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Cornerstone Dental Arts Blog

May 9, 2019

How do Invisalign braces compare to traditional braces?

Filed under: Cosmetic Dentist,Orthodontic Treatment Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:00 am
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At Cornerstone Dental Arts, our professionals are here to help patients in the area of Knoxville, TN achieve a smile that makes them proud and confident. When misalignment is a concern, it is important for patients to speak to a dentist about the options available. However, many patients fear bringing up the misalignment of their smile due to concerns that they may be referred to an orthodontist for metal bracket and wire braces. With continued advances in today’s field of dentistry, patients can now reposition their smile without conventional braces and with a practically invisible alternative known as Invisalign braces.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a special method of repositioning the teeth without the use of brackets and wires. Our dentists, including Drs. Joe Griffin, Joshua Kimrey, Ben Stroud, and Michael Williams may offer Invisalign treatment to patients who have mild to moderate misalignment. From the starting point, Invisalign uses clear, medical-grade plastic trays custom-made for the patient. These trays are worn over the teeth and gently move them over several months. By the end of treatment, patients have a beautiful smile—without ever covering their dental arch with metal!

Who is a candidate?

The best patients for Invisalign braces are teenagers and adults who understand the importance of complying with their treatment. These patients may have mild to moderate misalignment. If patients are not a proper candidate for Invisalign, they are referred to an orthodontist that our team trusts. Invisalign can address:

  •       Crooked teeth
  •       Gapped teeth
  •       Overbite and underbite
  •       Crossbites
  •       Turned teeth
  •       Overcrowding (sometimes with extractions prior)

How does Invisalign work?

When patients come into Cornerstone Dental Arts with an interest in a better aligned smile, our dentists will evaluate them and determine if they are proper candidates for Invisalign. If patients choose to move forward with Invisalign, digital impressions are taken of the smile’s current alignment. The dentist will digitally send these impressions to the Invisalign laboratory where a series of plastic trays is designed to bring the smile to proper alignment. When patients receive their trays, they will start wearing the first one at least 20 hours a day for two weeks. Then, they switch to the next tray in the series. They complete their treatment in this manner until the final tray is worn and the smile is transformed!

How do Invisalign braces compare with traditional orthodontics?

While some patients with more several misalignment may still be better suited for traditional braces, many of our patients are excited to find out that Invisalign might be right for their needs. There are many benefits to Invisalign orthodontics when compared with more conventional means:

  •       First and foremost, patients love the ability to reposition the teeth within the smile without having to cover their teeth with brackets and wires.
  •       Patients find it easier to maintain their oral health and wellness because the trays can be removed and the teeth brushed and flossed as normal.
  •       Patients can smile with confidence even while wearing their trays, knowing that their smile is changing each and every day.
  •       Keeping the trays clean is easy, and compliance with treatment ensures that the results desired are the results achieved.

How long does it take to complete the process?

Most patients who seek out Invisalign for smile alignment are excited to find out that they can transform their smile in around one year or less. Patients with more severe misalignment may need to use their trays for up to 18 months. The time needed to get the patient from start to finish with Invisalign trays is determined by the number of trays used. Each tray is worn for two weeks, so progression through the process is determined with this in mind.

Is Invisalign painful?

Absolutely not! While some patients may experience a day or two of mild discomfort when they switch to their next tray, most of our patients find this to be easily addressed with over-the-counter pain medications. Some don’t find it bothersome at all. The movement of the teeth happens in a very gradual manner, but these small changes occurring from tray-to-tray are what makes the treatment a solution for misalignment that our patients enjoy!

Ready to take charge of your smile’s alignment?

Malocclusion and misalignment can be improved with the use of Invisalign, a revolutionary alternative to more traditional braces. The team at Cornerstone Dental Arts of Knoxville, TN is here to help patients achieve the smile of their dreams with a discreet yet effective orthodontic solution. If you are interested in learning more about Invisalign, we welcome you to visit our practice by scheduling a consultation appointment with our team. Drs. Joe Griffin, Joshua Kimrey, Ben Stroud, and Michael Williams can be reached by calling (865) 290-1060 and stopping at our office at 8912 Town and Country Circle, Suite #1.


