Dr. Mead offers a full range of dental services, treatments and procedures. Dr. Mead and his team of caring dental professionals are devoted to restoring and enhancing the natural beauty of your smile. Dr. Mead and his team will educate you about your dental health and recommend the best treatment for your needs and budget. Dr. Mead has been a trusted member of the Lake Havasu City medical community for more that twenty-five years and offers state-of-the-art treatment procedures to help you maintain a healthy and long lasting smile.
General Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentistry & Oral Medicine
Note: This is not an exhaustive list.
A Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) uses hand instrumentation, ultrasonic instrumentation and polishing tools to remove plaque, tartar and stain from the tooth surface. A licensed dental hygienist also aids in the treatment of periodontal disease (gum disease), providing comfortable cleaning of root surfaces. Periodontal therapy (deep cleanings) performed by your hygienist will remove infection and bacteria from your gums, slowing the progression of the disease. Dr. Mead’s hygiene team also place sealants and provide fluoride treatments for children and adults. These procedures are performed by our State Licensed Dental Hygienists.
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is the number one cause of tooth loss when left untreated. Periodontal disease causes detachment of the gums, bone loss and eventual tooth loss. In the early stages of periodontal disease it is very treatable. All patients with periodontal disease should be given the opportunity to be referred to a Board Certified Periodontist (gum specialist). A periodontist has an additional three years of training in the treatment of periodontal disease and implant placement. In the early stages of periodontal disease, conservative treatments such as more frequent professional cleanings, oral hygiene instruction and periodontal therapy (deep cleanings) may be done. Periodontal disease is a slow insidious disease often times with no symptoms. A patients periodontal (gum) health should be evaluated at least once a year. Periodontal measurements of pocket depths should be monitored and recorded so that proper diagnosis and treatment can be recommended. This disease almost never happens suddenly without some major systemic disease process. So if you are told suddenly, after many years of regular dental checkups that you have advanced periodontal disease you have not been treated and diagnosed properly. Dr. Michael Thomas, a Board Certified Periodontist is available in our office for advanced perio treatments and implant placement.
Smile makeovers include an evaluation and treatment planning to deliver the smile you have always wanted. Proportions and symmetry to fit you and your smile. This can be accomplished with several different modalities from conservative composite bonding, porcelain veneers, glass crowns, and conventional crowns all the way to full mouth reconstruction. A Full mouth reconstruction may include altering all your teeth to establish the exact bite and dimensions to give an ideal smile and proper chewing function.
Porcelain veneers can be a conservative technique for altering the shape and color of your teeth. Veneers can close spaces, reshape, whiten and straighten front teeth. There are basically three techniques: no prep veneers (lumineers), minimal prep veneers and heavy prepped veneers. We will evaluate your smile and teeth and along with you pick the best of these techniques to achieve the smile you desire.
Fillings are a dental procedure for repairing minor damage to teeth either caused by trauma or decay (cavities). There are many materials available for these techniques each with their own strengths. White composite fillings and glass compounds get the highest aesthetics (look like natural teeth). Metal fillings including gold and amalgam are used for strength and longevity, while fluoride releasing fillings help prevent new decay in patients who are cavity prone. Cavity prone patients may have other systemic diseases or use medications that can increase the rate at which they get tooth decay.
Crowns or caps are a treatment for restoring a tooth when large parts of the tooth are missing or the tooth is cracked or weakened. This technique should only be used when a filling is inadequate, do to the aggressive tooth preparation that is needed. Many materials are available for this procedure including Porcelain (tooth colored glass) for the highest aesthetic (looks) and gold or other metals for increased strength and longevity. There are also ways of conserving tooth structure by doing what is called a partial veneer crowns or onlays which keep as much natural tooth structure as possible.
Cerec crowns or caps are a high tech crown, onlay or filling that can be prepped and virtually designed after digitally scanning the tooth preparation and bite registration. After scanning the tooth a cerec milling machine makes the crown in the office. The Cerec milling machine allows Dr. Mead to prepare the tooth and delivering the crown usually within one to two hours start to finish. In the right cases, this allows the patient to receive their crown on the same day. No temporary crown and no need for a second dental visit.
