3 things your dentist does that you had no idea about

Cosmetic Dentist St. Louis

3 things your dentist does that you had no idea about

3 things your dentist does that you had no idea about

  1. Oral cancer-

Oral cancers are part of a group of head and neck cancers and checking for them are one of the 3 things your dentist does that you had no idea about. They are particularly dangerous because they usually are not detected till a late stage. This group includes cancer of the lip, tongue, gums and oral mucosa.

The risk factors for the development of oral cancer include over-exposure to the sun, smoking, excessive use of alcohol and HPV. there is also a genetic factor.3 things your dentist does that you had no idea about

The common symptoms may include:

  • lumps or strange thickening inside the mouth or on the surface of the lips
  • patches of either white or red or spots in the mouth
  • numbness or loss of feeling in certain areas
  • unexplained bleeding in the mouth area

If any of these symptoms appear or if uncertain it is crucial to contact your dentist immediately! At Cave Couver  dental Dr. Ethan Schuman will examine you thoroughly and send you to the relevant medical care if necessary.

  1. Bite problems

Bite problems are a set of issues caused by your upper and lower teeth not closing properly. Some bite problems cause discomfort or even pain and others may cause serious damage to your teeth without your even knowing there is a problem.

If when closing your mouth tightly you feel discomfort- you may have a bite problem.  Your dentist will do a series of checks to see where the discomfort originates- It can either be a problem with your bite in which case orthodontic intervention may be necessary or the origin may come from your jaw joint in which case you have a TMJ problem. another of the 3 things your dentist does that you had no idea about

  1. TMJ, TMD

TMJ or the Temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. Like all joints in the body when misused it may cause problems and pain when eating, chewing or even just yawning, these problems are called either TMJ or TMD.

common symptoms include:

  • pain or discomfort when chewing, speaking or opening wide
  • jaws that get “stuck” in an open or closed position
  • swelling on the side of your face.

The pain is usually located in the jaw join area- right beneath the ear but can radiate to the neck and shoulder area.

Dr. Ethan Schuman will conduct a physical examination which will include making sure your jaw opens and closes properly. Sometimes full x-rays are necessary and referral to an oral surgeon, depending on the severity of the case.

5 tips to make your teeth look whiter

5 tips on how to make your teeth look whiterwhiteningwhitening


Everyone’s dream is to have that perfect white smile seen in the movies. That dream is not as far away as you think. There are some basic techniques that don’t demand too much effort in order to make your teeth shiny, clean and white.

1. Prevention

Prevention is the best and most natural way of keeping your teeth clean and white. What should you prevent? Any food or drink that is dark and can stain your teeth. This includes coke, coffee, strong tea, red wine, beets. It doesn’t mean never to eat or drink any of these substances but to try and avoid over-use.

2. Baking soda and lemon juice

tooth whiteningThere are a number of reasons why teeth become yellow in the first place the main one being the staining and break down of the enamel which is the white outer layer of the tooth. As the enamel breaks down it reveals the layer beneath it- the dentin- which has a yellow color. 

Baking soda is a mild abrasive material that can scrape away outer stains on the enamel of the tooth. The lemon juice acts as a natural bleacher, but should not be used daily because it is very acidic. It is also possible to just mix the baking soda with water. Just brush the paste on to your teeth and after a minute or so rinse off.

3. Over the counter whiteners

They’re everywhere- In the supermarket or the pharmacy. They come in strips, toothpaste, mouth-rinse or gels.

Whitening Toothpaste-All toothpastes have some abrasive qualities and can help remove certain stains from your teeth. Some whitening toothpastes contain special additional chemical agents or polishing qualities that give an extra stain removal effect.

Whitening strips and gels- the gels usually contain peroxide substances which is a kind of bleach that helps lighten deeper stains in the tooth. Whitening strips are very thin strips almost invisible that also contain peroxide. They are usually applied twice a day and results last for about four months.

Whitening rinses- whitening rinses are similar to regular rinses- used to freshen the breath or as an extra application of fluoride but they also contain hydrogen peroxide which whitens the teeth. Rinses may be less effective because of the shorter amount of time they are in contact with the teeth compared to the other over the counter products.

4. Inner tooth bleaching

Teeth that have undergone a root canal treatment may change color over time. This can be a result of the materials used in the root canal treatment. Inner bleaching is a technique of filling the crown part of the canal with whitening materials in order to avoid the inner discoloring. This technique is not usually used on healthy teeth.

5. In-office whitening

 tooth whiteningThe dentist will apply the whitening product right to the surface of the tooth. The product can be used in combination with heat, light or a laser. This type of whitening is the quickest and most effective way to whiten your teeth.

