FAQs

How can we help you?

One of our core values is respect for our patients. We think you deserve to have all the answers when it comes to your dental care, and we are happy to provide those to you. No question is too small or too silly. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us!

We’ve collected some of the questions we hear most often and posted answers for you. Take a look and see if your question has been addressed here. If not – or if you’d like more information – go ahead and give us a call! We’re happy to hear from you and help you out.

Preventive Dental Care

We will treat you the same way we treat patients who have been coming to see us every six months year-after-year.

Sometimes life plays out in ways that prevent us from doing certain things we ought to do–we understand. Our point of view is that we’re happy you made the decision to have your oral health evaluated. We’re here to understand your priorities, present our findings by telling you what we see during our exam, and provide you with the information you need to make decisions about how you want to move forward with your dental care.

 

Please bring your insurance card and/or any additional insurance information you may have to your appointment. If you are having dental records transferred from a previous office, please make these arrangements at least one week prior to your appointment to ensure the office has time to prepare and send the records before your first appointment with us.

Patient Forms

We encourage you to save time the day of your appointment by printing forms from our Forms page. Please print, read, and fill out the forms and bring them with you to your appointment. If you’re concerned about forgetting them, feel free to fax or mail them to us.

If you would prefer to complete the forms at our office, please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your reserved appointment. This provides you with a chance to fill out the necessary paperwork and ask any questions you may have for our office coordinator. It allows us to see you on time and spend the entire allotted appointment time focusing on you and your dental health.

Office Amenities 

We have coffee, wireless internet, and a variety of magazines available so you can relax or check your email during any free moments. 

Dr. Gray and his entire staff are world-class in professionalism, skill, courtesy, friendliness, and care. They’re the best. ~ Gus, Salado

Dr. Gray is sincerely dedicated to providing comprehensive, high-quality dental care with compassion and a personal touch. He believes each patient is an individual with different dental needs and degrees of comfort with dental treatment.  

Thorough Dental Exam

In order to provide patient-specific dental care, Dr. Gray determines which radiographs will be needed to effectively diagnose any dental conditions. Then he reviews your health and dental histories and performs a thorough exam of the gums and teeth. Once the exam is completed, a treatment plan is provided to each patient.   

From this starting point, Dr. Gray discusses the status of a patient’s oral health and outlines options for treatment to address specific problems. This format allows patients to have questions answered and actively participate in decisions about their dental care in a low-pressure, comfortable setting, one on one with the doctor.   

Comfortable Dental Office

Dr. Gray places a premium on patient relationships and doing high-quality work. His relaxed office environment, willingness to spend time with patients, and exceptional staff, who are dedicated to treating patients with the respect and care they deserve, provide a distinctive dental care experience. 

Dental radiographs (x-rays) allow us to examine parts of the teeth we cannot see. They are considered part of the standard of care for the dental profession. This means we are required to take radiographs periodically to ensure we are accurately diagnosing decay, bone loss, and other conditions.

Dental X-Rays

We are sensitive to patients’ preference for limited exposure to x-rays, and we will discuss a frequency of dental radiographs appropriate for your condition and consistent with the American Dental Association guidelines. We have also made a substantial investment in digital radiography (allowing us to reduce the amount of radiation used by 70% compared to film). We always use beam collimation and lead aprons with neck shields to ensure the minimal amount of exposure to patients. In fact, individuals in the United States who work with radiation as part of their profession are allowed a maximum dose per year of 50,000 microsieverts. A typical dental radiograph exposes patients to only 5 microsieverts. Average background radiation during a single day is 10 microsieverts. There’s no way to prevent all exposure, but you can see that we take all available measures to reduce it to very minimal amounts.

Pregnancy is very hard on a woman’s teeth and gums. The gums can be quite sensitive to changes in hormone levels. Some women experience a phenomenon called Pregnancy Gingivitis in which the gums are red and puffy and bleed easily. Women may also experience Pregnancy Tumors on the gums. These are bulbous, red, raw-looking tissue growths or swellings between the teeth that tend to occur during the second trimester. Both of these conditions are typically monitored during the pregnancy and go away on their own following the baby’s birth.  