Bridges are used to replace missing teeth when there is a strong tooth on either side of the space created by the lost or missing tooth. In the past a bridge was the best technique for permanently replacing a missing tooth. This technique is still an acceptable treatment for replacing missing teeth but do to its failure rate of approximately twenty four percent in adults and the need to alter teeth on either side of the missing tooth, bridges are used only if a dental implant can not be placed.
Oral surgical procedures are used in the removal of teeth, alteration of bony and soft tissue structures for the proper fit of dental appliances and the removal of small pieces of tissue (biopsy) to diagnose oral diseases including but not limited to Oral Cancer.
Dental extractions involve the removal of diseased or fractured teeth. Extraction procedures are recommended when the tooth can not be saved with traditional dental treatments.
Routine extractions involve the removal of teeth without advanced surgical techniques. A routine or simple extraction does not involve cutting of tissues, bone removal or suture placement.
Surgical extractions involve the removal of teeth with more advanced surgical techniques that may include the cutting and moving of oral tissues, bone removal and suture placement.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction (Impacted 3rd molars)
The removal of permanent third molars (wisdom teeth) is usually done surgically due to improper angulation and/or failure of the tooth to erupt. The name wisdom teeth comes from the tooth not showing up fully in the mouth until we are about twenty one years of age. It was thought that people were much wiser at this age thus the name “wisdom teeth”. Many wisdom teeth are difficult to extract, due to possible complications, and should be removed by a Board Certified Oral Surgeon. An oral surgeon is a specialist with three to five years of additional training focused on dental surgery. For best results, wisdom teeth should be evaluated and extracted, if necessary, between the ages of thirteen to eighteen and prior to age twenty-one. Early extraction of wisdom teeth may prevent complications including but not limited to cyst formation, infection, nerve damage and decay.
Oral biopsies involve the surgical removal of small pieces of soft and/or bony tissues to be examined by a Board Certified Oral Pathologist to determine diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases including but not limited to oral cancers.
Digital 3D cone beam radiography is a form of digital radiography (x-ray) that produces a third dimension in the radiograph. This is particularly useful in the placement of dental implants. Digital 3D cone beam systems allow the virtual (computer generated) placement of the implant before the surgical procedure is done. This allows the orientation (positioning) of the implant, its dimensions and its relation to important anatomical structures to be planned in advance. This technology increases the success rate and reduces the complications of implant placement. 3D cone beam radiography is quickly becoming part of the standard of care for implant placement.
Intra oral photography is done with a miniature camera placed in the patients mouth allowing the dentist to visually show the problems seen during examination. Intra oral cameras allows the teeth and oral tissues to be magnified many times larger than the natural tooth making it easy for both the patient and dentist to identify problems.
Root canal therapy is used for saving a tooth where the living parts inside the tooth chamber are infected or dying due to decay or trauma. In this technique the infected material is removed and the chambers are filled with a rubber like material called gutta percha. Root canal therapy removes the source of the infection and pain allowing the body to heal. Dental literature states root canals have about an eight percent failure rate, many of these failures due to cracks in the chamber, or inadequate cleaning, shaping or filling of the root chambers. In many cases a general dentist can do the root canal therapy adequately. If the root canal therapy is complicated or the tooth is cracked, the patient will be referred to a specialist called an Endodontist. A Board Certified Endodontist has special training in the treatment and uses a microscope to find the cracks and deformities.
TMJ also known as TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) is a condition that can cause limited opening, pain and loss of function of the jaw. There are many causes of TMD making the disorder difficult to diagnose and treat. The ADA (American Dental Association) devoted a whole journal to the treatment of this problem. The ADA emphasised that conservative treatment should be done and that many of the aggressive treatments like surgery, orthodontic tooth movement and full mouth reconstruction had no more long term success than conservaitive treatments in most cases. Dr. Mead will treat you in the most conservative manner and if this is not successful we will refer you to a TMD clinic at a major dental university so you can receive the safest and most advanced treatment possible.
Dental implants are now considered the best treatment when replacing a missing tooth or teeth. Implants function as a substitute root for a single missing tooth or can span an area of several missing teeth to create a fixed bridge. Dental implants can also serve as an anchor for a denture to snap into, preventing slipping when eating or speaking.
