Our Asheville Smiles team is prevention focused. Through preventive dentistry services like teeth cleanings, protective sealants, and fluoride (or fluoride alternatives), we can show you how to keep your teeth healthy for life.
Sometimes, your prevention plan goes beyond a one-hour “cleaning” with our hygienists. Here are some of the unique ways we enable people like you to keep your natural teeth healthy for years to come:
Probiotics play an essential role in rebalancing your oral biofilm. These aren’t probiotics for your gut, but for your mouth. They come in the form of a mint that you take once a day, and they release four types of good bacteria inside your mouth to prevent bad bacteria from getting out of control.
Studies have found that people with healthy mouths have higher levels of these four types of good bacteria. Using an oral probiotic on a regular basis after your dental cleaning can reduce and maintain your bad bacterial levels by as much as 75%. They’re extremely useful for managing gum disease and gingivitis.
Diagnodent Caries Detection
What if it were possible to detect cavities before they could be seen with the naked eye, or on an x-ray? Diagnodent uses light energy to measure the density of areas such as the grooves across the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Our hygienists routinely use it as part of the preventive screening process during your preventive care appointments.
Periodontal Therapy to Fight Gum Disease
Scaling and root planing removes areas of problematic bacteria so as to jump-start your body’s ability to recover. Our hygienists are very good at what they do, having years of experience under their belts. They’re a favorite with our patients!
During your periodontal screening, we will let you know if we see symptoms of gum disease, such as:
- Deep “pockets” below your gumlines
- Evidence of bone loss
- Tissue detachment
- Swelling or bleeding
- Areas of heavy tartar buildup
Sleep Apnea Management
A custom oral sleep appliance is perfect for people who can’t use a CPAP for their obstructive sleep apnea. It’s also easier to travel with! Bring your prescription for an oral appliance from your physician and we’ll do the rest.
If you have not yet been diagnosed with sleep apnea and we suspect that you may have the condition, Dr. Merrell is happy to refer you to a local sleep center for a formal diagnosis.
Intraoral Cameras and Digital X-rays
High resolution imaging allows us to precisely diagnose conditions like decay, infection, and fractured teeth. We use intraoral photography and radiographs on a monitor in the clinical room to share our findings with you. You see exactly the same things that we do!
Most people are familiar with dental diseases like cavities or periodontal infections. Occlusal “disease” is an entirely different category of oral health problems, but just as dangerous!
An abnormal bite or chronic clenching can destroy your teeth right before your very eyes. Wearing an occlusal guard can save your smile, protect investments that you’ve already made, and prevent further problems.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Risk factors like sun exposure and viruses make oral cancer a threat to everyone… not just people who smoke or use alcohol. We perform a careful oral cancer screening on each patient. It could save your life.
Our Asheville practice provides complete general and restorative dental services for your oral health needs.
OralID uses a proven, optically based technology called, “fluorescence technology.” OralID’s fluorescence technology uses a blue light (435–460 nm) that provides the clinician an aid in visualization of oral mucosal abnormalities, such as oral cancer and pre-cancer. The other medical applications of fluorescence technology include highlighting abnormalities of the GI tract, cervix, lung, and skin.
Dr. Merrell joined forces with Forward Science, the manufacturer of OralID™, and became a member of the ID For Life™ Program to promote early detection and public awareness of oral cancer in the office. Dr. Merrell will be offering enhanced oral cancer screenings during scheduled appointments to new and current patients.
Oral Cancer is not a rare disease and unfortunately it is on the rise. This year, approximately 51,540 will be diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States alone. Due to late stage discovery one American dies every hour from oral cancer.
Dr. Merrell uses an oral cancer screening device, OralID, in efforts to discover oral cancers in their earliest stages. Currently, up to 70% of oral cancers are found in late stages (stage III, IV), resulting in a 5-year survival rate of less than 50%. OralID has the ability to “highlight” these abnormalities in much earlier stages, before it is actually visible to your dental professional, in turn increasing the 5-year survival rate up to 80-90%.
Dr. Merrell has recognized the benefit of the Fluorescence Technology that OralID provides in efforts to discover oral cancer in its early stages and potentially save lives. Those interested in receiving an oral cancer screening at Asheville Smiles, or to learn more about our advanced screening, contact our office and ask about our OralID screenings.
About Forward Science
Forward Science is a privately held biotechnology company based in Houston, Texas. OralID, Forward Science’s flagship product, is an award winning oral cancer screening device that allows clinicians to discover abnormalities that may not be seen under traditional white light examinations. Forward Science quickly expanded its product portfolio in efforts to provide clinicians with a complete program to battle the rising trends of oral cancer. With the launch of the ID For Life™ Program, Forward Science has evolved into the industry leader for oral oncology. The ID For Life™ Program includes the following in an effort to change the trends for oral cancer: screening device (OralID), diagnostic tests (CytID, PathID, hpvID, phID), and treatment options (SalivaMAX).