May we design a smile for you?

People design home interiors, automobiles and fancy dresses. But a “smile design” — is there really such a thing? Yes!

At Furey Dental Group, smile design is all about giving our patients the smile they’ve
always wanted. It might involve teeth whitening, closing up the little gap between two
front teeth, fixing teeth that seem short or crooked, or integrating a combination of

I’m a strong believer in a “patient-centric” approach to smile design. In other words, we
carefully listen to you about your goals and desires before developing a design for your
smile. Once you’re comfortable with the design, we follow a proven, multi-step process
that helps ensure your satisfaction with the final outcome.

Beyond reviewing your goals, we can show you examples of various smile types,
taking us one step closer to your desired results. With your input, we can create a three-
dimensional mock-up of the proposed treatment; this serves as a blueprint for our
restoration work and as a guide for the talented ceramists who will fabricate your new
restorations. We can also produce a photographic simulation depicting how your smile
will look in real life.

Once you’ve approved the mock-up and photo simulation, we make any needed
adjustments to your design. Next, temporary restorations enable you to “test drive” your
new smile. Your feedback gives us the opportunity to fine tune the plan before your final
restorations are crafted.

Ultimately, we employ a combination of sound scientific principles and artistic
expression to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed about. Your smile should be
natural looking and as unique as you are (no “cookie-cutter” smiles here!). In addition, it
should be comfortable and last for many years to come.

If you’d like to know more about how we can design a smile for you, please give us a call
at 651-490-9011. In future blogs, I’ll provide insights into various types of smiles. Who
knows, we may even throw in a few celebrity smiles just for fun!

Big benefits from Mini Dental Implants

At Furey Dental Group, we’re constantly striving to stay on the cutting edge of dental
care technologies and procedures. Nowhere is this more true than with the use of 3M
Mini Dental Implants (MDIs).

For several years, I’ve been a certified 3M MDI provider. However, as with almost
everything else in dental care, MDIs are always evolving, and I recently attended a 3M
conference on the latest MDI updates and new applications.

What’s the difference between an MDI and a standard dental implant? For starters, MDIs
cost about one-third as much as standard implants.

Size is another important consideration. A typical standard implant measures 4 to 5
millimeters in diameter, while MDIs range from 1.8 to 2.9 millimeters. While this might
not seem like a lot, the implications for our patients are significant. MDIs require a much
less invasive procedure versus standard implants, and the healing process is substantially

MDIs can be a tremendous benefit for people who wear dentures. Even the best-fitting
dentures may feel loose. By anchoring the lower denture with MDIs, patients may
feel almost as if they have natural teeth again. Plus, because patients don’t have to go
through a long healing process, they can wear their dentures the same day they have their

We also use MDIs for replacing individual teeth, especially small teeth in front. And,
as is the case with dentures, we can install a temporary crown on the same day as the
implants. One of our patients, Julia, shared these comments about her MDI experience:

“It couldn’t have been a better experience. The process was fast and virtually
painless. I have more confidence to go with my beautiful smile, thanks to Dr.
Furey and his staff. I can’t recommend them too highly.”

Feel free to call us at 651-490-9011 if you’d like to know more about our MDI
procedures or to schedule an MDI consultation.

An update on my voice disorder

About eight years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia (SD). By 2009 the disorder had progressed to the point where I feared I would have to retire from practicing dentistry.

Although there is no cure for SD, I tried many treatments and therapies to regain the use of my voice. However, it wasn’t until I connected with an 80-year-old former opera singer who now coaches voice that I began to relearn how to use my voice. After nearly two years of intensive work with her, I am happy to report that my voice is functioning normally again.

I’ve received many inquiries about my struggle with this disorder, which is why I decided to provide this update. I truly appreciate everyone’s expressions of support and concern through this difficult process.

First annual Mission of Mercy: 2,000+ individuals receive free dental care

As someone reading this blog, you probably practice good oral hygiene and seek dental care on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many Minnesotans do not, or cannot, obtain the dental care that is essential for healthy living.

In August, 2012, I was privileged to participate in the first annual Minnesota Mission of Mercy, held in Mankato. More than 2,000 individuals received free dental care
valued at an estimated $1.3 million. Services included intake and examination, X-
ray and diagnosis, children’s dentistry, adult restorative dentistry, oral surgery and
prosthodontics. The event was cosponsored by the Minnesota Dental Association and the
Minnesota Dental Foundation.

I spent my day in oral surgery — where the need was the greatest — performing minor
surgery and extracting teeth that were unrestorable from years of neglect and disease. My
wife, Kathi, assisted patients with finding their way around the clinic.

