CAT | Family Dentist Arboretum
0 Comments | Posted by Dr. Richard Van Gurp in CEREC Charlotte, Charlotte Cosmetic Dentist, Dental Implants Charlotte, Family Dentist Arboretum, Family Dentist Ballantyne, Family Dentist Charlotte, Oral Health, Restorative Dentistry Charlotte, Uncategorized
Several years ago, a 92 year old retired Air Force colonel visited the office of Charlotte dentist Dr. Richard Van Gurp. He had some significant dental issues and wanted his entire mouth restored. Dr. Van Gurp couldn’t help but ask him why, at age 92, he insisted on going through the time and expense to have all of this dental work completed. The colonel paused, smiled and told me that, at his age, there were few things in life that he could still enjoy and eating was one of them. He wasn’t willing to give that up. Are you willing to give that up?
A better question might be: do you plan to lose your teeth? For most people, that may be an absurd question. Of course, no one ever plans to lose their teeth. Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 25% of adults 60 years old and older no longer have any natural teeth. In fact, it is usually because of a lack of planning that people lose their teeth.
A key point to understand is that dental problems usually progress silently unaware to the patient until the problems are advanced. With advanced dental problems, the cost of repair is much more than if the problems were detected early.
Dental problems and tooth loss can quickly become a quality of life issue. Things Dr. Van Gurp hears from patients include: “I just can’t chew my food as well.” or “I am embarrassed by my smile.” The reality is that tooth loss affects one’s appearance, their ability to digest food, their self-esteem, confidence, comfort and more.
Dental disease is one of the most preventable of diseases. But prevention requires a dentist and staff who are both thorough in their examination process and knowledgeable in the most current methods. Should major dental problems already exist, it is best to seek the help of a dentist who has the advanced training to ensure an excellent result.
Don’t leave your dental future to chance. If you want to ensure that you enjoy “life’s remaining pleasures”, give the Charlotte dental office of Dr. Richard Van Gurp a call at 704-542-2884.
0 Comments | Posted by Dr. Richard Van Gurp in CEREC Charlotte, Charlotte Cosmetic Dentist, Cosmetic Dentistry Charlotte, Family Dentist Arboretum, Family Dentist Ballantyne, Family Dentist Charlotte, Oral Health, Porcelain Veneers Charlotte, Restorative Dentistry Charlotte, Teeth Whitening
Having been a dentist for over 25 years, Dr. Richard Van Gurp is often reminded that the decisions patients make regarding dental treatment directly impacts the quality of their lives.
A healthy mouth and an attractive smile can have ramifications far beyond just “saving teeth”.
Case in point, Dr. Van Gurp helped this patient several years ago. He came to Van Gurp Dentistry with some complicated dental problems. Because of his bite, he had a tendency towards wearing down and breaking teeth.
But this patient’s problems were much deeper than his dental issues. He was having a hard time finding a job and really getting frustrated. He had several interviews but no success in landing a job. He felt qualified and thought he had done everything he could until one day he looked in the mirror and the true condition of his mouth dawned on him.
In the business world, appearances count. A study conducted by a college career planning and placement center indicated that the number one reason why an applicant was rejected after the first interview was personal appearance. Along with one’s manner of dress and posture, personal appearance especially includes the face and the smile. It’s the area that most interviewers are going to focus on as they ask questions.
This was a complicated case that requires advanced training on the part of the dentist. Fortunately for the patient, Dr. Richard Van Gurp has had such training. If the patient had waited much longer, his treatment plan would have involved numerous extractions and likely dentures.
After listening to his concerns and what he wanted to see as an end result, the patient’s mouth was restored. As you can see in the photos, he wanted a big and very bright smile. It paid off. At his next hygiene appointment, he came in beaming. Something was up and I could tell he was anxious to fill in Dr. Van Gurp and his staff.
He had recently interviewed for and been offered what he envisioned as his ideal job. The position included traveling around the country — something he had always wanted to do. Would he have been offered the job if he hadn’t fixed his teeth first? Maybe. But one can be assured that the person who interviewed for the job was far different and more confident than the same person with worn and broken teeth.
Improving one’s appearance may not be as drastic as it was with this patient, but it can make the difference when it matters most.
If you would like to discuss your concerns and options to improve the health and appearance of your smile, please give Van Gurp Dentistry a call at 704-542-2884.
Teeth grinding caused by an uneven bite, missing teeth or improperly aligned teeth can cause a multitude of dental problems. Wearing down of your teeth, sensitive or sore teeth, cracks in teeth, gum recession, painful and /or clicking jaw joints and even headaches can all result from teeth grinding caused by an imbalance in your bite. Often times, patients complain of sore jaw muscles or a headache when awakening in the morning. One’s appearance can also be compromised as the teeth can appear flat and aged.