How Pregnancy Can Affect Dental Health

Pregnancy can cause women to eat more frequently during the day and to have strong cravings, sometimes for foods high in sugar. This increased frequency of food intake means the pH in the mouth stays acidic for longer periods of time. This is particularly true in the case of high-sugar foods and snacks. Tooth decay starts more easily and progresses more quickly in an acidic environment because the acid softens the enamel of the tooth. Chewing sugarless or xylitol (xylitol is a sugar that kills cavity-causing bacteria) gum following meals helps stimulate saliva flow to buffer the acidity more quickly.  

How Morning Sickness Affects Teeth

Pregnancy can also cause morning sickness for protracted periods of time. This exposes the teeth to stomach acid, which is extremely destructive to tooth enamel. Many women experience vomiting while getting ready for work, or at the workplace, which necessitates immediately brushing their teeth following vomiting. Ideally, you should rinse with a mixture of 1tsp baking soda in 8oz of water to neutralize the acid and then wait for 1 hour before brushing your teeth. This allows the compounds in your saliva to re-mineralize (or re-harden) the enamel before brushing.

Tooth Decay

It is also important to remember that tooth decay is a contagious disease. The bacteria that cause tooth decay are typically transferred from primary caregiver to the baby between the ages of 19 and 31 months. If the primary caregiver has active decay, they will have more bacteria and this transfer is likely to happen earlier, which puts your baby at higher risk for decay of baby and adult teeth.

Dark spots can be caused by many things, some of which include developmental enamel defects, deep grooves, stain, erosion of the enamel, a chip in the tooth, and decay.

Dental Exam

Dr. Gray can take a close look at your tooth and determine what is causing the dark spot and discuss options for how to address it. By the time a cavity is visible as a dark spot on your tooth, it is already quite advanced, and has been growing for a long time (even though it may not hurt or cause sensitivity).

Contact Our Office

Any time you are concerned about a dark spot, call and make an appointment for an evaluation. If we catch a cavity soon enough, we may be able to repair the tooth with a filling. If it continues to grow larger, a root canal treatment and crown may be needed to save the tooth. Bear in mind that there is always the possibility that our exam will reveal that the dark spot is not a cavity and you can stop worrying about the tooth!

It’s difficult to know without examining the tooth. Sometimes front teeth that have been bumped or subjected to trauma can darken in shade. It is important to have these teeth evaluated because root canal treatment may be needed to prevent further damage to the tooth. This damage is called root resorption, and If left unchecked, the tooth may be lost.

Address Dental Decay

Front teeth can also start to turn black due to decay. This is a serious situation which needs to be addressed immediately. Although the decay is extensive and has caused severe destruction of the tooth by the time the tooth starts turning black, these teeth can often still be saved if they are treated right away.

If your cancer involves the head, neck, or throat, it is essential to discuss with your oncologist how treatment can be provided in a way which spares the salivary glands from radiation. If the salivary glands are destroyed by radiation, severe dry mouth can result, which puts you at very high risk for rampant tooth decay.

If your treatment will involve bisphosphonates, you must see a dentist before starting treatment.  

Once bisphosphonates enter your system, there is some risk of jaw bone problems following certain dental procedures. Even without undergoing any dental procedures, areas of the jaw bone can begin to die due to the bisphosphonates, so it is important to schedule regular visits with your dentist for observation.

Dental Treatment During Cancer

In the case of any cancer, it is possible that you may be treated with radiation and/or chemotherapy. The side effects of these medications can cause dry mouth, prevent you from taking care of your teeth the way you did before treatment, cause frequent vomiting, and change the types of food you eat.  

Dry mouth allows cavities to form and grow very quickly (See FAQs Why is dry mouth so destructive? and What should I do about dry mouth?). Frequent vomiting softens and damages tooth enamel, leading to decay and erosion. It is important to see your dentist regularly during your treatment and use of high-fluoride toothpaste or fluoride trays can be highly beneficial to prevent dental problems during treatment.

Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable but can also lead to severe decay very quickly. There are a number of ways to alleviate dry mouth symptoms and a few things to absolutely avoid while experiencing dry mouth.

