patients must return for follow-up care every 3 months indefinitely. And they must follow strict home care instructions in between visits. So, if you want to explore conservative alternatives to extractions, followed by implants or bridge work, contact your dentist and discuss your options thoroughly.

If you would like more information about fixing your teeth, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

10 Latest “Impossible” Surprises in Dentistry | Alhambra Dentist

  1. Root canal treatment can be painless. Yes, it can be, if it is done in a caring, careful manner using the latest and best technology in anesthesia. By caring, it is meant that the dental environment, the staff and the doctor reflect the confident, sincere, caring attitude that can quickly relieve the patient’s anxieties and gain the patient’s complete trust. Then, by using the latest in painless techniques, the patient can experience an entirely new painless experience. Yes, even the injection can be invisible and painless. After the injection the patient will often say something like, “What was that?”, “Did you just give me a shot?”. By seeing your dentist regularly, hopefully you won’t need a root canal. But if you do, don’t worry and don’t postpone it. It won’t hurt.
  2. Fillings don’t have to be done with shots and drills. Small or medium size cavities can be cleaned with “air abrasion” technology. Under a surgical microscope, the cavity is located and painlessly air-brushed with a miniaturized nozzle emitting a fine stream of powder. This is painlessly done, and many cavities can be filled at the same time. This method is especially good when cavities are not deep. The cavities are filled with hard, durable composite fillings made of ceramic particles filled with resins. The fillings are tooth-colored and are practically invisible.
  3. You don’t have to undergo gum surgery to treat advanced gum disease. Adults lose teeth mostly because of advanced gum disease. Plaque deposits under the gum lead to infection and inflammation in susceptible patients (who have a genetic predisposition for this disease). Bone loss results and eventually the teeth loosen and are lost. Gum surgery allows the surgeon to “reflect” the gums away from the root so that plaque can be thoroughly removed. New technology, called dental endoscopy, allows the dentist to see under the gums with a miniaturized fibro-optic camera that directs the ultrasonic instruments to vibrate away the plaque. The removal of plaque in this manner averts surgery and produces the same results as surgery, but without the downsides, which is pain, bleeding and swelling and occasional complications such as post-operative infections.
  4. Even loose teeth can be saved. When teeth are visibly loose, teeth are often extracted and replaced with dentures, bridges or implants. Traditionally, there are methods to save loose and mobile teeth. These methods include splinting, which calls for tying the loose teeth to the normal teeth with hidden braces, and thorough non-surgical gum treatment (See above paragraph on endoscopy). So, you don’t have to lose your teeth, even if they are loose.
  5. You can get a crown done in one appointment without impressions. Before the advent of CAD-CAM technology, the only way a crown could be done is for the dentist to remove the decay by prepping the tooth, taking impressions of the teeth and sending the impression to the laboratory where technicians make the crown. The process generally took two to three weeks. In the meantime, the patient wears a temporary crown. On the return visit, the tooth is usually numbed up again and the crown is fitted and cemented onto the tooth, if everything goes well. If not, the crown is returned to the lab and the temporary crown is placed back onto the tooth until the next visit. With the new CAD-CAM computer, your doctor takes an optical 3-D image of your teeth a special camera, creates a tooth for you with the computer, and then directs the computer to mill out a new tooth out of a block of pure porcelain. There would be no human error and the fit is consistently precise and accurate. All this is done in one visit, and no more than two hours in most cases.
  6. You don’t have to wait for X-rays to be processed by a machine. Digital x-rays are instantly projected onto the computer monitor in front of where you are sitting. You no longer have to look at a tiny spot on a small dental film to see what the dentist is talking about. Now the image is 40 times the size of the film and you can see what the doctor sees. Besides, these images can be enhanced by color and texture so that you can see the “pathology” also.
  7. MRI-like 3-D imaging has come to dentistry. A select number of dental offices are using 3-D scans to image teeth, bone, gum, nerve, root formation, blood vessels and sinuses in appropriate situations, such as implant placement, root canal treatment and gum treatment. 3-D scan allows the dentist to see and measure accurately (up to .1 millimeter or 256th of an inch). This information can lead to better diagnosis and more alternatives in treatment. Additionally, complications are avoided through the use of this diagnostic advancement.
  8. Denture patients can have a virtual face-lift when they have new dentures that are anchored to mini-dental implants. Yes, mini-dental implants, which are miniaturized implants, can be placed in a short time without surgery and stitching. Then dentures can be constructed in a few hours that would lock on to these mini-implants. These dentures are so tightly secured onto the mini-implants that the patient will have a hard time removing them in the beginning. Because the dentures are locked onto implants, special cosmetic enhancements are now possible. The bite and the arrangement of the teeth can virtually duplicate that of the idealized originals. The effect is a virtual facelift…all done in one day.
  9. Test-Drive Veneers™ invented by this columnist, can be placed onto the front teeth in three minutes or less to give the patient a test-drive experience of what it would be like to have a new, great smile. Up until this innovation was configured by the author, you could only try out veneers if they are made up by a laboratory first. This entailed one appointment for impressions for the lab tech to fabricate temporary veneers, a second appointment would be needed to try out these temporaries. Test-Drive Veneers™ combine art and technology to adapt new, beautiful veneers to your teeth in a matter of 3 minutes or less. They look shiny and real to begin with. But they can be changed, moved or altered in color to suit the preferences of the patient. The patient can realistically anticipate the final result by seeing the virtual result. Most of the time, the final veneers are much more stunning than the temporaries. You have a lot to look forward to…, like having a great, magnetic smile for the rest of your life.
  10. If one tooth looks longer than the others because the gums have receded, gum repair can now be done in 30 minutes or less through a tiny “pinhole” without cutting or stitching. This instant, virtually painless procedure has been invented and patented by the author. The International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry, a highly respected, peer-review dental journal, will publish this innovative method, called Pinhole Surgical Technique®, in its October 2012 issue. Prominent figures in the dental profession have described this new method as “a major breakthrough” in the field of gum regeneration. So, if you have a “long tooth” that shows in your smile, you can have that long-tooth look repaired in 30 minutes or less.

