General Dentistry

Caring for Your Body and Smile

We can’t emphasize it enough – your oral health and your whole body health are completely linked. Though the world has for decades treated general medicine and dentistry as two distinct fields, as if the mouth and the body are two separate systems, science is proving and acknowledging that when one is not healthy, the other will not be either. This is why we recommend placing just as much emphasis on your routine preventive and general dentistry care as you do on diet, exercise, and other preventive check ups like blood pressure checks or mammograms.

How Preventive Dental Care is Also Preventive
Medical Care

There are so many ways your body and mouth affect each other. While some are obvious, like the fact that an infected or abscessed tooth can lead to sepsis in your body, others are more subtle and not as easy to pinpoint. But subtle or not, any oral infection or damage can lead to extremely uncomfortable – sometimes even deadly – illnesses in the body. Let’s take gum disease as an example. Periodontal infection can be present without any noticeable symptoms or pain, at least in the beginning stages, yet lead to a breathtaking list of maladies including:

  • Cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks
  • Worsening diabetes
  • Obesity or difficulty losing weight
  • Respiratory disease from periodontal bacteria
  • Systemic inflammation
  • Immune system difficulties
  • Joint-replacement issues
  • Kidney disease
  • Complications in pregnancy
  • Fertility problems
  • Links to Rheumatoid arthritis

Not to mention problems that can cause social and emotional anxiety like bad breath, loose teeth, and tooth loss. There are even small-scale studies that suggest links between gum disease and Alzheimer’s!

And while gum disease tops the list of oral-systemic issues we treat and prevent, there are plenty more we watch out for here at our Edina dental office including oral cancer, dental damage from sports or nighttime clenching and grinding, frenulum tightness that can lead to speech impediments and pain, signs of sleep apnea, or any other problems with the craniofacial complex.

  • Comprehensive Exams
  • Oral Cancer Screenings
  • X-Rays
  • Hygiene
  • Periodontal Therapy
  • Fluoride Treatments
  • Mouthguards
  • Anesthesia
  • Emergency Care
  • Technology

Our comprehensive exams are our first introduction to your oral health, so we thoroughly analysis your teeth, gums, mouth, jaw, head, and neck to ensure that we can properly recommend your customized treatment plan. But don’t worry! There is nothing tedious or boring about these initial exams; patients love them and usually exclaim how much they have learned about their mouths! We use these first exams to acquire a baseline from which we can measure all other exams – and they don’t take nearly as long in spite of also being very comprehensive and in-depth. During these exams we continue our conversations about your health and your needs, gather input and opinion, then proceed to do everything from measuring your gum pockets and examining your oral tissue for signs of infection, inflammation, injury, or lesions; evaluate each of your teeth, including existing restorations; evaluate your chewing muscles, jaw joints, and how your teeth come together against each other; and check for any changes in the state of your teeth or other oral structures. We may include the use of digital photography, an intra-oral camera exam, and digital x-rays. It all adds up a great opportunity for you to fully understand and take charge of your own dental health while also allowing Dr. Brandenburg to catch any impending problems early, before they become more serious, costly and time-consuming to repair.

It may not be the cancer we hear about most, it may not even be something most people think about at all, but oral cancer is one of the fastest growing of all cancers and one for which the death rate has actually increased. The statistics are staggering: Every day, mouth cancer is diagnosed in about 100 people and it accounts for approximately  3% of cancers diagnosed in men and 2% in women. In addition, oral and pharyngeal cancers are particularly dangerous because symptoms can be very subtle and go unnoticed until the cancer prospers. And while oral and oropharyngeal cancers may seem rarer than other cancers, they aren’t. Neither are they innocuous. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “Oral cancer kills one person every hour, 24-7, 365!” That’s why we conduct a mouth, head, and neck screening for oral cancer, not only during your comprehensive exams, but also at every hygiene appointment. Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco and alcohol use, sun exposure, and a newly discovered and increasingly common cause – human papilloma virus, or HPV. If you or any member of your family use alcohol, tobacco, or are sexually active, please come see us for an oral cancer screening with regularity. It could save your life! Call us to schedule your oral cancer screening today.

