© 2019 by Straits Area Dental

Preventative Care

(Routine Cleanings and Prophylaxis)

While many people consider the dental hygiene appoitment to be simply "a cleaning" there is much more to the procedure tan defined by that term. Routine prophylaxis is performed on a regular schedule (normally every 6 months) as a preventative procedure. During this appointment, a thorough evaluation and examination of the teeth and supporting structures is completed. Diagnosis of dental health is accomplished with complete periodontal probing and charting along with dental radiographs. Assessment of the soft and hard tissues as well as examination for the decay is completed. Routine oral cancer is competed as well. From the periodontal diagnosis, a treatment plan is developed and executed. If the patient exhibits no definitive signs of gum disease, the routine prophylaxis procedure is than completed with scaling and polishing.

The old saying, "the best way to stay away from a dentist is to go to the dentist" applies heree, as well as, "an ounce of prevention". In a time in which we are all conscious of health care costs we need to consider the value of a routine dental hygiene appointment. If decay or periodontal disease is diagnosed early we can address teh issues before they become larger or more involved, which can add to the expense. The cost of routine dental hygiene appointments is very minimal when one considers the valuable oral and general health benefits. Generally speaking the cost of dental preventative appointment is still a great value when compared to many medical procedures or medical office visits. In the concept of a value quotient, the cost of prevention is far less than letting things go to an end result that is far more expensive.

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer has three times as many victims as cervical cancer.  One person in North America dies of oral cancer every hour of every day.

The biggest growth in oral cancer is among nonsmokers and the main cause is HPV (human papillomaviruses).  When caught early (at or before Stage 1), the survival rate is over 90%.  Dr. LaTocha's office has invested in the state-of-the-art VELscope® system for early detection of oral cancers. Call us today at (231) 436-7400 to schedule your simple, painless, and inexpensive oral cancer examination.


How VELscope Works

VELscope shines a special blue light inside your mouth.  Normal tissue reflects the light back in a bright, apple-green shade. Cancerous tissue, on the other hand, appears dark and easily noticeable. Even when no abnormal tissue is visible under white light, VELscope's light makes the cancerous tissue visible  to the examiner's eye.

Perio Protect

Composite Fillings

Fillings are used to replace missing tooth structure lost by decay or fracture of the dentition. The old standard for fillings was silver amalgam or  gold.


While few materials can compete with gold as a filling material, the demands of an esthetically conscious consumer market has driven the market of tooth-colored filling materials. Esthetics plays a great role in dental reconstruction in the 21st century.


Additionally many patients have fears of dental fillings containing mercury. Silver amalgam has been replaced by direct and indirect tooth-colored filling options. For the consumer conscious of appearance and esthetics, there is an option for restoration  of minor tooth structure loss with a material that provides longevity as well as strength and esthetic value.


Our office is proud to inform you as a consumer that we have not used silver (mercury containing) fillings in more than 10 years.

Emergency Treatment

Unforeseen circumstances can occur without warning. Whether it is an unexpected toothache or an unforseen accident that causes los of a tooth, we stand ready to support your situation.

Dr. LaTocha has 28 of experience in treating routine dental situation as well as managing unforeseen dental circumstances. Most surgical procedures can be managed without referral to a specialist. Although extraction is not always the ideal choice for treatment, sometime no other option for treatment is availale due to extreme decay or financial situation of the patient. When your experiencing dental pain and or infection, the last thing a patient wants to hear is that they need to go see the oral surgeon for their care and treatment needs. Many times this reuires waiting days or weeks to see the specialit. Our office prides itself on same day emergency treatment to relieve pain. Managing surgical procedures in house without referrals is a cornerstone to developing strong patient doctor relationships.

For further information regarding dental trauma or avulsed teeth open the tab labeled "Accidental tooth loss".


Perhaps the greatest advancement in dentistry in the past 50 years has been the advancements made in implantology. Dental implants are small cylinder-shaped  fixtures that are surgically placed in the bone to support a crown or fixed bridge.


In the case of a patient with dentures, implants can even be used to support and retain the dentures. This provides increased comfort and function as well as decreases the  volume of denture acrylic necessary to replace the missing teeth.


Implants can replace teeth that have been missing for years. Recent advances in implantology allow for immediate placement of the fixture and temporary on the same day that the tooth is removed. Imagine extracting a tooth that has to be removed an having  the option for replacement the same day.


Dr. LaTocha has teamed with Nobel Biocare (NobelSmile) to offer patients restorative options with implants. Our surgical placement costs are substantially lower than the average found at a specialist office such as an oral surgeon or periodontist.


