Impressive Impressions

There are plenty of reasons that some people shy away from their dental visit—it could stem from a long-standing phobia, a painful procedure, or another uncomfortable experience from their past. While our goal is always for patients to be completely at ease, one of those notoriously uncomfortable experiences is getting impressions made. 

The traditional way of getting impressions—in preparation for braces, crowns, Invisalign, or otherwise—involves putting a tray full of thick putty material in a patient’s mouth and having them bite down and hold. WIth a mouth full of material and little room to breathe, this can cause patients to gag or need to swallow without being able to. While the end result is always worth it and largely accurate, the journey can be treacherous. 

In addition to the discomfort, the old process is also time consuming. Once the trays are removed from the patient’s mouth, the impressions need time to fully form before being sent away to a lab to create the final product. After that, follow-up appointments need to be made to make sure the molds came out correctly.

Luckily, this entire process is a thing of the past. There’s new technology on the dental scene that eliminates the need for thick putties and old-school molds: the iTero machine. And we are proud to have it in our office!

The iTero is a digital machine that takes scans of a patient’s teeth in real time, resulting in picture-perfect three-dimensional dental images in just a matter of minutes without any discomfort or mess. Described as an intraoral scanner, the machine also allows for a higher level of care and a more positive patient experience. 

The scanner features a noninvasive wand that delivers an incredibly accurate model of the patient’s teeth and gums—even the hard-to-reach molars—with far more detail than traditional molds or two-dimensional images. Plus, there’s a screen that allows the dentist to share the images of the patient’s mouth in real time, which makes the appointment a more informative and engaging experience, ultimately helping the patient remain at ease.

The detailed images taken by the scanner are invaluable for orthodontic treatments, especially straightening teeth. The incredible detail offered by the three-dimensional images ensure that the clear aligners will fit well and deliver the intended end result. The iTero can also simulate orthodontic outcomes with extreme accuracy so that patients are able to see a visual of how their teeth will look once the treatment is complete.

Not only does the scanner make the impression process more reliable, comfortable, and mess-free, it also makes it much more efficient. iTero dental scanners produce results almost instantly while the patient is still in the chair. There’s also a much shorter turnaround time between creating the impression, forming the device or restoration, and finalizing the treatment. 

Quicker visits to the office and less time in the dentist chair mean our patients can spend more time doing the things they love with the comfort of knowing they’re doing what’s best for their health. Contact us today to see the iTero in action and to keep up with your regular dental appointments. We can’t wait to see you and wish you a happy holiday season!

Happy Toothsgiving!

Thanksgiving is about taking time to appreciate what we’re grateful for. For many, it’s also a time to indulge in a feast of savory and sweet holiday dishes that are reserved for this time of year.

While your taste buds may get special treatment around the holidays, it’s important not to let the dental hygiene routine you practice all year fall by the wayside as the year comes to a close.

There are plenty of tasty dishes that are good to gobble and won’t cause harm to your teeth and gums. Starting with perhaps the most obvious food group: vegetables. The vitamins A and C found in beets, broccoli, carrots, and celery can repair gums and prevent periodontal disease.

Pure pumpkin is also high in vitamin C and calcium, a combination that strengthens bones and teeth. While the same can’t be said about pumpkin pie, there are other ways to incorporate pumpkin into other items on your menu.

Two of the sweetest dishes on the table are surprisingly good for your taste buds and your teeth: cranberry sauce and yams.

Cranberry sauce made from real cranberries (not from a can) contains special compounds that can actually disrupt and break down the development of plaque-causing bacteria. And while yams are naturally sweet, they are also nutrient-rich and won’t stick to the surfaces of teeth if you can resist adding marshmallows. If you can’t resist sweetening them up, sprinkling a touch of brown sugar or molasses is the tooth-friendliest approach.

And finally, the main event: turkey. Turkey is protein-rich and contains phosphorus, which, when mixed with calcium and vitamin D, can help foster strong teeth and bones. 