How to Alleviate Symptoms of Dry Mouth
  • Keep a water bottle with you and sip water.
  • Use Biotene Dry Mouth rinse.
  • Use lozenges such as Salese (http://salesedrymouth.com/) or other similar products made with xylitol (xylitol is a sugar that kills cavity-causing bacteria) to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Discuss your medications with your doctor and consider substituting one or more medications that cause dry mouth with a different brand or formulation. Everyone experiences different side effects from different medications. Even if all the available medications for a given condition list dry mouth as a side effect, you may find that one medication causes severe dry mouth and another does not.
  • Consider a prescription medication such as Pilocarpine HCl or Cevimeline HCl. These medications are categorized as sialagogues and stimulate the salivary glands. If you have cardiovascular disease, discuss this option with your cardiologist, as these medications can affect cardiovascular function.
  • Supplemental fluoride does not help the symptoms of dry mouth, but it will help prevent decay, which can happen rapidly in dry mouth conditions (See FAQ “Why is dry mouth so destructive”).
Things to Avoid with Dry Mouth
  • Do NOT expose your teeth to sugar (avoid soda, lemonade, tea with sugar, candy, gum, mints, or anything else with natural sugar). Research has shown that most synthetic sugars do not significantly increase tooth decay, but xylitol is by far the best sweetener in the case of dry mouth.
  • Use a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol. Alcohol has an additional drying effect on oral tissues and can make your mouth feel even drier.

Cavities are caused by acid. The most common source of destructive acid is bacteria in the mouth. The bacteria metabolize sugar and produce acid as a byproduct. This is why sugar exposure and high bacterial loads put people at high risk for cavities.

How Saliva Protects Your Teeth

Saliva contains buffering compounds that counteract the acid and help the pH of the mouth remain neutral. Without saliva, the pH stays acidic for much longer periods of time, and the longer the teeth are exposed to acid, the more likely they are to develop cavities.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal disease is the loss of bone from around the teeth resulting from chronic infection and inflammation.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Periodontal disease often referred to as gum disease, can be painless until it reaches a very advanced stage involving permanent damage to the bone holding the teeth in place. When symptoms do become apparent, they can include consistent bad breath, receding gums, red or bleeding gums, new spaces between teeth, and loose teeth. Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore a few of these signs (particularly bad breath and bleeding gums), thinking that this is normal. It’s not normal, and you should always have these types of symptoms checked out.

Periodontal Disease Prevention

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is with regular professional cleanings and exams. Our hygienist, Rachel, can clean areas around your teeth and gums that are inaccessible to toothbrush bristles, floss, and water-picks. She has a gentle touch, yet still does excellent, thorough cleanings. Cleanings with Rachel are often the first line of defense. If she notices anything concerning, she will notify Dr. Gray right away. With regular cleanings and exams, we can detect periodontal disease at early stages before obvious symptoms appear and irreversible severe damage occurs. 


Rachel is personable and experienced. She would tell me what she was doing and looking for with the teeth and provided good health care advice. She handled the water pick well being very careful with it in sensitive spots. I think it was a thorough session, both in cleaning and in the examination and advice. ~ R.K. , Loveland
 

Love Rachel! She is a wonderful member of your team. Always friendly and upbeat. Makes the dental visit a pleasure! ~ H. B.

Absolutely not! Our hygienist, Rachel, is kind and compassionate. She will look at your teeth and gums and discuss your home care habits and practices with you. If the amount of plaque around your teeth and gums puts you at risk for periodontal disease or tooth decay, she will suggest some alternative methods to keep these areas clean. Instead of yelling at you at each visit, she will discuss her findings with you and provide suggestions for how to keep your gums healthy.

Implants and Restoration

There are a number of options available to replace missing teeth. Dr. Gray can evaluate your specific situation and discuss options with you. In many cases, the ideal way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant.  This procedure involves placing a titanium implant (similar to a screw) in the jaw bone. The bone integrates into the implant and then a crown can be placed on top to fill the empty space. Other options include a fixed bridge or a removable denture. Dr. Gray is very experienced with each of these methods of tooth replacement.

Financial

Our office is happy to submit claims to any insurance plan as a courtesy to our patients. 

At our office, we consider you to be part of your treatment team. Your concerns and opinions are important to us, and you make the final decisions about your treatment. Our goal is to provide you the information you need to make decisions about your dental care that you are comfortable with and that fit your goals for your teeth.

Dental Consultation

Following an exam, Dr. Gray will inform you of areas of concern and discuss how to address each area. Dr. Gray is also happy to schedule a consultation appointment to review treatment recommendations and options in greater detail. 

Patient Education

We prefer to take the time to educate and inform our patients because we find that patients who feel confident in their knowledge about their health tend to have better long-term outcomes. Plus, it’s your mouth! You have the right to determine what goes on in there! 

