Blog

11
Sep

New Patient Experience at Dr. Bell’s Office

At Dr. Bell’s dental practice, one of the things we pride ourselves on is our commitment to providing excellent care that consistently exceeds expectations. We love welcoming new patients into our practice and are proud of the highly efficient, personalized, and in- depth experience that we take pride in offering on a patient’s the first visit. 

Check out this video to take a glimpse into what it’s like to walk into our practice for the first time— from the moment when you walk in and are greeted by our smiling dental admin assistants, to when Dr. Bell comes to meet you and take you on a tour of the entire office, to the comprehensive consultation and dental exam, culminating with the creation of a personalized treatment plan designed based on your needs and concerns. 

 

Do you have a friend or family member who needs a dentist? Dr. Bell offers $10 worth of “Bell Bucks” for any goods or services at our office.  Oh yes, and you will also get a $5 Starbucks card and a personal thank you from Dr. Bell when you make a referral! 

12
Jun

CEREC crowns made in one appointment at the Westlake Hills office of Dr. Michael C. Bell

We are Proud to Offer the Latest in Single-Visit Crown Technology! – *CEREC Primescan*

CEREC Primescan is a breakthrough computerized 3D technology and replaces the CEREC Omnicam with improved ease of use for the patient and accuracy for the dentist. This technology allows us to create custom dental crowns and veneers right in our office. By using this advanced technology, we can give our patients custom excellently matched and, superbly fitted dental crowns— all during a single appointment!

The creation and placement of a custom-designed dental crown is one of the most commonly performed treatments in dentistry. Dental crowns fit over the entire tooth and are typically used to reinforce a tooth that is heavily damaged or decayed. They are also normally required for restoring teeth after root canal procedures and placing teeth on dental implants. Crowns are one of the most predicable and long-lasting dental restorations.

Single-Visit Crown Technology Austin

In the past, crowns and other types of dental restorations traditionally required a time-consuming process that would normally take weeks. With advances in the CEREC in-office milling system, that process can be completed in about TWO HOURS rather than TWO WEEKS!  No temporary crowns, no second visit to fit the crowns! CEREC crowns can be made right here at the Westlake Hills office of Dr. Michael C. Bell in a single appointment!

CEREC dental crowns also do not require you to have a physical dental impression, which necessitates placing a gooey impression material in a tray in your mouth for several minutes. With CEREC, the impression is taken digital scan and a digital file is created, then a computer program is used to design your dental restoration to a very custom dental anatomy based on incredible algorithms to mimic your existing natural teeth. The result— Westlake Hills dentist Dr. Bell will create a precisely fitting and natural looking dental crown.

CEREC crowns are ultimately superior to Lab made crowns. Studies show that CEREC crowns are more accurate than a lab-fabricated crown.

The process in which a lab crown is made has so many steps involved which can introduce inaccuracies from the initial impression to the variability of the laboratory techniques and skill of the lab technician. Even if all the variables in the impression and laboratory are as perfect as they can be, it’s still not as accurate as a direct 3D scan of the mouth directly into the computer, and the milling process is much more accurate in the fit of the final crown.

While the large majority of our crowns will be scanned and made ‘in house’, there are situations where the optical scanner may not be able to ‘read’ the whole tooth. So, if the crown must go way below the gumline due to decay or an old restoration that was placed deeply to begin with, the technique with impressions and temporary crowns will be necessary. This will be the exception, but will give the better result in certain cases where the scanner optics cannot ‘see’ below the gumline.

With CEREC Primescan, your restoration is scanned accurately within a few microns and then the crown is milled in less than five minutes.  We then will place the crown in our porcelain oven to crystallize, harden and characterize the porcelain to match your other teeth. The CEREC crowns often times need virtually no adjustments and is placed the same day. This is especially beneficial for multiple crowns as the computer will design everything as ideally as possible, taking into account the patient’s bite and current dentition, as well as the patients desires and Dr. Bells care, skill, and judgement.

The Primescan and CEREC milling technology is an outward sign of our commitment to provide the most advanced and comfortable care for our patients. It is a pleasure to be of service to you, your family, and friends

See if you are a good candidate for the CEREC crown.