April 30, 2019

What to Do If You Suspect You Have Sleep Apnea

Filed under: Sleep Apnea Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:00 am
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Sleep is essential. Without a good night’s rest, the body can’t work at its full capacity. Reaction time is slower, physical signs start to present themselves, and moodiness may set in. Forget about being “on the ball” or fully involved in conversations and daily to-dos. Sleep deprivation is a serious thing, and it is not something you can “make up” by snoozing ‘till noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

One major reason people suffer from a poor night’s sleep is due to a condition known as sleep apnea. You may have seen commercials about it or maybe you believe it is something you are dealing with personally. Perhaps your partner is afflicted, and they are not only sleeping insufficiently, but they are keeping you wide awake night after night too. Sleep apnea is invasive, annoying, and potentially dangerous. Worst of all, it prevents a decent night’s sleep.

If you think you have sleep apnea or someone you love is dealing with this bothersome bedtime issue, here is what you need to know about the condition and what you can do. Here at Cornerstone Dental Arts, we are ready to solve the problem so you can hit the sack stress-free.

What is sleep apnea?

What happens during an episode of sleep apnea is that the person stops breathing temporarily for brief periods of time throughout the night, sometimes up to dozens of times per hour! Believe it or not, they may not even realize it is happening. Most commonly, people have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The soft tissues in the mouth and throat relax, causing a collapse into the airway, preventing normal breathing. The body tries to “revive” itself by waking up to gasp for air. Obviously, this cycle is disturbing and disruptive to the sufferer as they wake up in a panic periodically all night long. It is scary, stressful, and makes them sleep deprived since they never achieve the important REM sleep, that deep sleep we all need to be well-rested and relaxed. There’s never a chance to experience REM because they’re waking up too frequently for it to set in.

Aside from feeling groggy, achy, or moody, what is really so dangerous about not getting enough sleep?

There is more to missing sleep than meets the eye. Aside from being constantly tired and cranky, there are other more harmful effects of sleepless nights including high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Weight gain is also common and losing it is more difficult.

Can my sleep apnea be stopped?

There are proven ways to treat sleep apnea. One common treatment is by way of CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure machine. All night long, air is forced down the sufferer’s throat to keep the airway open and unblocked. While CPAP can be extremely effective, being hooked up to a machine all night is not always comfortable. Thankfully, there is another way to achieve a similar outcome. At Cornerstone Dental Arts, we believe in the benefits of oral appliance therapy. A mouthguard can be custom-designed for the patient which purposefully holds the tongue in place as the jaw is shifted forward ever so slightly. It is comfortable to wear all night long and prevents the process of sleep apnea from interrupting sleep. Surgery is also a solution for those who need more than a mouthguard to manage this chronic condition.

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

Some people just can’t sleep well, but they do not know quite why they have this ongoing problem. If you have a hunch that sleep apnea is what is preventing you from sleeping normally night after night, you can get a better idea if it is indeed the cause by taking the Epworth Sleepiness Scale Quiz. It is a quick assessment that can give you more insight into your sleep troubles. You’ll tabulate your scores after completing a series of questions related to your ability to fall asleep in certain situations.

Do you want to know more about sleep apnea and how it can be treated by the Cornerstone Dental Arts team? We are always here to help by answering any questions you may have about sleep apnea or your other dental-related concerns. Please give us a call at 865-531-7117, and we can set up a consultation.

Before you know it, your sleep will be sounder and your overall health will be improved. There’s no reason you should be sleep deprived when a simple mouthguard may be all you need to change the way you sleep, once and for all. We will figure out if this solution is right for you, and if so, we’ll have one designed and delivered. Dreams do come true…when you can actually sleep soundly!

April 25, 2019

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Filed under: Uncategorized Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:00 am
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Do the words “root canal” make you cringe? You are certainly not alone, but those old-fashioned ideas about root canals are no longer how they should be seen. While they are nothing to pass off as a piece of cake, the root canal process is not as daunting as you may expect it to be. In fact, the whole root canal procedure can be nearly painless, since the advancements in technology and the tender touch of the Cornerstone Dental Arts team make root canals something you need not dread any longer.

Coming in for a regular dental cleaning is one thing, but when a root canal is in order, many patients – maybe even you – may want to avoid the visit altogether. But pushing it off will only make matters more complicated and potentially harder to correct. Dealing with the dental issue in a timely fashion is not only smart, but can save you from worse complications down the road.

