Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Are You a Dental Phobic? We can help!

Are You a Dental Phobic?  We can help!

What is Dental Phobia?  Dental Phobia is fear of the dentist and of receiving dental care or treatment.

It is estimated that approximately 75% of adults experience some degree of dental fear.  As a result of their fears, these adults avoid dental care at all cost, until they experience a dental emergency, such as an abscessed tooth, broken tooth or pain that they can no longer tolerate.

The causes of dental fears in adults have been reported to develop after a traumatic, difficult or painful dental experience.  Dental fears in children are due to their lack of knowledge or a clear understanding of what is happening to them while at the dental office.  Often times perceived fear based on things people read, hear, or see can be even more powerful to their mind than any actual experience they may have had on their own.

Overcoming dental fears CAN be achieved.  Here at Meiners Dentistry we strive to make every patient experience a positive.  With your first call to our office, we will ask a few questions about you and your past dental history.  This helps educate our doctors and assistant to better assist you in your comfort needs.

Communication is the key.  The more we know about your dental fears, the better we can serve you.  Be specific about your likes and dislikes.  Ask us questions about the treatment you will be receiving.  The more comfortable you are, the better we can care for your dental needs.

Our relaxation techniques include a combination of the following:

·         Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) – An odorless gas that will aid you in being able to relax.   It is an inhalant that works while you are breathing it, but once it is out of your lungs it no longer has an effect.  Patients are able to drive home after using it and it does not put you to sleep.  Works great for both adults and works remarkably well for children!

·         Topical gels – used to numb the gum tissue prior to receiving local anesthetic. 

·         Noise Cancelling Headphones with ANY music - used to drown out unpleasant sounds.   We have a brand new wifi enabled music device that allows us to play almost any conceivable music you want to hear.   Just tell our assistant what your favorite genre, decade, or artist is, and you'll have the music of your choice which is much more relaxing than listening to our instruments!   Want your own music?   Just bring in your phone or mp3/ipod player and ask for our noise cancelling headphones.  We even have complimentary WiFi (just ask for the password) so you can stream popular music services like Songza, Pandora, Spotify, or TuneIn.

·         Protective tinted eyewear – we offer sunglasses to block out our bright lights.   The doctors both have new LED spotlights on their glasses to see and work better, but they are really bright! 

·         Positive reinforcement is used by the doctor and staff – we understand how you feel and will make every effort to make you as comfortable as possible.

Here is the look of a relaxed patient using nitrous oxide, noise cancelling headphones, and our protective tinted eye wear.

Here at Meiners Dentistry, our goal is to ensure you receive the highest quality of dental care available.  Your health, comfort and individual needs are foremost in our minds.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Dental Terms 101

Common Dental Terms

You may hear several words or phrases at your dental cleaning that are not in your day-to-day vocabulary. You may be more familiar with some than others, but let’s review to make sure that you get the most out of each visit to the dentist.


Plaque is the soft, sticky, typically white to yellowed colored film that builds up on teeth. Plaque is made up of colonies of bacteria (bad germs) that can negatively affect your teeth and gums. The bacteria in our mouths are constantly trying to build plaque, whether we have eaten or not. Because plaque is soft, it can be removed daily at home with proper brushing and flossing technique. Plaque is often so close to the color of our teeth, that it is hard to see. Plaque begins formation at the gum line and not brushing the bristles up onto gums can lead to tartar formation.

Tartar the term for what is formed when the soft plaque isn’t removed and is allowed to harden on the teeth. Tartar can be considered as the calcified form of bacterial plaque and can wreak havoc on gum health. Because tartar is hardened on, it must be removed by your dental hygienist.
                The dental textbook term for tartar is calculus – just in case you hear this word.

This is the term used for gums that are red, puffy, and/or bleeding. If you have any areas of gums that are inflamed, this means that extra bacterial colonies (plaque) have set up in this area and your body is trying to fight this bad bacteria off. Extra hygiene attention may be needed or even a localized antibiotic. Your dental professional can help identify and aid you in healing these bacterial infected areas. Regular bleeding of the gums is not a healthy sign and is often also called GINGIVITIS.

This might be a term you hear when we are talking about the start of a cavity. An incipient cavity is small enough that it does not need a filling yet and can possibly be re-hardened. See in the picture the decay is just into the enamel. Incipient cavities can occasionally be re-mineralized (hardened back) by extra cleaning attention with brush and floss, and by incorporating extra fluoride. The Meiners’ Dentistry Team can customize your routine to help re-strengthen your teeth!

Recession of the gums is when the gum tissue begins to move away from the top of the tooth toward the root. This can leave areas of the tooth’s root exposed. Occasionally these areas are sensitive, but not always. Recession is a slow process but needs close monitoring to ensure keeping your teeth. Recession can be caused by a few different things or can even just increase as we age; Dr. Meiners can help diagnose your causing factors and how to help combat recession.

