Because our practice offers so many new technologies, different techniques, and has the special ability to make a positive and healthy impact on people’s lives, it isn’t surprising that our guests have questions about the Gentility and Erickson & Gill Dentistry experience. We welcome curiosity and interest in what we are doing, and why and how we do it. So, we have provided answers to many of the questions we commonly receive.
To maintain long-term dental health we recommend regularly scheduled cleanings and exams. With your permission, we will schedule your appointments with our hygienists once you leave our office and give you a reminder phone call, email notice or text message shortly before your next dental appointment in our office.
Since graduation from dental school, Dr. Erickson, Dr. Heidebrecht and Dr. Gill have continued to stay up-to-date in dentistry, a field that is constantly changing. They believe it is vitally important to continue their education in many aspects of dentistry and general health care – from aesthetics to occlusion to CPR. At the world-renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, our doctors have completed courses in advanced functional aesthetics, comprehensive aesthetic reconstruction, full-mouth reconstruction, coronoplasty and neuromuscular dentistry. They are also a members of several local and national organizations where the advancement of effective care is a top priority.
Pursuit of excellence is mandatory in our practice. We view success as a journey, requiring constant growth and an openness to change. For this, we are rewarded with increased passion in our personal and professional lives.
We offer a variety of payment options including cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
Please ask us about our VIP express checkout services.
We also offer:
Meritrust’s Lifestyle Lending
Their flexible payment plans give you something to smile about!
Yes. In fact, we consider your referral of a friend or family member our greatest compliment. Our pledge to you is that we will make you proud by providing great dental work in our Wellington, Wichita and Anthony offices. We will do all we can to exceed their expectations and provide them with the level of dental care you have come to expect from us.
We believe healthy teeth are not a separate component of good health, but an integral part of the whole. Our focus is aesthetic dentistry using a neuromuscular approach, which results in a healthy, natural smile while establishing correct form and function. In 2011, Dr. Gill and Dr. Erickson were awarded the Fellowship certification in Neuromuscular Aesthetic Dentistry. The Fellowship Award is a significant acknowledgement of Dr. Gill and Dr. Erickson’s comprehensive expertise, clinical skill and artistic talent.
Your comfort is a top priority for us. For our guests who are nervous about their visit to the dentist, we offer nitrous oxide and other medications (when appropriate and as needed) for pain-free relaxation. We also offer TV, movies and a variety of music to help entertain and comfort you during your dental procedure.
If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you’re probably in for a few pleasant surprises. Traditional metal braces aren’t the only cure for crooked teeth anymore, especially for adults. For many adult guests, porcelain veneers can do wonders. The placement of porcelain veneers is a procedure that might take only two or three visits with instantaneous results. In addition, many guests may also be candidates for Invisalign clear aligners. Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear, virtually invisible, customized aligners. An average Invisalign course of treatment takes about one year. Braces may require up to two years for comparable results. Call us for an appointment, and we will be happy to explain more.
In effect, smile design is the application of smile analysis. It is the process of turning your true potential into reality. The highlight of smile design is experiencing the finished product. Watching our guests react to their new smiles when they first look in the mirror is exhilarating and, even for us, almost overwhelming. We see an immediate change in their confidence and their interaction with others. A beautiful, natural-looking smile that is comfortable and healthy is a truly powerful asset. When a clinical change so drastically and positively affects psychological and emotional components in a person, it confirms the reason many of us got involved in dentistry in the first place, which is to positively impact the lives of others.
Unfortunately, this question is all too common. By the time we meet most of our TMD/TMJ or headache patients they have already been to multiple other doctors and may even have a drawer full of “orthotics”. The average number of doctors our patients have seen before walking in our door is typically between 5-8 but we have treated patients who were giving it one last try after over 20 previous doctors! Our goal, and thus far we have succeeded, is to always be the last doctor they will ever need for their TMD/TMJ or headaches.
A neuromuscular orthotic is an appliance that positions the jaw where the muscles are in a comfortable physiological position as shown on the computer and with the diagnostic data. The orthotic allows a test of this new position and allows additional healing. Other orthotics or mouth pieces that are not made to the precise neuromuscularly relaxed position are much less likely to provide consistent, profound relief over a long period of time. Also, unless the dentist is specifically trained on how to maintain the comfortable position, patients may find that the pain returns during or after orthotic wear.