Here is the basis of what you need to know about root canals– how to tell if you or a family member may need one, what the root canal process entails, and why visiting the dentist is a must-do, as we can assess your situation and determine if a root canal is indeed in order.

Why might I need a root canal?

The human tooth is made of three distinct layers – the enamel layer which is on the outside, the dentin layer just beneath it, and the dental pulp – the innermost chamber filled with sensitive nerves and blood vessels. When a person develops a cavity, it is usually limited to the outermost enamel portion of the tooth. But if left untreated, it will continue to fester and delve deeper into the inner pulp, and this causes an infection, not to mention pain for the patient. In order to successfully clear away this tooth infection and restore the tooth back to a healthy condition, a root canal is often required.

What does a root canal entail?

We need to get the infection out from the dental pulp, and the best way to do this is by removing all the infected tissue from the inside. Then the area is carefully cleaned out and fully sanitized, filled with a special medicated substance, and restored by being topped with a natural-looking dental crown using our CEREC machine. This entire procedure is usually completed in one visit, something patients certainly appreciate.

Will the root canal process be painful?

We know that the prospect of experiencing pain of any degree is probably your biggest concern about the root canal process. Never fear; we will fully numb the area with a local anesthetic so you will not feel any pain while we complete your root canal. Perhaps you will feel some pressure, but it will not be too uncomfortable for you to bear. And if any pain is felt at any point during the procedure, we can apply more of the numbing agent until you are all numbed up again. We promise to make you as comfortable as we can. We will communicate with you the whole way through, so you can alert us to any pain you may feel while we work on your root canal.

Ouch! My tooth hurts…is it time for a root canal?

It all depends, as every patient and situation is unique. Some types of tooth pain signal that a cavity has crept in. When the tooth is aching and throbbing with pain, it could be an infection that has gone deep into the tooth, perhaps due to a cavity that has been left untreated. This may mean a root canal is in order. The only way to tell is by making an appointment with one of the Cornerstone Dental Arts’ dentists. We are able to assess the severity of your particular situation and see what can be done to relieve you of your problematic pain. But do not let any pain linger for long. As soon as you feel like something may be wrong with your tooth, schedule an appointment with a dentist immediately. It could be the early stages of a cavity which can be repaired right away. But wait too long and the issue can get far worse, with you winding up in need of a root canal.

Do you want to know more about root canals? Do you think you or a family member may need one? Are you experiencing tooth pain that seems severe? Call our office and we will get you in for an appointment as soon as possible. Your oral health is our number one concern. Our number is 865-531-7177. We look forward to seeing you and getting you back to your old self in no time, pain free and smiling.


March 29, 2019

Dental Implants

Filed under: Uncategorized Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:00 am
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Modern dentistry has made a lot of advances in the options available for tooth replacement. Through the use of metal bases implanted in the jawbone, dentists are able to replace damaged teeth with stable artificial ones that don’t decay like natural teeth. Dental implants offer a great solution for missing teeth that will keep your smile looking natural for years to come.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are essentially metal screws that are driven carefully into the jawbone after the damaged tooth has been removed and the area has healed. This metal base serves as a replacement for the original tooth’s root and provides a secure foundation to which a new artificial tooth can be attached above the gums. Made from a mixture of titanium and other materials, a dental implant can actually fuse with the bone over time, providing a permanent replacement that is even stronger than the original tooth’s root.

Dental implants give patients the opportunity to have a natural-looking smile despite having to have one or more teeth removed due to decay. Instead of simply removing the damaged tooth and leaving a gap, implants allow our patients to be able to regain their natural smiles while also being able to chew and talk normally.

Implants are available not only for single teeth, but also for anyone who has several teeth in a row to replace or who would like an alternative to a complete set of dentures. A single implant is strong enough to hold several artificial teeth that are bridged together. Four implants are generally used to hold a row of upper or lower teeth. For many people, it is a welcome relief to have a different option besides dentures, which can slide around or cause discomfort or blisters. Implants are meant to be a permanent solution to missing teeth if taken care of properly. They do not need to be replaced every few years like some other dental appliances.

How do they work?

Since dental implants essentially replace the root of a tooth, they must be very securely fastened to the jawbone. Over time, the implant fuses with the bone to create an incredibly firm bond that enables it to handle pressure from chewing without wobbling or loosening. This bonding process, called osseointegration, is what enables the implant to stay fixed in the jaw permanently.

