6/20/2016 2:09:00 PM | Lisa Henrich-Null, DDS

Progress in dentistry has given patients dental treatment that is not only effective, but comfortable and aesthetically appealing. ClearCorrect removable aligners are a perfect example of such progress. ClearCorrect are orthodontic appliances that gradually shift teeth into the desired position, but do so invisibly and without uncomfortable metal brackets and wires.

What Does ClearCorrect Do?

ClearCorrect straightens teeth over time with a series of customized clear plastic aligners that are worn by the patient throughout most of the day, a minimum of 22 hours. The aligners gently move teeth into the desired position in a gentler manor than traditional braces.

Teeth straightening is desirable for multiple reasons. Misaligned teeth can be unsightly, impacting a person’s self-confidence and even their ability to communicate. Teeth that are crooked, unevenly spaced, or crowded can cause more dental issues down the road. ClearCorrect can address some bite problems, too, such as an overbite and underbite.

The Process

ClearCorrect aligners are virtually invisible, made of a smooth plastic that is designed to fit the teeth and mouth structure. Your ClearCorrect provider – dentist – will gather impressions, photos and images of your teeth to send with a prescription to the ClearCorrect laboratory.

At the lab, a 3-D model of the teeth is used to create a complete treatment plan that maps out exactly how the realignment will take place. Following this initial treatment plan approval process, the aligners are created using digital mapping and molding technology.

The length of time required for ClearCorrect treatment varies according to individual needs – treatment can take from one to two years. Each treatment process involves four phases of therapy and during each phase a new set of ClearCorrect aligners are worn for a three-week period.

What to Expect

ClearCorrect provides adults and responsible teens with the opportunity to be more in control of their dental treatment. The aligners are removable, and though they must be worn all the time, they can be taken out for eating and drinking, brushing and flossing.

Although the process is gradual, results are noticeable as soon as the adjustments begin. And, unlike traditional orthodontics, ClearCorrect doesn’t require multiple lengthy checkups with the dentist – just periodic appointments so that the dentist can ensure the treatment plan is on track and the aligners are working as planned.

When the treatment process is complete, the patient is left with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile!
Schedule an appointment with a Victoria ClearCorrect provider to find out if this orthodontic option will work best to improve your smile. Call today!



6/9/2016 1:48:00 PM | Lisa Henrich-Null, DDS


A root canal is a dental procedure that removes decayed nerve and pulp from the tooth’s root system, yet preserves the integrity of the natural tooth. After the nerve and pulp have been removed, the tooth is sealed and usually protected with a single crown.

Routine professional cleanings can detect tooth decay before it settles into the pulp, therefore preventing the need for a root canal. Root canals are often a part of emergency dental services when a patient begins to feel discomfort and seeks out a dentist to resolve the problem.

If you have not had a professional cleaning and exam in a while, and you have consistent tooth pain, your need for a root canal may be caused by:

  1. Fracture – Fractures can abscess caused by an infection in between the tooth and gum, and tooth-related abscess which takes place in the tooth at the tip of the root and then spreads to adjacent bone tissue.
  2. Toothache – Severe toothache or pain, usually felt when eating hot or cold foods, while chewing or when applying pressure on the area. Other problems can mimic the pain of a toothache, and it is always best to check with a dentist who can look at the tooth and gums, and assess the health of the tooth’s pulp.
  3. Deep Cavity – When dental caries causes large cavities to form in the teeth, a root canal can be performed to save the tooth and prevent further complications from developing. A deep cavity can be filled or capped with a crown, and after the decayed material has been removed, it will function as a natural teeth. 
  4. Trauma – Teeth injuries can break the tooth structure, damaging or exposing the soft pulp and causing nerve trauma and pain. To save the tooth but rid the patient of pain, a root canal is performed and the cavity sealed and covered, depending on the severity and location of the injury.  
  5. Fracture – Fractures can cause intermittent pain and often can be seen and confirmed via imaging, such as x-rays. As with other dental traumas, a fracture can cause the pulp to be exposed or damaged, requiring a root canal and covering to protect the remaining natural tooth and gum. 
  6. Resorption – This uncommon condition occurs when the body’s cells turn on themselves and eat away at the tooth structure, leaving holes in teeth and root system. Unfortunately resorption can develop rapidly, and it’s best to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent the onset of further damage. Root canals can help with the pain, and stop the erosion before it kills the entire tooth. 
  7. Repeated Dental Procedures – Recurring dental treatments can impact the teeth, placing a lot of stress on them and aggravating the pulp. When the pulp becomes inflamed, the tooth should be tested by the dentist in order to determine the best course of treatment. 

Contact the office of Dr. Heinrich-Null to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing dental pain or have not seen a dentist in over 6 months. Early detection helps to prevent the need for a root canal, but if you do indeed need one, this procedure will help save your tooth.



