Smile for the Lasers

In past generations, lasers were thought of as something in science fiction that you wouldn’t want to be in front of when fired up, let alone open wide for and smile. This may be why futuristic movies never make it into their own futures. They usually get it all wrong.

As technology in today’s society continues to catapult us into new capabilities and efficiencies, the world of preventive dentistry has soared along with it. Laser technology is in a state of constant discovery. This has led to an advanced tooth decay detection called DIAGNOdent.  Far from harmful, this laser is your best friend, unless you’re in hiding and your name is Decay. When the DIAGNOdent hand piece scans your teeth with its pulses of laser light, even the tiniest bit of decay or demineralization (the precursor to decay) is exposed as fluorescent feedback. Early detection and treatment will drastically decrease damage to your teeth, along with the precipitating treatments which tend to cost more.

 Before applying dental sealants, DIAGNOgent ensures that the teeth are 100% healthy and ready for the sealants. Prior to the ability to see under the surface of the tooth, decay could become trapped below sealants and cause issues to crop up further down the road.

DIAGNOdent isn’t science fiction, nor is it one of those new laser technologies that need to be avoided until all the kinks are worked out. There are no kinks in this decay detection, other than outdated fears of lasers. Smiling for the lasers today will help your future smiles retain their healthy, natural teeth.

An Invitation for Your Family

At our dental office in Pella, Iowa, Dr. Jeffrey Allen provides comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella. Please see the map for directions.

Updating Our Office to Give You Better Dental Care

Big things are happening at Dr. Jeffrey Allen’s dental practice in Pella, Iowa!

We’re currently remodeling the office to create a more comfortable and state-of-the-art environment to serve you. We’ve already installed beautiful hardwood floors, changed all of the interior paint, and we’re changing the artwork and furniture throughout the office to create a more urban and modern feel.  Later this summer, the front door and windows will be replaced, as well as the color of the paint and exterior signs. If you haven’t seen these changes, we invite you to come in and take a look. Maybe even have your teeth cleaned while you’re here (hint, hint).

We’re also updating they way we care for your teeth. We’re in the process of introducing new technology and dental techniques to the practice with one goal in mind: to provide you with the highest quality dental care possible. In mid-July, we’ll be adding direct sensor digital x-rays to our already existing phosphorous plate digital x-ray system. We will also be adding the Spectre caries (cavities) detection system to our existing DIAGNOdent system and new Polaris intraoral cameras that are an upgrade from our existing Digidoc system.

Like we said, big things are happening at Dr. Allen’s office, and we invite you to come in and check them out! If you’re due for a regular dental cleaning and exam, call (641) 628-1121, and we’ll work with you to schedule an appointment that fits into your busy schedule.

All of the changes we’re making in the office are to serve you better, and we can’t wait to show you around! Dr. Allen and his team serve families in Pella, Knoxville, Monroe, Newton, Grinnell, Sully, New Sharon, and the surrounding areas.

Diabetes and Dentistry

If you’re diabetic, beware of gum disease! This harmful condition affects 80% of Americans, and you may not know you have it. Gum disease, clinically known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the mouth. In the early stage, symptoms may not exist. However, mild to significant redness, swelling, tenderness, and bleeding of the gums may indicate the presence of gum disease.

Checkups are extremely important in the fight against gum disease because plaque, and hardened plaque called tartar are the primary causes of the condition. However, diabetics are more prone than others to develop periodontal disease – and resulting complications.

According to perio.org, the website for the American Academy of Periodontology, “Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body functions with a high blood sugar. This puts diabetics at increased risk for diabetic complications. Thus, diabetics who have periodontal disease should be treated to eliminate the periodontal infection.” (more…)

Detecting Oral Cancer Early Can Save Your Life

Do you know that approximately 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year? It’s true, but unfortunately, it’s not a problem that many people know about.

Because oral cancer is often detected in the later stages, it has a higher mortality rate than that of other health problems, including several other forms of cancer.

Dr. Jeffrey Allen and his dental team in Pella, Iowa make this pledge to you: at every routine dental cleaning and exam you have in his office, Dr. Allen will thoroughly screen your mouth for signs of oral cancer and other serious health problems.

With the help of modern technology, screening for oral cancer is easier than ever. Using a device called VELscope, Dr. Allen will shine the fluorescent light in your mouth and observe the colors that “glow” over the various areas in your oral cavity. Usually, healthy tissue will glow a light blue or green color, while abnormalities will appear darker.

Screening for oral cancer is quick and does not require any rinses, stains, or discomfort on your part. This, along with a traditional visual exam, is an effective process for diagnosing oral cancer.