Osseointegration, or the healing and bonding process, can take a few months to complete. Once it is finished, another metal piece, called an abutment, is connected to the metal implant. This abutment is what will later connect the artificial tooth to the implanted metal base. Once healing has taken place and the dentist has made the new tooth, it can be attached to the abutment permanently, giving the patient a smile that looks and feels natural.

How long does the process take?

The overall length of time required for an oral surgery such as dental implants can vary from patient to patient. Your dentist will walk you through the process for your implant step by step, and make sure you know what needs to be done and the timeline for completion. Some patients may require bone grafting for their jaws if there is not enough bone or if the bone is too soft. This can sometimes require a few months for healing before the implant process can even begin.

Even if bone grafting is not required for your procedure, there may still be a few months involved after the metal implant base is installed. Osseointegration takes time and will need to be completed before the dentist can install the new tooth on top of it. The reason for the waiting period is to ensure that the bond between the implant and jawbone will be strong enough to handle pressure from chewing and daily use.

Most patients can expect several months minimum for the process of osseointegration and full healing of the gums to occur. It may take longer in some cases if grafting or other procedures are needed in addition to the standard dental implant process. Your dentist will also need to create an impression of your teeth in order to make the new artificial tooth the right size and shape to fit perfectly. It is a lengthy process that requires healing between each stage.

What is the implant process?

The implant process usually begins with meeting with your dentist and other specialists if necessary, such as a periodontist and/or oral surgeon. Each of these doctors will work with your dentist to come up with a full treatment plan that your dentist will go over with you. They will give recommendations on if you need any grafting done prior to the implant process and an estimate for how long you can expect the process to last.

After meeting and devising a plan, the actual procedure will begin with removing the damaged tooth or teeth. The oral surgeon will then drill into the jaw and carefully screw the implant(s) in place. They will close up the gums and allow time for healing and osseointegration. After a few months, when the bond is firm enough, the surgeon will reopen your gums to attach the abutment.

Once the area has healed and your dental team deems the implant ready for the tooth, your dentist will make an impression of your mouth and form the artificial tooth replacement. Finally, your dentist will permanently attach the new tooth to the abutment.

Can all regular dentists do implants?

Most general dentists are able to perform these procedures, however if it is not something they perform frequently, they may recommend a specialist, such as an oral surgeon, periodontist or maxillofacial surgeon. Your dentist will work alongside these professionals to complete your treatment plan. However, they will sometimes have specialists perform the surgery since they routinely do these procedures and your dentist will just add the new tooth at the end of the process.

March 7, 2019

Sedation/IV Sedation

Filed under: Uncategorized Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 5:06 pm
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Going to the dentist’s office is a common fear for many people. Any kind of cleaning or surgical procedure can make us nervous or uncomfortable. For many, it is simply the fear of the unknown, or it could also be from memory of previous bad experiences in which there was pain or immense discomfort. We typically want to avoid pain and discomfort, so we avoid going to get our procedures done.

Modern advances in anesthesia have made dental procedures much more tolerable. In fact, when dentists use the proper sedation methods, we shouldn’t feel much at all. There are plenty of options dentists can use to numb or eliminate the feeling of pain while work is being performed. Visits to the dentist’s office no longer have to be painful or terrifying.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is the use of sedatives on patients while dental procedures are being performed. Although sedatives are not required for many procedures, patients may choose to use them to help calm and relax. It is more of a mental aid for patients than it is for actually numbing pain. For most procedures, the local anesthetic used by dentists is sufficient to eliminate pain in the areas of the mouth that are undergoing the procedure. Still, patients might worry whether they will experience pain or discomfort. In these cases, where patients are anxious and fearful, dentists may recommend sedation to help calm them down and put their minds at ease.

How does it work?

Depending on which level of sedation is chosen, sedatives can be administered in different forms. Once taken, the dentist will wait to perform the procedures until they can see the patient reacting to the sedative. This will look different depending on which type of sedative is being used. It may make the patient feel drowsier, less coherent, more relaxed, and more prone to giggling at whatever the dentist says. No matter what form is used, the idea is simply to take the patient’s mind off of their fear and allow them to relax and finish the procedure. It does not numb the pain, but it relaxes the patient.