Advanced Dental Technology

A lot of the technology we use in our office is related to patient education and improved diagnostics. For example, our digital dental x-rays are displayed on a computer monitor and we can zoom in, rotate the image, and even highlight certain areas to show you exactly what’s going on and explain why we would recommend a particular treatment. Our intraoral camera allows us to show you exactly what we’re seeing when we look at your teeth so that you have plenty of information about why treatment is recommended.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. We always want to make sure you understand every aspect of your care. 

My experience with Dr. Gray is very positive. The staff is friendly and helpful. Dr. Gray provided me with a written evaluation of my oral health along with a plan to resolve my problems. He has clearly explained what he has found. I have foreknowledge of what will need to be done so that I can plan accordingly. With previous dentists, I was always guessing with several unpleasant surprises. This has not happened with Dr. Gray since I have been seeing him for the last couple of years. He seems to be fast and efficient but takes the time to do things correctly. ~ J.G. , Ft. Collins

Ceramic Tooth-Colored Crowns

Most likely no one will ever notice that you have a crown or bridge. Dr. Gray makes a very deliberate effort to ensure that your dental work matches your natural teeth. We take multiple photographs of your teeth before we start dental work. These photos are sent to our dental lab technician. The lab technician uses them to carefully match the shade of your crown to your existing teeth. We will also give you the opportunity to participate in, and approve the final shade selection. Dr. Gray works with a lab with 1 technician, located in Lakewood, CO. This allows us to communicate very effectively and achieve consistent results for shade and overall quality. Using non-local discount conglomerate labs with dozens of technicians does not produce the same consistently excellent result. Please take a look at our smile gallery to see some examples of our work.

Most patients find that they do not experience any pain during the crown treatment process.  From the patient’s perspective, shaping  a tooth for a crown is very similar to having a filling placed.  Dr. Gray uses a deliberate and specific protocol including multiple types of anesthetic to numb the tooth.  This protocol is extremely effective and allows us to numb the tooth with minimal discomfort.  After shaping the tooth for the crown, we place a plastic temporary crown to protect the tooth while the permanent crown is made. Occasionally people will notice minor sensitivity to cold while they have the plastic temporary crown.  Once the permanent crown is cemented onto the tooth, it will feel like a natural tooth again.

Sometimes teeth break in a way that allows us to repair them, and sometimes they break in a way that is impossible for us to repair. If you experience a catastrophic fracture, the tooth has to be extracted. In some cases, a fracture can expose the pulp chamber of the tooth, which means the tooth will need root canal treatment in addition to the crown.

What Happens When a Tooth Breaks

Even if the tooth breaks in a way that Dr. Gray can repair, you never know when a tooth will break or how much it will hurt when it does. You may be on vacation, or enjoying a weekend in the mountains, or it may happen on your birthday! Even in the best of circumstances, when a tooth breaks you have to modify your plans and make time to get to the dentist to have it examined and (we hope) repaired. If you have the crown placed before the tooth breaks, YOU decide when your appointments will be and maintain control over the situation, instead of dealing with an emergency.

A crown is typically the most-conservative and least-expensive treatment for a tooth with high risk of fracture.

Regarding crowns that you already have, there is no way to effectively change the shade or translucency to make them look more like natural teeth. The good news is that there have been tremendous advances in the quality and versatility of crown materials in the last 20 years. Using digital photography and modern materials, old crowns that are discolored and conspicuous can be replaced with crowns that blend beautifully with your natural teeth and have life-like shade and translucency.

Not typically.

Usually one of the reasons for placing a crown on a tooth is to prevent the need for root canal treatment. Root canal treatment is required if the inside chamber (the pulp chamber, which contains the tooth’s nerve and blood supply) of the tooth becomes infected or irreversibly inflamed. There are a number of ways this can happen. Common causes include fractures that expose the pulp chamber to bacteria in the mouth, cavities that extend into the pulp chamber, and trauma to the tooth.

Dental Crown Process

Placing a crown includes removing all decay and old filling material from the tooth and covering the tooth to prevent fractures. In rare cases, modifying and shaping the tooth for crown placement can cause inflammation of the tooth which does not go away. In these cases, root canal treatment is needed.

