General Restorative Services

Water’s Edge Dentistry is committed to providing excellent dental care to people of all ages. Nearly 50% of the population feels nervous or uncomfortable about going to the dentist or having dental procedures done. At Water’s Edge Family and Cosmetic Dentistry we understand the importance of helping patients feel relaxed and comfortable during dental procedures. 

We offer:

Preventive Services
Maintaining good oral health stops disease before it takes hold in your mouth. Regular exams (including diagnostic images such as x-rays) and professional teeth cleanings are the number one way to protect your oral health. Routine visits include a thorough examination of your mouth (including teeth, gums and other structures), a professional cleaning and a discussion about your dental (and overall) health. If there are any problems presenting, we talk with you about your options to help you determine a treatment plan that works best for you.

Restorative Services
When a problem is found, we work with you to create a timely and appropriate treatment plan. From fillings to dental trauma, we will diagnose and treat the causes of tooth pain or periodontal (gum) disease. We also offer treatments for missing teeth (crowns or bridgework) and full mouth restoration services.

Nearly 50% of the population feels nervous or uncomfortable about going to the dentist or having dental procedures done. At Water’s Edge Family and Cosmetic Dentistry we understand the importance of helping patients feel relaxed and comfortable during dental procedures.

If you feel that sedation is necessary for your dental care, give us a call to learn more about our sedation dentistry.

We offer Oral Conscious Sedation.

Take a pill one hour before your appointment and you can relax or sleep through your visit. With oral sedation we can often complete all your dentistry in one visit. Oral sedation is very safe. The pills stay in a patient’s system for several hours after the appointment, so there are few complaints of pain after procedures are completed.

How You May Feel

Most patients remember nothing about their treatment. A few will remember a little, usually at the end of the appointment when we are getting them ready to go home. You will need someone to bring you to our office on the day of your sedation appointment and you MUST have someone take you home afterwards.

Safety of Sedation

The reason that we use oral sedation is because of its safety. We use monitoring equipment to monitor your pulse and blood pressure. You’ll be done before you know it, completely unaware of the time passing, totally relaxed.


Dr. Dahlkemper uses technology that creates a beautiful, esthetic, strong and durable ceramic restoration that is precisely bonded to the tooth.

It is accomplished using a digital scan of the prepared tooth and creating the restoration’s design using powerful 3D software that allows the dentist to customize the result.


A bridge is one of the few options that you have when deciding how to deal with a missing tooth or teeth. The replacement of these missing teeth is necessary in order to maintain the proper mouth functions. Tooth loss can affect the way you eat, speak, and the alignment of other teeth in your mouth.

Types of Bridges

A bridge, by definition, is a link or connection between two permanent structures. A dental bridge is very similar in that it attaches the restorative teeth (bridge) to the natural teeth on either side of the gap. This bridge acts as your new teeth, closing the gap and restoring your smile. Bridges are often constructed of gold or metal foundations with porcelain fused to the foundation. This ensures that the bridge will support the normal functions of the mouth.

There are three main types of bridges:

  • Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
  • Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
  • Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain teeth and gums supported by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.

When should I schedule my child’s first trip to the dentist? Should my 3-year-old be flossing? How do I know if my child needs braces?

Many parents have a tough time judging how much dental care their kids need. They know they want to prevent cavities, but they don’t always know the best way to do so.

When Should Dental Care Start?

Proper dental care begins before a baby’s first tooth appears. Just because you can’t see the teeth doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Teeth actually begin to form in the second trimester of pregnancy. At birth, your baby has 20 primary teeth, some of which are fully developed in the jaw. Running a damp washcloth over a baby’s gums daily will help clear away harmful bacteria. Parents can brush kids’ teeth as they come in with an infant toothbrush, using water with just a smear of toothpaste until about age 2.

Around age 2, most kids can spit while brushing. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, with supervision, until around age 5.

Even babies can develop tooth decay if good feeding habits aren’t practiced. Putting a baby to sleep with a bottle might be convenient, but can harm the baby’s teeth. When the sugars from juice or milk remain on a baby’s teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel, creating a condition known as bottle mouth. Pocked, pitted, or discolored front teeth are signs of bottle mouth. Severe cases result in cavities and the need to pull all of the front teeth until the permanent ones grow in.

Parents and childcare providers should help young kids set specific times for drinking each day because sucking on a bottle throughout the day can be equally damaging to young teeth.

