When we call our exams comprehensive, we mean it. Your first exam with us is especially significant, giving us a baseline to compare all future findings against, but every exam is important. During each exam we:
- Check your face, neck, and mouth check for abnormalities
- Complete an oral cancer screening and soft tissue inspection
- Measure your gum pockets
- Perform a bite appraisal looking for changes or issues with restorations
- Evaluate for signs of sleep apnea
- Inspect for signs of bruxism(clenching and grinding)
- Look for tell-tale signs of physical illnesses and syndromes
Your ongoing exams are scheduled at the same time as your cleaning for the sake of convenience and usually include an intraoral camera exam. These little cameras are great for us and for you since they let you see what is going on – super magnified and in HD – on the computer screen right along with your doctor or hygienist. Kids love it and adults find these exams ultra-educational. If it has been a while since your last x-rays, we’ll recommend screening with digital x-rays at your first exam and every few years to follow up, depending on your oral health and personal needs. Your comprehensive exam is an excellent time to discuss any concerns you have been having, tell us about any symptoms such as bleeding or discomfort, and discuss the possibility of cosmetic adjustments.
Oral Cancer Screenings
No one talks about oral cancer nearly as much as some other cancers, but oral cancer deserves just as much attention. According to the American Cancer Society,
- About 53,000 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer
- An estimated 10,860 people will die of these cancers
Risk factors for oral cancers include everything from lifestyle choices such as tobacco and alcohol use and physical factors such as sun exposure to biological factors such as fungi and viruses. Even a diet low in fruits and vegetables could increase your risks. Clearly, not smoking or chewing tobacco does not remove your risk for oral cancer! That’s why the team at Kari Ryan Dentistry screens for oral cancer at every visit. Getting these screenings regularly is very important because, when caught early, mouth cancer is quite treatable. Unfortunately, if you aren’t visiting your dentist with regularity, oral cancer can flourish unnoticed because the symptoms are so subtle. If you do happen to notice any rough patches, bumps or discolorations, or unexplained bleeding that does not heal or go away within 14 days, or if it has been a while since your last dental checkup, please call our Mt. Pleasant office right away. It could save your life!
After talking about oral cancer, we think it is important to let you know that, here at Kari Ryan Dentistry, we understand that traditional dental x-rays could possibly increase your risk for oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation states, “Radiographs regularly taken during examinations, and at the dental office are safe, but remember that radiation exposure is cumulative over a lifetime. It has been implicated in several head and neck cancers.”
That’s why we have invested in digital x-rays for our precious Mt. Pleasant patients.
Digital x-rays offer up to 80% less radiation than traditional x-rays while still allowing us to get a look at what could never be detected with the naked eye or even an intraoral camera.
Digital x-rays let us:
- Detect cavities or signs of decay under the surface of or between teeth
- Discover decay under an old filling
- Identify problems with wisdom teeth
- Ascertain bone loss
- Diagnose abscess, cysts, tumors, or infections
We also utilize panoramic x-rays to get a full view of your head, neck, and jaw, as well as 3D Cone-beam CT.
Sure they may sound clinical, but our dental hygiene visits are so comfortable and pampering and we treat our patients with so much tender loving care that some of our Mt. Pleasant patients actually can’t wait to get their teeth cleaned. Of course, they love the experience of relaxation that comes with any visit to Kari Ryan Dentistry, but what they really can’t get enough of is how fresh, clean, and sparkling their smiles are after each professional cleaning. Not only does a professional cleaning brighten your smile, but it also removes all of the nasty bacterial buildup that you just can’t get rid of at home. Our hygienists use Piezo ultrasonic scalers – the latest and greatest in professional cleaning devices – to get your teeth their absolutely cleanest, even under the gum line and between teeth, comfortably and efficiently. And because these ultrasonic devices use sound waves along with a soothing jet of water to clean your teeth, there is no scraping required! We think it will be the gentlest cleaning you have ever had.
