Austin Dentist Mike Meek,DDS, FAGD and David Tasch,DDS
Your Central Austin dentist for dental implants, invisible braces,
cosmetic dentistry and porcelain veneers since 1997

Back From Boston and Two Days with Bicon!

Bicon Dental Implants...I spent an afternoon with them back in May and realized that perhaps this "outside the mainstream" style dental implant stood further investigation. Through the summer, I did additional reading and had more than one conversation with my favorite implant surgeon, Dr. Steve Widner, about this protocol and product. We concluded that additional education was in order so on Sunday morning, well before daylight, Dr. Tasch, Dr. Cash, Dr. Root, Dr. Loveless, Dr. Widner and I boarded planes to fly to Boston to the Bicon World Headquarters. It was a very full two days of titanium implants, surgical protocols, and restorative procedures injected with good fellowship and one good meal at a fabulous steakhouse in Boston.

The Bicon system is know as the "short dental implant". It is very appealing to me because it allows us to place dental implants at sites that would normally require bone grafting and sinus lifts to allow for the normal 12-14mm long dental implant to be placed. This eliminates some significant cost to having an implant, eliminates additional surgery, and opens the opportunity to replace teeth to a much larger cohort of the population.

I am pleased to report that my first Bicon case was placed just last week and that my second case is in line for placement in the upcoming weeks. That is how cool this style of implant is! Much less risk in placement and little need for grafting or sinus lifts. If you need a tooth replacement there is just not much to say no to here with the Bicon short implant!

Before you check out the video, I want to thank Dr. Steve Widner for inviting me to attend the Bicon seminar with him.
Dr. Widner is a tremendous asset to my practice both with dental implants and also with all my surgical needs and I can't imagine practicing without him on my team.

Here's a video to watch about the process:

Local CE-Sybron Endo and Root Canal Therapies!

I know, I would rather __________ than have a root canal. Well, I don't disagree, but there are times when it just has to happen and Dr. Tasch and I enjoy the challenges of endodontics. On Friday, we ventured over to Round Rock to attend a course hosted by Sybron Dental. Sybron is one of the two top names in endodontic equipment and the company does an outstanding job of providing evidence based education for dentists. Our speaker was a endodontist from Houston that had some really great, down to earth, recommendations on how to succeed in an area of dentistry that typically only has about an 80% success rate over time.

By the end of the day, we had reviewed diagnosis, procedure planning and delivery, and also performed "root canal therapies" using the most up to date equipment on extracted teeth we brought from our practice. It was a great day of dental continuing education here in Austin and I really enjoyed having Dr. Tasch along.

I'll be taking a break from dental education over the summer, but I am already planning a trip to Boston in September for a restorative course on the Bicon Dental Implant system. I will be a two day, intensive course on the ins and outs of putting teeth on their unique product.

Until then, have a safe summer and let's hope I don't get an opportunity to show you my cool endodontic skills in the meanwhile!

Dr. M.

The Texas Meeting-The Texas Dental Assoication Annual Meeting

Each year, dentists in Texas flock to San Antonio for three days of continuing education. I was right in there with them for three classes. Thursday after working the morning at the office, I pointed my VW Touareg south and made it for an afternoon class on local anesthesia for difficult to get numb patients. Most all of you are what I call a cheap date at the dentist. One or two injections and we can work all day on you without any "ouch" events. Unfortunately, there are great number of people in the world that don't enjoy this sort of confidence. Due to variations in neuroanatomy, they often have had to endure dental procedures with only partial numbness. That just doesn't work for me and I have always worked for better and more reliable local anesthesia techniques. This course was all about that! Three hours of reviewing the anatomical variants and how to handle them so that the hard to numb patients can look forward to working with me. I love when I finish a procedure and the patient tells me that that was the first time they have had treatment that didn't hurt! Talking about good for your ego!