Preventing Cavities

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist take place by the first birthday. At this visit, the dentist will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques (you need to floss once your baby has two teeth that touch) and conduct a modified exam while your baby sits on your lap. Such visits can help in the early detection of potential problems, and help kids become used to visiting the dentist so they’ll have less fear about going as they grow older.

If a child seems to be at risk for cavities or other problems, the dentist may start applying topical fluoride even before all teeth come in (this also can be done in the pediatrician’s office). Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, helping to ward off the most common childhood oral disease – dental cavities (also called dental caries).

Cavities occur when bacteria and food left on the teeth after eating are not brushed away. Acid collects on a tooth, softening its enamel until a hole – or cavity – forms. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it more difficult for acid to penetrate.

Although many towns require tap water to be fluoridated, others don’t. If your water supply is not fluoridated or if your family uses purified water, ask your dentist for fluoride supplements. Most toothpastes contain fluoride but toothpaste alone will not fully protect a child’s teeth. Be careful, however, since too much fluoride can cause tooth discoloration. Check with your dentist before supplementing.

Discoloration also can occur from prolonged use of antibiotics, and some children’s medications that contain a large amount of sugar. Parents should encourage kids to brush after they take their medicine, particularly if the prescription will be used for a long time.

Brushing at least twice a day and routine flossing will help maintain a healthy mouth. Kids as young as age 2 or 3 can begin to use toothpaste when brushing, under supervision. Kids should not use a lot of toothpaste – a pea-sized amount for toddlers is just right. Parents should always make sure that kids spit out the toothpaste instead of swallowing.

As your child’s permanent teeth grow in, the dentist can help seal out decay by applying a thin wash of resin to the back teeth, where most chewing occurs. Known as a sealant, this protective coating keeps bacteria from settling in the hard-to-reach crevices of the molars.

Dental research has resulted in better preventive techniques, including fillings and sealants that seep fluoride, but seeing a dentist is only part of good tooth care. Home care is equally important. For example, sealants on the teeth do not mean that a child can eat lots of sweets or skip daily brushing and flossing – parents must work with kids to teach good oral health habits.

If Your Child Has a Problem

If you are prone to tooth decay or gum disease, your kids may be at higher risk as well. Therefore, sometimes even the most diligent brushing and flossing will not prevent a cavity. Be sure to call your dentist if your child complains of tooth pain, which could be a sign of a cavity that needs treatment.

New materials mean pediatric dentists have more filling and repair options than ever. Composite resin (white filling) is the substance of choice for fillings in permanent and primary teeth, because they do not cause stress on the teeth like metal fillings. These resins bond to the teeth so the filling won’t pop out and can be used to rebuild teeth damaged through injury or conditions such as cleft palate. Tooth-colored resins are also more attractive.

But in cases of fracture, extensive decay, or malformation of baby teeth, dentists often opt for stainless steel crowns. Crowns maintain the tooth while preventing the decay from spreading.

Extracting primary teeth may be necessary in circumstances when decay has left very little to no healthy tooth structure behind required to restore a tooth. However, it is very important to remember that if extract a primary tooth before the permanent tooth has developed it is very important to have a space maintaining device placed by a dentist in order to allow proper development of the arch. Research by the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) shows that children who have their primary teeth extracted before their permanent teeth are fully developed have a much higher rate of developing jaw issues, including TMJ disorders, deformities in the jaw, and extreme teeth crowding/spacing, as a teenager or an adult.


As kids grow older, their bite and the straightness of their teeth can become an issue. Orthodontic treatment begins earlier now than it used to, but what once was a symbol of preteen embarrassment – a mouth filled with metal wires and braces – is a relic of the past. Kids as young as age 7 now sport corrective appliances, and efficient, plastic-based materials have replaced old-fashioned metal.

Dentists know that manipulation of teeth at a younger age can be easier and more effective in the long run. Younger children’s teeth can be positioned with relatively minor orthodontia, thus preventing major orthodontia later on.

In some rare instances, usually when a more complicated dental procedure is to be performed, a dentist will recommend sedative anesthesia be used. Don’t be afraid to question the dentist. Giving your child an early start on checkups and good dental hygiene is an effective way to help prevent this kind of extensive dental work. Encouraging kids to use a mouthguard during sports also can prevent serious dental injuries.

As kids grow, plan on routine dental checkups anywhere from once every 3 months to once a year, depending on the dentist’s recommendations. Limiting intake of sugary foods and regular brushing and flossing all contribute to a child’s dental health. Your partnership with the dentist will help ensure healthy teeth and a beautiful smile.