Dr. Richard Van Gurp is a dentist in Charlotte, NC who is highly trained and skilled in the evaluation and treatment of patients who are having issues with teeth grinding. This can be caused by an imbalance in one’s bite. Dr. Van Gurp often compares an imbalanced bite to a set of imbalanced tires on a car. The tires may seem to work fine but will wear out at an accelerated rate and need replacing much quicker than a good set of balanced tires.
Recognizing an imbalanced bite as early as possible will help prevent premature aging of your teeth and costly repairs. Dr. Richard Van Gurp always starts with a careful evaluation of your bite to determine the cause of the imbalance. He will also provide the information you need to make sound decisions regarding treatment. Finally, it is important for you to know what future impact your bite imbalance can have on your teeth and jaw joints.
Treating teeth grinding issues often involves synchronizing the bite with the proper and healthy position of the jaw joints. Depending on the severity of the problem, there are a wide range of treatments to correct a bite that is not in balance. Only through a proper examination can an experienced and knowledgeable dentist such as Dr. Richard Van Gurp make suitable treatment recommendations to correct this type of dental problem.
Dr. Richard Van Gurp has shown many times that a harmonious bite has long term benefits. Usually the jaw muscles that are involved in grinding of the teeth tend to relax thus decreasing the likelihood of further teeth grinding. The bite tends to feel more “comfortable”. If you have noticed that your teeth are wearing down, breaking or if you have lost teeth, give Van Gurp Dentistry a call at 704-542-2884. It may just be your bite!
When a son or daughter participates in school sports, parents and athletes have numerous forms to complete prior to the season; and I would venture to guess that at this point, half of the forms now deal solely with the subject of concussions. At my son’s pre-season soccer meeting at school, a significant amount of time was spent discussing this issue.
The reality is that there are between an estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States every year. For young people ages 15 to 24 years, sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury only behind motor vehicle accidents.
There are three ways an athlete can get a concussion: a direct blow to the head (or helmet), an impact to the body which causes a whiplash effect on the head, and a direct blow to the lower jaw. The force of an impact to the lower jaw can radiate through the thinnest part of the brain case (temporal bone) and be transmitted to the brain causing a concussion.
It is widely accepted that sports mouth guards reduce the likelihood of dental trauma. In fact, mouth guards prevent an estimated 200,000 injuries each year in high school and collegiate football alone. A specific design of mouth guard – the Maher Mouth Guard – is now showing promise in the reduction of concussions as well.
Custom mouth guards (as opposed to store bought) in general have been shown to enhance performance by allowing for easier breathing and speaking on the field. The Maher Mouth Guard takes these benefits a huge step forward by positioning and stabilizing the lower jaw to reduce the likelihood of concussion. The patented design of the Maher Mouth Guard is what distinguishes it from other mouth guards that have not been shown to adequately dissipate the forces of an impact to the lower jaw.
Fortunately, we have seen success in reducing the likelihood of concussion by those athletes wearing this mouth guard while participating in sports.
An understanding of the tempero-mandibular joint is essential in the proper fabrication of this appliance.
If you have concerns about concussions in sports and feel that your son or daughter would benefit from the Maher Mouth Guard, please contact my office.
Tooth enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in the human body. Enamel’s primary mineral is hydroxyapatite, which is a crystalline calcium phosphate. The large amount of this mineral in enamel accounts for its strength.
In considering whether to whiten one’s teeth, a common concern that I hear from my patients is, “Does the whitening process damage the enamel surface?” A study published in the June 2012 edition of the Journal of the American Dental Association shows that bleaching gels do not alter the calcium and phosphorus concentrations on the enamel surface.
The researchers used a variety of professional whitening materials with concentrations as low as 10% and as high as 38% in-office hydrogen peroxide. They evaluated the teeth before the whitening treatment and then during the whitening treatment at 7, 14 and 21 days. Finally, they evaluated the teeth after the whitening treatment at 7 and 14 days. Regardless of the concentration of whitening agent used, there were no differences among calcium and phosphorus concentrations at the various evaluation times.
The researchers believe that saliva plays an important role in protecting the teeth. In other words, while there may be a temporary loss of minerals in the outer enamel, this effect is quickly reversed by minerals found in saliva.
Incidentally, different professional whitening techniques also did not alter the mineral content in teeth.
However, there is a very important point to consider. This research involved only professional whitening agents that are approved by the American Dental Association. If you are considering an over-the-counter teeth whitening agent, and especially those purchased over the internet, buyer beware!
I have recently read reports out of England where, as in the US, non-dentists are providing teeth whitening services. In order to bypass legislation in England, health spas and beauty spas on cruise liners are using chlorine dioxide to whiten teeth.
