Exceptional Dentistry

Dubuque Cosmetic Dentistry Blog

Instant Orthodontics- Dubuque Cosmetic Dentist

January 15th, 2014

At Exceptional Dentistry in Dubuque, we are able to use cosmetic dentistry to provide instant orthodontics.

What is instant orthodontics?

In some cases there are spaces between the front teeth that a person does not like.  Looking to improve his or her smile, an individual may want this space to be closed.

Sometimes due to the occlusion (the way the top and bottom teeth fit together), it can be difficult to close the space with braces or Invisalign.  In other cases, some people do not want to spend 1-2 years doing orthodontic treatment.  They are excited about the option of closing this space in just one appointment!

Dental bonding using composite resin restorative material allows us to close the space between the teeth in 1 appointment. Dental bonding can sometimes be done without local anesthesia.  Other times, a light amount of local anesthesia is used to keep the patient comfortable, especially if work is being done at and below the gum tissue line.  A diode soft tissue laser is sometimes used to gently reshape the gum tissue to achieve the proper emergence profile.

Instant Orthodontics Before and After

The photo below demonstrates dental bonding that was done by Dr. Kristen Berning to achieve this instant orthodontics.  This was a teenage girl.  She and her mother were very happy with the result!

SB diastemma closure (1)

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, tooth whitening, implant, orthodontic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

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Using laughing gas or nitrous oxide with your Dubuque Dentist

August 7th, 2013

In our Dubuque dental office, Dr. Ted Murray and Dr. Kristen Berning and the Exceptional Dentistry team offer nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.   This is a great option for patients with dental anxiety, a strong gag reflex, and for young children having dental work for the first time.  Almost anyone who wants to relax more during his or her appointment can use nitrous oxide or laughing gas for anxiety relief.

 

Using laughing gas or nitrous oxide with your Dubuque Dentist

Nitrous Oxide Safety

Nitrous oxide is a blend of oxygen and nitrous oxide.  In our Dubuque dental office, we use the Safe Sedate Nitrous Oxide system.  The gas is delivered through a mask placed comfortably over the nose. The patient then relaxes, breathes normally through the nose, and the dental procedure takes place.  Nitrous oxide is a very safe and effective treatment for both children and adults.   While you wear the mask you feel calm and unconcerned.  At the end of the appointment, there is an oxygen flush and the nitroius oxide leaves your system quickly.   The mask is removed and recovery is immediate.

 

Types of appointments to use nitrous oxide or laughing gas

  • restorative appointments (crowns, fillings, root canals)
  • extraction or oral surgery appointments
  • professional cleaning appointments with the hygienist
  • during radiographs or dental impressions for patients with a strong gag reflex

Contraindications for using nitrous oxide

There are indications where nitrous oxide is not recommended:

  • For patients with very high dental fear, they may be better served using oral sedation.  This will allow the patient to experience a deeper level of sedation with little to no memory of the appointment.
  • Certain heart, lung , or other systemic conditions.  Our dentists will review your health history with you to determine if you can use nitrous oxide.
  • Inability to breathe through the nose or claustrophobia
  • Pregnancy

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, tooth whitening, implant, orthodontic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

 

 

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Affordable Cosmetic Dentistry in Dubuque Iowa

July 31st, 2013

Cosmetic Dentistry in Dubuque, Iowa

The words cosmetic dentistry often makes a person think of porcelain veneers or professional tooth whitening.  Dr. Ted Murray and Dr. Kristen Berning, Dubuque dentists, believe almost every dental procedure has a cosmetic component that needs to be considered.  Our Exceptional Dentistry office is a great place to have cosmetic dentistry done in Dubuque, Iowa.

Shown below is an example of single tooth cosmetic dentistry.  It is a direct resin veneer, which is also called dental bonding.  This  is an affordable cosmetic dentistry option that can make a wonderful improvement in the beauty of a smile.  A direct resin veneer can help restore a tooth to its original form, function, and appearance.