If you are concerned about a broken crown, you should definitely make an appointment to have it examined.  Do not wait until your tooth or gums hurt!  Typically, by the time teeth start to hurt, there is extensive damage present.  Dr. Gray will look at the condition of your crown, look for any new decay around the edges of the crown, evaluate an x-ray of the tooth with the crown, and discuss his findings and options for treatment with you. 

How a Broken Tooth Can Affect Your Dental Health

Sometimes a broken crown is a purely cosmetic problem and the tooth underneath is still healthy. Other times there may be new decay present where the crown meets the tooth, or the fracture may allow food to become trapped between the teeth. This condition puts both the crowned tooth and the tooth next to it at high risk for new decay. The sooner a broken crown is examined, the better.

Today, most crowns are made with one of two types of porcelain.

Both types of porcelain can be colored to match the shade of your natural teeth. One type is extremely hard, and looks a little less life-like. The other is not as hard, but has more translucency and shading, which make it look more like a natural tooth. Crowns used to be made from gold or from a gold substructure covered with tooth-colored porcelain. In certain situations, these materials are preferable to a full porcelain crown. Dr. Gray will discuss the risks and benefits of each crown material with you based on the tooth that needs treatment and your specific situation.

From a dental standpoint, these two terms mean the same thing. It is a covering for a tooth that improves the tooth’s appearance, and holds the tooth together to prevent fractures.

There are a variety of reasons a tooth can benefit from being covered by a crown.  Some of the most common reasons include cracks or fractures, severe/extensive decay, loss of tooth structure due to the placement of large fillings, root canal treatment, and esthetic or tooth position problems.

 Benefits of a Dental Crown

Any tooth that is fractured or has cracks present will benefit from the placement of a crown. If the tooth is already broken, the crown will replace missing tooth structure and prevent more fractures in the future. If the tooth is cracked, but no pieces have broken off yet, the crown will hold the tooth together and prevent it from breaking. When a tooth fractures, it may break in a way that we can fix, but it may break in a way that cannot be repaired and the tooth must be extracted. Teeth can also break at inconvenient times. Placing a crown before the tooth fractures allows you to plan for the procedure and schedule it at a time that is convenient for you instead of having to stop everything to deal with a broken tooth.

Emergency Dental Treatment

Dark spots can be caused by many things, some of which include developmental enamel defects, deep grooves, stain, erosion of the enamel, a chip in the tooth, and decay.

Dental Exam

Dr. Gray can take a close look at your tooth and determine what is causing the dark spot and discuss options for how to address it. By the time a cavity is visible as a dark spot on your tooth, it is already quite advanced, and has been growing for a long time (even though it may not hurt or cause sensitivity).

Contact Our Office

Any time you are concerned about a dark spot, call and make an appointment for an evaluation. If we catch a cavity soon enough, we may be able to repair the tooth with a filling. If it continues to grow larger, a root canal treatment and crown may be needed to save the tooth. Bear in mind that there is always the possibility that our exam will reveal that the dark spot is not a cavity and you can stop worrying about the tooth!

We will treat you the same way we treat patients who have been coming to see us every six months year-after-year.

Sometimes life plays out in ways that prevent us from doing certain things we ought to do–we understand. Our point of view is that we’re happy you made the decision to have your oral health evaluated. We’re here to understand your priorities, present our findings by telling you what we see during our exam, and provide you with the information you need to make decisions about how you want to move forward with your dental care.

It’s difficult to know without examining the tooth. Sometimes front teeth that have been bumped or subjected to trauma can darken in shade. It is important to have these teeth evaluated because root canal treatment may be needed to prevent further damage to the tooth. This damage is called root resorption, and If left unchecked, the tooth may be lost.

Address Dental Decay

Front teeth can also start to turn black due to decay. This is a serious situation which needs to be addressed immediately. Although the decay is extensive and has caused severe destruction of the tooth by the time the tooth starts turning black, these teeth can often still be saved if they are treated right away.