Dental Implants allow the replacement of missing teeth where adequate bone is available or can be restored through different bone grafting techniques without the alteration of teeth next to the site of the missing tooth. The replacement of missing teeth with implants is in most cases a two step process. First the implant must be placed into the bone and allowed to heal adequately. This is the step that we use to create an artificial root (the Implant). Second after healing we restore the implant. This restoration involves putting an implant crown (artificial tooth) on the implant (artificial root). This technique can be used for replacing one tooth, many teeth or all of a patients teeth. New techniques are available that allow same day implant procedures for qualified patients. Research shows that implants have about a six percent failure when placed by a specialist (Board Certified Periodontist or Oral Surgeon). The failure rate of implants placed by general dentists is as high as thirty-three percent and is thought to result from failure to follow stringent protocol and lack of surgical implant experience. Dr. Mead uses an on site Board Certified Periodontist (Dr. Michael Thomas) to ensure that patients get the best care and success rates.
Dentures are removable prosthetic (artificial) appliances used for replacing a persons teeth when they have no remaining teeth. Dentures are made with an acrylic base pink in color to simulate the gum tissue and white artificial teeth. There are many grades of teeth ranging from very simple monochromatic (one color) to premium quality natural looking teeth to get the best smile possible. Dentures do not function like natural teeth and there are many things a patient can not do with dentures that they can do with natural teeth. Dentures put pressure on the jaw bones causing the slow loss of bone structures. Dentures should have the pink acrylic bases relined every three to five years to slow down the bone loss and ensure proper fit.
This makes removable dentures a poor long term solution for missing teeth but necessary for many people due to the lower cost and time involved.
Conventional dentures stay in the mouth fairly adequately, by the suction created in the design of the denture. A conventional upper denture covers the entire palate (roof of mouth) altering speech, taste and texture sensations. Due to the narrow shape of the lower jaw, lower conventional dentures do not get adequate suction and can be very unstable. This instability may cause patients to wear some form of a dental adhesive like a denture cream, paste or powder to glue them in place. Most complaints about dentures involve the lower denture and Dr. Mead tells his patients it is one hundred times harder to wear a lower denture than an upper one. That being said many people have conventional dentures made and to our amazement do fairly well despite conventional denture limitations.
Implant Retained Dentures
Implanted retained (supported) dentures use two to four implants (artificial roots) to anchor the denture to the upper and lower jaws. Implants eliminate the need to cover the entire palate (roof of mouth), thus making the experience of eating and tasting more natural. Implant retained dentures can be removable so that the patient can clean and maintain both the dentures and the implants. Implant retained dentures can also be fixed (non-removable). There are techniques today that use metal frames with acrylic bases and denture teeth, titanium frames with porcelain gums/teeth and the newest technique, a denture milled from one block of zirconia.
Removable Partial Dentures
A removable partial denture is a relatively inexpensive way for a patient to replace several missing teeth. This appliance usually has a metal or acrylic frame, denture teeth and cast metal or wire clasps which hold the removable partial denture in place. The disadvantage of a removable partial denture is it adds heavy loads to the natural teeth holding the denture in place, and can collect food debris and plaque if not properly cared for.
Conventional Removable Partial denture
The conventional removable partial denture has a metal frame, cast metal clasps (anchors), an acrylic base (pink base) and denture teeth. The rigid metal frame makes the appliance more stable for eating but the metal clasps can be ugly and unacceptable to some patients.
Precision Removable Partial denture
The precision removable partial denture has a metal frame, acrylic base and precision attachments which consist of male and female parts. One of the parts is located on the partial denture and the other part is made as part of a crown (cap). This allows the anchor parts to be hidden making this partial much more aesthetically pleasing. There are additional costs for precision attachments due to the need for additional crowns (caps) with the precision attachments. This appliance should also be relined every three to five years.
Flexible Removable Partial Denture (Valplast)
This removable partial denture has a flexible acrylic base and clasp system to hold it in place. The pink gum shaded clasps make it much more aesthetic and this flexible partial is less expensive than a conventional or precision removable partial denture. The disadvantage of this type of flexible removable partial is that it does not chew as well.