With all the tooth-friendly foods on the menu, there are just as many items to try to stay away from. One dish that likely comes to mind is pecan pie. The sticky, sugary, chewiness can latch onto your teeth and gums and create plaque buildup over time. 

Other carb-loaded favorites that could leave residue on your teeth are two staples that might be hard to avoid: stuffings and breads. Unfortunately, the sugars in these starch-heavy treats can cause tooth decay if not thoroughly removed from the surfaces and nooks and crannies of your mouth. 

When it comes time to raise a glass, we recommend trying something other than white wine. Although it may be your cocktail of choice because it won’t stain your teeth the same way red wine will, the high pH level in white wine packs an acidic punch that can erode your teeth.


If you aren’t able to make edits to your holiday menu—or you don’t care to—there are some tips you can keep in mind to fully enjoy the holiday while also keeping your teeth healthy and strong:

Brushing and flossing your teeth is the best and most fundamental place to start. To get ahead of any possible buildup and remove lingering food particles, try to brush your teeth and floss 30 minutes after eating. You can also try to drink a lot of water and chew gum to wash away food particles that could lodge themselves in the nooks and crannies of your mouth. 

To make a big impact with a simple exercise, rinse your mouth with warm water or after your big holiday meal and enjoy the time with those near to you.


If you haven’t visited us lately, give us a call and we can make sure you’re on the calendar for 2023.


Have a happy Toothsgiving!


Before You Lose It: How to Maximize Your Dental Benefits

With each leaf that falls, we inch closer and closer to the end of the year, which means the holiday season is approaching—but that’s not the only reason to mark your calendar. It also means the deadline to use your dental insurance benefits is coming soon.

Whether you pay for dental insurance through a benefits plan offered by your employer, or through an FSA, the “benefit year” of most dental insurance companies ends on December 31, at which point any unused dollars will go to waste. To avoid leaving money on the table, it’s best to use your dental benefits before you lose them when the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve.

The National Association of Dental Plans has said that only 2.8% of people who hold PPO dental health plans actually touch or exceed their annual coverage amounts. Not using these benefits is like throwing away part of your paycheck, and who wants to do that?

The monthly premium that you pay each month for dental insurance provides you with coverage that allows you to visit the dentist for no additional or minimal cost once your deductible is met. Once you have paid your deductible for the year, your insurance benefits will kick in, and dental plans specify a maximum amount that insurance providers will pay toward preventative and/or restorative dental services.

If you participate in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and deposit money into your FSA account to use toward out-of-pocket medical expenses, those funds will also likely disappear if they aren’t used by the end of the year.

There are many ways to maximize your annual dental insurance benefits, starting with keeping up with your visits for preventative care. Most insurance plans will completely cover the cost of a preventative visit, like a cleaning, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of that.

Preventative visits are also the best way to keep your mouth as healthy as possible so you don’t find yourself paying out of pocket for substantial dental work farther down the road.

Scheduling a preventative visit in the late summer or early fall gives you time to fit in any necessary follow-up appointments before the end of the year while you have the benefits available to you. For lots of folks, the fall and early winter are some of the busiest times of the year—the same goes for our dental office. Between school and activities starting and the holiday season, it can be hard to find appointment times that work and you might run the risk of not being able to come in until after the new year.

If you find yourself in need of dental care beyond a cleaning, like a root canal, we can work with your insurance provider to see what is covered so we can make a plan together. Sometimes a strategic and cost-saving approach can be to split necessary treatment between two benefit periods to avoid draining your dental benefits too quickly. If you can schedule that root canal in

December and your crown appointment for early the next year, you will reduce the out-of-pocket cost.

Another reason to schedule your appointments sooner rather than later is the potential for future price increases. Like many industries, dental offices experience high and increasing overhead expenses from year to year. The cost of the latest high-tech equipment, the training needed to use that equipment, and all of the sterilization supplies and other office materials is likely to increase as time goes on as a reflection of rising prices everywhere.

For these reasons and more, we recommend using your dental benefits before the end of the year to maximize the investment you’ve already made. If you’re due for an appointment before the close of the year, give us a call and we will get something on the books. We look forward to seeing you soon!