Schedule a Consultation today
7
May

Austin Dentist Dr. Bell Pioneers CO2 Laser for Faster Healing Time and Less Pain

It’s no secret that West Lake Hills dentist Dr. Bell and his team are known for their use of the latest state-of-the-art technology to provide complete and accurate diagnoses of dental conditions, as well as patient comfort and safety, but many Austinites don’t know exactly what Dr. Bell’s arsenal of high-technology dental tools includes or the various benefits they bring to patients.

DEKA CO2 laser Dr. Bell's office Austin

One of the many technologically advanced dentistry tools Dr. Bell has in his Austin office is the DEKA COlaser that makes it possible in many cases to perform dental implants without the use of a scalpel, which is the typical procedure. The COlaser by DEKA is the same laser dermatologists use, but the it has been specially modified for soft tissue in the mouth. In dentistry, the use of the laser allows very small incisions with minimal trauma, no bleeding, and shorter procedure time. Patients report much greater comfort levels as well as faster healing with the use of the laser.

The COlaser can also be used for biopsies, with benefits to the patient including no sutures or post-surgery antibiotics needed, faster healing time and no scarring.

“The COlaser is an amazing technological advancement for performing dental surgery and dental implants. The COlaser decontaminates the surgical area and creates an optimal environment for healing. This provides a great advantage to our patients,” says Dr. Bell.

In addition, there are no restrictions for the COlaser in cases of conditions including pregnancy, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, transplants, pacemakers, or any cardiovascular disease.

One of Dr. Bell’s patients, David Schuette, can testify to the dramatic difference between getting dental implants the old way and having the implants with the CO2 laser.

Dr. Bell’s patient David says: “I had the first implant one week with regular incisions, and a second implant two weeks later with the laser. The first implant was more painful, the area was swollen for several days, and in general had a bigger impact on my body.”

“The laser surgery is literally light years ahead. It took less time, there was no bleeding, and recovery time was much shorter,” says David.

According to DEKA, the manufacturer of the $57,000 laser, the COlaser is the best choice for performing dental surgery on soft tissue. The laser energy makes it possible to cut and vaporize the soft tissues without any bleeding, rendering it extremely valid for surgery in highly vascularized areas, such as the oral mucosa, palate, and tongue.

With the development of microprocessors, the energy pulse of the CO2 lasers can be “super pulsed,” which gives the tissue recovery time to dissipate the laser energy. This allows a major improvement in working speed and efficiency on soft tissue, with minimal thermal damage to the treated tissues.

 

 

The result? Faster healing and more comfortable outcomes. Learn more about Dr. Bell’s other state-of-the-art dental technological devises, visit https://mbelldds.com/about-us/dental-technology/.

27
Aug

Drinking Tea Can Make a Huge Difference in Your Oral Health

One of the healthiest drinks anyone can have is tea. This is especially true if you don’t add anything to it, like sugar. Tea has many good properties to it, most of which can directly improve your oral health simply by adding it into your daily diet. If you want to increase the levels of your oral health, tea may be the one small change you need to make to really increase how healthy your mouth really is.

Oral Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

All types of tea are known to help increase your oral health, but green tea is the most beneficial. Studies have shown that drinking green tea helps to reduce how many cavities you get. Tea protects against gum disease, showing signs that it can help reverse the effects of gum disease, too. Plus, tea helps to eradicate bad breath.

If you are replacing sugary or acidic drinks with the tea, you get even more benefits. Both sugar and acid do a lot of damage to your teeth. That is why it is so important to drink unsweetened tea. That way, you get all of the benefits without the detrimental effects. Let the tea replace everything you drink if you want, other than water. Even if you just drink one cup of tea per day, it still provides your mouth with the benefits that will help improve your oral health.

Talk with your dentist if you are considering changing all of your drinks to tea. They may suggest a specific type of tea that will do the most good for you specifically. Ask them what type of things to be on the lookout for as your mouth starts to improve from your change of beverage, then smile because you are doing a great thing for your mouth.

If you have any questions or please contact us today.