Proper neuromuscular position is found with the use of the ULF-TENS, EMG readings, sonography and jaw tracking. It is in this way that neuromuscular dentists find the exact positioning for their patients’ cervicomandibular region and then strictly maintain that position. This attention to physiologic harmony is what makes treatments so much more predictable and effective for a wide range of patients especially the more severe cases where other “TMJ experts” are unable to find relief. Because of the strong emphasis put on the discovery of and maintenance of the proper cervicomandibular position, Neuromuscular dentists are typically able to provide comfort over the long term. The orthotic is not the start of treatment nor is it usually the end point. Essentially, the neuromuscular orthotic is a small part of a much more detailed and meticulous form of TMJ/TMD treatment.
Occlusion is the foundation of dentistry. It is of key importance in the success of every major dental procedure. Occlusion is affected by a triad of factors — the teeth, the muscles and the temporomandibular joints. Traditional dentistry has focused on the teeth — what might be called “one-dimensional” dentistry. Neuromuscular Dentistry (NMD) is a term that has been applied to the additional consideration of the “second & third dimensions” — muscles and TM joints.
The dental curriculum prepares dentists to deal with the teeth. Muscles and joints typically get a cursory once-over. As dentists begin to practice, it is not uncommon to hear them say that they have done procedures “by the book” and yet have less than satisfactory results.
Neuromuscular Dentists commonly report that taking muscle and joint status into consideration aids them in optimizing treatment, minimizing the times that they are “surprised” by less than ideal outcomes, and gives them the added insight needed to treat complex cases. There is a significant body of literature published over the past 35 years that supports the efficacy of neuromuscular dental principles.
Symptoms may include:
- Tooth grinding and clenching
- Flat, worn teeth
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Retruded chin or overbite
- Short lower third of the face
- Short, square looking teeth
- Missing teeth
- Receding gums
- Cavities occurring at the gum line
- Snoring or sleep apnea
- Recurring shoulder, neck or back tension
- Ringing in the ears
- Numbness in the fingers
First step is to deprogram the muscles from their habitual position using a low-grade stimulus. It is called ULF-TENS and is very different than a TENS from a physical therapist. This device improves blood flow and changes the metabolism of the muscles to a healthier basis. With the muscles in a resting position we can monitor and measure muscle activity and movements with computers and attached headgear. The jaw joints are also monitored to evaluate their health. Various treatments can be recommended and provided once we have the data. Treatment can include resolution of pain with dental orthotics, orthodontic movement in a body harmonic position, restorative care to ensure comfort over years, coronoplasty (adjustments to the bite), change airway and resolve breathing issues both during the day and the night. Other care is possible as well.
A neuromuscular orthotic is an appliance that positions the jaw where the muscles are in a comfortable physiological position as shown on the computer and with the diagnostic data. The orthotic allows a test of this new position and allows additional healing. This diagnostic orthotic phase is also known as “phase one” of treatment.
There are two main types of diagnostic orthotics that we use, fixed and removable. A fixed orthotic is bonded to the upper and/or lower teeth and does not come on and off. It is made to look like perfectly straight teeth and there are choices of different tooth colors. Fixed orthotics typically offer quicker healing and a better representation of how a patient will feel after Phase 2 or the restorative phase. A removable orthotic is an acrylic mandibular repositioner that can be taken on and off. If compliance by the patient is great then the removable orthotic can be as effective as the fixed version.
- Enhanced ability to chew your food.
- Replace removable full and partial dentures with fixed bridgework.
- Improved appearance. Increase in self-confidence.
- Prevent further bone loss.
Sleep Breathing Disorders
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder where breathing stops several times a night for at least ten seconds. It reportedly affects around 20 million Americans and can be life-threatening. There are two types of sleep apnea plus a third that is a combination of the two.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway is blocked by the soft tissue of the tongue with back of the throat, tonsils, and/or adenoids. Air stops flowing through the mouth and nose. OSA deprives the heart and brain of oxygen, which can increase the threat of stroke and heart.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain and central nervous system are misfiring and do not tell the body to breath. Oral, throat and abdominal breathing may be affected simultaneously. This can affect breathing activity for up to two minutes.
Causes are varied and include:
- High Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Neck size
- Narrow airway
- Orthodontic history
- Smoke inhalation
- Alcohol consumption
- Genetic profile
Symptoms vary for adults and children. Some include:
- Loud snoring
- Periodic episodes where breathing stops
- Significant daytime fatigue
- Restless sleep
- Poor memory
- Difficulty concentrating
- Personality change
Sleep apnea can cause as much trouble for you while you’re awake as while you are sleeping. It can lead to headaches, fatigue, depression, hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks. In children it can cause bedwetting, grinding of the teeth, fatigue, attention deficit syndrome, hyperactivity and learning disabilities.