If a tooth is lost due to trauma, there are a few guidelines to follow, which will depend on whether or not the tooth is a baby tooth or permanent tooth:

  • If a child’s tooth is knocked out, it is important to determine whether the tooth is an adult/permanent tooth, or a baby/primary tooth. If the tooth is a baby tooth, do NOT try to place it back in the socket (if it is an adult tooth, see below). Placing a baby tooth back in its socket can damage the permanent tooth that is still forming behind the baby tooth. Call your dentist for an evaluation of the bone around the site and to determine if a space maintainer is necessary to prevent the other teeth from drifting into the empty space. If teeth drift into the space, they can cause serious problems with the eruption of the permanent tooth. One of the important functions of baby teeth is to hold space for the permanent teeth.
  • If an adult’s tooth is knocked out, do not touch the root of the tooth. Rinse the tooth with Hanks Balanced Salt Solution (such as from a first aid kit), sterile saline, or whole milk, or saliva–not water. Gently replace the tooth in the socket, have the person close gently on gauze or a paper towel to hold the tooth in place. Call a dentist immediately–timing is crucial to saving the tooth.  If the tooth is coated with dirt or sand and rinsing does not clean it, place the tooth in Hanks Solution, saline, milk, or saliva–not water, keep it cool, and get to a dentist’s office immediately.  The root of the tooth has cells that can allow it to re-integrate into the socket. Touching the root or cleaning it with anything abrasive can destroy these cells and decrease the chance of integration.
  • The dentist will take multiple radiographs and evaluate the tooth and the surrounding bone for fractures and numb the area. If the tooth is not in the socket, they will clean the tooth, reinsert it into the socket, and place a splint made from wire or filling material. If the tooth is already in the socket, they will place a splint. In either case, the dentist will take additional radiographs to confirm the tooth is properly seated.
  • The dentist may place you on antibiotics and advise a tetanus booster.
  • The tooth will remain splinted for 1-2 weeks and the dentist will have to re-evaluate the condition of the tooth periodically. The tooth may eventually need root canal treatment even if it does successfully re-integrate into its socket.
 

When a tooth breaks, it is important to call your dentist right away. Sometimes broken teeth do not hurt, but they are still at risk for additional fractures, new decay, and other problems.

Dental Emergency Care

A short emergency visit to your dentist will allow him or her to assess the condition of the tooth, discuss risks, benefits, and options for treatment or leaving the tooth as-is, and help you make an informed decision about how to proceed. If you choose not to have the tooth evaluated by your dentist, anything can happen. The tooth may be fine for many years. However, you may develop decay or additional fractures which result in the necessity for multiple costly procedures to save the tooth. You could even lose the tooth due to excessive destruction that could have been prevented if a filling or crown had been placed at the time of the original break.

Invisalign

Invisalign is a system to move and straighten teeth without metal wires and brackets.  Invisalign uses clear plastic devices called aligners to move the teeth instead of brackets and wires.  This system has been used for nearly 20 years and is a proven method for safely and effectively moving teeth. 

Clear Aligners

Aligners snap over your teeth and each one is slightly different in shape.  You wear each aligner for 1-2 weeks before discarding it and wearing the next aligner in the sequence.  As you go through the sequence of aligners, they move the teeth into their ideal positions. 

Advantages of Invisalign
  • There are no dietary restrictions –you can continue to eat the foods you love during treatment.
  • You take the aligners out when you eat, so you don’t get food caught everywhere.
  • Keeping your teeth clean is easy–you can follow your normal brushing, flossing, and home care routine.

If your teeth have spaces between them or are crooked, crowded, or overlapping and you would like straight teeth and a beautiful smile, Invisalign may be an ideal treatment for you. 

Benefits of Invisalign 

Did you have orthodontics as a kid and over the years your teeth have started to look crooked or crowded again? Invisalign is a great way to give you back the ideal smile you had when you got your braces off–without the inconvenience and pain of more brackets and wires.

Learn More About Invisalign

If you are interested in Invisalign treatment, schedule an exam and Dr. Gray will look at your teeth and discuss whether Invisalign could help you achieve your goal of a beautiful smile.

If your teeth have minor crowding or rotations, Invisalign can straighten them very quickly. Dr. Gray can give you a precise time-line for your treatment after he submits impressions and photographs to Invisalign and designs the tooth movement.

There are four ways you can have problems with your teeth and straightening teeth reduces the risk of each of these problems.

Benefits of Teeth Straightening
  • Aesthetics, or the appearance of the teeth. Straight teeth typically look more beautiful than crooked teeth.
  • Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and bone loss (periodontitis) around the teeth can undermine the support of the teeth. When teeth are straight the gums are far easier to clean, both at home and at the dental office. Effective cleaning helps prevent and control inflammation and bone loss.
  • Excessive forces and forces in the wrong directions can cause teeth to loosen, develop abfraction damage (notches along the gum line), and chip, break, or fracture. Teeth that are properly aligned and function correctly with the opposing teeth are at lower risk of being subjected to these damaging forces.
  • Cavities destroy tooth structure. Straight teeth are less likely to trap food and are easier to clean, which helps prevent cavities.