The mood was very upbeat, and my long day (5:30 am. to 4 p.m.) actually flew by with
a steady flow of patients. By the end of the day, all of us who volunteered our services
were tired and hungry. At the same time, we felt a great sense of accomplishment, and
we were humbled by the sincere gratitude shown by our patients. Here’s one of the many
positive comments we received:

“Thank you! What an amazing group of volunteers! Thank you for taking time out of your
busy lives to help today. You have made a gigantic difference in our lives. Bless all of
you” ~ Chrystal, North Mankato, MN

We look forward to volunteering for next year’s Mission of Mercy in Bemidji.


Implants in an instant? What about these Dental Implant Centers?

You may have seen the full page ads in the newspapers or the billboards along the freeways.  “Teeth in a day” by “the leading experts in the field of implant dentistry”.  Never in the history of dentistry have we seen such a marketing blitz.  Dental Implant Centers (DICs) such as Clear Choice, which now has 34 centers located all over the country, have been tapping in to the growing consumer demand for instant access to information and services.

These centers are the result, partly, in the rapid development of new technologies that have resulted in protocols that can potentially allow the process of replacing missing teeth to be much less time consuming.  They tend to be based on particular protocols such as the “all on 4″ process the allows for a full arch of teeth to be placed on only four dental implants.  These protocols are not unique to these centers.  Traditional dental offices working with their team of specialist have been doing this for years now.  What is different is that these centers focus on a more narrow range of options which allows them to be very streamlined and efficient but some have expressed concern that they may be applying a “cookie cutter” approach to care.  There is no doubt that these techniques can be successful if performed with meticulous attention to detail and applied to patients who meet the criteria for care.

What are the advantages of these DICs to a patient?  They can be a convenient way to address their needs for tooth replacement with everything under one roof.  If they are appropriate candidates for the specific procedures offered they will, most likely get good results.  Will they get teeth in a day?  This is very misleading to consumers.  The answer is that they can get teeth on the same day as surgery but they will be provisional restorations (temporaries) with the final permanent restorations being placed about eight months later.  The will also have a consultation appointment and a records appointment prior to any surgery.

What are possible disadvantages to this approach?  Because of the very focused approach to treatment patients may not have all options for care presented and explained to them.  Care is provided by people who have no relationship to the patient as does their family dentist.  As mentioned previously, the process may take much longer than eluded to in the marketing.  There is still some concern by experts in the field of implantology about supporting up to 14 teeth on just 4 implants and loading them with temporary teeth immediately.  An extensive body of research suggest the need for implants to integrate with bone prior to accepting load for proper healing.  These procedures are quite expensive.  By focusing on this highly lucrative niche in dental care these companies can afford their huge marketing budgets and continue their rapid expansion in the dental marketplace but patients may not be getting less expensive options offered to them.

This philosophy is in opposition to many in the profession who believe in  a more personal approach to patient care, one in which all options to care are thoroughly explained and the most conservative approach is chosen given the patients circumstances and desires.  One in which working with a highly trained and highly qualified interdisciplinary team of local professionals is the best recipt for success.

Are we really ready for “McImplants”?  Is this style of dentistry the wave of the future?  Maybe.  Is there a place for franchised dentistry in today’s marketplace?  Sure.   Are these DICs really a clear choice?  Hardly.

Celebrating 30 years!

The month of August marks the thirtieth anniversary of our practice.  It’s an occasion to celebrate, but also another opportunity to thank our many patients and friends for their loyal patronage over the years.

Like many milestones, this one finds us wondering, “could it really be that long?” So much has happened since we started the practice.  Increasing applications of computer technology, new cosmetic dentistry techniques, significant advancements in materials and techniques, the introduction of dental implants are but a few of the many developments we could hardly have predicted a few decades ago.

Who knows what the face of dentistry will look like in another decade?  One thing we’re sure of ,  we’ll be there, and we’ll be prepared to serve you with the latest and best the field of dentistry has to offer.  But more important than technology alone, we’ll continue to be guided by a concern for your “total dental health”, including your comfort and peace of mind.

Thank you for choosing The Furey Dental Group for your dental care.  You are the reason our practice has enjoyed thirty years of success with the promise of many more to come.  It is you who present us with the day-to-day challenges, satisfaction and joy that make our job worth doing.  And your kind referrals enable us to both grow and improve.

Thanks again for 30 years!

Jaw dropping performance!

What do Adrian Peterson , Joe Mauer, Lindsey Vonn and hundreds of other professional and amateur athletes have in common?  They all wear custom made ArmourBite performance enhancing mouth-wear by Under Armour.  With designs for use in both contact and non-contact sports,  ArmourBite mouthpieces and mouth-guards can benefit any athlete in any sport.

Your jaw is the key to unlocking  power and performance you never knew was there.  The concept has been around for hundreds of years.  Ancient Greek athletes bit down on leather straps for an edge during competition.  Viking and Roman warriors clamped down on bits of leather for focus on the battlefield.  They knew it worked but they didn’t understand why.  Now we do.

