Julie M. Thomas, DDS - Blog

4/21/2016 12:00:00 PM | Julie Thomas, DDS

If you’ve been recommended a night guard to prevent the symptoms of jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ disorder or TMD), there are some things you should know about wearing your aligner daily and how it will affect previous dental work. Dr. Julie Thomas makes sure to explain all facets of mouth guard treatment for patients with TMD, including the following five important points:

1.) Night Guards do not Damage Previous Dental Work – Patients who have had previous cosmetic or restorative works, such as crowns or veneers, are often concerned about damaging these prosthetics with the use of a night guard. However, a night guard is typically recommended for patients with TMD-related bruxism, as mouth guards cover any prosthetic dental restorations. Ensuring a proper fit is key to allowing your mouth guard to promote the longevity of prosthetics and avoid damaging them, however. If your mouth guard is too tight, speak to our dental office for more information about custom fit for mouth guards that prevent TMJ dysfunction symptoms.

2.) Clear Aligners are not a Substitute for Dental Splints – While many dental patients who choose clear aligner therapy for straightening teeth may notice alleviation night-time teeth grinding in the short term, clear orthodontic aligners are not a replacement for a custom made dental splint. As the aligners are made to be thin enough to be discreet and comfortable for all day wear and invisibility, they cannot withstand the pressure of continued teeth grinding. After your orthodontic treatment is complete, it is best to protect your teeth with a TMD dental splint.

3.) Guards can be Made to Fit Upper or Lower Arches – TMD night guards can sometimes be problematic for those who have a sensitive gag reflex, especially if they are fitted to your upper arch of teeth. However, depending on your needs and the type of splint that will best suit them, some mouth guards can be made to fit your lower set of teeth. Lower arch mouth guards do not trigger the same gag reflexes and can still absorb the pressure of teeth grinding and clenching.

4.) Consistent Use is Key – As with most healthy habits, staying consistent is important to seeing results. Patients who only sporadically wear their nighttime dental guards may not see enough of an improvement in muscle function to help alleviate overnight teeth grinding. When worn each evening, however, muscles are given the opportunity to relax and pressure is properly absorbed so that patients experience less pain and soreness throughout the day.

5.) Custom Fit is Important – While mouth guards can be purchased at the drug store, a properly fitted dental appliance is the best way to ensure that you are comfortable while wearing the mouth guard and that it best fits your needs. As mentioned above, custom TMJ night guards are also better able to protect proper dental restorations. Over the counter mouth guards cannot produce the same experience as an appliance that is custom molded for your smile. 

If you have questions about getting a mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding and prevent other TMD side-effects, contact our North Canton TMJ dentist today. We create custom-molded mouth guards and ensure best fit to meet your needs.

4/6/2016 12:00:00 PM | Julie Thomas, DDS

As a cosmetic dental procedure, veneers are highly popular and generate buzz online regarding the procedure itself and treatment outcomes. Seeking care from a qualified dentist who listens to your concerns, takes the time to customize your treatment, and explains every part of the process along the way is vital in helping to avoid some of the pitfalls many patients may fall into by seeking care from a less-than-thorough practitioner. While stories of veneers gone wrong are available online, there are some stories about veneer therapy that prove to be untrue when seeking care from an experienced cosmetic dentist, such as:

Getting Veneers is Painful - While some patients report discomfort during their veneer procedure, a careful dentist is able to ensure that your treatment is as free of discomfort as possible by skillfully applying a local anesthetic. While the veneers treatment process is not invasive, teeth do have to be prepared so that your veneers can be securely applied and look natural, which is where a gentle touch and use of a numbing agent are particularly important.

Veneers Damage Your Teeth – Because a veneer is of a certain thickness, natural dental enamel must first be buffed, or prepared, so that your veneers do not add extra, uncomfortable bulk to teeth. However, the thickness of the veneer and the amount of dental enamel that must be prepared is quite thin – typically 1 millimeter or less. In comparison, the edge of a quarter is almost double the thickness of a porcelain veneer at 1.75 millimeters. Before beginning the veneer treatment process, our North Canton cosmetic dentist – Dr. Julie Thomas – explains exactly how much dental enamel will be removed, so you can feel comfortable with the procedure. While tooth enamel must be prepared, this process does not involve the extreme alteration of teeth, as what is typically indicated with the use of dental crowns for severely decayed teeth.

Veneers Stain – Your porcelain veneers are made to stand up to staining and should not discolor over time. For a bright white uniform look, natural teeth can first be bleached and veneers can be made to match your new teeth shade. If you have just a few veneers applied, it’s important to keep in mind that natural dental enamel can still stain with repeated exposure to things like coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco. To protect the color of your new smile, it’s best to minimize these diet and lifestyle choices.