Everyone knows how important it is to have regular dental x-rays taken – they allow us to see under the surface of your enamel to check for cavities, decay, and infection; the position of teeth that are still below the gum line such as unerupted wisdom teeth; gum disease; jawbone health; and other dental conditions not detectable in a visual exam.  But did you know that not all dental x-rays are created equally? Here at our Edina dental office, Dr. Brandenburg uses only digital x-rays powered by DEXIS imaging for an industry-leading imaging ecosystem. Our digital x-ray system not only allows us to cut imaging time from approximately 25 minutes to a scant five, it also exposes you to about 70% less radiation than conventional x-rays. In addition, DEXIS allows us to instantly process and view your ultra-clear and sharp images, enhance them for brightness and clarity, enlarge as needed, and archive them digitally for immediate access in your records at future visits.

Fresh, polished, bright – it’s how your teeth feel after a dental cleaning, especially when they are deep-cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler. Our team loves using an ultrasonic scaler because of how clean these innovative devices get your teeth, removing tartar and calculus, and reducing the number of harmful, infection-producing bacteria under your gum line. Our patients love the ultrasonic scalers because they reduce the need for scraping and planing with hand tools and instead allow us to deep clean your teeth with soft, sound-speed vibrations and a gentle jet of water.

We really emphasize regular hygiene visits here in our Minneapolis-area office because it is one of the easiest and most effective methods we have for keeping your teeth clean, your gums free of infection, and your teeth looking great, while also protecting the rest of your body from the devastating effects of periodontal disease.

If it has been a while since your last cleaning, don’t worry; we will never judge you or scold you. We will just celebrate your refreshed and renewed smile with you! Why not call us to schedule a tooth-scrubbing, dental-hygiene visit today?

If you haven’t read the introduction to our general and preventive dentistry page, you might want to stop, take a minute, and read it now. Why? We hate to seem repetitious, but your overall health is tightly bound up in your oral health – and that is especially true when it comes to your gums. Periodontal disease (infected gums) can really wreak havoc in your body, leading to everything from inflammation and immune-system problems to cancers, strokes, and heart attacks. In addition, periodontal disease can creep in with very subtle symptoms – sometimes so subtle you don’t even know you have a problem until your gums are swollen and your teeth are getting loose! We think the fact that it is so easy to overlook it’s probably why over 85 percent of people have some level of gum disease!

Do keep your eyes open for symptoms like:

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffiness or tenderness of the gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Loose-feeling teeth

If we do discover that you are showing the first signs of periodontal ill health, don’t worry. We can deep clean under the gums with our ultrasonic scaler, and quell any rising infection using ARESTIN® (minocycline HCl) Microspheres. Arestin sits inside the gum pockets to disrupt the biofilm, end the bacterial infection, and allow the gums to reattach to your tooth. Your gums will be better in no time and your body protected against the impacts of periodontal infection.

Fluoride. It’s a word that feels almost synonymous with childhood dentistry. But do you actually know what it is or what it does? Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in many things including foods, the soil, and your teeth. It can also be produced and added to all kinds of things from toothpastes and mouthrinses to city water. Why is it such a staple of childhood dentistry and why is it added to dental products and water? As a mineral, Fluoride is one of your teeth’s best friends – it remineralizes and strengthens teeth against natural wear, tear, and erosion that comes from just living life! Even the acidity in healthy-seeming fruit juices can take a toll on your enamel, clenching and grinding or periodontal infections can cause gums to recede, and root-caries can develop. That’s why we recommend Fluoride, not only for children, but for adults as well. Fluoride bonds to tooth structure, strengthening and hardening your teeth, making them more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars. It also reverses early decay. We think adults deserve to be protected too!

