Our team is dedicated to providing you and your family with state-of-the-art, mercury-free, mercury-safe, fluoride-free, restorative and esthetic dentistry in a modern high-tech facility designed for your comfort. We can help you achieve and maintain optimal dental health, restore problem areas, and cosmetically enhance the appearance of your smile.

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  • 3D Imaging with the Orthopantomograph OP300
  • Cavitations & Ozone
  • Ceramic Dental Implants
  • Oral Pathology
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
  • Pre-Prosthetic Surgery
  • Ridge Augmentation
  • Sinus Lift
  • TMJ Disorders
  • Wisdom Teeth

3D Imaging with the Orthopantomograph OP300

The entire PCHD team are committed to providing cutting-edge dental technology to improve our diagnostic and treatment methods so that you can achieve your health goals. For this reason, we are proud to offer the Orthopantomograph® OP300, a combination of advanced panoramic imaging and 3D cone beam technology. The Orthopantomograph OP300 offers precise and agile 3D imaging for the benefit of highly accurate and convenient treatment planning. By utilizing 3D imaging, our dentists can view a high-definition image of your teeth and jaw structure to diagnose potential issues and determine which treatments are right for your smile. For example, Dr. Justin Ponquinette uses 3D imaging to place dental implants faster and more accurately than was possible in the days before 3D technology. The Orthopantomograph OP300 also ensures a more comfortable and convenient visit for the patient, as it is fast and does not require uncomfortable positioning. This technology allows the high standard of care we strive to provide each and every day.

Ozone in Dentistry

Ozone (O3) is a supercharged version of regular Oxygen (O2). We use it at PCHD as a means of improving bone healing after extractions, bone grafting and implant placement. It does this by sterilizing the surgical bed and enhancing the quality of blood flow to the affected area. This prevents infections while enhancing bone formation.

What Are Cavitations?

Over fifty years ago, a book entitled “Death and Dentistry” identified focal infections and resultant necrosis of the jaw as the cause of a staggering number of conditions. Today, research is showing a strong connection between the teeth, gums and jaw and the rest of the body. As such, dentistry is becoming an integral aspect of health care.

The trauma leading to jawbone necrosis is, for the most part, a result of dental treatment. Large fillings, crowns, bridges, periodontal scaling, tooth extractions, root canals, injections and other procedures can all reduce the blood supply to the jawbone. This will inhibit toxins from leaving, and nutrients and oxygen from getting in the bone. Along with extractions, root canals and even high-speed drilling can cause direct damage to the jawbone. The resultant cavitations are a dental condition that often has a far- reaching impact on health. The word “cavitation” basically means a hole. It appeared in medical literature over two centuries ago to describe a group of diseases that cause bone deterioration and loss.

In the mid-19th century, “cavitation” was used in dental text to describe a condition characterized by dead (necrotic) tissue, in the jawbone. This necrosis of the jaw was recognized as a problem separate and independent from abscessed teeth and gums. In the early part of this century, this condition was referred to as “chronic osteitis”. A synonymous term, “ischemic osteonecrosis” (meaning “the death of bone tissue due to lack of blood supply”) is a current medical expression describing a condition that can affect any bone tissue in the body. Tooth extractions can result in a cavitation because usually the periodontal membrane that surrounds the tooth is not removed during the procedure. Although the bone will regrow in the area left open by the extracted tooth, it often will be incomplete with holes and spongy tissue instead of solid health bone tissue. This resultant defect is the cavitation.

The hollow space of a cavitation becomes a breeding ground for various microorganisms. As long as they are contained in the local area, the condition is symptomless. But over time, as the natural defenses that keep the microorganisms in check weaken – either through aging, disease or stress. As a result, the microorganisms and the toxins they produce spread to other areas of the body via the lymph, blood and nerves.

The end result can be a systemic condition causing pain, weakness, impaired nutrition, and a host of other disease conditions specific to organs and glands throughout the body.

One of the most commonly cited problems related to cavitations is a condition in which the person suffers from sometimes debilitating referred pains, often in the face or head.

Other conditions include inflammations of heart valves, muscle, and tissues surrounding the heart (the pericardium), chronic muscle and joint inflammations, nerve inflammations and neuralgias. These metastatic infections can also lead to ulcers, gall bladder problems, cystitis, pneumonia, bronchitis, rheumatism, asthma, nephritis, thyroid disease, herpes, iritis, poliomyelitis, multiple sclerosis, certain skin disorders, diabetes, migraines, hypertension and more.