We’ve said it before but we think it definitely bears repeating: Your mouth and your body are intricately connected and when one is unhealthy, the other can become unhealthy too! This is especially true for your gums. Since your gums are mucous membranes, if they become infected, that infection can go directly to your bloodstream leading to inflammation and illness. Studies have linked periodontal disease to:
- Heart disease
- Pancreatic cancer
- Blood cancers
- Kidney cancer
- Tongue cancer
- Lung cancer
- Lung and respiratory disease
- Difficulty controlling diabetes
- Premature Childbirth
It’s one of the primary reasons we emphasize regular screenings and cleanings for the whole family! If we do discover the first signs of gum disease, we can develop a treatment plan just for you. This usually includes deep cleaning with our comfortable ultrasonic scalers and antibiotic therapy with Arrestin, an antibiotic placed inside the infected gum pockets in order to kill periodontal bacteria. Arrestin is composed of tiny microspheres that can last inside the gum pocket for up to 21 days. In no time, your gums will be back in the pink and your body will be protected from harm.
Almost everything you do can have a negative effect on your smile. From your morning smoothie to your pick-me-up snack of coke and pretzels, food and drinks, even healthy ones, feed acid-producing bacteria and disrupt your enamel. Add to that the damage that happens when you bite your nails, crunch on ice, or clench your teeth when stressed or sleeping, and it might look like your teeth are in trouble all the time! That’s why we recommend fluoride treatments, especially for kids, at every cleaning. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring substance that helps protect your precious tooth enamel by remineralizing it, making it more resistant to these acid attacks, strengthening it against damage, and helping to prevent and sometimes even reverse early decay. And while most kinds of toothpaste and mouth rinse contain fluoride, it might not be quite enough to protect your teeth from the modern diet. Why risk your smile? Ask us about how the topical application of fluoride after your cleaning can help protect your teeth, lessen sensitivity, and keep your smile in top shape.
We can’t emphasize enough how important regular cleanings, checkups, and fluoride treatments are to protecting your smile. But there are a few more practical ways you can keep your – and your children’s – teeth safe and intact no matter how active you are. Kari Ryan Dentistry now offers all the mouth protection you could ever need in the form of custom-created and -fitted mouthguards to prevent sporting injuries for your kids and nighttime bruxism for you.
Sports Mouthguards – Choosing the right mouthguard for your active child is extremely important… and not just to protect those precious little teeth. According to a recent study conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry. “High school football players wearing store-bought, over-the-counter (OTC) mouthguards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI)/concussions than those wearing custom-made, properly fitted mouthguards.” (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140501101133.htm Why risk your child’s health and well-being with an over-the-counter or boil-and bite-guard? Ask us about precision protection from our dentist-made guards. Your kids’ smiles are worth it!
Nightguards – You may not realize that you clench and grind your teeth at night but if you are noticing lines through your enamel, wearing and thinning of your teeth, unexplained chips, or sensitivity to hot and cold, you may be damaging your teeth with unconscious nighttime bruxism. We can help with a guard that fits comfortably over your teeth to protect and shield them from clenching. These guards often even help relieve jaw pain in patients who clench and grind at night.
Baby teeth aren’t there just for the tooth fairy to collect – oh, no! Even though your little one won’t keep those cute little chompers forever, they serve all kinds of vital purposes and need to be kept healthy, strong, cavity-free, and in place until it is time for those grown-up teeth to take their place. Not only are teeth vital in helping your child take in good nutrition and develop proper speech habits, they also act as place holders for permanent teeth. Without them, the remaining teeth can shift, leading to crowding or other orthodontic problems. We are here to help keep both your children’s and special needs family members’ teeth in tip-top shape with regular checkups and gentle cleanings starting at age two. It is very important to start bringing your little ones to the dentist as early as possible – this helps them get comfortable with the sights and sounds of the dental office and it helps you become informed and educated about home care. We offer a full range of pediatric care including:
- Topical Fluoride treatments for protection, remineralization, and even early-tooth-decay reversal
- Dental Sealants to smooth over deeper grooves and fissures making tooth surfaces easier to clean and provide years of protection
- Pediatric root canal treatments to save little teeth and prevent future orthodontic issues
- Cosmetic and restorative dental bonding to repair chips and cracks as well as fill cavities so little teeth stay beautifully strong and natural-looking
- Sports guards and night guards to protect precious teeth from harm
Isn’t it nice to know you can bring your children to the office you know and trust for your own care? These dental moms think so!
