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Dental Exams & Cleanings

A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve your teeth and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progress, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions. Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health. Prevention also includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy and beautiful smile.

Dental Exam
A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by Dr. Laurie Schumacher at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams will include the following:

• Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.

• Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.

• Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.

• Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.

DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection
The DIAGNOdent Laser Cavity Detection takes the guesswork out of making a correct treatment decision regarding these teeth. The DIAGNOdent is a small, portable laser unit that can detect cavities on or just below the surfaces of the back teeth, even when they are just beginning. An audible signal alerts the dentist there is a problem and it also provides a numerical readout as to it's approximate size.

Studies show that 50% of caries go undetected* by present diagnostic methods. The DIAGNOdent** aids in diagnosing “hidden” fissure caries more accurately and confidently. Most caries occur in the complex anatomy of the occlusal surfaces, making diagnosis with traditional methods difficult, because the outer tooth surface often appears to be intact.

The DIAGNOdent is a new high tech laser system. It utilizes laser light of a defined wavelength to help detect and quantify demineralized tooth substances without x-ray exposure. This revolutionary new device is easy to use and turns caries detection into a harmless, measurable, more reproducible and exacting procedure.

With DIAGNOdent we are able to make better treatment decisions earlier, whether they call for further “watching” of suspect areas to monitor changes, preventive measures or minimally invasive preparation. Detect the invisible, with the DIAGNOdent.

Please ask us about our new laser scanner cavity detection system!

• Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.

Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) will include a dental exam and the following:

• Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with special dental instruments.

• Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease!

• Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Home Care
A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Your personal home care starts by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.

Tooth brushing - Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft or extra soft bristle brush and toothpaste. Electric toothbrushes are also recommended.
1. Place the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and gently brush using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
2. Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
3. Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside of the front teeth.
4.Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

Flossing - Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

1. Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
2. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
3. Curve the floss into a "C" shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

Waterpik® - A powerful miniature pump sends a pulsating jet of water through a plastic syringe-like tip to clean the teeth (sweeping away debris from over, around and between teeth, and under the gumline) and stimulate the gum tissues. The Waterpik is effective in orthodontic (braces) and periodontic (gum disease) patients, as well as patients with crown and bridge work.

Same Day Veneers (Cerec)

There's no reason to put up with gaps in your teeth or with teeth that are stained, badly shaped or crooked. Today a veneer placed on top of your teeth can correct nature's mistake or the results of an injury and help you have a beautiful smile.

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth. They're made by a dental technician, usually in a dental lab, working from a model provided by your dentist.

You should know that this is usually an irreversible process, because it's necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from your teeth to accommodate the shell.

Regardless of what causes unattractive teeth, dental veneers may solve most or even all of your cosmetic dental issues, including:

• Worn enamel: Over time, the thin, hard white substance covering your teeth (enamel) may become worn, dulled, and discolored. Such wear and discoloration may be natural or the result of a genetic predisposition; however, it is often a result of your habits (soft drink, tea, or coffee consumption, smoking, medication use, etc.).

• Wear and tear: Teeth naturally wear down as people age. Aged teeth are more likely to have chips, cracks or a generally uneven appearance.

• Genetics: Certain people may be born with abnormal spacing between the teeth that grows wider as they age.

• Uneven teeth: Uneven teeth can result from tooth grinding or general wear and tear.



LUMINEERS® BY CERINATE® are porcelain veneers that offer the painless way to a permanently whiter and perfectly aligned smile. Your LUMINEERS dentist can apply these contact lens-thin "smile shapers" to teeth without any grinding or shaving, transforming teeth into a naturally beautiful smile that looks perfect for every individual. LUMINEERS can even be placed over existing crown or bridgework without having to replace them.

LUMINEERS are contact lens-thin and are placed over existing teeth without having to remove painful tooth structure (unlike traditional veneers.) LUMINEERS is the painless, permanent cosmetic solution for stained, chipped, discolored or misaligned teeth.

LUMINEERS can only be made from patented Cerinate porcelain unavailable anywhere other than the Cerinate Smile Design Studio. In just 2-3 visits to your LUMINEERS dentist, you can have a custom-made smile that is clinically proven to last over 20 years - and it is completely reversible since your natural tooth structure is still intact! Get your perfect smile today!