17
Aug

Do You Scrape Your Tongue When You Floss? If Not, You Should

Tongue scraping isn’t something everyone has heard of. In fact, even brushing one’s tongue is not common practice for everyone. If you want to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, it is important you keep tongue scraping as a regular part of your oral hygiene routine.

This can help improve your oral health, plus it has benefits that can be applied to other parts of your life.

Why You Need to Start Scraping Your

There are many benefits that come along with tongue scraping. The first is that you remove the bacteria and tartar that tends to coat the tongue. This means it is not sitting in your mouth as a breeding ground for bad breath. Plus, once your tongue is clean, you will be able to taste your food more fully than you may have been able to do in quite some time.

When that film is off of your tongue, it also means that it is not going down into your stomach when you eat or swallow. That can cause you to struggle with proper digestion. One of the lesser known benefits of tongue scraping is that it can also give you an immunity boost. By not having film coating your tongue, it can more efficiently fight off any germs that make their way into your mouth.

Tongue scraping may not be as popular as it should be, but it is gaining ground. If you want to get the most out of your daily oral health routine, make sure that tongue scraping becomes part of it. It only takes a few seconds, but it can make a significant impact on how healthy your mouth and body are. Ask your dentist what he or she thinks about it, and chances are, they will agree with these benefits!

If you have any questions please contact us today.

31
Jul

Do You Have a Spring Wedding?

Woman in wedding dress holds flowers.Planning a wedding involves taking care of several details. Even minor details, such as the linens on your tables, or the font on the place cards, matters. One small detail that often goes overlooked (because you don’t often think about it in terms of your wedding), is the condition of your smile. If you have a spring wedding, here’s how to create the perfect smile that will leave you with photos you are proud to show off.

Visit Your Dentist

If you haven’t been to your dentist in a while, now is the time. Your dentist will be able to give you a thorough cleaning as well as a comprehensive exam. During the exam, you can discuss any concerns about your teeth and mouth that you may have. Your dentist will take note of any cavities or issues (such as chips or cracks) and make suggestions about how to best deal with them. The earlier you can take care of oral problems, the better your smile will be on the day of your wedding.

Maintain a Routine at Home

Brushing and flossing your teeth at home is essential to your oral health, and can greatly help to improve the appearance of your mouth. A regular regimen of brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily is recommended. Brushing helps to eliminate plaque, bacteria, food particles and surface stains. Flossing takes care of the hard to reach spaces between your teeth. These tasks help to keep bacteria at bay, lowering your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can affect the appearance of your teeth and gums.

Consider Whitening

Discolored teeth, even just minor discoloration, can lead to a lack of confidence, and therefore affect not just the appearance of your smile but how you smile as well. Teeth whitening is a great way to get back a brilliant bright white smile. You can choose from over the counter whitening products or speak with your dentist about professional whitening for the best results. And after your whitening, be sure to take measures to maintain your smile.

Don’t forget about your smile in the planning of your wedding. If you aren’t already, start a regular oral hygiene routine and schedule an appointment with your dentist. And don’t forget to ask about whitening products. By taking care of your mouth now, you will be sure to have a dazzling smile when the big day arrives. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us today.

20
Jul

Do Crooked Teeth Make Keeping Your Mouth Healthy Harder?

Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss are all part of your oral hygiene tool kit.If you have a few crooked teeth in your mouth, is it making it harder for you to keep your oral health up? Not everyone is aware of just how much trouble can come with having crooked teeth. Braces and trays that straighten your teeth are not purely for esthetics. They are meant to help you straighten your teeth so that your entire mouth can be clean and healthy. If you have crooked teeth, you may be missing out on this advantage.

Benefits to Having Straightened Teeth

Straight teeth are much easier to clean. They let you get into all of the gaps and let you brush all of the surfaces of your teeth. When you have crooked teeth, sometimes there are overlaps on your teeth. These can be nearly impossible to get, and keep, clean. This can expose the rest of your mouth to decay, and it can cause cavities to spread. It can also lead to problems like gum disease because you cannot get to the gums easily in those overlaps.