In- office whitening has the fastest results that last the longest. Already after one treatment session dramatic changes can be seen. The strength of the bleaching agent used by your dentist is usually at least 4 times stronger than the home products. Also, your dentist creates a special tray fitting your teeth perfectly to achieve the most contact between tooth surface and bleaching agent.


Botox treatment

Botox treatment

Botox treatments are one of the fastest growing cosmetic treatments over the last decade. It is used in many cases especially in the face area, including for dental purposes.

Botox treatment

How Botox treatments work

Botox is a trade name for “botulinum toxin”. The Botox is injected into the face muscles and blocks the transmitters between the motor nerves that innervate the muscle. This creates a situation where the motor nerve cannot contract and thus prevents wrinkles in the skin. The sensory feeling in the muscle is not affected. Botox treatment is most effective on wrinkles that are dynamic and appear while you’re moving your face such as frowning. It usually takes about ten days for the skin to smooth out. Re-treatment is usually necessary after three or four months. The long termed safety of botox treatment is well established clinically.

The most common areas treated with botox are the forehead, between and around the corners of the eyes and around the lips. Botox is also used in esthetic dentistry cases such as high lip line cases and orthodontic treatments where facial muscles are involved.

Botox and dentists

By law, any licensed practitioner can perform botox injections including dentists. Because dentists specialize in the face area, it is very natural that they be the ones to apply botox treatment to the areas they are so familiar with- the mouth and face. Dentists receive extensive training in the oral and maxillofacial areas and so they have a great amount of experience where exactly to inject the botox treatment and also how to take care of complications should they arise in these facial areas.

Dr. Ethan Schuman of Creve Coeur is extremely experienced with botox treatment. He has gone through special training and will gladly explain the complete procedure before treating with botox. 

Esthetic crowns

Esthetic crowns

Esthetic crowns

Esthetic crowns are crowns made of materials that blend with the color of your teeth. If done properly a crown can become so invisible no one will even know it’s in your mouth. This is especially important in front teeth crowns. At Dr. Ethan Schumans office we use such materials to create a perfect smile you will be proud of.

When is an esthetic crown needed?

There are different cases in which a tooth needs a crown- it can be after a root canal, a cracked tooth or a tooth that has a very large cavity and so after cleaning out the decay there is not much tooth structure left. In all these different cases a crown needs to be put on the tooth and the problem begins when the crown is in an anterior area of the mouth that is seen when smiling. This is where esthetic crowns come in.
The most standard crown usually consists of an inner layer of metal that is then coated with porcelain to give a white and shiny color to the tooth. The problem with these crowns is sometimes the silvery color of the metal shows through the porcelain and makes the look of the tooth metallic.

CAD/CAM high- strength ceramics

New technology has given the opportunity of creating highly esthetic crowns using special computer assisted machinery. The crown is designed on the computer and then the design is transmitted to special machinery that creates the actual crown. The materials used for these types of crowns are colorless or different shades of white, thus solving the problem of a metallic appearance. Two materials commonly in use in this process are sintered aluminum oxide and zirconia.

When dealing with the front teeth it is very important to choose the right kind of crown in order to create the best possible smile. Dr. Schuman has great experience in choosing the right treatment for you.

No-prep Veneers

No-Prep Veneers

‘No-prep veneers’ is a new technique of coating the outer front surface of the tooth without needing any preparation. In the past in order to achieve an esthetic result it was necessary to shave off the outer layer of the tooth before connecting the porcelain sheet to the tooth surface. In the no-prep veneer technique no tooth material is lost, and the thin coating is just added over the tooth surface.

no prep veneers

How it works

New materials make it possible for the dentist to place a very thin layer of restorative materials on the surface of the tooth. These materials are very sturdy and do not break under normal pressure used when chewing, biting and eating. This gives the dentist an opportunity to completely fix your smile and change your teeth to the way you want them to look. Dr. Ethan Schuman will be able to change anything from the shape, size, color and even position of your teeth without hurting or even scratching your actual tooth!

Advantages of No-prep veneers

  • Because the tooth is kept whole the process is reversible
  • The tooth does not become over-sensitive to atmosphere changes. When layers of the tooth are removed in order to create a veneer coating the inner areas of the tooth are exposed and this can create great sensitivity to changes in temperature. . This could cause great discomfort. Because in the No-prep veneer technique the tooth remains whole, there is no sensitivity created.
  • When the main esthetic problem is a gap between front teeth – called a diastema- usually the No- prep veneer technique will have the best results.

