1025 Vey Way • The Dalles, OR 97058 • 541.296.5766 • E-mail

Dennis Alleman, DMD, PC

Types of Dentistry

What is a Bioesthetic Dentist?

Bioesthetics is the study of living things in their natural environment of health, function and beauty. In the case of Bioesthetic Dentistry, we have studied long lasting, highly functional, exceptionally beautiful chewing systems. These are nature's "great chewing systems" that don't manifest the usual problems that plague most of us. There are certain characteristics found in these systems that, when duplicated in failing chewing systems, enable the patient to achieve long lasting function and beauty.

The primary goal of Bioesthetics is the restoration of function as opposed to a very strong movement in dentistry today toward cosmetics only. When the function is restored properly the cosmetic result is beautiful as well.

A Bioesthetic Dentist is one who has (in addition to Dental School) undergone a rigorous three to four years of additional study and training specifically to diagnose and treat failing chewing systems as opposed to merely treating problems as they occur in tooth by tooth dentistry.

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What is a Cosmetic Dentist?

A smile can be the most eye-catching feature of a face. With dentistry's many advances, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, or misshapen teeth. You now have choices that can help you smile with confidence. Even the most subtle change in your smile can make a dramatic difference in the way you look and feel about yourself. Talk to your dentist about the options most suitable for you, what your expectations are and the dental fees involved. Some options are:

  • Tooth whitening ( bleaching) brightens teeth that are discolored or stained. Bleaching may be done completely in the dental office or the dentist may dispense a system for you to use at home.
  • Bonding can improve the appearance of teeth that are chipped, broken, cracked, stained, or have spaces between them. With bonding, tooth-colored materials are applied, or bonded, to the tooth surface.
  • Enamel shaping involves modifying teeth to improve their appearance by removing or contouring enamel. The process, which often is combined with bonding, usually is quick and comfortable and the results can be seen immediately.
  • Veneers are thin custom-made shells designed to cover the front side of teeth. Made of tooth-colored materials, veneers are used to treat spaces between teeth and teeth that are chipped or worn, permanently stained, poorly shaped or slightly crooked.
  • Braces are not just for kids. Orthodontics may be needed if teeth are crooked, crowded or do not meet properly. If your dentist thinks you should see a specialist for treatment, he or she will refer you to an orthodontist.

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What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is the invisible way to straighten your teeth without braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear, nearly undetectable, removable aligners to straighten your teeth without metal wires or brackets. It has been proven effective in clinical research and in orthdontic practices nationwide.

How Does Invisalign Work?

You wear each set of aligners for about 2 weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. As you replace each aligner with the next in the series, your teeth will move - little by little, week by week - until they have straightened to the final position Our Doctor has prescribed. You'll visit us about once every 6 weeks to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned. Total treatment time averages 9-15 months and the average number of aligners worn during treatment is between 18 and 30, but both will vary from case to case.

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What is Sedation Dentistry?

Many dentists will prescribe a sedative drug to be taken by mouth prior to the planned treatment. If the individual has an even greater degree of dental anxiety, the doctor may prescribe an oral conscious sedative to be taken at home one hour prior to going to sleep on the evening before the appointment. If the drug is administered at home, it is imperative that the patients not drive a car to the appointment.

If you have a tooth or teeth that are missing your dentist may recommend a dental implant. A dental implant is a tooth that is permanently placed in the jaw bone. This procedure has it benefits and risks.

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What is Implant Prosthetics and Surgery?

Dental implants are done when the root of the tooth and the tooth are both gone. The dentist can place an artificial root into the gum and then put a tooth on it. Dental Implants have been around for a long time, but were rarely successful. The implant was usually rejected from the jawbone with unfortunate results. When implants were first being done the implant material was usually a steel or some other product that was not compatible to the jaw bone. Many times it would just fall out, other times it would cause an infection in the jaw bone.

Procedures must be followed very carefully to have a successful implant. The implant surgery is done in two stages. First the dentist will insert the titanium post into the jaw by drilling a hole and inserting the titanium post. He will open up the gum and then suture it closed when the implant is placed in the hole. The dentist now will wait three to six months to allow the jaw bone to heal and make sure that the implant is accepted by the bone. If the implant is not loose and has successfully “married” to the bone the restorative tooth will be placed on the titanium post.

Implants, if they are successful, are like having a permanent tooth. It can allow a patient who might have lost an anchor tooth to continue being able to have a bridge or just partial dentures. Sometimes implants are the only answer for people who have lost all their teeth and can not wear dentures. They are expensive and time consuming to have done, but to many people it is worth it.