Speaking of protection, there are so many ways to prevent issues and protect your precious teeth – eating properly, using Fluoride, keeping up with regular dental cleanings and checkups. But one of the of the least-used resources for dental protection seems to us to be one of the most obvious – mouthguards! Here at the office of Heidi Brandenburg DDS, we design protective mouthguards for both children and adults.

Kids really benefit from the extra protection dentist-fitted and produced mouthguards offer over boil-and-bite or other over-the-counter protective gear so often used by young athletes. In fact, some studies show that boil-and-bite guards can be even more harmful to your child’s teeth than not wearing a mouthguard at all, while custom mouthguards have been shown to reduce your child’s risk for concussion by up to 50%! Plus, they fit your child’s teeth like a glove which means that they are much more comfortable – and that means your child will actually wear our guards when they need them!

We also offer bruxism or night guards for adult patients who tend to clench and grind their teeth at night. These guards comfortably cover your teeth, protecting them from wear and breakage.

Have you had past trauma in the dental chair? Do you feel a little shaky just picking up the phone to dial the dentist? Are you beginning to worry about the health of your smile but can’t bring yourself to make an appointment? We can help! Dr. Heidi Brandenburg and her Edina dental team want you to get the dentistry you need and deserve. That’s why we also offer a soothing and gentle experience that rivals a trip to the spa for relaxation. To augment our compassionate approach and gentle touch, we offer local anesthetic. Need to go back to the office right after your appointment and don’t want to embarrassment of having a numb mouth, WE GOT YOU COVERED! We can administer a reversing agent that will counteract the numbness. Just like that, you’ll regain full feeling and go on your way!

We also offer oral conscious sedation to our patients that may need a deeper level of sedation. This technique is not only perfect for those who get a little nervous about dentistry, but also for those who have a strong gag reflex, have trouble sitting for long periods of time, have some TMD pain, or find getting numb more difficult than most. We will prescribe a safe and effective relaxant for you to take before your appointment so you can arrive completely relaxed and at ease. Just ask for a neck pillow and blanket, some music on an ipad, and drift off while we do all the work. Because it does cause drowsiness, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

We set aside time every day during regular office hours, so please call us whether you are experiencing pain, a broken tooth, or other trauma. After hours, call our voicemail and you will receive instructions on how to reach Dr.Brandenburg. Do not hesitate to call – we want to know what is going on with your smile, especially when it hurts, so even if we can’t see you right away, we can talk you through what to do and how to get comfortable until we can see you. Your comfort is our top priority.

We really enjoy technology – and that doesn’t mean we have our phones in our hands all the time or are constantly scrolling through the smart TV to choose a show to play while we work. On the contrary. Our technology is generally not the entertainment kind, at least not here at work. Instead, we place all of our tech-nerdiness into geeking out over dental tools that make exams and treatments much easier and more effective for our patients.

We have a soft-tissue laser to treat all kinds of things from healing cold sores and lesions with a quick and painless zap to performing frenectomies and gum recontouring with no scalpels, bleeding, or sutures.

And if that isn’t impressive enough, we were one of the first offices in the area to use digital, intraoral-camera technology. These tiny, pen-shaped cameras fit easily in your mouth and allow us to show you clear, enlarged images of the inside of your mouth and the surfaces of your teeth, even in hard to reach or see areas. When we can show you what is happening, what we say has real meaning, allowing us to better communicate and educate you on your oral health.

At Dr. Brandenburg’s office, we know that you’re busy and don’t want to spend all day in a dental chair. That’s why, over 15 years ago, Dr. Brandenburg invested in a CEREC® machine. CEREC literally means, “Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics.” CEREC uses 3D, CAD/ CAM technology to allow Dr. Brandenburg to custom design, color match, craft, and place a beautiful, all ceramic crown or other restoration in one short visit. In fact, it usually only takes about an hour!

If you have any questions about our technology and how we use it to benefit you, please ask us at your next appointment or give us a call today!

Want to learn more about how preventive and general dentistry can help you stay healthier for life? Call our Edina dental office and talk to us today!