Smile Missoula

Andrew C. Althauser, DDS
Ste C, 237 SW Higgins Avenue
Missoula, MT 59803-1485
(406) 721-2830
Monday - Thursday 8am - 5pm
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Dental Potpourri Thursday, May 01, 2014 Sunday, May 22, 2050

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Article written for “Living Well” by the Missoulian, written by Dr. George M. Olsen DDS

General Dentistry:

General Dentistry is the foundation for good oral health as well as your overall health. Did you know that poor oral health, tooth decay and gum disease can be a contributing factor in heart disease?

Along with excellent, personalized care and service, it is the goal of today’s dentist to provide optimal dental health care for each patient. Dental treatment should not be based on “just fix it when it hurts or breaks,” but on developing a customized dental hygiene program for each patient. This consists of a dental examination (soft tissue examination, oral cancer examination, and 6- point periodontal examination), teeth cleaning, digital x-rays, and the use of other diagnostic equipment or procedures to uncover, prevent, or treat problems in the early stages before they progress. Your dentist will suggest a variety of dental procedures to help prevent or treat decay or disease of the teeth, mouth, gums, and tongue.

Today’s dentists treat you with the idea of building a foundation of trust and reducing your dental apprehensiveness to insure your success in maintaining good oral health.

Children’s Dentistry:

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that tooth decay is the most chronic disease among children aged five to seventeen. Your child needs to have instilled, through positive dental experiences and your encouragement, with a conviction so that he or she says, “I can’t wait to see my dentist again!”

Missoula does not have fluoride in its water system. Therefore, the use of daily fluoride drops and pills are the most single effective method, other than ideal brushing and flossing, to reduce cavities in children. Yes, I said “flossing.” Parents should help their child brush and floss until age 6-8. This fluoride supplement should continue until approximately 12 years of age.


Crowns, or “caps,” are traditional and most commonly used restorations in dentistry today. Because the enamel has to be completely removed for a crown, a more conservative onlay or porcelain veneer restoration may be recommended by your dentist. However, when teeth are badly broken, extensively decayed, or simply in need of replacing existing crowns, crowns are the treatment of choice. Crowns can be made of all porcelain, porcelain fused to gold, porcelain fused to zirconium, or all gold. The best crown material is often determined by an individual’s bite and esthetic considerations.

Porcelain Veneers:

Porcelain veneers are the flagship procedure in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Their success can be traced back to NASA and the space shuttle program in the late 1990’s. When NASA had trouble with the missing tiles upon re-entry, they developed a method of bonding the porcelain tiles to the undercarriage. This bonding technology was adapted to dentistry and has allowed us to bond porcelain veneers directly to the tooth surface which is as strong as natural tooth structure and one that will not stain. Porcelain veneers can be very thin. The semi-translucent veneer can be made to match the light transmitting properties of natural teeth. Because they are metal free, they eliminate the hated “black line” found around the gum line of many traditional porcelain fused to metal crowns. Exquisite natural esthetics are achieved with this restoration. It is most often used to close spaces, cover permanently stained or discolore