Although extraction is not always the ideal choice for treatment sometimes no other option for treatment is available due to extreme decay or financial situation of the patient. Dr. LaTocha is experienced in routine as well s advanced surgical procedures to make removal of a non restorable tooth painles and efficient. Routine surgical procedures include transitioning a patient from failing natural dentition to complete dentures if no other treatment course is available. Patients that are apprehensive about surgical procedures leave our office relieved and often surprised at how efficient their surgical appointment was handled. 

Periodontal Therapy/ Periodontal Services

Patients with a diagnosis of periodontal disease have much to consider regarding treatment. Peridontal disease is a bacterial infection caused by one or more of 11 different pathogens (bacteria). The supporting structures of the mouth, the gum tissue and bone, are affected by these bacterial groups. Our office uses a multi faceted approach to treating gum disease at every stage. Our office utilizes cutting edge technology to diagnose the specific pathogens that are the causative agent for each individuals periodontal disease. Bacterial DNA analysis is completed by providing a medical laboratory with samples of the bacterial flora that resides in the deep periodontal pockets identified by periodontal probing at the dental hygiene prevention appointment. Our office proudly utilizes the microlDent system to provide patients with specific data regarding the micro ID system. Please refer to this area of the website and pay close attention to the relationship between the specific bacterial pathogens and the systemic diseases they are responsible for. 

Our office chooses to adress periodontal disease with the use of perio protect tray therapy for 3-4 weeks prior to initiating scaling and root planing therapy (which removes hard deposits or calculus from the teeth and root surfaces above and below the gum line). Cleaning these deposits from the root and crown structure of the teeth further reduces the overall bacterial counts. Ultrasonic instrumentation aids in the process of breaking up bacterial colonie and further reduces the biofilm that the bacteria survive in. Once the affected areas have been treated with the above cited techniques the patient completes the specified antibiotic regimen outlined by the microlDent laboratory report and continues home care with the perio protect system. Re-evaluation is completed at the 3 month interval.


Numerous research studies have linked periodontal disease and systemic disease states. Medicine and dentistry have been further pushed closer to a common goal to provide health and quality of life to our mutual patients. 


Unfortunately many people have had their teeth extracted due to consequences of life experiences. In other cases, the dentition is broken down beyond  repair. Dentures are a reasonable replacement for the above situations. Properly fabricated dentures can provide patients with functional and esthetic replacement of their teeth.


The American Dental Association  places the life of a complete denture at 5 years. The value of a properly fitted and fabricated prosthesis not only lies in the longevity of the prosthesis itself but also in the functional and esthetic value of  the prosthesis.


Economy dentures almost certainly fall short in function and esthetics. Due to poor material selection, they will always fall short in durable longevity. When you compare the percentage cost of high quality prosthesis  versus an economy replacement, the additional cost to have improved quality and materials is minimal.


With high-grade resin base materials, as well as improved hardness, denture teeth will most certainly provide years of service from the prosthesis. Balancing of esthetic and neuromuscular demands will provide comfort for chewing and provide optimum appearance  for the patient's most important benefit: Restoration of the smile and esthetics.

Loose - Ill Fitting Dentures

Over time minor changes in the fit of properly fabricated and fitted dentures will occur. Studies show that even the best denture causes ¼ mm of bone  loss of the supporting ridge per year. Additional studies show that as a denture becomes ill fitting, the bone resorption beneath the denture base increases. The greatest remodeling of the ridge below the denture base is known to occur in the first two  years of use.


Solutions for these issues can usually be addressed in two ways:


The primary method for treatment of poorly fitting dentures is to do a laboratory-processed reline. Relining a denture base provides acrylic replacement in areas of change that has occurred since initial fabrication.


The second solution for patients wishing to have better retention from their prosthesis is to place dental implants to keep the denture  in place. While implants can be placed in the top or the bottom jaw to increase stability and retention of the denture base, most often this is usually preformed in the lower jaw.


Most patients feel that standard upper dentures allows for adequate function. However, the standard dentures in the lower jaw usually has many functional shortfalls in regard to use. Placing two small dental implants in the front part of the lower jaw  can provide retention and stability that most patients find life changing.

Bridgework - Fixed Partial Denture

For many unfortunate reasons, tooth loss does occur readily in our society. For those looking to replace missing teeth, one such way is to “bridge  the space” with a prosthesis (bridge or partial denture) to replace both form and function.


The best explanation of fixed bridgework is to visualize the teeth on each side of the space to be restored with crowns. The space itself  is then filled with its own replacement resembling a crown, with all three hooked or soldered together. In reality the prosthesis is fabricated in one solid piece or laboratory process.


Straits Area Dental offers Lava bridges from 3M ESPE and Procera products from Nobel Biocare. For more information on these products see www.nobelbiocare.com

While not as popular as it once was before dental implants became more mainstream, fixed bridge work is still a very reliable replacement for single or multiple missing teeth.