On Friday morning, I attended a class on oral surgery techniques. It was a hands on class where we gloved up and extracted teeth, performed mock "biopsies", flap procedures, and frenectomies, on pig mandibles. Yes, that is correct, pigs parts! It was a great technique review course and the three hours flew by as be elevated, sutured, excised, and extracted teeth and tissue of these fresh from the market pig jaws. I was pleased with the review and happy to report that I didn't learn much of anything new, just received reinforcement that the way I do things operatively is A-okay!

Friday afternoon was a bit more dry: Lithium Disilicate restorations(LD). LD restorations are all the rage in restorative dentistry today. The material is tremendously more strong than the porcelain you are used to having on your crowns and there is no ugly metal substructure to make that black line along the gums. I have placed many of these restorations and spent the three hours in this course to just pick up a few more facts and techniques relating to this material.

All things told, all three courses were really great to continue reinforcing the work we do at 38th Street Dental. The tools that are available to us as practioners are more and more specialized and diverse and I absolutely love it! Take a look at the "Real Cases by the Doctors" page to see some of the cool work that we are up to day to day at the office and don't be afraid to come in and talk with me about what we can do for you and your oral health!

BICON-Short Dental Implants...What?

Short dental is sort of an idea that runs counter to conventional thinking about what a site needs to be successful with a titanium dental implant. I had to go to this course. Wednesday afternoon found me sitting in Salon D at the Hilton next to Austin's Convention Center. The speaker was a doctor from Germany and he presented a ton of data relating to the clinical success of the Bicon Dental Implant system, and although I am not interested in the surgical placement of implants at this time, the system did demonstrate another way to get the same fantastic result that we have been delivering with the conventional length dental implant systems.

I'm not entirely certain that this product is exactly the right thing for wide spread, universal application, but it does offer us one more choice for challenging cases where a patient has been without teeth long enough that mother nature has resorbed most of the jawbone leaving us little osseous structure to place an implant. Because of this, I give it a thumbs up!

Here's a little blurb and video from their marketing materials:

The Bicon System is a unique dental implant system, offering the worldwide dental community a comprehensive solution since1985. Bicon’s engineers and clinicians have been responsible for many of the innovations in implant dentistry for decades. Bicon’s unique plateau design follows sound bioengineering principles which allow for the use of SHORT® Implants. Its unique bacterially-sealed, locking taper, implant to abutment connection provides for 360 ĚŠ of universal abutment positioning— offering restorative flexibility unmatched by other implant systems. The sloping shoulder of the Bicon implant consistently provides for gingivally aesthetic restorations. These restorations are easily achieved because the bone that is maintained over the shoulder of the implant provides support for the interdental papillae. Bicon’s unique design and its revolutionary clinical techniques have not only passed the test of time, but also continue to lead the field of implant dentistry. We welcome your joining Bicon clinicians from around the world, so that both you and your patients may also enjoy the clinical benefits of Bicon.

Dental Lasers-Standard Proficiency-The World of Laser's in Dentistry

It was time to get back on the road for a little more class work in lasers so Thursday afternoon found me driving back to Houston. I have been involved with lasers in dentistry going on five years now, but you can always learn something new. Two days of lecture and hands on work with diode lasers will definitely allow me to bring another pearl back to the practice and Dr. Coluzzi and Dr. Hoopingarner, the course instructors, are some of the most well know names in laser dentistry education. I'm talking about real fun here folks!

Seriously though, I couldn't practice without my 980nm Sirolaser. The surgical control that use of a diode laser doing both soft tissue cosmetic work and the day to day crown and bridge makes great outcomes easy to achieve! My patients get to enjoy excellent crown fit, healthy gum tissue, and faster/less painful recovery times. In addition, my crown procedures are about twenty to thirty minutes faster than they were when I used to prepare for a final impression with the conventional cord packing method.