Temporary Removable Partial Denture (Flipper/stay plate)
A Temporary removable partial or flipper has an acrylic base, inexpensive teeth and sometimes wire clasps. It is meant to be used as a temporary appliance while tissues are healing or until the patient can have permanent work completed. This appliance is not very retentive (stable) thus the name flipper given to it by patients. It is not designed for eating or chewing and is used as a temporary aesthetic appliance (for looks only).
Our office only does minor tooth movements. All other orthodontic care will be referred to a Board Certified Orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specialist with two years advanced training in correcting bite issues and straightening misaligned teeth.
Dental lasers may be used to treat many dental disease. They are particularly useful as a surgical aid in cutting tissues and reducing bleeding. Some Dental offices use lasers in the treatment of periodontal disease (gum disease) but research has not confirmed the long term benefits of this form of laser treatment. The best source for information on this subject should be sought through your local Board Certified Periodontist (gum specialist), the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) or the American Dental Association (ADA). Lasers are also being used in some instances for cavity preparation and decay removal for fillings.
Digital radiography is a technique used for taking radiographic pictures (x-rays) of teeth and bone structures without the use of film. This technique significantly reduces the amount of radiation needed, thus reducing the amount of radiation a patient is exposed to. Digital x-rays can be manipulated in many ways including coloration, inversion and magnification to name a few, making them an excellent diagnostic tool.
Oral cancer screenings are done as part of every initial and periodic oral exam (regular check-up). Dr. Mead evaluates for any changes in oral tissues. This screening allows Dr. Mead to diagnose and recommend biopsy and/or treatment for abnormalities including oral cancers. Early diagnosis of precancerous lesions can be treated to prevent the actual formation of oral cancers. Early detection of precancerous and cancerous lesions increases a patient’s favorable outcome.
Pediatric dentistry is the treatment of children. Dr. Mead’s primary concern with children is to do quality dental care without it being traumatic to the child. Almost all children up to about age six are best treated by specialist in children’s dentistry called a Pedodontist. A Board Certified Pedodontist takes special care of children with severe decay and/or complicated treatment. Our office and team will do our best to meet the needs of our pediatric patients without traumatizing them. If the child is overly frightened or uncooperative we will immediately refer the child to a Pediatric dentist to insure the best quality care for the child. A Pedodontist has additional specialized training in the dental field specifically geared toward children and is skilled in techniques to insure the safety, quality and tenderness that your child deserves. Primary teeth (baby teeth) are very important to maintaining general health of your child and act as space maintainers (pathways) that permanent (adult) teeth will follow into the proper alignment. The first baby tooth is lost around age six and the last baby tooth is lost around age thirteen. Early loss of a primary molars (back teeth) can cause the permanent teeth to have inadequate room to grow into the mouth and cause severe crowding. Crowding increases the need of orthodontic care (braces). Early loss of the front primary teeth can delay the eruption of the permanent front teeth which in some children can affect self esteem, speech and proper social development.
Oral Health education is provided by our experienced Registered Dental Hygienist’s Ali and Jenny. Your hygienist will evaluate your at home technique and make sure you are brushing and flossing with the latest and best techniques. Oral health education will help you prevent tooth decay, periodontal disease (gum disease), and other oral diseases. We will also evaluate your diet, eating habits and other oral habits you may have that can affect good oral health and aesthetics (looks) to help you prevent future dental problems.
Digital charting is a way for your dental information to be stored electronically. Digital charting makes it easy to update your chart, including changes to health history, medications and alert the dentist or hygienist to important information every time you chart is opened. These systems also keep track of your next dental visit so a reminder can be sent for next cleaning and checkup. It also puts all your radiograph (x-rays) at our fingertips for easy access and comparison. Digital charting can also be emailed to specialists making it easier for a dentist and specialist to review patient charts.
Animated video presentations are available for dental procedures so you can watch and understand exactly what is being done. These video’s help reduce any confusion about procedure and also gives patients details of what to expect after the treatment is completed. Instructions given in the video are also printed out to take home so you don’t forget what you were instructed to do. These animations and written instructions are presented in English or Spanish.