Dr. John Chao is well known as an authority on dentistry throughout Southern California. He is the host of Smile Talk, a popular radio talk show on KFWB 980 AM, airing 7-8 p.m. on Sundays. He is a lecturer and clinical instructor at the Ostrow of Dentistry of USC in the Community Dentistry Division, teaching on the subjects of pain and anxiety management, ethics and professionalism. For his work at USC, he has been named “Outstanding Part-time Faculty for 2012.” As the inventor of the “Pinhole Surgical Technique®”, he uses his office in Alhambra as an educational center for interested dentists from the US and other countries. For questions, comments or information, contact Dr. Chao at ChickensWelcome.com, or 626-308-9104.

 

November Declared National Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Month | Alhambra Dentist

It is important to maintain healthy gums as they contribute to our overall health in many ways. Unfortunately, through various reasons these gums can begin to recede. Not only is it an aesthetic issue, but it can become the reason you develop other health issues, both dental and otherwise. In order to treat this issue, we must undergo some type of gum recession treatment. And while there are a few options, Dr. John Chao’s Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation is a minimally-invasive treatment option that is taking the gum recession issue by storm. So much so, November 2018 is the inaugural year for the National Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Month, a month dedicated to spreading the word about this treatment option to the public.

“The need for an easier, less painful treatment for gum recession motivated me to invent Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation®,” says Dr. Chao. “Pinhole® is scalpel free, suture free and graft free. The entire procedure is done through small pinholes made in the gums.”

There are currently 3,100 dental professionals that offer the Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation treatment worldwide. Not only will this minimally-invasive treatment option going to offer little pain and recovery time but will give patients the ability to have a healthy smile that can last a lifetime.

To read the official press release regarding National Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Month, click here.

