Show Your Smile

Dentist eases fears, restores confidence.

In today’s society, having a beautiful smile can mean the difference between getting a second look or not. With so many ways to be seen in everyday events and through social media, many people still choose not to smile. So, what’s holding them back?

Stock photo from iStockphoto.

No need to hide that smile anymore.

“People don’t smile because of two major issues,” says J. Terry Alford, DMD, who practices general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry at Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center in Bradenton. “Either they are in pain or they are in denial, at least outward denial, of what their smile may or may not be.”

Pain might be related to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which is the second most common joint discomfort in the body, preceded only by back pain. Facial pain can also be caused by other issues associated with the teeth and gums or by a combination of factors.

“These pains can be related to trauma, tooth loss or chronic actions where the patient is clenching, gnashing or grinding their teeth or has an inappropriate bite,” explains Dr. Alford. “All of these issues can be addressed in the modern dental office.”

Sometimes, people don’t smile because they feel insecure. They might have crooked, eroded or discolored teeth, all of which can contribute to how they look when they smile. Dentists today can easily address all of these concerns as well.

“For many people, their self-consciousness is why they don’t smile,” notes Dr. Alford. “Because of this, they are not able to project a nice, healthy look. They feel they cannot show a sexy, beautiful or youthful smile, so they do not smile at all.”

Some people just have a fear of the unknown. Dr. Alford puts it simply: “Fear is a problem because most patients have a very poor understanding of what can be accomplished to improve their smile and evaluate their pain. We have treatments that can give them that balance they are looking for.”

New Technology

Advanced Dental Cosmetic Center can address TMD and other issues affecting patients’ smiles with the help of new technology, including the Tekscan T-Scan III Occlusal Analysis System.

“The Tekscan T-Scan III has an oral sensor that is placed in the mouth,” describes Dr. Alford. “The patient bites down on the sensor, and it gives us incredible information regarding not only where the patient bites, but also the force and the length of time of the bite. The system also produces a three-dimensional bar graph showing the strength of the contact of the teeth.”

This technology gives the dentist more information about what is occurring within the mouth compared to the articulating paper method of bite analysis, including the timing of first and last contact and the biting relationship of the teeth. The dentist can then examine how all of these forces are transmitted to the temporomandibular joint.

“I can use the T-Scan III to identify disharmonies and interferences in the bite that cause severe pain when chewing, such as a TMD issue.”

With this new technology, Dr. Alford has the tools to create a smile the patient will be proud to show. Avoiding oral care does not fix the problem. Seeing a qualified dentist does.

Dr. Alford concludes, “We like to see patients walk out of our office with a smile, because smiles are our business.”

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