There are several treatments. Which one is best for you depends on the severity and type of your apnea. It might be as simple as modifying your lifestyle behavior if you smoke, drink alcohol, or are overweight. There are also several medications, steroid sprays, and nasal decongestants that might help. The most prescribed solution is using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Though this is the gold standard in the medical world it is often not used after being tried. Patients frequently have difficulty using the machine. Dental devices can help and/or solve the problem and are the most common form of treatment in Europe. America is just now realizing the magnitude of the problem and how valuable dental appliances can be in obstructive sleep apnea treatment.
Dental appliances move the jaw forward and as a result will move all the tongue and throat muscles forward opening the airway. These appliances fit on top of the upper and lower teeth. They can last for years. Newer shapes and improvements are continually becoming available.
No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their primary health provider, yet many other patients are referred from other health professionals and current patients.
Really it is much more that the teeth. It is important to have a cranialmandibularcervical screening done between the ages of two and three. Certain treatments start about four.
The removal of certain teeth historically has been a common practice. Neuromuscular treatment approaches rarely involve tooth removal or orthopedic and orthodontic success.
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 22 months. This time does not include the first stage with neuromuscular data and jaw posture analysis completed.
It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have many financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4-6 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly. Special techniques can be provided so that time lines can be lengthened for patients that travel long distances.
Generally, braces do not “hurt.” After braces are first placed on the teeth, patients should expect soreness for the first few days. In these situations, pain medications, such as Advil or Tylenol, and warm salt water rinses will ease the discomfort. We also recommend wearing orthodontic wax, when necessary. However, after most follow-up visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! This lack of pain is in large part due to new technology that employees space-age metals that have built-in memory and use very small forces over longer periods of time.
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions. During the first week of braces, we recommend soft, highly nutritious foods for patient comfort.
Invisalign is the advanced way to straighten teeth and improve smiles. Using patented medical imaging technologies, Invisalign manufactures precision polymer aligners that rapidly straighten teeth.
Using a precise 3-dimensional analysis of your teeth and adjacent tissue, Invisalign crafts personalized aligners for a customized fit. Each aligner is worn for approximately two weeks, and can be removed to eat, brush, floss and on special occasions. During wear, the teeth are gently moved to their ideal position. The length of the process depends on the specific situation and the results each person wants to achieve.
Never underestimate the value of a powerful smile. It is not only beautiful, but first and foremost, it promotes optimal health:
- Teeth that are straight and evenly spaced are easier to keep clean, leading to better oral health. Better oral health can reduce the incidence of heart disease, gastrointestinal disease and other health conditions.
- Teeth that are properly aligned chew more efficiently, and that aids in proper digestion.
- Teeth that are straight and properly aligned create a more perfect bite, and that avoids excessive stress, headaches and strain on your supporting bone and tissue.
The social benefits of a beautiful smile are also important:
- Confidence – in job interviews, public speaking and personal relationships.
- Clearer speech – teeth play an important role in your ability to speak.
If you have dental insurance that covers orthodontic treatment, any type of orthodontics should qualify.
Many companies allow pre-tax contributions to be set aside in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Orthodontic treatment is considered a qualified treatment that can be reimbursed using your FSA. We also offer flexible and affordable in-house payment plans as well as longer term financing through Meritrust.
Dr. Gill has had extensive training in the art and science of occlusion. Occlusion is the relationship between the upper and lower teeth when the jaw is closed and their surfaces come in contact. Orthodontics is not just about creating straight teeth; it is also about establishing a healthy, long-lasting biting position for the teeth. Crooked teeth often result in excessive wear to teeth that can result in a variety of long-term problems. Dr. Gill understands the importance of function and aesthetics.
In addition, many people choose Dr. Gill for teeth straightening prior to proceeding with cosmetic veneers. Her ability to establish proper bite positioning before making the final cosmetic enhancement significantly improves one’s chances of achieving the most natural looking, long lasting results.