The secret lies in your jaw.  Whenever you train or compete, the natural reaction is to clench your jaw.  It’s part of the “fight or flight” hard wiring in your brain.  This leads to a cascade of chemicals in the body, such as cortisol, which sap energy and inhibits focus.  ArmourBite mouthpieces employ patented “Power Wedges“ that are uniquely shaped to help maintain optimal spacing of the jaw and counteract the negative effects of clenching.  By unlocking the power of the jaw, ArmourBite helps you unleash your full potential and perform better in any sport.

Independent, peer reviewed studies held at some of the nation’s top universities and research centers show that ArmourBite works.  With more airflow and less stress it improves strength by an average of 17%.  Lactic acid buildup is reduced by 25% after 30 minutes resulting in increased endurance and decreased recovery time.  Clinical trials showed that ArmourBite speeds reaction time by improving response to both auditory and visual cues.  Performance robbing athletic stress is reduced by decreasing the amount of excess cortisol. ArmourBite also delivers exceptional protection against impact to the jaw which can lead to concussions by reducing the effects of G-Force impact to their jaw by up to 20%.

Under Armour Performance Mouthpieces are backed by some of the biggest names in pro sports and recommended by dentists, pro trainers, strenght coaches and wellness experts. But it isn’t just for pros.  It’s for all athletes at any level who want to perform better.

Under Armour mouthpieces are custom fabricated by an Under Armour certified dentist in a simple, three step process.  First, your dentist determines what design is right for you and takes impressions of your teeth.  Next, the impressions are sent to Under Armours lab where the mouthpiece is fabricated.  Third, the mouthpiece is shipped back to your dentist for final fitting.  The whole process takes about ten days.  The cost varies from about $250 – $300 depending on design.  Custom colors, straps names and numbers can be included.

Visit for more information or give us a call to schedule an appointment for your own fitting and take your performance to a new high.

The Safety of Dental Composites

Recently there have been reports that certain resins and composites used to restore and seal teeth may, potentially, release the toxin bisphenol A (BPA).  This is the same chemical that was earlier linked to plastic baby bottles and water bottles.  There have been prime time news reports suggesting that even sealants on children’s teeth may put them at risk of BPA exposure.  This news has both patients and dentist wondering about the safety of the materials that are most commonly used to restore and protect teeth.

Since, in our practice, we use the 3M line of composites and resins we contacted 3M to find out the facts about their products.  3M has performed biocompatability assesments on all their products potentially impacted by this issue and has confirmed that they are safe for their intended use.  They state that no BPA is added to any of their materials currently on the market.  Like many other dental manufactures, 3M uses the material BisGMA in many of their resins and bonding agents.  BisGMA (Bisphenol A diglyceride ether methacrylate) is not the same as Bisphenol A.  Studies show that BisGMA is stable when used as intended and does not break down to BPA.  These studies were summerized and the findings confirmed in the journal “Pediatrics” (”Bisphenol A and Related Compounds in Dental Materials”, online September 6, 2010).

The “Pediatrics” article notes that the material Bisphenol A dimethacrylate (BisDMA) may release BPA but is not the same as the BisGMA found in most dental products.  3M does not use BisDMA in their dental products.

We are commited to the health and safety of our patients as are reputable dental product manufactures such as 3M.  We are confident that the products we use to treat our patients are safe and effective and of the highest quality.  We hope that this information allays any concerns about the safety of this important class of dental materials.

Minimally Invasive Dentisty

Minimally invasive dentistry is a concept and a philosophy that refers to the practice of doing as little as necessary to achieve a desired result.   Advancements in technology and techniques allow us to restore, repair, and enhance the appearance of teeth often with much less preparation or removal of natural tooth structure than what was necessary in the past.  The advantages are obvious.  Less preparation or manipulation of natural tooth structure during treatment can mean less trauma to the teeth which can mean less chance of post treatment sensitivity or chance of damage to the sensitive pulp tissues within the tooth.  Less invasive procedures can help preserve the strength and integrity of teeth and treatment can often be performed in less time and at less cost.  In short, minimally invasive dentistry means accomplishing treatment goals with less time, less trauma, less cost and, utilizing current technology, with enhanced outcomes.  Some of the technologies that allow us to practice minimally invasive dentistry include;

Advance bonding technologies that reduce the need to remove tooth structure in placing dental restorations

Decay detecting dyes that allow us to be very precise when removing decay from a tooth and avoid having to remove healthy tooth structure in the process.

Reinforced ceramics which allows for the fabrication of dental restorations that require less bulk for strength.  An example of this would be the new ultra thin porcelain veneers which require minimal or no removal of natural tooth structure.

