Monthly Archives: September 2015

Biomimetic Dentistry: The Perfect Artificial Tooth?

Biomimetic Dentistry: The Perfect Artificial Tooth?

Dr. Montes and the staff at Prescott Dentistry utilize biomimetic approaches when repairing and restoring teeth. If you are unfamiliar with biomimetic dentistry as explained in our previous blog articles, biomimetic dentistry can be understood as using materials that resemble nature and are bio-compatible to bond teeth to repair them to their original state in both strength and feel. “Bio” meaning nature, and “mimetic” meaning “to imitate”. These advanced techniques that allow microscopic layers of bonding material to repair teeth are indeed cutting edge, but something even more advanced may be on the horizon.

To explain why it is so difficult to find a suitable tooth replacement that rivals the composition and resilience of a natural tooth you have to understand what teeth are made of. When viewing a tooth at the microscopic level, you see countless layers upon layers of micro-plates that are perfectly aligned and fused together. Until now, producing a similar material with similar complexity had been seemingly impossible.

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have come up with a new method that imitates the tooth’s natural model nearly identically. Through an advanced process that involves a plaster cast that is poured over with magnetize ceramic micro-plates, solidification, and directed magnetic fields. Through this process, multiple layers with diverse material properties can be created in a single object mimicking the tooth’s layers.

This material and process are still in the proof-of-concept stages, but these advancements show how biomimetic dentistry is at the cutting edge of emerging dental science. Contact Prescott Dentistry today to learn about biomimetic dentistry and what techniques are available today to repair your teeth back to their former glory!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/29/2015) Wendy (Flickr)

The Emotional Toll of a Forced Smile

forced smile

The benefits of having a healthy smile and making a habit of smiling at yourself and others have been discussed in previous blog articles. Prescott Dentistry prides itself in helping our patients keep up with their oral hygiene to allow them to wear their smiles with pride. However, we wouldn’t want to force our patients to smile when they aren’t feeling it, which is good according to a recent review. The “service with a smile” that is required by many companies in the food and service industries, while often effective at achieving a positive experience for customers, can do quite the opposite for employees.

Previous studies have shown that smiles do indeed lead to greater tips, customer retention, and overall customer satisfaction. But the most recent study out of Purdue University concluded that these forced smiles have unintended consequences. The added “emotional labor” associated with suppressing your true emotions and putting on a fake smile is said to be unfair and unethical to employees. This false emotional display is taxing, requires muscle exertion, energy, self-management and is detrimental to the employee’s ability to focus on the task at hand.

These effects are especially pronounced with personality types who are not outgoing and upbeat. The suppression of feelings creates a sense of dissonance and tension. This isn’t good for the business nor the worker, as this uncomfortable dissonance and stress will eventually lead to burnout and job dissatisfaction. The study suggested that an authentically positive workforce is a great ideal to strive for, but instead of forcing your employees to show a certain emotion, businesses should foster an environment that their workers can truly have a positive attitude in.

At Prescott Dentistry we aren’t faking our smiles! We’re sure you won’t be either, knowing your teeth are looking and feeling great after your dental visit. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and enjoy a genuinely positive environment!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/21/2015) Andrew Stawarz (Flickr)

Invisalign in Prescott, AZ: An Alternative to Braces

Invisalign in Prescott, AZ: An Alternative to Braces

Everyone wants straight teeth, but certainly not everyone wants the discomfort and embarrassment of wearing metal braces for 6-36 months. For those of you who fit into both of the above categories, there is a solution! Dr. Montes and the staff at Prescott Dentistry now offer Invisalign in Prescott, AZ. There a few things that Invisalign and traditional metal braces have in common, but there are quite a few advantages that Invisalign has over it’s metallic counterpart.

What They Both Do Well

No one will argue that traditional braces, along with Invisalign, effectively straighten one’s teeth. Both Invisalign and metal braces can also treat any number of cases including spacing, crossbites, underbites, overbites and crowding. However, that is where the similarities come to an end.