In low concentrations, chlorine dioxide may be effective in whitening teeth. However, many of the chlorine dioxide gels are too acidic. As a result, teeth are becoming permanently etched and damaged and appear to lose their luster or shine. The teeth may also feel rough. As a result, while the teeth initially appear whiter, they will also quickly pick up stain and become discolored. The subsequent repair costs can be significant.
The bottom line is this: If you are considering teeth whitening, it is best to first consult your dentist. In our office, we use professional whitening products approved by the FDA and the American Dental Association (ADA). When properly used, these products are safe and effective.
A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating. For the patient, their family and loved ones, it feels like the world is coming to an end. I saw it first hand when my son was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of three years. By the Grace of God and the skill of a fine oncologist and his staff who treated my son, he is now cancer-free. But I also give a lot of credit to his pediatrician who when she saw him for what we thought was a “bug”, she asked the right questions, did the right tests and put it all together to know that this was much more than a “bug”.
You see, when it comes to beating cancer, early detection is key. Indeed, it can mean the difference between a life that is long and fruitful and one that is dreadfully cut short.
Pancreatic cancer is among the most elusive of cancers. Early diagnosis can be a matter of luck. Only 3 percent of cases are found in the first, most curable stage. The pancreas is a digestive organ located near the stomach and the small intestine. Its main function is to help with the digestion of food and produce hormones in the body serving several different functions.
Pancreatic cancer is a very aggressive cancer that has become a serious health issue in the United States. The American Cancer society reports that more than 38,000 individuals are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer annually and as many as 35,000 individuals die from the illness each year.
One of the main reasons why pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the nation is because it is difficult to detect early. Pancreatic cancer symptoms are generally silent and painless in the initial stages. As the cancer continues to grow, symptoms of pancreatic cancer will make it possible to detect the problem.
Dr. David Wong, the Director of the Dental Research Institute at the UCLA School of Dentistry, is hoping to turn the tables on not only the elusive pancreatic cancer, but other cancers as well. He is doing this by studying what are called biomarkers in our saliva. Biomarkers are a protein or a byproduct of the cancer that can be detected not just in the tumor itself but in other areas of the body such as body fluids and that includes your spit!
Dr. Wong was able to identify biomarkers in saliva that distinguish pancreatic cancer patients and patients who do not have the cancer. Dr. Wong was also surprised to find that he and his fellow researchers were able to identify salivary biomarkers for other cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and more.
Further study is needed to confirm the ability of salivary biomarkers to identify the very-early-stage of pancreatic cancer. Imagine being able to provide a sample of your saliva for doctors to not only detect a vast array of cancers at a very early stage, but also being able to follow one’s treatment progress.
Having the capability to implement safe, cost-effective, widespread screening could very well be the answer to saving thousands of lives each year.
It is estimated that as many as 75% of adults in the U.S. have some degree of anxiety related to dental care. Approximately 5-10% of U.S. adults have what can be described as severe anxiety such that they avoid dental care at all costs.
While there are several causes for dental anxiety, research indicates that the most common cause is direct experiences the person has had in the past. My own 25 years of treating patients with dental anxieties bears this out. In fact, my own experiences as a child patient support this!
I recently saw a patient who had awful dental experiences as a child. As we discussed her experiences further, she came to realize that in her case, it wasn’t the treatment itself that created her anxiety but HOW she was treated by the dentist and staff.
Research indicates that while an upcoming dental procedure can cause anxiety, the manner of the dentist and staff is very important. Dentists who were considered impersonal, uncaring, uninterested or “cold” were found to produce high dental anxiety among patients even if the dental procedure was not painful.
For this reason, choosing a dentist can be a daunting task. How do you know that the dentist you choose will be receptive to your concerns?
Our dental practice has evolved into one that caters to those persons with significant concerns regarding dental care. It initially started with anxious patients entering our practice by chance but as our reputation for success has spread, we now have therapists who refer their patients directly to our office.
I don’t see our approach to patient care as some sort of magic trick. It simply begins with taking the time upfront to listen to our patients’ concerns and developing trusting adult-to-adult relationships. I like how one patient described our office as a “safe” place.
While real and sincere “TLC” is important, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on technology. It is wonderful how dentistry has changed and improved over the years. Technology allows us to do great dentistry in a comfortable and more efficient manner.
Lastly, I am supported by what I honestly feel is the best staff around. They have a caring, empathic nature which adds to our success and the betterment of our patients’ health and well-being.
It’s no wonder that we have many patients who state that they are no longer afraid to come to the dentist. It’s awesome!
0 Comments | Posted by Dr. Richard Van Gurp in Charlotte Cosmetic Dentist, Dental Implants Charlotte, Family Dentist Arboretum, Family Dentist Ballantyne, Family Dentist Charlotte, Restorative Dentistry Charlotte
I am so blessed. I’ve got the best patients, my staff is awesome and I am fortunate to work with some talented laboratories and specialists.