Reasons for a Dark Front Tooth

Many people have a single front tooth that is dark.  It is often due to trauma when they were young such as falling and bumping a tooth.  Over the years, the tooth may darken, and it can become an embarrassment.

The Appointment

In just one appointment, the dark tooth is prepared for bonding.  Then layers of composite resin dental bonding material are used to improve the tooth so it matches the rest of the smile!

As can be seen in the photo on the right, this woman was smiling much bigger after her dark tooth was gone!
Dubuque Cosmetic Dentistry Bonding Veneers

Many patients are candidates for cosmetic dental bonding.   An improvement in a smile such as this one also becomes an improvement in a person’s self confidence.

  To find out if it would work for you, please call us at 563-556-2711 or request an appointment online here.

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, tooth whitening, implant, orthodontic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002.  Dr. Ted Murray and Dr. Kristen Berning serve as Cedar Rapids Cosmetic Dentists, Davenport Cosmetic Dentists, Dubuque Cosmetic Dentists and Galena Cosmetic Dentists areas.  Many patients travel for the cosmetic expertise in our office.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

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Dubuque Teeth Whitening

May 8th, 2013

Whiter teeth are everywhere!

With summer weddings, school graduations, and other events approaching soon, people want to know how they can get whiter teeth now.

Many teeth darken over time due to the aging process.  Teeth also stain from drinking coffee, tea, wine, dark sodas, or from eating pigmented foods like berries, spaghetti sauce, etc.

Your Teeth Whitening Options

In our Dubuque dental office, Dr. Ted Murray and Dr. Kristen Berning offer two options for teeth whitening.  The first is ZOOM whitening which is done in office in less than a couple hours.  The second is tray whitening which can be done at home over the course of a couple weeks.

About ZOOM whitening

ZOOM whitening is ideal for anyone seeking immediate results.   The procedure starts with a brief preparation to protect the lips and gum tissue.  A special whitening gel is applied to the teeth, and then activated by the ZOOM light to enhance the whitening effect.  After three or four 15-minute sessions, the ZOOM procedure is complete.

People appreciate the convenience of ZOOM whitening.  Custom trays are made for the patient to take home if additional whitening is needed right away for certain cases.  More commonly, these custom-fit trays are used for future whitening touch-ups.  Often times 1-2 years later, a patient will desire to do a one night session of bleach in the trays for a brightening boost.  Additional syringes of professional strength bleach can be purchased from our office at any time.

Below are photos of an actual patient of Dr. Kristen Berning’s before and after ZOOM whitening.  The patient was very happy with the results!
Dubuque Teeth Whitening

About home tray whitening

Some patients choose to do at-home whitening with custom trays made by our Exceptional Dentistry team.  This treatment option is also very effective.   The trays are often worn at night, for a couple of weeks, to achieve a brighter smile.  Patients might choose this option if their schedule doesn’t allow them to be in office for a longer appointment.

About tooth sensitivity

With both the ZOOM and the at home tray whitening, patients may experience tooth sensitivity.  The sensitivity often subsides after a few days.  A sensitivity toothpaste can help, as well as avoiding very cold food and drinks.  For other frequently asked questions, please refer to our whitening FAQ page.

Maintenance of your whiter smile

After bleaching, no special maintenance of your teeth beyond regular brushing and flossing is required.  But keep in mind that daily consumption of pigmented foods and drinks may gradually re-stain the teeth. Professional cleaning can remove much of it.  So don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning every six months to keep your smile looking its best!   :)

 

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, tooth whitening, implant, orthodontic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

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Dubuque Dental Implants

March 22nd, 2013

Dental implants are becoming a standard of care in modern day dentistry to replace missing teeth.  Here at Exceptional Dentistry in Dubuque, Iowa, we try to stay up to date on the latest advancements in implant dentistry.  With advancing technology, modern materials, and ongoing research, implant dentistry is an area of dentistry that is always changing and keeps getting better.