The Invisalign Advantage

The following traits are unique to Invisalign, and mark where traditional braces fall short. Invisalign enables you to eat whichever foods you enjoy without worry. This is due to the second benefit: you can remove it whenever you want! Not only will you be able to eat all the same foods you currently enjoy, the entire teeth straightening process is virtually invisible which spares you a whole lot of grief and embarrassment. There are health advantages as well as lifestyle, the removability of Invisialign aligners allows you to brush and floss more effectively while straightening your teeth. Not only that, the smooth custom fit aligners are less likely to irritate the gums and cheeks like metal braces. Lastly, what’s more valuable than time? With Invisalign your office visits are cut to only once every 4-6 weeks!

Convinced that Invisalign is right for you? Contact Prescott Dentistry today to begin you path to a beautiful smile.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/15/2015) Steve Alper (Flickr)

The Placebo Effect: Explained?

The Placebo Effect: Explained?

Have you heard of the placebo effect? This phenomenon is known my most who might answer that question as a medicine that’s just “pretend”. While in one respect that definition of a placebo is true, there may be more to it than just a pretend pill. For some people, a placebo actually works. The first study that proved the placebo effect was actually a real, measurable effect, was completed in 1978 on a test group who had just had their wisdom teeth removed. The study showed that a certain group of “placebo-responders” responded to the placebo suggesting the pill activated natural endogenous pain relief chemicals.

It appears that there may be certain commonalities among those who respond to the placebo effect. Certain studies have shown that altruism and thrill-seeking behaviors may be an underlying link, and others have suggested that the effect is actually a result of the ritual of going to the doctor and the human connection provided not the pill itself. The most recent study seems to be suggesting that genes may be a determining factor. A gene known as COMT is associated with dopamine regulation in the brain, which is linked to both good feelings and pain. A high dopamine mutation means that that person is more sensitive to both. As it turns out, one of the follow up studies centered around patients with irritable-bowl syndrome did in fact reveal that the group with the high-dopamine variant of the COMT gene had a stronger reaction to the placebo.

While we promise none of our anesthesia or treatments are placebos, maybe in the future those who have been identified as these “placebo-responders” will only need a sugar pill when undergoing their dental services in Prescott, AZ! In the mean time, don’t be afraid, the staff at Prescott Dentistry takes the utmost care in our patients and make every effort in providing a comfortable, safe environment. Contact us today for all of your dental service needs!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/10/2015) Pascal (Flickr)

Mona Lisa’s Uncatchable Smile Solved

Mona Lisa mystery

According to a study cited in artnet news, one of the most widespread mysteries in the world of art history finally has it’s conclusion. British scientists claim to have found the answer to this age old secret smile by the close examination and study of another portrait by Leonardo da Vinci titled La Bella Principessa.

If you are unfamiliar with the mystery surrounding Mona Lisa‘s smile, it is centered around the phenomenon that depending on the angle, orientation, or distance you are viewing the painting, the expression on Mona Lisa’s face can be seen as a either a smile or a frown. This illusive smile has been named “the uncatchable smile” and academics out of Sheffield Hallam University believe that the answer lies in the above mentioned earlier work of Da Vinci.

When viewing La Bella Principessa, a similar phenomenon occurs. The smile only appears at certain angles. The slant of the figure’s mouth changes with viewing distance and when applying a blur effect to a digital rendition of the piece. Through psychological experiments, it is clear that that perceived slant is what causes the “level of contentment” to fluctuate.

The answer to the riddle appears to be the an optical illusion created by the use of sfmato (an Italian word that translates to soft or pale) technique, which is the use of color and shading. This technique creates a gaze-dependent effect. It is unclear whether that effect was intended, but knowing the mastery of Leonardo’s technique and the same phenomenon found in the famed Mona Lisa, it is pretty clear that it was his intent. This also goes hand in hand with his known maxim regarding portraits which stated that they should reflect a certain amount of “inner turmoil of the mind.”

Perhaps if Mona Lisa had the services of Dr. Montes at Prescott Dentistry, she could have saved us a few hundred years of suspense and just smiled with her teeth! Contact us today if you want to avoid all the mystery and have the confidence to smile wide!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/31/2015) Joaquín Martínez (Flickr