The case I am showing you today exemplifies the importance of the teamwork that is necessary for a stellar treatment result.
This teen patient initially presented with mal-aligned teeth and a missing lateral incisor tooth (the tooth next to the two front teeth). The tooth was congenitally missing, which means it never formed in the jaw. For this case, a dental implant was a great option to replace the missing tooth but long before the crown was placed, it was up to the specialists to “set the stage”.
We consider this area of the mouth to be in the “esthetic zone” where appearance is very important. Thus, we wanted to do everything we could to make sure the replacement tooth would appear natural in position, shape and color.
As I have come to expect with the specialists I work with, the stage was set as perfectly as the clinical situation would allow.
Now it was up to us to bring it all home by creating a natural looking crown. For this case we used our CEREC CAD/CAM one-visit crown technology to make the crown. In the right hands, this technology can shine when esthetics is important because I can use various colorants and stain to customize the crown to match the adjacent teeth – and we do this right in our office. While matching a single front tooth to the adjacent natural teeth is one of the more difficult things to do in dentistry, I have come to enjoy the process.
As a team, we wound up hitting a home run with this case. The crown looks like a natural tooth and not like – well, a crown! The patient was very happy and can now smile with confidence.
In my previous article, I discussed concerns that patients have regarding the safety of amalgam fillings (dental mercury fillings). Specifically, patients have voiced concerns about mercury vapors from the fillings entering the body and potentially causing health issues.
In my dental practice, it has been over 15 years since I placed an amalgam filling. Simply, I believe there are superior alternative materials available today.
One of the problems I have with the amalgam material is that it must be of a minimum size to resist breaking or falling out. For the same sized cavity, composite resin tooth-colored fillings can be more conservative. Essentially, I only need to remove the “bad” tooth structure. The less healthy tooth structure that has to be removed, the better it is for the health of the tooth.
There is also less drilling and the filling can be smaller. This is usually not possible with amalgams.
For small cavities, composite resin tooth-colored fillings have come a long way and are now not only esthetic but very durable.
Let’s look at the other end of the spectrum. What about large fillings? While large amalgam fillings appear to hold up, over the years, significant damage can occur to the underlying tooth. Realize that amalgams aren’t bonded to the tooth and do nothing to strengthen a tooth; they just plug a hole. In addition, when I remove an old amalgam filling, it is rare that I don’t find a cavity underneath the filling.
On the other hand, composite fillings and porcelain restorations bond to and strengthen the tooth.
The most compelling reason though that I no longer place amalgams is patient preference. At one time, amalgam fillings were the norm but no longer. I can’t remember the last time a patient asked me to place a grey amalgam filling instead of a tooth-colored filling. We are a society that values our appearance including that of our teeth. Choosing composite or porcelain over amalgam can make a smile much more pleasing to the eye.
Form, function, appearance and patient satisfaction are superior with this solution.
Every once in a while, I have a patient ask me if they should have all of their amalgams (dental mercury fillings) replaced.
Dental amalgam is an alloy made up of liquid mercury and a powdered mixture of silver, tin and copper. Most of the filling composition is elemental mercury (approximately 50%). This type of mercury releases mercury vapor and has been the cause for concern with amalgam fillings. It was first used in the 19th century in France. For many years it was the dental material of choice because of its strength, workability and low cost.
Over the years, there have been claims that the mercury in dental amalgam leaches out, enters the body and contributes to a wide variety of ailments such as depression, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, lupus, leukemia and more. While dental amalgam does release mercury, in the words of 16th century Swiss physician Paracelsus, “The dose makes the poison.”
According to Dr. Rod Mackert, professor of dental materials at the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry Department of Oral Rehabilitation, “a person would need between 265 and 310 amalgam fillings before even slight symptoms of mercury toxicity could be felt.” A person with seven fillings, which is average, absorbs only about one microgram of mercury daily. About six micrograms are already absorbed daily from food, water and air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
In other words, people are exposed to more total mercury from food, water and air than from the minuscule amounts of mercury vapor generated from amalgam fillings. The American Dental Association (ADA) continues to support the use of amalgam as “a safe restorative option for both children and adults.” In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed amalgam fillings a “safe and effective treatment option for the general population.”
Granted, in Europe, Denmark and Sweden have completely banned the use of dental amalgam. Germany and Norway have restricted its use. Note that this is not because of safety concerns for amalgam itself but as a very small part of an overall effort to decrease environmental levels of mercury. In fact, the European Union also continues to support amalgam as a safe restorative material.
Still, the reality is that amalgam use in both the United States and Europe continues to decrease. Look for my next article where I will tell you why I haven’t placed a dental amalgam in over 15 years.