Part of keeping your oral health in tip-top shape is making sure that you are getting each part of your mouth clean. This means brushing all tooth surfaces, and flossing wherever the toothbrush cannot get to, like between your teeth. You also need to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth, plus the insides of your cheeks. When this is done, you need to rinse with mouthwash. By having straightened teeth, you can accomplish this and have great oral health. Without straight teeth, this task becomes far more difficult.

For options on what you can do to prevent problems if you have any crooked teeth, ask your dentist. Tell them what you are worried about, and get their advice on how to correct the problem. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us today.

18
May

Wisdom Teeth: What You Need To Know

GETTING YOUR WISDOM TEETH REMOVED is such a common procedure these days that it’s almost a rite of passage among teenagers. But why do some of us have to get them out anyway, and why do we even have them in the first place? In today’s blog post we’re going to answer these and a few other common wisdom teeth questions!

Wisdom Teeth Are Remnants Of An Ancient Era

The most widely accepted theory about wisdom teeth’s origins goes back to our early human ancestors. Because they had a very different diet–mainly roots, raw meat and fibrous plants–they needed extra molars to grind up tough food. These days, we eat much softer foods. We also have smaller jaws that don’t fit in those third molars quite as well.

Wisdom Teeth Are Removed For A Number Of Reasons

While some people never get their wisdom teeth, they’ll show up for most of us between the ages of 17 and 21. Unfortunately, they don’t always come in the way they should, which is why a lot of us have to get them removed.

If your dentist recommends getting your wisdom teeth taken out, it could be for one of the following reasons:

  1. They become impacted. This means that the wisdom teeth don’t come through and become trapped in the jaw, under the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can form cysts around them and do significant damage to nearby teeth and bone.
  2. There isn’t enough space for them. This can cause damage to nearby teeth, crowding, and pain.
  3. They don’t come in correctly. Wisdom teeth that come in partially or aren’t in the right position can make flossing more difficult, allowing food and bacteria to become trapped and cause problems.

Some dental work may require wisdom teeth removal as well. However, if your wisdom teeth come in correctly and you are able to clean them properly, you will most likely not need to have them removed. And that means that you’ll have some extra molars in your mouth to chew with—awesome!

Remember These Tips If You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out

To facilitate healing after wisdom teeth removal, make sure you get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water and avoid alcoholic, caffeinated and hot beverages for the first 24 to 48 hours. And of course, everyone’s favorite part of the healing process, eat soft foods such as ice cream, yogurt, and applesauce for the first day. You can add in broth-based soups one to two days after the procedure, but stay away from hard or chewy foods for one to two weeks.

We Want What’s Best For Your Smile

We treat wisdom teeth removal on a case-by-case basis. We will monitor them closely as they come in and together, we will make the best decision for your smile! And remember, having your third molars come in may cause some discomfort, but if it causes pain, come and see us immediately.

Do you have any more questions about wisdom teeth? We’d love to answer them! Comment below or on our Facebook page to let us know!

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
11
May

What To Expect At Your Next Dental Checkup

VISITING YOUR DENTIST every six months is an important part of maintaining your oral health. Not only does it keep your smile clean, but it can help you keep an eye on your overall health too!

For some, it may have been a while since your last visit or you or a loved one may be apprehensive about visiting the dentist. Knowing what to expect can help relieve much of this anxiety, so today we want to explain the basics of what happens during your bi-annual cleaning and how you can prepare for your next appointment!

Gather Necessary Information Beforehand

Discussing your family history may not be the first thing you think of when scheduling your dental appointment, but being familiar with your family’s medical history allows us to better care for your oral and overall health.

Like many other conditions such as heart disease and certain forms of cancer, periodontal disease has strong genetic ties that can run in your family. Knowing your family’s medical history can help your dentist keep an eye out for oral health issues such as gum disease or other conditions which present symptoms in the mouth, such as diabetes.

Aside from gathering any relevant personal or family medical information, be sure to to review your dental insurance benefits as you prepare for your appointment. Knowing your level of coverage will help you understand what costs will be associated with your care. If you have any questions about using your dental insurance in our practice or if you would like information about paying for care without insurance, give us a call!

What Happens During Your Appointment?