Cavitations are usually left undetected because they usually do not display the common symptoms of infection such as pain, redness, fever or pus. To make matters worse, though identified in dental literature a century and a half ago, dentists are generally not educated about the condition in dental school, let alone taught how to recognize it. As a result, most people with significant cavitations have had them for a number of years before getting treated. Consequently, by the time surgery is performed, the damage done is extensive.

Proper imaging is imperative in diagnosing and treating cavitations. Since X-rays are two-dimensional images, they are not the best diagnostic tools for discerning the state of a three-dimensional problem. Atlantic Oral Surgery Center provides the Cone Beam (or CBCT) imaging necessary for the detection of these lesions.

The treatment for a cavitation is surgical removal of the infected and gangrenous bone. If not completely removed, the cause of the condition remains intact and the toxins will continue to circulate throughout the body. When performed on a recent extraction site, the surgery is a relatively uncomplicated. But at old extraction sites, the task is more difficult because it is not easy to image the actual cavitation site. Without a clear picture, it is hard to determine whether the area has been completely cleaned of the infected or necrotic tissues. What is more, patients who have suffered with chronic cavitations need to detoxify and rebuild their system. This must be done as an individualized protocol usually involving a combination of nutritional, herbal and homeopathic remedies.

If concerned that you are suffering from the presence of cavitation(s), please contact us for a consultation.

This section is based on information contained in the following references:

  • Breiner, Mark. Whole Body Dentistry. Quantum Health Press: Fairfield, CT. 1999.
  • Fischer, Martin H. Death and Dentistry. Charles C. Thomas, LTD: Springfield, IL, 1940.
  • Stockton, Susan. Beyond Amalgam: The Health Hazard Posed by Jawbone Cavitations. Power of One Publishing: Aurora, CO, 2000.

Why Ceramic Implants?

Dentistry, like health care in general, is constantly evolving. We at PCHD aspire to stay ahead of the curve. The vast majority of dental implants placed in the world are made of titanium alloys. That trend, however, is slowly starting to change. Currently, 12% of women and 15% of men have a metal allergy. As this number increases, healthcare providers are beginning to embrace ceramic implant options. What is more, ceramic implants offer advantages in biocompatibility and esthetics over their titanium counterparts. Sound promising? Ask if ceramic implants are right for you.  We check all of our patients for biocompatibility for their ceramic implants with a Clifford Biocompatibility Test prior to treatment.

Oral Pathology

The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:

  • Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness. Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.

These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.

We recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores.  We have a unique diagnostic tool at PCHD called Oral ID that is a noninvasive cancer detection device and we screen our patients yearly as part of their hygiene maintenance program.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is exactly what the name suggests. The substance is a by-product of blood (plasma) that is rich in platelets. Until now, its use has been confined to the hospital setting. This was due mainly to the cost of separating the platelets from the blood (thousands) and the large amount of blood needed (one unit) to produce a suitable quantity of platelets. New technology permits the doctor to harvest and produce a sufficient quantity of platelets from only 55 cc of blood drawn from the patient while they are having outpatient surgery.

Why All the Excitement About PRP?

PRP permits the body to take advantage of the normal healing pathways at a greatly accelerated rate. During the healing process, the body rushes many cells and cell-types to the wound in order to initiate the healing process. One of those cell types is platelets. Platelets perform many functions, including formation of a blood clot and release of growth factors (GF) into the wound. These GF (platelet derived growth factors PGDF, transforming growth factor beta TGF, and insulin-like growth factor ILGF) function to assist the body in repairing itself by stimulating stem cells to regenerate new tissue. The more growth factors released sequestered into the wound, the more stem cells stimulated to produce new host tissue. Thus, one can easily see that PRP permits the body to heal faster and more efficiently.

A subfamily of TGF, is bone morphogenic protein (BMP). BMP has been shown to induce the formation of new bone in research studies in animals and humans. This is of great significance to the surgeon who places dental implants. By adding PRP, and thus BMP, to the implant site with bone substitute particles, the implant surgeon can now grow bone more predictably and faster than ever before.