Tooth Colored Fillings

Advances in modern dental materials and techniques increasingly offer new ways to create more pleasing, naturallooking smiles. Researchers are continuing their often decades-long work developing esthetically attractive materials, such as ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth.

Today, more patients ask their dentists about white fillings because they want their teeth to look natural when they laugh, talk and smile. White fillings, also called composite fillings, are made from tooth-colored materials that restore the natural appearance of a decayed or previously filled tooth. Because they blend well with tooth enamel and don't look like fillings, your dentist may recommend them if the teeth to be restored are near the front of your mouth.

A composite filling usually requires only one visit, during which the tooth is prepared and restored. An advantage of composite fillings, as compared with other dental restorations, is that they require less of the healthy part of a tooth to be removed to hold the filling in place. This is due to composite materials' ability to bond to teeth adhesively.

The procedure for a composite filling may take a little longer than those for other types of fillings, because after the decay is removed, the tooth must be kept totally isolated from saliva. The dentist carefully applies an adhesive followed by several thin layers of the tooth-colored composite. Once the filling is in place, it is chemically hardened, or cured, for less than a minute with a special light.


Your Invisalign treatment will consist of a series of aligners that you switch out about every two weeks. Each aligner is individually manufactured with exact calculations to gradually shift your teeth into place. And since your Invisalign system is custom-made for your teeth and your teeth only, with a plan devised by you and your dentist or orthodontist, you know you'll end up with a smile that truly fits.

If you're ready for a smile that transforms your appearance, Invisalign is your answer. Although there are many choices out there, no other works as effortlessly as the Invisalign system. Invisalign is the best way to transform your smile without interfering with your day-to-day life.


ClearCorrect is the clear and simple alternative to braces.

It’s a series of clear, custom-made, removable aligners that gradually straighten your teeth as you wear them, each aligner moving your teeth just a little bit at a time.

They're practically invisible, so most people won't even know you're in treatment, they fit you perfectly, so they're more comfortable than regular braces, and they're removable, so you can eat whatever you like and clean your teeth normally.

Ask your doctor for more information about ClearCorrect and what it can do for you.

Zoom® Tooth Whitening

Your smile is important. It's one of the first things you notice when you meet someone. A whiter, brighter smile is beautiful - it can help you feel better about yourself and make a memorable impression.

Your lifestyle and the aging process can stain and darken your teeth. Many things we do on a regular basis can contribute to stained teeth, such as drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine or smoking.

Whitening can get your smile looking its best. Non-professional procedures and clinically unproven teeth whitening tips can often lead to unsatisfactory results, you should look for a whitening procedure that is:

• Fast and convenient
• Long lasting
• Low sensitivity
• Proven to be safe and effective
• Performed by a Dental Professional

Root Canal Therapy

Once upon a time, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you'd probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called a root canal therapy you may save that tooth. Inside each tooth is the pulp which provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth, it runs like a thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies. If you don't remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it. After the dentist removes the pulp, the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Then your dentist places a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger.

Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!

Same Day Crown and Bridge (Cerec)

What Is a Crown?

A crown, also known as a "cap", is a tooth-like covering used to strengthen, restore, or improve the appearance of your natural tooth.

Crowns serve many functions:

Support when there is no longer sufficient tooth structure left to place a filling Protection for a tooth that is fractured or broken Crowns are also used as support structures when a bridge is required.

What Is a Bridge?

To replace one or more missing teeth, a custom designed bridge is anchored to neighboring teeth. When replacing a missing tooth, crowns must be placed on the teeth on either side of the missing one to hold the replacement in place.

Why Is A Bridge Necessary?

Losing a permanent tooth, for whatever reason, can cause many serious problems for your neighboring teeth. The remaining teeth may begin to shift due to changes in support and chewing function. The tooth above or below the lost tooth can begin to move out of its socket, which can accelerate gum disease and further break down the bone structure. If the missing tooth is not replaced, more teeth may eventually be lost due to the improper forces exerted during chewing.


Same Day Onlays

An onlay restoration is a custom made filling made of composite material, gold, or tooth-colored porcelain. Porcelain onlays are popular because they resemble your natural tooth. An onlay is sometimes also referred to as a partial crown. Porcelain onlays are made by a professional dental laboratory and is permanently cemented onto the tooth by your dentist.