Although this varies from patient to patient based on their individual needs, a dental check-up generally consists of a professional cleaning, a comprehensive dental examination, and potentially X-rays.

Dental X-Rays

How frequently you need dental X-rays relies largely on your medical and dental history, your age, and your current oral health. New-patient examinations often include X-rays as well.

If required, dental X-rays are generally taken at the beginning of your dental appointment. Dental X-rays allow us to detect and diagnose tooth decay between teeth, on hard-to-reach surfaces, and under existing dental work. X-rays can even be helpful in identifying dental and orthodontic issues that exist beneath the gum line.

Dental Cleaning

Once it’s time for your cleaning, your dentist or hygienist uses a small metal instrument known as a scaler to scrape off tartar above and below the gum line and in between teeth. Next, they polish your teeth using a polishing tool and a lightly abrasive paste to deep clean your pearly whites and remove any tartar left behind after the previous step. Last but not least, they’ll finish your cleaning with a thorough flossing.

Comprehensive Exam

After your teeth are clean, your dentist will perform a comprehensive oral examination to ensure your oral health is in tip-top shape. They will:

  • examine your teeth for signs of decay
  • check for gum swelling and redness, and measure the depth of your gingival pockets to check for signs of periodontal disease
  • test how your top and bottom teeth come together and check for signs of teeth grinding or other potential orthodontic issues
  • examine your neck, lymph glands, and oral cavity for signs of oral cancer

Based on your exam, we’ll discuss any necessary treatment recommendations and offer helpful tips on how to improve your oral hygiene before your next appointment.

Check out the video below for more information on the importance of regular dental exams!

What Should You Do After Your Appointment?

Whether your next appointment is in 6 months or even sooner, we’re looking forward to seeing your smile! Be sure to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and follow any additional instructions provided by your dentist before your next visit. If you have any questions about what to expect from a visit in our office, let us know!

We love our patients!

Top image by Flickr user Lien De Paepe used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
4
May

Oral Health & Weight Loss Go Hand In Hand

A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE is the best prevention for illness and chronic disease. It can also be just as effective as any medicine a doctor could prescribe. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or simply live more healthily, the good choices you’re making not only do wonders for your body and overall health, but they also have a beneficial impact on your smile!

Congratulations On Making Better Food Choices

Oral health depends on more than how many times a day you brush your teeth, it also depends on your diet! As you choose healthier foods for your body, you are also choosing better foods for your teeth.

If you’re trading chips and fruit snacks in for healthier snacks like cheese, veggies and nuts, you’ve made the right choice! A diet low in sugar and processed foods can help you trim your waistline, fend off illness and prevent cavities.

Check out the video below to learn more about where added sugar could be hiding in your diet!

We See You’re Drinking More Water… Great Job!

Perhaps before you made your goal to live a more healthy lifestyle, you would reach for your favorite soda rather than water at mealtime. Did you know that one in four Americans get at least 200 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda? Not only can frequent soda consumption lead to weight gain, it also contributes to tooth decay!

Eliminating soda from your diet, or at least consuming it in moderation, is a good way to cut back on calories and cavities. And now that you’re starting to drink more water, you’re probably realizing how good it makes you feel, especially since it is calorie-free!

Keep Up The Good Work With Regular Exercise

By maintaining a healthy weight, you are protecting yourself from health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, to name a few. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, these diseases often go hand in hand with periodontal, or gum disease. In fact, 91 percent of patients with heart disease and 22 percent of those with diabetes have gum disease.

So keep up the good work! Regular exercise does wonders for your body’s health and your smile reaps the benefits too!

One Last Tip For Our Wonderful Patients

It is widely known that almost nothing tastes good after you brush your teeth. So we recommend that you let good oral hygiene help you stem cravings!

If you’re experiencing a craving and want to avoid it, brush your teeth! Or even pop a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth. Not only will this help your craving pass, but you’ll be less inclined to eat after making your mouth minty fresh! Added bonus? Your pearly whites stay squeaky clean. Oh and did we mention that two minutes of brushing burns around 5 calories? It’s not much, but it’s something!

Do you have any other questions about your dental health or a topic you’d like us to write about? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for being such wonderful patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.