One of the most interesting aspects of this two day class was a presentation by one of the associate professors there at the UT Dental Branch. Dr. Patel spoke on Low Level Laser Therapay(LLLT). That is a big old bunch of doctor talk for using light to accelerate healing. It is also known as "Photobiomodulation." This particular area of laser application is useful for things like treating apthous ulcers so they won't hurt during their seven to ten days of healing. It is also useful for desensitizing exposed root surfaces, but may also be used for managing facial pain.

I have treated a handful of cold sores and sensitive roots with our 980nm Sirolaser over the last few months and in every instance, we have improved the situation for patients. I have struggled to understand HOW this works and have even frustrated a couple of previous speakers trying to get a simple explanation. Well, Dr. Patel helped me understand more fully the mechanism by which radiating a lesion with collimated light works. This is a very exciting and intriguing aspect of laser dentistry for sure!

So next time you are in the chair and we hand you those funny dark green glasses, know we are working right on the cutting edge of soft tissue management, we are going to get a great result, and we are going to do it a lot more quickly than we did five years ago!

Here's the course description and a little bio about the speakers:

Course Description
Drs. Coluzzi and Hoopingarner will present lectures about laser fundamentals, tissue interaction, and safety as well as include a review of currently available instruments. Numerous clinical cases demonstrating soft and hard tissue procedures with several different lasers will be shown, and there will be a discussion of the benefits, advan- tages, and limitations.
The workshop sessions will use short demonstration methods and extensive hands-on procedures using several dif- ferent laser instruments. Participants will be guided in performing a variety of dental laser applications on pig jaws. For the dentist we will cover soft tissue surgery, soft and hard tissue crown lengthening, and tissue manage- ment for final impressions and tooth preparation with an Erbium laser. For the dental hygienist we will cover how to perform laser assisted Phase I periodontal therapy and special emphasis on procedures where lasers can be used to replace or supplement traditional dental instruments. We will cover procedures that are within guidelines of the TSBDE position statement approved on April 16, 2010 regarding the use of Lasers by Dental Hygienists. A wide variety of lasers will be utilized, including: Diode(s), Er:YAG, ErCr:YSGG, and Carbon Dioxide.
A Clinical simulation examination will be given and preparation material for the Academy of Laser Dentistry Standard Proficiency examination will be presented.

Juliana Barros, DDS, MS,
received her doctorate degree from University of Uberaba, Brazil and her post-graduate training in Restorative Dentistry at the University of Michigan, School of Dentistry. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston where she co-designed and co-directed an elective summer laser course at the University of Texas Dental Branch.

Donald J Coluzzi, DDS, is a 1970 graduate of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, retired from private practice after 35 years, but he continues as an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry. He holds Advanced Proficiency certificates and Mastership from the Academy of Laser Dentistry.

Charles Hoopingarner, DDS, is a 1973 graduate of The University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. He has maintained a private practice in Houston Texas since 1973. Dr. Hoopingarner is an adjunct Associate Professor at UTHSCH for eleven years and a Clinical Instructor at the Las Vegas Institute since 1997. He holds advance and standard proficiency certification by the ALD, is a Master of the Academy of Laser Dentistry.

Shalizeh Patel, DDS, received her degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School. She is an Assistant Professor at The University of Texas Health Dental Branch at Houston in the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Biomaterials. Dr. Patel co-designed and co-directed an elective summer laser course.

Lumineers-The No Tooth Reduction Veneer

I left from work Thursday evening to drive to Houston and attend a two day course on "Lumineers". As you may know, we place Lumineers here at 38th Street Dental and with each case I deliver, I grow to like the product more and more for veneering teeth. DenMat, the company that owns Lumineers, has really done a nice job of offering us a number of options for conservative, no tooth reduction or limited tooth reduction, veneers. With little or no grinding on the teeth, patients can have straight, white teeth. This two day course examined preparation, case submission, trouble shooting, and biomaterials involved in delivery of dental veneers for conservative cosmetic dentistry.