In conclusion, ‘No-prep veneers’ is an excellent way of creating an esthetic smile without touching or damaging the tooth surface. It is important to know that not all cases are adequate candidates for this technique. Dr. Ethan Schuman will discuss with you the pros and cons of each technique before deciding what suits your teeth and smile best.

Dental Veneers

Dental Veneers

 What are veneers?

Dental veneers are thin layers of porcelain made to fit the front surface of the tooth. They are made specifically to create the desired color and shape of your teeth in order to improve your appearance. The dental veneers are usually created for front teeth and are connected to the tooth with special bonding materials. Some dental veneers are created from resin composite materials instead of porcelain. Dr. Ethan Schuman will recommend which type of veneer is the best choice for your specific case.dental veneer


Uses for dental veneers:

– A tooth that is discolored, broken or chipped following an injury.
– A tooth that has had root canal treatment and become discolored. In this case another solution besides dental veneers is inner bleaching of the tooth.
– A tooth that is irregularly shaped or misaligned
– A way of closing gaps between front teeth if orthodontic treatment is not an option.

dental veneers

 The process

The first step in dental veneers is preparing the tooth- Dr. Schuman will remove about half a millimeter of the front tooth surface. This is the thickness of the veneer that will later be attached to the tooth.
The next step is making an impression of the tooth that the veneer will be placed on. This is in order to create a dental veneer that will fit your tooth exactly.
The last step is connecting the veneer to the tooth. This is done with special bonding materials that are suited to the color of the veneer.
It is very important to maintain strict oral hygiene after the veneer treatment. This is necessary in order to preserve the gum tissue around the veneers. If you are planning to whiten your teeth, this procedure must be done before placing the veneer because the color of the veneer is chosen compared to the surrounding teeth in order to blend in.
Dental veneers offer a conservative way of changing a tooth’s color, size, shape and even placement in the mouth. In Creve Coeur Dr. Ethan Schuman will be delighted to discuss with you the different options of creating a wonderful smile.

Teeth whitening

Teeth whitening

teeth whitening

Teeth whitening can be accomplished with a few different techniques, some involve dying the outer layer of the tooth and others use special materials that color the inner part of the tooth. There is also a difference between home- do-it-yourself kits and the bleaching that is used at the dental office.

At Creve Coeur Dr. Ethan Schuman has lots of experience in teeth whitening and will be able to create the right treatment for your specific needs.

Teeth whitening techniques

Whitening toothpastes– toothpastes contain mild abrasives which help remove surface stains from the teeth. Some toothpastes contain in addition polishing agents that help make your teeth lighter. Whitening toothpastes do not contain bleach and work only on the surface of the tooth.

Whitening strips or gels– whitening strips and gels contain a bleaching material, usually hydrogen peroxide. This helps increase the whitening effect and affects the inner layers of the tooth.  Strips or gel are sold over the counter and their effect lasts usually for a few months.

Whitening trays with gel– whitening trays are either sold over the counter or created specially at the dental office. The tray is filled with a peroxide based gel and placed on the teeth for a period of time daily- usually overnight.

Whitening at the dental office- in the dental office the whitening material is applied directly to the teeth. Results are immediate. Sometimes in order to achieve the exact shade that is desired several appointments are necessary. The bleach concentration in office applied whitening materials is considerably higher than home products.

Inner tooth whitening– this technique of teeth whitening is used after a root canal in which the tooth suddenly changed color – usually to a dull gray. This can occur because of the filling materials used in the root canal process. In inner whitening the temporary filling is removed and a bleach based material is inserted into the pulp cavity of the tooth.

At Creve Coeur Dr. Ethan Schuman will be glad to answer any questions concerning teeth whitening and the different possibilities available.

Invisalign braces

Invisalign braces

Invisalign braces are clear aligner trays that are changed constantly as the teeth move into place. Molds are taken of the patient’s mouth and from them custom-made clear plastic aligners are created. These aligner trays help shift the teeth into their proper position.

Invisalign braces


Invisalign braces treatment- the process:

The first step when arriving at the dental clinic of Dr. Ethan Schuman is x-rays and a thorough examination. This is in order to see whether invisalign braces are right for your specific case. Impressions will be taken of your mouth. If your case is one that can be treated with invisalign a full treatment plan will be created using virtual 3-d techniques. The virtual program will show the series of movements your teeth will go through till the final result. This enables you to see the way your teeth will look at the end of the treatment even before you begin. A series of invisalign braces will then be created for you. These consist of clear trays you wear on your teeth and change every couple of weeks as your teeth move into place.