Sedation Dentistry

Dr. Gray prescribes medications to take the night before your appointment and when you arrive at the office. These medications are supplemented with nitrous oxide (laughing gas). In most cases, these medications cause you to fall asleep for your appointment and remember nothing about the visit afterward. Oral sedation helps patients with dental anxiety maintain a healthy smile and keep their teeth for life. Oral sedation can also allow more dental work to be completed at each appointment, reducing the number of appointments and shortening treatment time.

Sedation alleviates anxiety. Whether you simply find dental appointments stressful and emotionally draining, or you worry for days and days and lose sleep leading up to an appointment, or if you find yourself constantly rescheduling dental work that would help you keep your teeth for life, sedation can relieve your stress and allow you the freedom to get the dental care you want and need. 

Reduce Dental Anxiety 

Imagine experiencing no fear, anxiety, or loss of sleep leading up to a dental appointment. Think about a dental experience in which you arrive at the office, relax, go to sleep, and wake up with your procedures completed, not remembering the appointment. Sedation dentistry makes these experiences a reality for patients every day.

Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

Another benefit of sedation is that it allows us to complete more work at each dental visit because you can stay comfortable in the chair for a longer appointment. Instead of needing a series of appointments to complete all your work, it can often be completed in 1-2 appointments with sedation.

Nitrous oxide is an extremely safe anti-anxiety medication when used under the supervision of a dentist.  It has a long history of safety and success helping people stay calm during a wide variety of procedures, but should not be used unsupervised. 

Safety of Nitrous Oxide
  • When we close the delivery valve, the gas is eliminated from your system in mere minutes, so there is no carryover effect. 
  • This quick elimination also allows us to very precisely regulate the effect of the gas and give you more or less effect depending on your preference.  We can control both the concentration of gas coming through the nosepiece and the volume of the flow to provide exactly the effect you want.
  • Nitrous oxide is mixed with pure oxygen–not room air.  This means that while you are inhaling the nitrous oxide, you are still inhaling the same amount of oxygen that you do when you breathe regular room air.  In many cases, you actually receive more oxygen than breathing room air, while still benefiting from the effects of the nitrous oxide.
  • The flow of the nitrous oxide is controlled by a regulator.  This regulator has a built-in mechanical safety feature that prevents excessive levels of gas from reaching the patient.  This makes it physically impossible to deliver toxic doses of nitrous oxide to a patient.
  • Administration of nitrous oxide is regulated by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and Dr. Gray, his staff, and his equipment all meet the criteria set forth by this agency.
  • Nitrous oxide is not safe for pregnant women.  In certain extreme cases, a short, low dose may be administered during the 2nd or 3rd trimester, but it is preferable for pregnant women to avoid exposure to nitrous oxide.

Before your appointment, Dr. Gray will sit down with you and review your health history, discuss the treatment to be provided, and provide detailed instructions for before and after your sedation dentistry appointment.  You will also receive prescriptions for the medications needed before and during the appointment.  You will need someone to drive you to and from your sedation appointment and to stay with you after your appointment.

What To Expect While Under Sedation

During your dental procedure, you will be monitored for heart rhythm, pulse, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and respiration (breathing).  Dr. Gray monitors more vital signs than required by dental regulations to ensure you remain safe as well as comfortable.  You will be capable of responding to commands during the procedure but in most cases will sleep during the procedure and not remember anything about the dental work.  When the procedure is finished, we bring you out of the sedated state, evaluate your vital signs, awareness, and dexterity, and when you meet certain criteria, your ride can bring you home.  Dr. Gray will give you a call that evening to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.

Dr. Gray makes every effort to give you a pain-free experience at our office. We have very comfortable chairs to help you relax. We use a powerful mixture of topical anesthetics to numb your tissue before numbing the tooth we will work on. Dr. Gray uses multiple anesthetics with different properties to prevent as much sensation as possible both during the numbing process and during your procedure. We also have nitrous oxide (laughing gas) available to help you feel more at ease if you’re feeling nervous, and sedation for anyone who does not want to be fully aware during their procedure. Please ask us about these options if you are concerned about anxiety at the dentist.

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