If you are interested in this patient friendly and practically reversible procedure, please call us and set up a consultation. I can even show you a real live example of Lumineers because one our office administrators recently asked me to Lumineer her smile and we completed her veneers case in the last week. When you hit the front door, ask Tina to show off her smile!

CPR Update

We had Mark G. of CPR Resources in the office today for our biannual CPR review. It has been fun to watch the American Heart Association revise the guidelines for how to revive a person in serious trouble. Nowadays, the AHA says we just need to compress that chest til EMS arrives! Research has shown that the need for the "mouth to mouth" stuff is unecessary...just keep their heart pumping!

I'm also proud to report that 38th Street Dental now has a Zoll Automatic External Defibrillator in the office along with state of the art pulse oximetry and blood pressure monitoring equipment. We are ready if that unspeakable event occurs in our office.

Las Vegas-Nobel Biocare/Widner OMS Implant Symposium

I was invited to attend a Nobel Biocare sponsored event in Las Vegas, Nevada with several dentists from here in Austin. We spent the better part of two days discussing the challenges of delivering both surgical and restorative care with dental implants. It was a wonderful event in a truly incredible setting. I managed to stay away from the casino and kept my head in the academic game both days and came away excited about the level of implant care we have been delivering in our practice and also about some additional procedures that I want to deploy with my patients. Dental implants are truly the best we have to offer in prosthetic care in dentistry and they have become an almost daily part of our general practice. If you are missing teeth or know someone who is, please, tell them about my passion for this procedure and have them come visit with me.

Okay, nothing else of my CE calendar for the next few weeks. I spent a few minutes at a couple of little meetings in Austin over the last two weeks, but have run out of events to attend. I'm looking forward to the Texas Meeting in San Antonio in May. If there is something you'd like me to go learn about, shoot me an email and I'll see if I can find a course!

Best regards,
Dr. Mike

Greater Houston Dental Meeting

Wednesday of last week found me loading up the truck and heading to Houston in the face of the coldest front we have seen in a good while. I checked into the Hilton next to the George R. Brown and spent the next two days immersed in all the in's and out's of enteral conscious sedation. The course was a two day, 12 hour certification course to allow for permitting to sedate with oral meds in combination. We spent hours talking about medical emergencies and how to handle them. Drugs to administer, drugs to avoid, drugs to avoid in combination. You name, Dr. Luce talked about it. By five o'clock Friday evening, we were all saturated in the nuances of benzodiazapines and narcotics!

Due to the horrible ice storm, I elected to spend one more night on the twenty second floor of the Hilton and attend another class on Saturday morning. Now this was truly a light study class....Dr. Rod Kurty speaking about his Kor Bleaching system. It was fun to see a doctor that has been successful in whitening teeth and hear about his experiences. Be sure to ask me about it if you are considering an in office procedure here in Austin. I think I'll provide some info that will cause you to pause!

So noon time Saturday rolled around and I hopped into my truck and hurried back on dry, safe roads to my honey!

Southwest Dental Conference

Now that the holiday season is over, it is time to get back to continuing education. I left for Dallas last Wednesday afternoon to attend lectures on a variety of topics. Thursday found me listening to speakers report on the current trends in rotary endodontics. That is root canal therapies and how to do them faster and better than we have been. This is an interesting area of dentistry because no two teeth are alike when you go to save them from extraction.

On Friday, I spent the day learning about one of my current favorites in daily practice-LASERS! I currently use a 980nm diode laser for managing soft tissue issues during surgery and I am constantly looking for expanded applications for this fantastic tool.

Saturday morning found me sitting in a lab class where we worked with denture impression techniques. Dentures are another interesting area of prosthetics and Dr. Strong brought some fantastic observations and techniques to teach us about making complete prosthetics more successful.

My next trip is first week of February to Houston for the Greater Houston Dental Meeting. I'll be taking a two day course on enteral sedation. Until then, I look forward to seeing you at the office!