Onlays can be utilized to conservatively repair teeth that have large defective fillings or have been damaged by decay or trauma. Onlays are an ideal alternative to crowns (caps) because less tooth structure is removed in the preparation of onlays. Onlays are essentially identical to inlays with the exception that one or more of the chewing cusps have also been affected and need to be included in the restoration.

As with most dental restorations, onlays are not always permanent and may someday require replacement. They are highly durable and will last many years, giving you a beautiful long lasting smile.

Reasons for onlay restorations:

• Broken or fractured teeth
• Cosmetic enhancement
• Decayed teeth
• Fractured fillings
• Large fillings

What does getting an onlay involve?

An onlay procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate impressions (molds) that will be used to create your custom onlay and a temporary restoration.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove any decay and/or old filling materials. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared, shaping the surface to properly fit an onlay restoration. A temporary filling will be applied to protect the tooth while your onlay is made by a dental laboratory.

At your second appointment, your new onlay will be carefully and precisely cemented into place. A few adjustments may be necessary to ensure a proper fit and that your bite is comfortable.

Implant Restorations

Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be your only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.

The Facts About Dental Implant Restorations:

• Durable: Dental Implants are the strongest and most durable option to tooth replacement because they are fused into the jaw bone;

• Long-Lasting: Dental Implants are made to be strong and withstand your everyday activities for years to come and even a lifetime if properly taken care of;

• Promotes A Healthy Oral Solution: Because Dental Implants are secured into the bone individually, they do not require the altering or reduction of the bordering teeth for support;

• Natural Looking: Dental Implants are designed to be just as strong and natural looking as your own natural teeth, which will enhance your smile as well as your appearance;

• Improve Appearance and Restore Confidence: Having a missing tooth can make you self conscious and not want to smile. With the option of Dental Implants you can smile with confidence knowing that your teeth look and feel very natural.

How Dental Implant Restoration Treatment Works:

• The Dental Implant acts as the new root in the jaw bone;

• Then the implant and bone are given the next 2 to 6 months to bond which forms the anchor for the artificial tooth. If needed a temporary tooth can also be placed over the implant site;

• A replacement tooth will then be designed and attached to the artificial root. Shortly after the replacement tooth has been secured you will be able to chew and speak as if you had never lost your natural tooth;

• In the event that several teeth are missing, bridges that are supported by implants can also be created to replace all of the teeth. Dental implants will be used to replace the natural teeth you have lost as well as some of the roots.

Bad Breath

Whether you call it bad breath or halitosis, it’s an unpleasant condition that’s cause for embarrassment. Some people with bad breath aren’t even aware there’s a problem. If you’re concerned about bad breath, see your dentist. She can help identify the cause and, if it’s due to an oral condition, develop a treatment plan to help eliminate it.

What causes bad breath?

What you eat affects the air you exhale. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily. Odors continue until the body eliminates the food. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.

If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor. Dentures that are not cleaned properly can also harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles.

One of the warning signs of periodontal (gum) disease is persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, the sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. The bacteria create toxins that irritate the gums. In the advanced stage of the disease, the gums, bone and other structures that support the teeth become damaged. With regular dental checkups, your dentist can detect and treat periodontal disease early.

Bad breath is also caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor. Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.

Tobacco products cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce one's ability to taste foods and irritate gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease and are at greater risk for developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract (nose throat, windpipe, lungs), chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of bad breath.

Eliminating periodontal disease and maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath. Schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors. Let your dentist know if you've had any surgery or illness since your last appointment.

Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night. Clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning.

Mouthwashes are generally cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you must constantly use a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your dentist. If you need extra help in controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend using a special antimicrobial mouthrinse. A fluoride mouthrinse, used along with brushing and flossing, can help prevent tooth decay. Look for products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Products that display the seal have undergone strict testing for safety and effectiveness.

What can I do about bad breath?

Regular checkups will allow your dentist to detect any problems such as periodontal (gum) disease, a dry mouth or other disorders that may be the cause. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating periodontal (gum) disease and scheduling regular professional cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath. Regardless of what may be the cause, good oral hygiene is essential. Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners. Brush your tongue, too. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning.