There are lots of reasons people feel nervous about coming to the dentist. Often they have had a bad experience in the past and it colors their perception of all future dentistry. The team at Kari Ryan Dentistry wants to turn your dental anxiety upside down, and we have been succeeding! Many of our patients have suffered from dental anxiety and put off care because of it – until they met us.
- “I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that going to the dentist can be extremely stressful, however, this was by far the best experience I’ve ever had…” – D.T.
- “I love this office. I am terrified of the dentist. Dr. R.yan, Dr. Kristi, and Lori make me feel at ease…” – A.L.
- “Like many people, I have extreme anxiety when I go to the dentist. From the moment I walked through the door, the staff was so warm and welcoming. My anxiety was immediately diminished…” – S.B.E.
- “I spent my first two decades with a sincere distaste for the dentist. That was before seeing the light at Kari Ryan Dentistry, of course …” – M. P.
Check out our testimonial section to read even more.
Our relaxation method is simple – we treat every patient with the kindness, gentleness, and compassion we would treat members of our own family. We do understand that sometimes a soothing atmosphere is not enough, especially if you have:
- A strong gag reflex
- Trouble getting numb
- Special needs
- Difficulty sitting comfortably or holding your mouth open
- Dental phobias
In those cases, and any case in which you just can’t relax and get your dental work done, we offer a selection of dental anesthesia options including:
- Local anesthesia that even our hygienists are certified to administer
- Anxiety (oral) medication to take the edge off and let you nap through any procedure
- Nitrous Oxide, the classic laughing gas, for soothing relief without the downtime
Stop putting off the dentistry you deserve – discover gentle dentistry complemented by dental anesthesia and relaxation methods for dentistry you might just begin to look forward to!
Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Snoring isn’t just a noisy nighttime nuisance – it could be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious and even life-threatening disorder.
Oops! You chomped on a piece of ice floating in your iced coffee and there went your filling! You woke up with your front tooth chipped and you have a presentation tomorrow! Your little one decided to ride the slide face first and knocked out a tooth!
Take a deep breath and give us a call. We are here to help you know just what to do next. If there has been a traumatic injury to the face or jaw, we may suggest you call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room for evaluation. If the dental emergency can be taken care of here in our office, we will fit you in just as soon as possible. If a tooth has been knocked out, don’t lose it! Rinse it off in some milk or gently warmed water without rubbing, tuck it under your tongue or in a glass of milk for safe keeping, and bring it to us ASAP. We may be able to save it!
We love our technology…but it’s mostly because we love our patients! Investing in the latest and greatest dental technology helps us make your dental care more effective, more comfortable, and much more convenient. And sometimes, it even offers amazing educational opportunities!
Our intraoral camera is a favorite with everyone – our staff, kids, teens, and curious adults. Why? With the touch of a tiny, pen-shaped instrument, we are able to see an enlargement of every detail in your mouth. Plus all of your personal images can be saved right on our chairside computers to provide a permanent record of care and allow for comparison from visit to visit.
And don’t forget about our soft-tissue lasers! These highly effective lasers heal as they work, eliminating the need for cutting or sutures during gum recontouring, crown lengthening, or frenectomies. Plus, they can offer relief and shorten the healing time of painful cold sores and lesions!
It’s dentistry at its practical and progressive best.