Ask Our Office about Porcelain Veneers

If you have questions about how many veneers are right for your treatment needs, what wearing veneers is like, and what you can expect from treatment, contact our office for your consultation. We avoid over-treatment and help you enjoy a lasting healthy and beautiful smile by only placing the number of veneers that you absolutely need to meet your goals. Dr. Julie Thomas works hard to ensure that you are educated and comfortable regarding your procedure.

3/25/2016 12:00:00 PM | Julie Thomas, DDS

Making the decision to seek out a smile makeover is important and requires careful consideration and discussion with your dentist. Smile makeovers should help to preserve any natural teeth, allow you to enjoy better health, and promote increased confidence with renewed aesthetics. With this in mind, ask yourself the following questions when doing cosmetic dental makeover research or bring them in to your dental consultation. Knowing the basics about common aesthetic and reconstructive services can help you make the best choices for your needs.

Crowns or Veneers?

Dental crowns work best on teeth that have been severely damaged or are decayed and therefore require more reinforcement and restoration. As placing a crown involves shaving down a fair amount of tooth enamel above the gum line, it’s best to make sure that enamel is damaged beyond repair and should be removed in the first place.

In cases where less tooth structure is damaged, and concerns are mostly cosmetic, veneers can be applied. Adding a veneer to a tooth helps to preserve more of your natural tooth enamel and re-shapes teeth so they appear more complimentary to the rest of your smile.

Treat Infected Teeth? Or Extract Them?

In a conservative dental philosophy, it’s the best course of action to keep your own teeth in place for as long as possible. Replacing extracted teeth is more feasible with modern dental solutions, but requires additional care and treatment over the course of your lifetime. If an infected tooth can be successfully treated with a root canal and preserved with a crown, this is typically the best course of action. Only teeth that are beyond repair should be removed entirely.

Analyzing Cost for your Smile Makeover

Smile makeovers are investments in your health and wellness over the course of your lifetime. Your teeth will and should be with you for as long as you live, which is why taking care to find the appropriate dental professional and most efficient procedures for your needs is important. The training and experience of your dentist factor into final cost for your smile makeover. Our dentist, Dr. Julie Thomas, is well-versed in cosmetic procedures and is prepared to help patients find best solutions for their smile makeover needs. When restoring your entire smile, you wouldn’t go to a dentist fresh out of school – you are paying for the wisdom and expertise of a dentist with years of training and continuing education to their credit.

Additional factors to consider for the cost of your treatment plan are materials and the experience level of prosthetics and lab technicians, respectively. Prosthetics that are made to closely match real teeth and stand the test of time will be most expensive, but are far more beneficial in the long run. The ceramist creating your restorations should also be well educated in their field to provide lasting results.

Ask our Cosmetic Dentist about Smile Makeovers

If you have questions about what you can expect for you smile makeover, contact our North Canton cosmetic dentist, Dr. Julie Thomas, for your consultation and to go over your options.

3/11/2016 12:00:00 PM | Julie Thomas, DDS

Having a root canal as part of your recommended treatment plan can be intimidating, or leave you with more questions than answers about treatment. It is our goal to keep our patients informed so that they feel comfortable about the care we recommend to keep their smiles healthy. If you are in need of a root canal, we help you better understand your procedure answering some common patient questions:

Do Root Canals Hurt? Root canals have something of an unfair reputation in patient experience. With proper anesthetic and gentle care, a root canal doesn’t feel much different than getting a standard filling. What many patients fail to recognize is that, at the point when a root canal is needed, the nerves inside the affected tooth are dead, so treating inner root systems of teeth does not irritate live nerves. Tooth infections can also be painful, but root canals help relieve that discomfort. In effect, a root canal actually helps to relieve pain and is not as uncomfortable as many patients imagine.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal? Generally speaking, a root canal is needed if bacteria have been allowed to affect tooth pulp by entering the root systems of teeth. This can happen when a tooth is severely decayed or when a deep crack has exposed the pulp. By utilizing root canal therapy, patients get to keep their own teeth.

If I Get a Dental Crown, Am I More Likely to Need a Root Canal? When applied correctly, with margins around the treated tooth being properly sealed, crowned teeth should not require a root canal. However, if the crown has not been sealed correctly, there is a chance for bacteria to access the prepared tooth under the crown, and for a root canal to later be necessary.

If I get a Root Canal with an Old Crown, Do I have to Replace the Crown? If the crown isn’t properly sealing out bacteria, then a new crown will need to be created and applied to better protect your tooth. If the issue is bacteria in inner tooth systems, as opposed to margin problems, the inner systems of teeth can be accessed through your existing crown, to preserve your crown and treat your tooth. The access point through your existing crown is then sealed with composite resin. Diagnostics help in determining which approach is best. Our office first assess existing tooth structure under the old crown to determine if there is enough left to cap again and what’s causing the need for a root canal before deciding to provide an whole new crown.

Why Get a Root Canal if I can Have the Tooth Replaced? Keeping your natural teeth is always important, whenever possible. If the root systems of teeth can be cleaned and the top portion of your tooth can be protected with a dental crown, this is the best choice for a conservative treatment plan. Extracting teeth can lead to bone resorption, shifting of existing teeth, and create the need for more costly restorations.