The symptoms of TMD can vary significantly from one person to the next. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Pain and soreness in the jaw and facial muscles
- Tooth grinding or clenching
- Clicking/popping noise in the jaw
- Ringing in the ears or feeling of congestion
- Headaches, dizziness, nervousness
- Sleep problems and/or snoring
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Tightness/ loss of range of motion in the jaw and neck
The jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ) is a delicately balanced mechanism. Although the joint itself is small, it is essential to many interrelated functions such as speaking, eating, and facial expressions. It is also interconnected with the musculoskeletal function as a whole. Compression of this joint from a poor bite can place pressure to nearby bones affecting balance and hearing. Compensating muscles can entrap nerves leading to referring pain or numbness to other areas of the neck and upper back regions.
Research has not yet determined all the possible causes of TMD. We do know that TMD can be precipitated or aggravated by trauma, certain health care procedures, oral habits, and diseases such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. Current research shows malocclusion (poor bite) can be a major contributing factor to TMD. Resolving malocclusion can provide relief and healing.
TMD is treatable by trained neuromuscular dentists. Treatment consists of a thorough evaluation/ assessment. Oral removable appliances are often recommended. Permanent solutions such as orthodontics or dental restorations may be indicated. Sometimes lifestyle changes may be suggested such as change of diet, avoidance of caffeine, physical therapy, or smoking cessation.
TMD never goes away on its own. As your body tries to accommodate the problems associated with it, it can actually become worse. In the vast majority of cases, TMD, if left untreated will continue to progress, causing pain, damage to your jaw and neck, tooth damage, and loss of bone and teeth.
Yes, approximately thirty million people in the United States have TMD at any given time, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Many people go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed with migraine headaches, Menieres disease, depression, or other unrelated issues.
Insurance companies debate whether it is a medical, dental, or psychological issue. This shows the lack of information regarding the whole issue and the inability of the health communities to help treat the “whole” person under a single diagnosis. There are medical billing codes for these conditions/treatments and can be provided to you in your attempt to get benefits. We encourage you to check with your particular insurance carrier.
Tension headaches result from muscle strain, or contraction. When muscles are held tight for long periods of time they begin to ache. Headaches from dental stress are a type of muscle tension headache. A tension headache may be on one or both sides of your head. Or, it may surround your head as if a steel band were wrapped around it. The pain feels like a dull, non-throbbing ache. Specific signs which indicate that the headache may have a dental origin include:
- Pain behind the eyes
- Sore jaw muscles or “tired” muscles upon awakening
- Teeth grinding
- Clicking or popping jaw joints
- Head and/or scalp painful to the touch
Muscles that control your jaw and hold your head upright are very complex both in number and interactions. Every time you swallow, your upper and lower teeth must come together in a firm way to brace the jaw against the skull. We swallow over 2000 times every 24 hours! If your bite is unstable, as from crowded or missing teeth, the muscles must work harder to bring the teeth together. You can rest when your body is tired but your jaw muscles never get a break! Overworked muscles become strained. When muscles are under constant strain, pain results.
Pain may be felt in the cheeks or the jaw joints. Many times, however, the pain is “referred” to other areas of the head and neck. Referred pain is when a pain originates in a part of the body that differs from the area where it is felt. Even a single tooth can refer pain to the head. Other muscles may also become involved. Your head is delicately balanced on top of your spinal column by muscles in your jaw, neck, shoulders, and back. Your head weighs approximately 16 pounds the weight of a very heavy bowling ball. Imagine your head as a bowling ball balanced on top of a pencil by a number of rubber bands. When muscles are tense, they shorten. Now imagine shortening just one of those rubber bands. Some rubber bands would stretch, some would shorten, and the bowling ball would be thrown off kilter. Similarly, when even a single jaw, neck, or shoulder muscle becomes shortened, all of the other muscles are forced to overwork to keep the head balanced on top of the spinal column. We see then that dental headaches originate from an unstable bite, which cause the muscles of the jaw, head, and neck to overwork with pain and dysfunction resulting. The pain makes you feel tense and uptight. This worsens the muscle spasm, which in turn increases the pain.
As the neck muscles try to maintain balance for a poor position of the head and jaw they tighten for long periods of time. This puts pressure on nerves that travel through these muscles. The entrapment of the nerves causes them to stop transmitting and you get a numb feeling.
A: Yes, many chiropractors can relieve symptoms. Dr. Gill and Dr. Erickson, as neuromuscular dentists, in conjunction with certain types of chiropractors work to fix problems long term. Using their data and treatment conclusions allows a neuromuscular dentist to develop a long-term solution.