Attending Continuing Education as a Team

Today Dr. Ted Murray, Dr. Kristen Berning, and four of their team members attended a one day lecture given by Dr. Dennis Tarnow at the Grand River Center in Dubuque. Dr. Tarnow is a world-renowned expert on dental implants and shared a lot of great knowledge with us.  He showed many excellent cases where an implant was used to replace a front tooth in the smile.

Our three hygienists enjoyed hearing Dr. Tarnow’s advice on keeping implants clean and free from dental plaque so that gum tissue infection does not adversely affect the dental implant.  They are excited to use this information when they clean around implants and educate our patients on how to perform the best oral hygiene.

Dr. Ted Murray attends Hands-On  Surgical Implant Course

Dr. Ted Murray also recently attended a six day intensive implant course at BIOMET 3i Institute for Implant and Reconstructive Dentistry.   At that course, Dr. Ted Murray placed several implants and learned the most up to date information on 3i implants, the system we use most in our office at this time.

Indications for Dental Implants

Teeth can be lost for many reasons including trauma, infection, fractures, and resorption. Especially when the adjacent teeth are in good condition, a dental implant is an excellent choice for a replacement of a tooth.  Unlike a bridge, which requires treatment on the adjacent teeth, an implant stands alone and does not rely on other teeth.  Implants can be used to replace single teeth, multiple teeth, or to stabilize a denture.

Implant supported dentures are great options for people who need more stability for their denture when chewing and speaking.  Most patients in our office are choosing an implant supported denture instead of a conventional denture since it greatly improves the quality of their life and helps maintain more bone support over time.

The image shown is an implant case by Dubuque dentist Dr. Ted Murray, one that Dr. Tarnow would be proud of :) .

Dental Implants Dubuque

This patient had a root canal done on her front tooth many years ago.  The tooth abscessed due to root canal failure, and was no longer savable and had to be removed.  Dr. Ted Murray used his expertise to plan the case from start to finish so that the final result would look very natural, like a real tooth.  He teamed up with a local oral surgeon, Dr. Mike Dalton, who placed the implant.  Then after enough time passed for healing, and after using the appropriate provisional restoration, the tooth was finally restored with a porcelain crown.  The result was exceptional!

 

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, implant, orthodontic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

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Give Kids a Smile Day- Dubuque Dentist

February 19th, 2013

“Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.”   ♥♥

National Children’s Dental Health Month and “Give Kids a Smile” Program

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and it is  ”Give Kids A Smile” day in our office today.   And it feels so good for so many reasons.  Wonder why?

Well, the American Dental Association (ADA) focuses on children’s dental health during February, and this year is the 10th anniversary of its Give Kids A Smile program!  Through the Give Kids a Smile program, dentists are encouraged to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children.

Here in Dubuque, Iowa, the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) along with local school nurses, screen and identify children who are in need of dental services and are underserved for various reasons.  Many children have not been to a dentist in several years due to financial reasons, no dental insurance assistance, or other family hardships.  Some of these children have cavities or toothaches and need to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Local dentists who sign up to particpate in Give Kids a Smile are connected with these children to provide dental exams, cleanings, x-rays, and treatment such as sealants or fillings.

Our office participation in Give Kids a Smile Day

Dr. Kristen Berning has been participating for the last few years by providing dental treatment in their Dubuque family dental office.  Today, Dr. Berning and the Exceptional Dentistry Team provided $1389 in dental treatment to 2 children in need.  The children were excellent patients today and each received a dental exam, professional cleaning, panoramic and bitewing radiographs, sealants, composite resin restorations, and topical fluoride application.  They left with a new toothbrush, floss, and a healthier smile.  Their mother was very appreciative.

We are happy to use our talents today to help these Dubuque children in need of dental care.

We all possess talents to share.  Together we can better our community with one positive act at a time :) !

Dubuque Dentist

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

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Welcome, Stephanee!

February 6th, 2013

Dubuque Dentist Team Update

In January, 2013 we added a new member to our Exceptional Dubuque dental team!