All adults should have an annual oral cancer screening exam. Men over 40 and women between the ages of 20 and 40 are the most prone to the disease, but it can appear in anyone. People who use tobacco, consume alcohol daily, have viral infections, autoimmune deficiencies, or diabetes should be screened more frequently.

For more information about VELscope, oral cancer, or treatment for the disease, call Dr. Allen’s dental office in Pella, Iowa at (641) 628-1121.

Whiten Your Teeth in the Privacy of Your Own Home

Over time, you’re teeth can dull and become yellow, mostly as a result of the foods and drinks you consume, as well as lifestyle factors (such as smoking), and the natural aging process.

To give your smile an update, Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a family dentist in Pella, Iowa, can prescribe an at-home whitening system that will safely lighten your teeth, giving you a white, brighter smile.

To begin your teeth whitening process, Dr. Allen will examine your teeth to make sure that at-home whitening is an appropriate option for you. If it is, Dr. Allen will take impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab where your custom bleaching trays will be fabricated.

Once at home, you’ll fill the trays with specially formulated whitening gel and place the tray over your teeth for the prescribed amount of time. Typically, patients begin to see whiter teeth in one to two weeks. Once your whitening process is complete, your smile will be noticeably whiter and brighter.

To maintain your new white smile, avoid foods and beverages that stain, such as coffee, cola, tea, berries, and red wine. Also, it’s important to come to Dr. Allen’s office for occasional touch-ups to remove new stains. Call (641) 628-1121 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Caring for Children and Families in Pella, Oskaloosa, and Lynnville

As a father, the health of his daughter is one of Dr. Jeffrey Allen’s priorities. As a general family dentist, your kids’ dental health becomes one of his top priorities.

Dr. Allen and his staff, many of whom are parents, have all fought (and hopefully won) the battle of getting their kids to brush their teeth.

Teaching children proper brushing habits sets a good foundation for a healthy mouth that will last a lifetime. Dental health is an important component of overall health, so it’s important to know that the kiddos are brushing their teeth thoroughly, rather than just putting some toothpaste on a toothbrush and swishing it around for a few minutes.

The American Dental Association teaches proper teeth brushing habits in just five simple steps.

1.     Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.

2.     Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes.

3.     Brush the outer surfaces, the inside surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of all teeth.

4.     To clean the inside surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

5.     Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

Of course, your four-year-old isn’t going to know what a 45-degree angle is, but there is no better way to teach than by example. Turn brushing time into a family affair until your kids have gotten the hang of it. Using a timer is a great way to make sure your little one is brushing for long enough.

We recognize that teaching personal hygiene to your kids can be a process, but ensuring their future dental health is extremely important. Once they’ve mastered brushing their teeth, you can tackle flossing!

Dr. Allen and his staff love to see children and families in our office. Call (641) 628-1121 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Pella Families Shouldn't Fear Fluoride

Dental fluoride is a routine part of most dental cleanings and exams at many dental offices. For some time, however, the use of fluoride has been a debate among dental and health professionals.

The question remains: Is fluoride good for you and your teeth, or not?

Well, the answer is yes. Fluoride contains a protective component for your teeth, but it can be harmful in certain circumstances, as well.

If you are over the age of 8, wear braces, have dry mouth, or have difficulty brushing and flossing your teeth properly, fluoride treatment benefits you the most. Fluoride in small amounts strengthens your tooth enamel, the number one protector of your teeth. Without fluoride, and other helpers such as saliva, your tooth enamel would not reharden after eating and drinking and would leave your teeth exposed to plaque and decay-causing bacteria.

On the other hand, fluoride in large amounts can be very harmful, especially for young children. Fluorosis is a condition caused by over-exposure to fluoride that can cause softening and crumbling of your enamel and permanent discoloration to your teeth.

The bottom line: Don’t be afraid of fluoride.

It’s safe to assume that you use fluoridated toothpaste. Most people do, and it’s unlikely that a toothpaste will get the ADA seal of approval if it contains no fluoride at all. Many areas of the U.S. have fluoridated water, so it’s likely that you ingest small amounts everyday. Between the fluoride in your toothpaste and drinking water, it’s enough to promote healthy teeth and gums, but not enough to harm you.

Also, if your dentist gives you a fluoride treatment, don’t be afraid to take it. Just be sure not to swallow it, as pure fluoride is much more harmful than diluted fluoride when ingested directly.

I’m Dr. Jeffrey Allen, a family dentist in Pella, Iowa, and I make it a point to keep my patients informed so that they can make sound decisions about their dental health. Call my dental office at (641) 628-1121 for more information or to schedule dental appointments for you and your family.