Posts for: May, 2015

RegularCleaningsBenefitBothYourDentalHealthandYourSmile

Dental cleanings are an important part of regular dental office visits. Performed by a dental hygienist or dentist, cleanings serve two purposes: to remove bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened deposits of plaque) from tooth surfaces missed during daily brushing and flossing; and to remove stains that can dull your smile.

There are different degrees of cleaning, including root planing that removes plaque and calculus deep below the gum line, usually for patients affected by periodontal (gum) disease. For patients in good oral health, the basic cleaning approach is known as prophylaxis, a term derived from the Greek for guarding or preventing beforehand. The techniques used in a prophylaxis remove both “coronal” (tooth surfaces visible above the gum line) plaque and staining, providing both therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.

A typical prophylaxis includes a procedure known as scaling. Hygienists use special instruments known as scalers to remove plaque and calculus by hand, or an ultrasonic device that vibrates plaque loose and is flushed away with water. The procedure removes that rough coating you often feel as you rub your tongue against your teeth, leaving the tooth surfaces feeling smooth.

Tooth polishing is a subsequent procedure to scaling that also removes plaque and surface stains. Polishing is carried out with a motorized instrument with a rubber cup in which a polishing (or “prophy”) paste is contained. The hygienist moves the rapidly rotating cup filled with the paste over the tooth surface to remove plaque and stains. The end result is a highly smooth surface and a much shinier appearance.

People with dental insurance plans are often concerned tooth polishing may be viewed strictly as a cosmetic procedure, and thus not fully qualify for benefits. This should not be the case if coded properly: tooth polishing is part of the overall prophylaxis to remove plaque and staining. The primary purpose is therapeutic and preventive; the cosmetic effect is a by-product. Most dental plans will cover one or two prophylaxes (scaling and tooth polishing) a year, but there are variations so individuals should check their plans.

If you would like more information on dental cleaning, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Polishing.”


By Office of Michael C. Scheske, DDS, PC
May 12, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Root Canals  

Root CanalsOf all of the dental procedures Michael C. Scheske, DDS, PC offers, root canal treatment is one of the most feared. For some reason, many Union residents believe that root canals are very painful. Thankfully, this could not be any further from the truth. Root canals don't cause pain - they take it away.

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure Union residents need when their teeth are infected or decayed on the inside, around the tooth root. This can happen as the result of a tooth chip or crack, deep decay or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of an infected or inflamed tooth can include pain, swelling, sensitivity, discoloration and drainage, but not all infected teeth present symptoms at all.

When Dr. Scheske performs a root canal treatment on a Union resident, the goal of the treatment is to clean out the infection, reduce the inflammation and take away the pain - not cause it. The treatment also fills the tooth to reduce the chances of developing further infection or inflammation in the future.

Thanks to modern anesthesia, having a root canal done should not be any more painful than having a filling placed. Many Union residents are actually surprised to find out how painless root canal treatment actually is. It really isn't painful or uncomfortable.

While some pain and sensitivity after the treatment are normal, these symptoms can usually be treated pretty easily with an over-the-counter pain medication. Plus, they generally subside pretty quickly, unlike the symptoms of an inflamed or infected tooth.

If your Union dentist recommends root canal treatment, there is no need to worry. The procedure isn't complicated, dangerous or painful. Instead, it is simply a routine procedure that dentists such as Dr. Scheske perform all of the time, and it is a procedure that will make you feel better, not worse.

Do you have one or more teeth that need a root canal? If so, call Dr. Scheske to set up an appointment today. You'll be glad you did.


By Michael C Scheske, DDS, PC
May 10, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj   tmd   tmj disorders  
ClickingJawWhenShouldYouBeConcerned

Have you noticed a clicking, popping, or grating sound when you open or close your jaw? As many as 36 million U.S. adults experience this phenomenon in one or both of the joints that connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull.

While the sounds may be disconcerting, there’s generally no cause for concern in the absence of other symptoms. They’re most likely caused by a harmless shift in the position of the disk inside each temporomandibular (jaw) joint, and it can diminish or disappear entirely over time. But, if you’re also experiencing persistent discomfort, severe pain, or limited function in your jaw (which can include getting it “stuck” in an opened or closed position), then you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint disorder — part of a complex set of conditions affecting one or both jaw joints, muscles and/or other surrounding tissues. (You may have heard the condition called TMJ, which is actually the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint itself. Health care professionals prefer TMJD or TMD.)

Depending on the severity, TMD can interfere with your ability to speak, chew and even make facial expressions. The cause is unclear, but genes, gender, environment, stress and behavior are believed to play a role. It can also be symptomatic of a larger medical problem, such as fibromyalgia, which can produce pain all over the body.

Management Options for TMD

TMD traditionally was viewed as a bite problem (malocclusion) requiring mechanical correction — e.g., through orthodontic braces or surgery. But the current therapeutic model approaches TMD as an orthopedic problem (joint inflammation, muscle soreness, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk damage) and favors a sequence of conservative, reversible procedures — hot or cold compresses in the jaw area, soft foods, physical therapy/massage, medication, and/or a bite guard to decrease pressure on jaw joints from tooth clenching and grinding — prior to more aggressive, irreversible treatment alternatives.

If you would like more information about TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Seeking Relief from TMD” and “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”












Union, MO
Family Dentist
301 US Hwy 50 W
Suite C

Union, MO 63084
(636) 583-8100

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