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What is Orthopedics and Full Face Orthodontics?

Braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment. Treatment involves impressions of your teeth being made before braces can be put on. A gummy paste is placed in the mouth to get an impression of the teeth and gums. From these impressions, models of the teeth are made.

After impressions, the orthodontist makes the final decision about what will be put on the teeth. It depends on whether the patient is in phase one or two of the treatment. Sometimes treatment only has one phase; other times there are two. When this happens, it’s usually because there is a problem with the bite that needs to be fixed before the teeth can be aligned.

Perfect oral hygiene is necessary during any type of orthodontic treatment. Teeth can pulled into a perfect smile, but they can’t be prevented from decaying unless they are taken care off. This means flossing around the braces and brushing at least twice a day, very carefully. Only soft-bristled brushes should be used.

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What is Safe Dentistry?

Have you ever wondered how we sterilize our instruments at the dental office? It is very important that any reusable instruments be decontaminated before being used on the next patient. Simply washing and boiling the instruments would not kill all the contagious microbes.

Sterilization destroys all (100%) microbial forms such as bacteria, viruses, and spores to prevent cross-contamination to other patients and/or health care providers. Used items and instruments are commonly sterilized by a method known as autoclaving. Autoclaving is an excellent method of instrument sterilization using superheated steam (121 °C) under pressure.

An alternative method for sterilizing instruments is dry heat sterilization. The advantage is that certain instruments, which are vulnerable to corrosion with autoclaving, can be dry heat sterilized. The disadvantage of dry heat sterilization is that it takes more time and requires higher temperatures than autoclaving.

We sterilize our instruments by first placing them into a chemical sterilizing solution in an ultrasonic bath to remove gross debris. Following this, the instruments are rinsed and placed in an autoclaving unit to complete sterilization. Now you know the strict process followed in sterilizing dental instruments and can feel assured that the instruments being used are indeed sterile.

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What is TMD/Sleep Disorder Dentistry?

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are disorders of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and/or the nerves associated with chronic facial pain. Any problem that prevents the complex system of muscles, bones, and joints from working together in harmony may result in temporomandibular disorder.

What Are the Symptoms of TMD?

People with TMD can experience severe pain and discomfort that can be temporary or last for many years. More women than men experience TMD and TMD is seen most commonly in people between the ages of 20 and 40.

Common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak or open your mouth wide
  • Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
  • Jaws that get "stuck" or "lock" in the open- or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain)
  • A tired feeling in the face
  • Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite – as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Other common symptoms include toothaches, headaches, neckaches, dizziness, and earaches and hearing problems.

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What is Preventive Dentistry?

Brush and Floss - No one likes the twice annual lecture from their dentist or hygienist regarding the ills of poor oral hygiene particularly flossing. We really are not as plaque obsessed as we seem. The reason to remove plaque thoroughly from all surfaces at least once a day are fairly simple. Both decay and periodontal diseases are infections caused by a number of specific bacteria which live in the plaque deposits. Once removed it takes about twenty four hours for the bacteria to grow to pathologic (disease causing) levels. Brushing only allows these germs to thrive between the teeth, so flossing daily is imperative. The simple act of proper daily hygiene will prevent the majority of dental troubles in most people.

Fluoride - Fluoride helps prevent decay in two ways. Fluoride molecules integrated into tooth structure, either systemically during development or topically once teeth are erupted, make the enamel more resistant to acid attack. Bacteria use acid to dissolve tooth structure as the integral part of the decay infection. Fluoride is also toxic to many bacteria, including those involved in decay. Topical fluoride via toothpaste and rinses lowers bacterial counts significantly. This double whammy helps fluoride reduce decay to its current historically low levels in fluoridated communities. Always use fluoride toothpaste, and anyone with an increased risk of decay should use rinses. Fluoride rinses are most effective if used at bedtime.

Visit the Dentist Regularly - Sticking to prescribed recall periods is obviously important for the control of periodontal disease. However the regular check up is important as well, including x-rays. Almost all oral diseases are asymptomatic in their early stages; including periodontitis, gingivitis, decay, and oral cancer. In addition, these problems are much easier and less expensive to fix when caught early. A filling costs less than a root canal and crown, early non surgical treatment is cheaper and easier than gum surgery, and small oral cancers are easily cured whereas advanced lesions result in complex, disfiguring treatments.

Mouth Wash - Listerine and generic equivalents used twice daily help reduce gingivitis when accompanied by proper brushing and flossing. Chlorhexidine containing rinses may be prescribed by your dentist. These mouthwashes are more effective than Listerine but are available by prescription only.

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