Have questions about dentures? We’ve got answers!

What are Dentures?
Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.

There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Dr. Dahlkemper will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.

How do Dentures Work?
With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.

Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. Dr. Dahlkemper will determine which of the three types of dentures described below is best for you:

Conventional Full Denture

A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and gum tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth.

Immediate Full Denture

An immediate full denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. (Dr. Dahlkemper takes measurements and make models of your jaw during a prior visit.) While immediate dentures offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must be relined several months after being inserted. The reason is that the bone supporting the teeth shrinks and reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.

Partial Denture

A partial denture rests on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable alternative to bridges.

How Long Before I Get Used to My Dentures?
New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. Eating and speaking with dentures might take a little practice. A bulky or loose feeling is not uncommon, while the muscles of your cheeks and tongue learn to hold your dentures in place. Excessive saliva flow, a feeling that the tongue does not have adequate room, and minor irritation or soreness are also not unusual. If you experience irritation, see your dentist.

How Long do Dentures Last?
Over a period of time, your denture will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally changes. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, making chewing difficult and irritating your gums. At a minimum, you should see your dentist annually for a checkup.

If your teeth have reached the point where you are considering dentures, we invite you to come in for a complimentary consultation. We will do an assessment of your condition and provide you with a list of options tailored to your individual needs. With the advances in dental implants and other techniques in the last twenty years, dentures can often be used in conjunction with implants for enhanced function and comfort. However, for many people dentures alone are a very cost effective solution to the problem of aging teeth and gum disease.

Until recently, our only option when taking x-rays was to place a film packet in your mouth and, using a traditional dental x-ray machine, expose the film packet, then wait up to 10 minutes for it to develop. With digital radiography, the process is computerized.

How does it work?

We place a sensor next to your tooth and within seconds your x-ray is displayed in sharp, vivid detail on a computer screen. Because of this short exposure time, the amount of radiation is reduced by as much as 90 percent.

An Efficient, Computerized Process

Once the x-ray image is on our computer screen, we can enhance it to make a more precise diagnosis. We can save images on our computer for instant retrieval, and once they’re digitized, we can easily send them to insurance companies or specialists, as needed.

Dr. Dahlkemper provides this service for most extractions. Before removing a tooth, you will be given nitrous gas (laughing gas) and a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed.

After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days. You will be told whether your stitches need to be removed and will also be provided with post-treatment instructions to follow so that you are as comfortable as possible during the recovery time. *Twilight Dentistry is offered upon request.

Why Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Extracted?

A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may come up in the future. When wisdom teeth come in, a number of problems can occur:

  • Your jaw may not be large enough to accommodate them, and they may become impacted and unable to break through your gums.
  • Your wisdom teeth may break partway through your gums, causing a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. Food and germs can become trapped under the flap and cause your gums to become red, swollen, and painful. These are signs of infection.
  • More serious problems can develop from impacted teeth, such as infection, damage to other teeth and bone, or the development of a cyst.
  • One or more of your wisdom teeth may come in at an awkward angle, with the top of the tooth facing forward, backward, or to either side.

Full-mouth rehabilitation is a complete restoration of every tooth in the mouth. It is typically performed on people with severely worn teeth or TMJ problems.

Full-mouth reconstruction used to mean a long protracted, disjointed series of procedures with a difficult-to-see endpoint that possibly could include extracting all the teeth and making dentures.

Age, illness, or accidents can sometimes lead to extreme tooth loss. When a patient experiences the loss of several teeth, our dentists may recommend a full-mouth rehabilitation to correct the problem. Previously, dentures were the solution to address several lost teeth; however modern technology and dental advancements offer the option of a full mouth rehab using dental implants.

Implants offer many advantages over dentures. Following is a comparative list of the disadvantages of dentures versus the advantages of a full-mouth rehab procedure with dental implants.

Disadvantages of Dentures
  • Compromise integrity of facial structures
  • Accelerate visible aging due to unattractive changes in facial appearance
  • Cause pain, sore spots, and denture breath
  • Require relining as bone melts away
  • Require adhesives
  • Cause an inability to eat certain foods
  • Contribute to embarrassment in social situations when denture moves or falls out
Long-term Benefits of Implant-Supported Tooth Replacement
  • Virtually stops bone loss/deterioration
  • Maintains integrity of facial structure
  • Improves facial appearance, restoring lost lip support and minimizing wrinkles
  • Increases comfort
  • Restores natural biting and chewing capacity

Do you want to eliminate those old dentures and replace them with natural-looking and easy-to-maintain dental implants? Call our office today and schedule an appointment to discuss whether or not you are a candidate for a full-mouth rehab.