Laser decay detection systems such as Diagnodent and digital radiography with image enhancement capabilities which allow for earlier detection of dental decay and therefore more conservative restoration.

Dental implants that allow for the replacement of a missing or lost tooth without having to prepare the adjacent teeth for a conventional fixed bridge.

Mini implants that can sometimes be used in place of a conventional dental implant and involve less time, surgical manipulation, and less cost.

-  CAD/CAM orthodontic systems such as Invisalign which can align teeth without having to bond brackets to all the teeth and allows removal of the appliances for easier cleaning and eating.

-  Treatment of periodontal disease utilizing localized ultrasonic instrumentation and placement of resorbable antibiotics to treat pockets instead of gum surgery.

And a whole list of preventive procedures which could be considered the ultimate in minimally invasive dentistry.  After all, preventing dental disease is the least invasive dental care of all.

Even with our best efforts and most advanced technology nothing can rival the strength, beauty, comfort, and functionality of  healthy natural teeth in proper alignment.   When teeth are in need of repair or enhancement the less we have to do the better as long as the treatment or aesthetic goals are met.    Make sure that you and your dentist consider the concept of minimally invasive dentistry in making any treatment decisions.

The Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

“The only thing that warms a heart as much as a beautiful song is a beautiful smile.”     - Garth Brooks

How do you feel about your smile?  Is it dingy and dark or healthy and bright?  Is it an asset or a liability?  Whether we like it or not, people do tend to judge us by our appearances.  The way we look can say a lot about our attitude, our health, and the way we feel about ourselves. A radiant smile exudes warmth and self confidence and helps one feel at ease around others.  Our smiles are an important part of our non verbal communication and studies have shown that our smile is the first thing that people notice when meeting for the first time.

Unfortunately for many, our smiles do not always reflect who we are and how we feel inside.  We may feel inhibited to smile giving people we meet a false sense of being unfriendly or closed off or lacking in self confidence.  Some people even go so far as to cover their mouths when smiling to avoid embarrassment.

For those who are not blessed with a natural beautiful smile or for those who just want to enhance an already attractive smile to be the best that they can be, Cosmetic Dentistry can offer both physical and psychological benefits.  The better we feel about ourselves the more confident we appear to others and there is evidence to suggest that our appearance and self confidence even effects how successful we are in our careers and relationships.

What exactly is Cosmetic Dentistry and is it  really expensive?  Actually, cosmetic dentistry is anything that we can do to enhance the appearance of the smile.  It may be as simple as whitening the teeth with a bleaching agent or as complex as a complete smile makeover with veneers.  It could involve orthodontics to align crooked teeth or implants to restore missing teeth.  In many respects much of modern dentistry is cosmetic in nature.  Even routine fillings are made to match the color of your own teeth but, for the purposes of this discussion, we will refer to cosmetic dentistry as that which is done for the primary purpose of enhancing the smile.

Each patient will need to discuss with their dentist the goals  and the appropriate options for their unique condition.  Generally the “less is best” principle applies.  Often dramatic enhancements can be achieved with simple and relatively inexpensive procedures such as whitening.  The popularity of tooth whitening is evidenced by the fact that it is now a multi billion dollar a year industry world wide.  Whitening can significantly brighten a dingy smile and can be accomplished gradually using over the counter products or dentist supplied systems at home or rapidly with an in office system such as Zoom.   A whiter brighter smile can have a dramatic impact on how we feel about ourselves and how othere see us.

When problems such as tooth size, shape, position or already existing restorations exist than whitening may not be appropriate by itself.  Dramatic smile makeovers can often be achieved utilizing porcelain bonded veneers which can alter color, shape, size, and even mild misalignment of teeth.  Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the front surfaces of teeth and are custom designed to achieve the desired effects.  High tech veneers can often be done with little or no preparation to the teeth and are extemely durable and long lasting.  With careful planning an experienced and talented dentist/ceramist team can create absolutely beautiful and natural looking smile makeovers.

There will be cases where even veneers may not be able to fully restore a compromised smile due to tooth position or facial imbalances.  In these cases orthodontic movement of teeth may be indicated to realign teeth.  Orthodontic movement of teeth can be accomplished with conventional braces but in cosmetic cases can often be done with the Invisalign system of aligning teeth with clear removable aligners which are almost invisible during wear.

It should be emphasized that any dental treatment, including cosmetic dentistry, should put the health of your teeth and mouth first.  A good cosmetic dentist will avoid doing anything to your teeth that will compromise their health.  Whatever is designed should support healthy function and allow you to maintain a clean and health oral environment.

So, if you think you would like to experience the benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry, have a discussion with your dentist find out how you can have the smile of your dreams.  Remember, you only have one chance to make a great first impression so why not wow ‘em with a dazzling smile!