To find out more information about the procedure, click here.

For Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation FAQs and to find a dentist, click here.

If you would like more information about Pinhole Surgical Technique, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Educating the Public About Pinhole | Alhambra Dentist

You may have heard of the saying “getting long in the tooth” when used to describe someone as aging. But have you ever thought about where this saying comes from? It turns out that as we age, our gums begin to recede. And with this recession comes an unattractive smile, an increased tooth sensitivity and a higher chance of tooth loss. In order to prevent this, your dental professional may suggest gum rejuvenation as a treatment option.

Gum rejuvenation is a ground-breaking dental procedure that will not only renew your bright smile, but can be done with no incisions, stitches or grafts. Created by Dr. John Chao, the Pinhole Surgical Technique is an increasingly popular option because the turnaround time is quick (procedure can be done in one visit), recovery time is minimal (patients have been able to eat the same day) and because there is no incisions or grafting, it is virtually pain-free.

This month is National Gum Rejuvenation Month and to celebrate, we have been filming a commercial to get the word out to the public about this life-changing procedure. Not only will the improvements Pinhole Surgical Technique made to their smiles boost their self-esteem and fix any sensitivity issues, but the health benefits and gum disease prevention will improve their overall quality of life. It is important that our patients have every treatment option available to give them the smiles they deserve. Look for our new commercial coming soon. If you would like to learn more about Pinhole Surgical Technique, visit www.AskYourDentistAboutPinhole.com.

If you would like more information about Pinhole Surgical Technique, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Bleachorexia: Excessive Teeth Whitening | Alhambra Dentist

Excessive, unsupervised teeth whitening, dubbed “Bleachorexia,” may lead to receding gums and oversensivity, according to a news segment on Good Morning America.  This TV program cited Dr. Laurence Rifkin who treated five-time World Boxing Council champion Mia St. John for “bleachorexia.” St. John “constantly” bleached her teeth to the point her dentist warned her that her teeth might turn to “mush.”  A good thing can become a bad thing, if overdone, said Dr. Rifkin. For that reason some dentists have coined a new term, “Bleachorexia,” to describe excessive, or obsessive preoccupation with teeth whitening.

Also interviewed on this show was Dr. Jen Ashton who quoted the position of the American Dental Association (ADA) with regard to teeth whitening. Dr. Ashton stated that teeth whitening should only be done after consultation and examination with your dentist.  Especially if you already have crowns, fillings or veneers on your teeth, you should be treated under the supervision of your dentist. The ADA warned that there is not enough evidence to support long-term, unsupervised and/or repeated use of bleaching products.  

When consulting with your dentist, it would be important to have the front teeth examined to determine whether there are fillings, crowns or veneers and their relative condition.  Should “leaky fillings” be replaced first to prevent bleaching agents from leaking through to the nerve? Would dark fillings be bleached as white as the teeth? Would these darker fillings be even more obvious when the teeth become whiter?  Crowns and fillings do not whiten. Would there be a contrast problem? Are the gums in good shape? If not, can inflamed gums be irritated and can they become painful if exposed to bleaching agents? These are the many questions to ask your dentist before you allow bleaching agents to be applied to your teeth.

The following is the ADA statement on teeth whitening:

“The ADA recommends that if you choose to use a bleaching product, you should only do so after consultation with a dentist. This is especially important for patients with many fillings, crowns, and extremely dark stains. A thorough oral examination, performed by a licensed dentist, is essential to determine if bleaching is an appropriate course of treatment. The dentist and patient together can determine the most appropriate treatment. The dentist may then advise the patient and supervise the use of bleaching agents within the context of a comprehensive, appropriately sequenced treatment plan … Patients should be cautioned that not enough information is available to support unsupervised long-term and/or repeated use of bleaching products.”

Nothing can be gained by bypassing your dentist and hygienist when you consider improving your teeth and your dental health by means not recommended by the ADA.

If you would like more information about teeth whitening, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.