What are the different levels of sedation dentistry?

There are four different levels of sedation that patients can choose from when undergoing a dental procedure. The first of these is minimal sedation, which includes administering nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, through inhalation. It could also involve taking a pill the night before or the morning of a procedure. This level is light and will still allow someone to drive home and recover in a short amount of time. It helps take the edge off of a patient’s fears by relaxing the body and mind.

Moderate sedation, can also be administered orally, through inhalation, or through intravenous methods. The effect is a little stronger and appropriate for patients with high anxiety. They will still be conscious and able to respond to verbal cues, but may not remember much of the procedure once the sedation wears off.

Deep sedation and general anesthesia would not be as common to use for simple procedures, but would allow someone to be nearly or completely unconscious during surgery. Deep sedation would typically be administered intravenously, while general anesthesia would only be used in extreme cases for invasive procedures. Either of these are useful for patients with extreme fear or anxiety or for prolonged surgeries in which someone would rather not be aware of what is happening. The deeper the sedation, the more risks involved. Your dentist will be able to help you decide which level is right for you and your situation.

How can it help with my fear of the dentist?

Sedatives have only one purpose. That is to help you relax. They are not necessary for numbing pain. They only serve to take your mind off the procedure and help you drift into a less conscious or aware state. By using a sedative, you will be much more relaxed and less anxious when you sit in the dentist chair. Instead of feeling fear and uncertainty about what is to come, you will feel drowsy, content, relaxed and perhaps a little sleepy.

Whether you choose laughing gas, an oral sedative or a stronger IV dose, the fear of what is to come will drift away as you experience relaxation. Using a sedative each time you visit the dentist’s office may help you grow accustomed to relaxing rather than fearing another bad experience. It will at least help you overcome anxiety long enough to get the work done.

January 15, 2019

An Important New Year’s Resolution with Your Cosmetic Dentist

Filed under: Uncategorized Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 9:11 pm
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Woman smiling

Now that the new year is here, what better time to make a positive change? If you’ve been self-conscious about flaws in your smile, now is a great time to do something about it and regain your confidence! Thankfully, your cosmetic dentist offers numerous services to give you the smile of your dreams. Keep reading to learn how you can take on the rest of the year with a more beautiful and confident smile.


December 10, 2018

How to Make Your Beautiful Teeth Whitening Last

Filed under: Uncategorized Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 9:04 pm
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Half white smile

Did you know that about 80% of Americans wish they had a whiter smile? So, if you have discoloration or stains in your teeth, you’re definitely not alone. Professional teeth whitening with your cosmetic dentist can give you a confident and more youthful-looking smile. However, this treatment doesn’t last forever. Keep reading to learn some of the best ways to make your teeth whitening last as long as possible.


November 1, 2018

Should You Go to the ER for a Dental Emergency?

Filed under: Uncategorized Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:53 pm
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Man with tooth pain

It is estimated that someone makes an ER visit for a dental emergency every 15 seconds. ER visits for dental emergencies have doubled since 2000, making dental trauma an increasingly common problem. If dental disaster strikes, do you know how to handle it? How do you know when to see your dentist and when to go to the ER? Thankfully, your expert dentist knows exactly what to do in the event of a dental emergency.


October 10, 2018

The Extreme Dangers of DIY Teeth Straightening

Filed under: Uncategorized Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 8:57 pm
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Woman holding braces and clear aligner

Are you considering straightening your smile? Thankfully, modern dentistry has brought you more options than ever before. However, not all of these teeth straightening methods are safe. Many people are trying DIY teeth straightening or choosing mail-order orthodontics because of their price and convenience. But, if you decide to do it yourself, you may be spending a lot more in the long-run, not to mention the damage it can do to your oral health. Keep reading to learn why you should always see a professional for any type of orthodontics.


September 25, 2018

Your Dentist Addresses 4 Myths About Dental Implants

Filed under: Uncategorized Cornerstone Dental Arts @ 1:06 pm

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Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestolder man biting apple smilingAs you look for the best way to replace your missing teeth, there is plenty of information available about which method you should take. The problem, though, is not all of it is accurate. The most reliable way of replacing your teeth is to have dental implants placed, but your dentist says there are 4 huge myths circulating about the process that need to be cleared up. As you read on, you’ll find out what the mistruths are and get the real information you need from an expert!


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