PRP Has Many Clinical Applications

Bone grafting for dental implants. This includes onlay and inlay grafts, sinus lift procedures, ridge augmentation procedures, and closure of cleft, lip, and palate defects. Repair of bone defects creating by removal of teeth or small cysts. Repair of fistulas between the sinus cavity and mouth.

PRP Also Has Many Advantages

  • Safety: PRP is a by-product of the patient’s own blood, therefore, disease transmission is not an issue.
  • Convenience: PRP can be generated in the doctor’s office while the patient is undergoing an outpatient surgical procedure, such as placement of dental implants.
  • Faster healing: The supersaturation of the wound with PRP, and thus growth factors, produces an increase of tissue synthesis and thus faster tissue regeneration.
  • Cost effectiveness: Since PRP harvesting is done with only 55 cc of blood in the doctor’s office, the patient need not incur the expense of the harvesting procedure in hospital or at the blood bank.
  • Ease of use: PRP is easy to handle and actually improves the ease of application of bone substitute materials and bone grafting products by making them more gel-like.
  • Are there any contraindications to PRP? Very few. Obviously, patients with bleeding disorders or hematologic diseases do not qualify for this in-office procedure.

Check with your surgeon and/or primary care physician to determine if PRP is right for you.

Pre-Prosthetic Surgery

The preparation of your mouth before the placement of a prosthesis is referred to as pre-prosthetic surgery.

Some patients require minor oral surgical procedures before receiving a partial or complete denture, in order to ensure the maximum level of comfort. A denture sits on the bone ridge, so it is very important that the bone is the proper shape and size. If a tooth needs to be extracted, the underlying bone might be left sharp and uneven. For the best fit of a denture, the bone might need to be smoothed out or reshaped. Occasionally, excess bone would need to be removed prior to denture insertion.

One or more of the following procedures might need to be performed in order to prepare your mouth for a denture:

  • Bone smoothing and reshaping
  • Removal of excess bone
  • Bone ridge reduction
  • Removal of excess gum tissue
  • Exposure of impacted teeth

We will review your particular needs with you during your appointment.

What Is a Ridge Augmentation?

A ridge augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw that may have been lost due to bone loss as a result of a tooth extraction, or for another reason. The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. When a tooth is removed, an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Usually this empty socket will heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue. Sometimes when a tooth is removed, the bone surrounding the socket breaks, and it unable to heal on its own. The previous height and width of the socket will continue to deteriorate. Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not medically necessary, but may be required for dental implant placement, or for aesthetic purposes. Dental implants require bone to support their structure, and a ridge augmentation can help rebuild this bone to accommodate the implant.

What Is a Sinus Lift?

The maxillary sinuses are behind your cheeks and on top of the upper teeth. These sinuses are empty, air-filled spaces. Some of the roots of the natural upper teeth extend up into the maxillary sinuses. When these upper teeth are removed, there is often just a thin wall of bone separating the maxillary sinus and the mouth. Dental implants need bone to hold them in place. When the sinus wall is very thin, it is impossible to place dental implants in this bone. The key to a successful and long-lasting dental implant is the quality and quantity of jawbone to which the implant will be attached. If bone loss has occurred due to injury or periodontal disease, a sinus augmentation can raise the sinus floor and allow for new bone formation. A sinus lift is one of the most common bone grafting procedures for patients with bone loss in the upper jaw. The procedure seeks to grow bone in the floor of the maxillary sinus above the bony ridge of the gum line that anchors the teeth in the upper jaw. By strengthening and growing bone in this location, dental implants can be placed and secured in the new bone growth.

TMJ Disorders

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.

No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Dr. Ponquinette can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

Trouble with Your Jaw?

TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.

Treatment

There are various treatment options that Dr. Ponquinette can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Ponquinette will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Third molars are commonly referred to as wisdom teeth. They are usually the last teeth to develop and are located in the back of your mouth, behind your second molars. Their development is usually completed between the middle teenage years and early twenties, a time traditionally associated with the onset of maturity and the attainment of wisdom.

What Is an Impacted Tooth?

Although most people develop and grow 32 permanent adult teeth, many times their jaws are too small to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents the teeth from erupting they are called impacted. This indicates their inability to erupt into the proper position for chewing and cleaning.

Oral Examination

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, Dr. Ponquinette can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or future potential problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist, or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.