At Dr. Ethan Schuman of St. Louis there will take place regular checkups as the treatment progresses to make sure the process is satisfying and the invisalign braces are comfortable.

The amount of time the treatment takes depends on a few different factors such as the complexity of the treatment and varies from patient to patient.

Costs and considerations

The cost of invisalign braces is usually only slightly higher than metal braces. The cost can vary depending on how complicated your specific case is and how many aligners are necessary in order to achieve the final perfect smile. The huge advantages that invisalign braces offer- being virtually invisible and being able to take the aligners out in order to eat and clean- often outweigh the slight difference in price.

Invisalign orthodontics

Invisalign orthodontics

Invisalign orthodontics treatment is a new way to straighten your teeth without metal braces!

If you want your crooked teeth to look better Dr. Ethan Schuman has the solution-

The invisalign technique is personalized for you using a custom-made series of aligners. Because it is almost invisible, it is a great solution for people who always wanted to straighten their teeth but where embarrassed of wearing metal braces.

Invisalign Orthodontics

How it works

Special molds are taken of the patients teeth and from them aligners are created. The aligner trays are made of clear plastic and fit exactly on the patients’ teeth. Wearing the aligners gradually enables the teeth to shift into place according to the treatment plan your dentist created ahead of time.

Cases treated with Invisalign orthodontics

  • Gapped teeth- teeth with gaps between them as a result of missing teeth or a difference between the size of the mouth and teeth.
  • Overbite- when the upper front teeth cover a large portion of the lower front teeth.
  • Underbite- when the lower teeth cover the upper teeth.
  • Open bite – when the upper teeth do not make physical contact with the lower teeth.
  • Overly crowded teeth.
  • Cases of relapse after fixed orthodontic treatment

Advantages of Invisalign orthodontics

  • Invisable- because the trays fit right on your teeth they are virtually invisible. This is a huge advantage when it comes to esthetics.
  • Coloring- many times when metal braces are finally taken off their suddenly appears a discoloring between the area that was covered by the metal brace and the rest of the tooth. This can also be very unaesthetic and need further treatment even after the teeth are straight.
  • Oral hygiene- because the invisalign trays are removable, while straightening your teeth you can continue to care for them and brush and floss. This is very important so as not to create cavities while straightening your teeth.

Dr. Ethan Schuman of St. Louis specializes in the invisalign technique and can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing and while keeping your mouth healthy and clean!

Common Problems Caused by Teeth Grinding

teeth grindingWhether you do it when you’re awake or asleep, teeth grinding can lead to numerous dental problems later on. Known in the dental and medical community as bruxism, it’s an all-too-common condition that occurs in some 30-50 million Americans. Unfortunately, most people go throughout their daily lives completely oblivious to the negative health effects of teeth grinding. It’s not until the condition has created unwanted side effects that most people realize the true impact of grinding their teeth.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Before we go into some of the problems associated with teeth grinding, let’s first discuss the causes of this condition. One of the most common causes of teeth grinding is stress (mental, not physical). It’s a common assumption that stress is only psychological and doesn’t manifest itself through physical symptoms; however, this simply isn’t true.

According to StatisticsBrain.com, 77% of people living in the U.S. report regular physical symptoms brought on by stress, including teeth grinding. When you’re stressed, the muscles in your body instinctively tighten. In turn, this forces the jaw shut, causing the individual to grind his or her teeth.

Other causes of teeth grinding include the temporormandibular joint (or TMJ, the jaw joint), insomnia, gum disease, and malocclusion (misalignment). Children are more likely to grind their teeth, but this condition may appear in people of all ages.

Problems Caused by Teeth Grinding


You might be surprised to learn that grinding your teeth for long periods of time can trigger headaches. Constantly forcing pressure against your upper and lower jawbone stresses the nervous system, which may trigger a headache or migraine. It’s not uncommon for people to wake up with a headache and/or earache after grinding their teeth at night.

Damages Teeth

Of course, bruxism can also lead to tooth damage. The outer layer of enamel protecting our teeth is incredibly strong, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it will hold up under the stress of grinding. Grinding your teeth night after night may result in wearing of the enamel or even create cracks and fractures.

If you have any cavities, bridges or other dental work, grinding your teeth could leave them vulnerable to damage.

Underbite or Overbite

Teeth grinding increases the risk of developing an underbite or overbite. Whether you’re young, old or anywhere in between, your natural jaw position may shift due to bruxism. It’s not something that happens overnight, but several years of teeth grinding may lead to the development of either an underbite or overbite.

If you have problems resulting from teeth grinding or if you are in need of an emergency dentist in Creve Coeur, MO please contact the Schuman Center at (314) 432-1444.