Teeth Whitening - Bleaching

An ever-conscious consumer market has driven demand for the esthetic dentistry forward. Many people are very interested in whitening or bleaching their  teeth.


Bleaching can be accomplished by means of two chemical processes. Differing concentrations of products can be used to obtain great results.


Our office uses two different systems for bleaching vital teeth. The first and most convenient system, Crest Whitestrips, is made by Crest. This system utilizes bleach impregnated into a moldable strip that is adapted to the teeth. Strips are usually worn up to two times a day for up to 30 minutes each application.


For teeth that have a difficult intrinsic stain, bleaching can more predictably reach a favorable result through overnight tray use. This process requires simple dental impressions to fabricate custom trays for the patient to use to contain and hold the  bleach solution to the tooth structure.


Many people are aware of in-office, one-hour bleaching procedures as presented on extreme-makeover television programming. We do not use this form of bleaching because independent research shows poor long-term results. Studies reinforce that the bleaching  from in-office treatments with activating lights will relapse to or near pretreatment shade within about one week

Root Canal Therapy

If tooth structure is lost due to decay or a deep fracture, it can require us to use more extensive procedures to save the tooth. Root canal therapy  is performed to remove the nerve or pulp tissue from the inside of the tooth.


Abscessed teeth are treated with root canal therapy to prevent and eliminate the infection of the affected tooth. Root canal therapy can usually be preformed on any tooth in the mouth that has pain or an obvious abscess. On rare occasion, referral to  a specialist may be necessary to provide the root canal procedure.


Teeth treated with root canal therapy most often require crowns to restore the tooth to normal function. There are two reasons for this:


First we are aiming to restore the missing part of the tooth back to function.

We are helping to prevent the tooth from future fracture that would compromise its usefulness.


Recent scientific studies have found that the best results are achieved if the crown is completed within 30 days of the root canal procedure. Failure  to follow through with a crown will allow micro leakage into filled root canal space.


Newly developed rotary file instruments make endodontic therapy much more comfortable than older techniques. Most patients can have root canal therapy  completed in about an hour and return to work with little or no post-operative sensitivity. Irrigants are used to reduce bacterial counts as well as improve the operation of rotary instrumentation, which has streamlined the process from past standards.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Straits Area Dental offers common cosmetic procedures, including both whitening and veneers. However, many people don't realize that there is much more to cosmetic dentistry than whitening and veneers.


For example, tooth-colored fillings and all-ceramic crowns offer the latest in technology to  esthetically conscious patients. Advances in pressed ceramic porcelains alone have revolutionized the choices we have for esthetic restoration of all teeth (front and back). The ability to place veneers to enhance contours as well as change the shade  of a person's front and/or back teeth can result in a life-changing transformation.


Badly broken down teeth require a restorative option that offers the remaining tooth strength to prevent further fracture.


A crown (or "cap," as it has  been traditionally called) provides three-dimensional strength to a badly compromised tooth. Strength is gained around the remaining tooth structure by using either a cast metal replacement of the missing structure or a combination of metal and ceramic  to provide strength and esthetics.


Newly developed lab processes allow for metal-free, full-porcelain restorations.


Gold has been used for decades as a restorative material for crowns. It still remains the benchmark standard in the industry for reconstructing teeth in the back. This is because it has wear resistance that closely  matches the natural tooth structure. However, many people are opposed to gold as a restorative material for crowns simply because they prefer something that looks more natural.


Older hybrid crown concepts are still readily used today by many dental offices and provide years of adequate service. However, many female patients show signs of gingivitis around the base of the crown. This is  usually due to sensitivity to nickel or other metals that women develop over time from wearing jewelry.


New material science and procedures have opened the door to metal-free crowns. The beauty and esthetic value of these restorations allow for reconstruction of a badly broken tooth to form and function near its original uncompromised strength and appearance.


Straits Area Dental uses advanced porcelain products such as Procera and Zirconia which are available from NobelSmile, a leader in dental technology.  For more information about these products please follow the link to www.nobelprocera.com or www.bruxzir.com

Our latest technology upgrade thtat our office has purchased will streamline the workflow and comfort for crown placement. The Dentsply Sirona Primescan, digital optical scanner, will virtually eliminate the need for traditional impressions for crowns and bridgework. Patients will no longer have to endure a tray loaded with impresion material to capture the working information to have a crown fabricated for their tooth. Digital intraoral canning with a smalll wand will capture the information necessary to fabricate the crown. No longer will a patient have to endure the discomfort and time necessary to capture the necessary data. Our workflow is designed around effciency, quality, and patient comfort.

For more information about this revolutionary technology please follow this link www.primescan.com