Introducing Stephanee…

Dubuque Dentist

Stephanee had already been filling in and helping us in our Dubuque dental office for the last few years, so it was a pretty seamless transition.

Stephanee began her career as a dental hygienist in 2004 in Illinois after graduating from Parkland College. She has worked in many areas of dentistry, including assisting, giving her 15 years of experience in the field.  She brings lots of knowledge from working in many different offices over the years and holds dental hygiene licenses in the states of Illinois, Wyoming, and now Iowa. She is so excited to join the Exceptional Dentistry team permanently and help provide “the best patient care possible with the latest technology and highest treatment standards. One of my favorite parts of dental hygiene is getting to know all the wonderful patients.”

She is pleased to return home after living in Wyoming for 5 years, where she met her husband, Nate. They have two children, Kendall and Kody, who keep them very busy. When she is not busy with work or being a mom, Stephanee enjoys spending time outdoors and with her family in Illinois.

We’re excited for you to meet Stephanee at an upcoming visit!  :)

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

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Dental Care for Your Child’s Teeth

February 1st, 2013

Dubuque Family Dentists- Dr. Kristen Berning and Dr. Ted Murray

So your little one has teeth?   Congratulations!  :)

Dubuque Family Dentist

February is Dental Health Month, and here is our advice on how to care for  your child’s teeth:

Thank you for caring for your child’s dental health!  Our goal is to keep your child on the right track for a healthy smile.  “Baby” teeth need to be kept healthy, clean, and free of cavities to avoid unnecessary pain and infection.  Some of the “baby” teeth are not lost until age 12.

Before the first tooth comes in, clean your child’s mouth daily with a clean, damp cloth.  The American Dental Association recommends that children are seen by a dentist at age 1, and Dr. Kristen Berning welcomes you to bring your child in for this exam.  This first visit is to establish a positive relationship with you and your child, do a dental exam, and provide education on oral hygiene and nutrition.

Teething should not make your child sick.  A temperature of 101°F or higher is not due to teething.  If desired, use cool teething rings.  Do not use any numbing creams or gels.  Never put sugar or honey on a pacifier.

Sucking habits: Pacifier and finger sucking is considered normal in infants and young children.  To avoid teeth misalignment, monitor any excessive sucking habits.  If there is a choice between sucking a pacifier and a thumb, choose the pacifier as it will be easier to take away.  Finger or thumb sucking beyond age 3 may affect alignment of the permanent teeth.

Toothbrushing:

  • Once a tooth appears, start using a small toothbrush with water.  Brush teeth thoroughly twice a day.
  • Children need an adult’s help until age 7, when they have developed the fine motor skills to do it without supervision.
  • Spinning or electric toothbrushes are generally not recommended, as they can be too bulky to fit in small spaces.  If used, a parent should follow up using a regular toothbrush.

Toothpaste:   Start using a small smear of fluoridated toothpaste when your child is 18-24 months old and encourage them to spit it out.  After they can spit (around age 3), use a “pea-sized” amount of toothpaste.

Flossing:  Begin flossing your child’s teeth when adjacent teeth are touching (around age 3), to prevent cavities between the teeth.  Have your child lay on a bed or couch, or with his/her head in your lap to make it easier.

Nutrition:

  • Do not put your baby to bed (nap or bedtime) with a bottle.  Improper bottle use can cause severe decay.  The bottle is only to be used for breast milk or formula.  Wean from the bottle around age 1.
  • At age 1, your child needs 8 oz of fluoridated water daily to promote decay-resistant teeth.
  • Use a sippy cup for juice or milk at meal and snack time only.  Only offer water between meals.  For ages 1-6, limit juice to 4 oz (or less) a day.   Do not give your child soda pop, except as an occasional, special treat.  Pop is a leading cause of cavities.
  • Avoid sugary or starchy carbohydrate snacks that stick to the teeth and promote cavities.  Offer healthy snacks including fruits, vegetables, and cheese.