Sleep Apnea/Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a dangerous, potentially life-threatening condition. It is characterized by interruptions of breathing during sleep. The tongue relaxes during sleep and collapses on the airway. These periodic obstructions of breathing during sleep can compromise a good quality of life and are related to other serious medical conditions such as excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. It occurs in all age groups including children, but is most prevalent in older adults. Sleep apnea is a pause in breathing during sleep that deprives the body of oxygen. Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, daytime drowsiness, waking up not refreshed, gasping, choking, sudden awakenings, and other sleeping problems as well.

Many people suffer from sleep apnea, but never recognize that they have a problem. It is estimated that 90 million people in America have sleep apnea and many are undiagnosed. Sleep apnea is easily recognized and treatable, however, and there are tests to identify and treat a variety of sleep disorders. With a simple sleep test and proven treatment, those suffering from sleep apnea can eliminate snoring sleep apnea and start living a healthier, more energetic lifestyle.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is defined as an episode of airflow interruption during sleep, characterized by normal breathing effort but no airflow, lasting longer than 10 seconds (approximately two breaths) and with a minimum of five such episodes per hour. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs only during sleep and not during wakefulness.

Obstructive sleep apnea results from a complex interaction between nerves, muscles and certain predisposing structural anatomic factors. There is a normal relaxation in muscle tone during sleep but with any combination of the above factors in susceptible individuals, the airway closes. The brain then senses a reduction in oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide and sends a signal to resume breathing. The patient experiences an arousal from sleep in response to the brain signal, and the muscles of the tongue and pharynx open the airway and breathing resumes. Often this occurs with a loud snort or gasp.

The arousal from sleep is necessary to restart breathing, but prevents the patient from getting good quality sleep; and repeated episodes over the course of a night result in such symptoms as excessive daytime sleepiness, compromised immune system, poor concentration, memory problems, a slow reaction time and the medical problems mentioned previously.

The PSG used for these figures is the BRAEBON MediByte®, an ambulatory home testing device shown to be highly accurate.


Doctors can diagnose sleep disorders and treat individuals suffering from sleep apnea using a polysomnograph (PSG) test. This test monitors sleep patterns and determines the severity of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

What is a PSG?

A PSG test identifies sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, UARS, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and REM disorders. During sleep, a specialized machine records data such as snore volume, sleeping position, air flow, brain activity, chin movement, eye movement, heart rate and rhythm, oxygen levels, and chest/abdominal movement. Studying the results, doctors can diagnose and treat patients for their sleep disorder and help them benefit from a full night’s rest and uninterrupted breathing patterns.

A complete diagnosis is made by a physician at a sleep clinic in a hospital. However, Dr. Laurie Schumacher has a home version of a PSG recorder. She uses it as a screening tool and also to verify the effectiveness of the treatment oral appliances. She uses the BRAEBON MediByte® PSG Recorder, which is light and comfortable enough for use by adults and children, and is trusted by doctors and hospitals across North America.

Treatment worth waking up for

Treatment methods for sleep apnea include the CPAP mask (continuous positive airway pressure) which provides a stream of air pressure to keep airway passages from closing.

The CPAP mask is a proven solution to sleep apnea, but must be worn on the face during sleep, which can be uncomfortable and irritating. It can dry out nasal and oral passages, and is also known to be noisy and cumbersome.

For severe sleep apnea, the CPAP is the treatment of choice. However, for snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances are a good option as stated by the AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine). These appliances hold the lower jaw and tongue in a better position, allowing a larger airway and reducing obstruction. For people with severe sleep apnea who cannot tolerate the CPAP, they too can wear an oral appliance.

Dr. Schumacher uses "The Moses" to treat snoring and sleep apnea. She also provides follow up home Medibyte tests after the appliance is received to verify its effectiveness.

Soprolife Intraoral Camera (Light Induced Fluorescence Evaluator)

Soprolife is a device for observing the condition of hard dental tissues through the analysis of tissue fluorescence during the diagnosis and treatment of decayed areas. Hard dental tissues will autofluoresce when exposed to the Soprolife's specific wavelength of blue light and a patented process within the camera is able to display, in real time video, how the existence of caries (cavities) affects a tooth's fluorescent signal. Affected areas are easily noted by changes in colors on the video display.


Digital Radiographs (X-rays)

igital radiography is a form of X-ray imaging, where digital X-ray sensors are used instead of traditional photographic film. Advantages include time efficiency through bypassing chemical processing and the ability to digitally transfer and enhance images. Also, less radiation can be used to produce an image of similar contrast to conventional radiography.