Talk to our Office about your Root Canal

If you have more questions about your upcoming root canal appointment or if you believe you may have an infected tooth that requires a root canal, contact our North Canton dental office to speak to a member of our team.

2/25/2016 12:00:00 PM | Julie Thomas, DDS

The whiteness of your smile leaves a positive first impression of health and cleanliness, but how can you effectively get a whiter smile and maintain it? Our North Canton cosmetic dental office helps patients to achieve brighter smiles by answering some of the most common questions about teeth whitening.

Do over the counter whitening products work? Drugstore whitening treatments are often hit-and-miss as they are not customized to your needs or administered by a professional over-the-counter teeth bleaching can also be messy, preventing whitening agents from staying localized to teeth, where it can serve the most benefit.

How much whiter will my smile be after teeth bleaching? Every patient is different and has discolored teeth for a variety of reasons, which will affect how whitening treatment brightens their teeth. On average, your smile will be three shades whiter after professional bleaching from a dentist.

How can I keep my smile white? Avoiding food and drinks with high pigment, such as red wine and coffee is a good start, but you can take other small steps -- such as brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily to remove stain-causing debris and using an at-home whitening touch-ups can also help keep your smile looking fresh.

Does teeth whitening cause sensitivity? All teeth bleaching treatments cause some sensitivity, but this effect can be minimized by speaking to your dentist and selecting the treatment method that includes the right combination of ingredients to minimize post-treatment sensitivity.

Is teeth whitening worth it? Many patients find teeth bleaching to be an easy and effective procedure that helps to dramatically improve the appearance of their smiles. Professional teeth whitening provides predictable results that store bought products cannot imitate.

Who is a good candidate for teeth whitening? Almost anyone can benefit from a bright new smile with our teeth bleaching services. However, it’s important to note that bleaching gel only lifts stains on organic dental enamel and will not whiten prosthetics, like crowns and bridges. Talk to our cosmetic dentist before your treatment to ensure that your smile, including all restorations, ends up as your desired shade when your procedure is complete.

Questions about Teeth Whitening

If you have questions about whitening your teeth that we did not answer here, please feel free to contact our office for your consultation.

2/10/2016 12:00:00 PM | Julie Thomas, DDS

If you’re in the market for a more beautiful smile, scheduling a cosmetic dentistry consultation is the place where your goals are established and your dentist has a chance to recommend care that will work best for you.

Before heading into your cosmetic dental consultation, consider asking the following to help create a productive first meeting that answers questions and promotes treatment satisfaction:

What Materials Will be used in Treatment? Everyone’s treatment goals differ and there are different restorative materials your dentist can use to help you meet those. If you have teeth that are worn down from bruxism, a restoration with a strong metal base may be your best bet. For cosmetically restoring teeth in your smile zone, completely tooth-colored materials like all-porcelain or e.max® are excellent choices. Be sure to ask you dentist what materials they will use during treatment so that you are comfortable with the final result.

What are My Conservative Treatment Options? Patients with severely damaged teeth may need a comprehensive restoration like dental crowns, which involves preparing teeth by first removing damaged dental enamel. However, if much of your tooth structure is healthy, restoring function and appearance can be completed with procedures that keep more of your teeth in-tact, such as an onlay, inlay, or veneer. For some patients, brightening teeth and correcting tooth shape can be conservatively accomplished with teeth bleaching and placement of a few veneers. Be sure to ask your dentist about ways to combine treatments that allow you to keep as much of your natural teeth as possible.

Offers, Payments, Financing: Patients should note that, depending on providers and coverage limits, procedures deemed for purely cosmetic benefit may not be covered. If available, ask your cosmetic dentist about new patient offers, in-house payment plans, or special financing they can help you apply for to support your treatment plan.

Do your research!

Patient Reviews: Reading up on other patients’ reactions to service can help you decide if you like your chosen dentist’s commitment to care and chair-side manner. Check out trusted review sites, such as Google+ or Yelp to see what other patients or visitors have to say about the office you plan to visit. Make sure to note whether the dentists answered questions, helped patient make good choices about their treatment, and set up the right expectations.

View Before and After Transformation:  Making sure that you like your dentist’s treatment methodology and results is essential in feeling comfortable with care. Before you schedule your consultation, look through your cosmetic dentists’ before and after gallery to get an idea of the results you can expect with various procedures.

Our North Canton dental office takes to get to know you, understand your needs, and recommend treatments and materials for long-lasting, beautiful results. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation or view our Smile Gallery to see before and afters.

10/19/2015 12:29:00 PM | Julie Thomas, DDS

We're excited to announce the official launch of the blog for Dr. Julie Thomas' office! We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.

We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us, and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.

If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Dr. Julie Thomas, simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.

Here's to your best oral health ever!