Dental Care for Mom’s & Dad’s teeth:  Keep your teeth healthy so you are a role model for your child.  Cavities in children can be caused by the transmission of bacteria from an adult’s mouth to the child.  Avoid sharing utensils (cups, spoons, etc.) with your child and do not clean a dropped pacifier with your saliva.  Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.  Avoid sugary beverages and snacks.  Drink water in between meals.  Schedule regular dental visits every 6 months.

Additional Resources:   www.aapd.org, www.ada.org, oralhealth.deltadental.com/Children/General/

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

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Cosmetic Bonding to Close a Gap Between Front Teeth

November 8th, 2012

Indications for Cosmetic Bonding

This young lady came as a new patient to our office based on the cosmetic credentials earned by Dubuque dentists, Dr. Ted Murray and Dr. Kristen Berning.  She was concerned with the space between her front teeth.  Dentists refer to this particular space as a “black triangle.”  If you look closely at the “before” photo below, you will see the front two teeth are actually touching each other toward the bottom.  This means that braces cannot help to improve the situation.  Her teeth are already straight.

This is a perfect situation for cosmetic bonding.  At her initial appointment, we did a “cosmetic preview” to show her what we could accomplish and to determine what shade of composite resin material to use.

Everyone was excited about the cosmetic preview, so we reserved future time in our schedule to complete the procedure.  This technique of cosmetic bonding is a very conservative way to enhance a smile.  Dr. Berning added and shaped the composite resin so that it would blend with everything. After using a curing light to set the material, it was then polished to a high shine.  A light amount of local anesthetic was used to keep her comfortable as we worked at the gum line.  Many times no local anesthetic (or “novacaine”) is needed for these cosmetic bonding cases.

cosmetic bonding before and after

She was very happy with the results!  What a beautiful smile :)

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

 

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Treating Gingivitis with Laser Therapy

October 16th, 2012

Using the latest technology in our Dubuque dental office

Our office has been dedicated to the latest technology in dental hygiene since Dr. Ted Murray opened the doors to his Dubuque dental office  in 1978.  In other words, we have always wanted to help people have the healthiest teeth and gums possible.

Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis and periodontal disease are serious matters as the accumulation of bacteria, plaque, and calculus (tartar) lead to bad breath, bleeding gums, infected tissue, bone loss, loose teeth, and the possible loss of teeth.

In office laser training for hygienists

In June of 2011, our hygienists, Talia, Charity, Melissa, and Stephanee, completed a hands-on live patient experience and are certified by the Academy of Laser Dentistry.  Our hygienists are using lasers daily.  Lasers are used for a variety of procedures, including treating gum disease, periodontal disease, canker sores and cold sores.

Lasers reduce bacteria and promote wound healing.  The laser light energy is collected in the mitochondria which “jump starts” the healing process.

Case Study of Laser Assisted Gingivitis Therapy

Pictured here is an actual case completed in our office where ultrasonic scaler and diode laser treatment were used to treat the gingivitis and periodontal disease and return the patient’s gum tissue to optimum health.

Notice in the BEFORE photo how puffy, swollen, and red the gum tissue is… ouch!  His gums bled easily.   As the tissue was damaged by the bacteria, the once healthy sulcus developed into a pocket.  The “pocket depth” measurements were 5mm, which is unhealthy, because that is larger than the size of the Grand Canyon to a bacterium!  (Healthy measurements are 1, 2, & 3 mm)

The AFTER photo was taken 6 weeks after the therapy was complete.  See how the gums are now a healthy pink and are no longer swollen.  Most of the measurements were now 2 mm, which is very healthy! He is very motivated to maintain this oral health and now flosses every day.

Laser assisted periodontal therapy is precise, comfortable, and can be used on every segment of the population regardless of age.

Dr. Ted Murray has been certified in laser dentistry since 2000 and Dr. Kristen Berning since 2009.

Exceptional Dentistry provides complete family, cosmetic, and sedation dental care at 4200 Asbury Road, Dubuque, IA 52002 and serves the Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL areas.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ted Murray or Dr. Kristen Berning, please call 563-556-2711 or contact us online.

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