6/1/2016 10:41:00 AM | Lisa Henrich-Null, DDS

Fluoride was discovered to keep teeth healthy in the middle 20th century; since then, fluoride has been included as an important part of dental health and treatments. According to research, fluoride is crucial for infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. Topical fluoride treatments and products are vital in the fight against tooth decay for developing teeth.

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, making it more resistant to bacterial acids that cause tooth decay. Fluoride can also repair some of the damage done in the very early stages of the decay.

Who Needs Fluoride?


Fluoride is delivered in one of two forms, topical and systemic. Topical fluoride is a fluoride treatment applied to the outside of the teeth, such as toothpaste or professional fluoride treatment. Systemic fluoride is that which is consumed, such as fluoridated water and fluoridated supplements.

Although everyone should brush with a toothpaste containing fluoride, exposure to fluoride is especially vital for teeth and gum health in developing teeth. Fluoride treatments are most helpful for the high risk population of infants and children, and particularly those too young to be responsible for their own oral health.

Some medical or health conditions, can put patients in an at-risk category. Fluoride treatments are particularly helpful for people experiencing the following:


  • Dry Mouth: Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can be caused by various diseases, medications – including allergy medications and anti-anxiety drugs – and medical treatments, such as head and neck radiation treatment. These conditions can reduce the presence of saliva naturally produced in the mouth, allowing food particles, bacteria and acids to remain on the teeth and erode enamel. 
  • Periodontal Disease: Also known as gum disease, or periodontitis, this disease can cause gums to recede and leaves the soft tissue and tooth roots open to a bacterial attack, which increases the chance of tooth decay under the gum line. 
  • Dental Appliances: Any fixed appliance or metal bracket can challenge the integrity of teeth by making it more difficult the keep areas free of debris and bacteria. 
  • History of Dental Caries: People who experience cavities frequently or whose family history includes a history of dental caries will benefit from additional fluoride treatments. 


For personalized advice, or more detailed information on how fluoride can benefit your dental wellbeing, contact your Victoria dentist to schedule an appointment.



5/24/2016 1:36:00 PM | Lisa Henrich-Null, DDS

Using dental implants to secure dentures and crowns has become increasingly recognized as an excellent solution to replacing missing teeth. Overdentures – dentures that are secured using dental implants – provide a secure base for new teeth, in addition to numerous other benefits.

Overdentures refer to a denture treatment option in which partial or complete dentures are fixed in place with the use of dental implants. The implants take the place of a tooth’s natural root and fuse to the jaw bone, so the attached dentures sit closely against the gum and function like natural teeth. Overdentures can be placed on as few as two dental implants depending on the patient’s oral health and bone density.

Implants

Dental implant placement is a minimally-invasive procedure during which titanium posts are surgically embedded in place of the tooth’s root. The posts begin to integrate with the surrounding bone; over time, the implants invigorate and strengthen the mouth structure, encouraging bone growth. After the site has healed, a customized crown or set of dentures is fixed onto the implant using an abutment and the patient is able to regain full dental functionality.


Benefits

Overdentures offer many benefits, including:

  • Reliable bite – restores chewing and biting, helps people digest their food properly
  • Designed to fit comfortably, less gum discomfort or irritation
  • Don’t interfere with speaking or smiling
  • Long-term investment – less gum disease, fewer repairs/replacements than traditional dentures, and overall less cost
  • Existing dentures might be modified as overdentures
  • Minimally-invasive treatment and rapid recovery
  • Improves appearance of the smile, and boosts self-confidence.


Types of Overdentures

Overdentures can help people who are missing some or all of their permanent teeth. There are three types of overdentures available:

  1. Implant-Retained, Gum-Supported: removable dentures that lay flush against the gums, retained by implants in the upper and/or lower jaw. The dentures are attached using a “snap” and socket design.
  2. Bar-Retained, Implant-Supported: these dentures are secured to a small metal bar which is attached to implants. The denture is connected directly to the bar using attachments and is removable for regular cleanings. 
  3. Fixed, Implant-Supported: this denture combines the overdenture and the bar into a single piece that attaches to implants by using screws, to creates a permanent denture. Fixed, implant-supported overdentures cannot be removed by the patient and must be removed by a dental professional for regular cleanings. 

Only a dentist is able to say for certain what type of denture is right for their patient, but implant technology has advanced so much since it first became available that more and more people qualify as candidates for the treatment.

If you have missing teeth or are in need of an extraction, please contact the Victoria dental office of Dr. Lisa Heinrich-Null to schedule an appointment to learn about your replacement options.



3/15/2016 7:00:00 AM | Lisa Henrich-Null, DDS

A healthy, attractive smile speaks volumes. In fact, our smiles have a huge impact on our self-confidence, our social interactions, and even affect how others see us! In the search for a beautiful smile, some solutions may seem to offer the same outcome, but actually differ in specific areas.
Both porcelain veneers and Lumineers® are used to cosmetically alter the appearance of teeth – they are effective treatments for correcting gaps between teeth, changing their length, and covering stains. 