                We recognize that there are a lot of “dental words.” At Meiners Dentistry we always welcome questions about terms or procedures that you may not be quite as familiar with. The above words are commonly used at recall cleaning visits, but are very important to understand as they can lead to more serious issues. Don’t be afraid to inquire about your mouth! We plan to keep you smiling (and eating) in those pearly whites!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

But, It Doesn't Hurt..

Have you recently or ever been told by Dr. Meiners that you have a cavity?
But nothing hurts or is even sensitive?

With regular x-rays and check-up visits, most cavities are detected before they reach the nerve. The nerve inside each tooth is most often what transmits the pain signal for a cavity. When a cavity is deep enough that it reaches the nerve, a root canal must be done for the tooth, as the nerve is now infected. In the diagram below you can see the enamel, dentin, and pulp (pulp is another word for the nerves in the tooth). Cavities slowly break through enamel, but once they reach the dentin layer of the tooth, begin to move much quicker toward the nerve. 

One of the main goals of dentistry is PREVENTION

·        -  Filling smaller cavities prevents them from turning into crowns and/or root canals
·        -  Regular cleanings by your dental hygienist aid in the prevention and treatment of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss
·        - Root canals of abscessed (infected) teeth, prevent increased pain, swelling, and the spread of infectious bacteria
·        - Crowns placed on cracked teeth help to prevent fractures and sometimes even tooth loss
·        -  Daily plaque removal with brush and floss, aides in the prevention of cavities and gum disease. 

            To keep your mouth in the best shape possible, see your dentist regularly – an ounce of prevention is worth a thousand pounds of cures!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


     Sharon S. knows first hand about cold and air sensitivity. Sharon said that hot and cold air would be very uncomfortable even when she would breathe in air. She suffered for about 6 months before she informed the dentist and had tried sensitive tooth toothpastes to no avail.  Dr. Zach Meiners, however, was able to desensitize her teeth and cover the areas that were giving her discomfort with a simple technique. Desensitizing is completely non-invasive (no removal of tooth structure is necessary).

     Sharon was amazed at the results and how little it cost!  She said she is very glad that she had the procedure done and highly recommends this procedure to anyone that has been suffering with the sensitivity with no results from the sensitive tooth paste and the careful brushing like she did.  Sharon had this procedure done in 2009 and still having no sensitivity to this day. 

4 Easy steps to desensitizing these areas:

    The materials we use
1. Primer Material is used to prepare the tooth    

2. Application of sealer to plug the exposed microscopic pores in the dentin of the teeth that cause sensitivity.  Both the primer and sealer are dispensed from a small bottle and applied with a fine brush.

3. Light curing to activate the sealer.

4. Follow up with continuing to use sensitive tooth toothpaste.

Completed!  Tooth De-sensitized and you cannot see the sealer

Before initiating this type of procedure, we will also examine your teeth carefully.  We have had great success with sensitivity near the gum line of the tooth which is often caused by gum recession and subsequent root exposure.  However, we want to rule out some of the following other causes of sensitivity that this technique would NOT be helpful for:

1)      Tooth decay (cavities)
2)      Cracked Tooth
3)      Abscessed tooth or dying nerve
4)      Continuous use of abrasive whitening toothpastes
5)      Severe acid erosion of teeth

Are you having sensitive teeth that sensitive tooth toothpastes aren’t adequately treating?   If so have us evaluate you soon to see if this could be an option and cure for your sensitive teeth.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Are your teeth really clean where your brush can’t reach?

 You may brush your teeth twice a day and use your favorite mouth rinse afterwards, but are your teeth really clean?  The parts of the teeth that you see are clean, but a large percentage of cavities and gum problems occur in the areas that your brush doesn’t reach!

  Teeth fit closely together and the bristles on the toothbrush do not fully reach between the teeth.  Cleaning in between your teeth (also known as interdental cleaning) is the best defense.  Without cleaning interdentally you are at risk for cavities, gum disease, bad breath, tarter build-up, as well as at risk for heart disease.

 There are many choices for how to clean in between your teeth.   For today, let’s focus on three of our favorite recommendations at Meiners Dentistry:

      1) Flossing can be as easy as 1 -2 -3.  1) Pull yourself about 18” of dental floss, wrap it around your fingers leaving about 1” between to work in between the teeth.  2) Glide the floss gently between the teeth, dipping below the gum line. 3) Move the floss up and down rubbing the side of each tooth.  If you think floss is hard to handle or you just can’t reach those hard to reach places, there are other products on the market to aid in cleaning between your teeth.  There are dental picks, water picks, proxy brushes, and soft picks.

Now, if the following cartoon represents your view on flossing, read on and check out some of the alternatives below:

     2) Soft Picks by GUM – these interdental cleaners are some of our favorites!   These are very easy to use and clean absolutely great in between the teeth.   They are very easy to pack in your pocket or purse to have on the go.

     3) Showerfloss - Would you clean in between your teeth if you could get it done in the shower with pressured warm water and no mess afterwards?   How about if this system was only about $35 shipped and easy to install in any shower?     If this sounds good to you then head over to and check out their unique system.   Dr. Zach has this personally in his home and loves the system.     If this doesn’t appeal to you, check out the similar product Waterpik -