Cosmetic Improvements


Lumineers® and porcelain veneers help create a more symmetrical and aesthetically appealing smile by making minor changes to the natural tooth. They are often used in cosmetic dentistry to address imperfections, such as:
  • Damaged/chipped teeth
  • Crooked or misshapen teeth
  • Short teeth.

Lumineers®


Lumineers® are extremely thin and are placed directly onto the tooth. The cosmetic treatment doesn’t change the structure of the tooth and the original enamel remains intact, also referred to as no-prep veneers. Lumineers® offer a more uniform, straighter smile but because they are wafer thin they are not ideal for teeth with dark stains.

The treatment usually involves two appointments. During the first appointment, impressions are taken from which a mold is developed. It is then used to customize and shape the Lumineers® in a lab before they are bonded to the surface of the tooth. The bonding and placement process usually takes less than an hour during the second visit. 

Porcelain Veneers


Porcelain veneers are likewise very thin shells of porcelain that don’t add any bulk to the teeth. Used to fill small gaps, veneers offer a uniform and beautiful white smile. Porcelain is stain resistant and its strength and durability make it the perfect material for cosmetic dentistry. Veneers can also be color matched to neighboring teeth.

Placing veneers is a minimally-invasive procedure and patients’ teeth are prepped during the first of two visits. A small portion of the top layer – the enamel – is removed, so that the veneer lays flat against the surface when placed. Veneers are created in a lab and bonded into place at the second visit.

Both Lumineers® and porcelain veneers are long-lasting options for people who want to improve the appearance of their smile. Before making a choice of one over the other, it’s best to talk to Dr. Heinrich-Null about the pros and cons of each and come to an informed decision with the help of a professional.









3/8/2016 9:00:00 AM | Lisa Henrich-Null, DDS

From our early years we are taught to avoid cavities. And with good reason. Cavities are mostly preventable, and yet they affect a large segment of the population. According to the CDC, 9 out of every 10 adults over the age of 20 have some degree of tooth decay, and cavities are “the most common chronic disease of children aged 6 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years.” (www.cdc.gov.)

Cavities are known by other names. The scientific term for them is dental caries, while tooth decay is also commonly used. The decay is the result of a gradual buildup of bacteria on the teeth and around the gum line, leading to erosion of the tooth’s surface and, eventually, the tooth itself.

How do Cavities Form?


Our mouths harbor many different types of bacteria that can accumulate on teeth and form a sticky film known as plaque. Plaque tends to build up between teeth, in the crevices and cracks of teeth, around fillings and other appliances, and along the gum line.

The bacteria turns sugar and starches from the food we eat, and the drinks we consume, into acids that attack the tooth’s surface – the enamel. As the enamel erodes, it leaves the tooth susceptible to more decay causing small pits or divots to develop on the surface that get larger over time.

When enamel begins to rot, the acid passes through the surface of the tooth and starts to move through the softer layer of dentin, which is the main body of the tooth. As both the enamel and the dentin are destroyed, the decay reaches the interior of the tooth that contains the soft pulp and nerves, causing a lot pain and potentially the loss of the tooth.

Treatment 


Treatment of cavities depends on the extent to which the tooth has been damaged. Options include:
  • Fluoride treatment and sealants as preventive measures
  • Fillings to restore cavities
  • Crowns protect tooth when a large area of tooth has been damaged
  • Root canals treat the inner pulp area when bacteria progresses through
  • Extraction is necessary when there is no hope to restore the tooth, it must be removed
  • Inlays and Onlays treat problems too big for fillings and too small for crowns 

Prevention is the Key


Cavities can be prevented by adopting and maintaining excellent dental cleaning and healthy lifestyle habits. This includes brushing twice a day – or more! – using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens the enamel and helps prevent cavities from taking hold.

Cleaning between the teeth isn’t as easy with a toothbrush as it is with dental floss. Use dental floss or an interdental cleaner at least once daily, or if food gets stuck in your teeth. The type of food matters, too and nutritious meals that are low in starches and sugar are the most teeth-friendly.

Last, visit the dentist for regular cleanings and examinations. Sometimes, decay is hard to spot – especially when it starts in tight or hard-to-see places like between teeth or around the molars. Dr. Lisa Heinrich-Null will identify problem areas and recommend specific treatments to help you stay mouth healthy and cavity free.



10/27/2015 6:21:00 PM | Lisa Henrich-Null, DDS

Hello, and welcome! We're excited to announce the official launch of the blog for Dr. Lisa Heinrich-Null's dentistry! We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.

We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.

If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Dr. Lisa Heinrich-Null, simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.

Here's to your best oral health ever!