With full mouth rehabilitation, you do not have to settle for the natural course of aging your mouth has taken. You can eat without getting pangs of discomfort from hot or cold food, you can start your day without soreness in your jaw, and you can complete tasks without having to fight recurring headaches.

In addition to the meticulous cleaning, polishing, and examination of your teeth, we also take the time to help our patients develop proper oral hygiene habits at home.

We will evaluate your hygiene techniques and make adjustments to your routine where needed. Our doctors and hygienists will also make suggestions for preventative measures such as dental sealants or nightguards to protect against bruxism (teeth grinding) & TMJ (Temporal mandibular joint) problems.

Scaling & Root Planing

Your toothbrush and floss alone can’t stop gum disease from spreading because they can’t reach under your gum line. If you continue to ignore your symptoms (bleeding, swollen and tender gums, bad breath, etc.) the infection can eventually spread to the rest of your organs; ultimately affecting the health of your heart!
If we feel that you are suffering from gingivitis or more severe gum disease, we may recommend root scaling or planning, which is a deeper cleaning, usually with local anesthetic, as a first approach to improving your gum tissue health. These measures can be instrumental in preventing bone loss and helping you to keep your natural teeth.

Scaling and root planning is a non-surgical procedure in which our hygienists will remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. Root surfaces are cleaned and smoothed with specially designed instruments. It is important to remove the plaque and tartar from the pockets, because aside from the bacterial toxins that irritate the gums, plaque and the rough surfaces of tartar make it easier for bacteria to gain a foothold. Some of our hygienists are trained to provide laser disinfection for those patients who may need this additional treatment.
FYI: Bleeding when you brush and floss is not normal! You may think that a little bleeding when you floss isn’t a big deal. What you’re not seeing, however, is that diseased tissue is silently forming way down deep between your teeth and into your gum tissue. And, sometimes a healthy mouth cleaning and polishing treatment isn’t enough to help decrease the spread of this gum disease.

When you lose a tooth, there are a lot of options for replacing it. Dental implants are as close to the real tooth as you can get.

Whether you have one missing tooth or several, you deserve a solution that showcases a full, beautiful set of teeth while maximizing the long-term health of your natural teeth and gums.

Dental implants provide the most advanced solution for patients who are missing teeth. Tooth restorations with dental implants offer patients several advantages because they are securely fastened in the jaw and fit in seamlessly with surrounding teeth.

Unlike fixed bridges and partial dentures – around which gums and bones can recede and leave a visible defect – dental implants don’t rely on the structural support of adjacent teeth. Implants ensure jawbone preservation that keeps the bone healthy and strong. Implants can be used to replace one or all teeth and provide an excellent alternative to dentures.

  • The implant will integrate (bond) with the existing bone.
  • The new implant will support your teeth firmly and safely.
  • Your new implant-supported crown look like a natural, healthy tooth.
  • You will no longer have pain during talking or eating.
  • The dental implant will prevent progressive bone loss.
  • Implants have a proven scientific basis.
Single Implants

If you are having problems chewing due to concern over a tooth breaking or because of a missing tooth, then a single implant is an excellent solution. A single implant is the equivalent of an artificial tooth and root. The procedure creates a socket for the root of the implant and then precisely secures the implant in the jawbone. The implant, which is made of surgical grade titanium, is then allowed to heal and integrate in to the jawbone, keeping the implant firmly in place. A custom-built post and crown are installed over the implant fixture to complete the artificial tooth. After completion of the procedure, both the tooth and smile are as good as new.

Implant Bridges

Implant Bridges are an excellent solution when there are several missing teeth in your mouth. The procedure is basically the same as the single tooth implant procedure, except that we can replace multiple teeth using just 2 implants.

Got ugly amalgam (silver) fillings? Well did you know that not only are they unpleasant to look at, they can be harmful to your teeth?

Since the silver fillings contain metal they can expand and contract with heat and cold temperatures, causing stress on the teeth. Eventually, the tooth can no longer take the stress and fracture. If detected and treated early with an inlay or onlay you can avoid the tooth breaking, which can lead to possible root canals and crowns or even worse an extraction of the tooth.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays are sometimes referred to as partial crowns. These partial crowns are utilized when there is still a healthy portion of the natural tooth to work with. An inlay or onlay is a like a puzzle piece that will be fitted into the remaining portion of the tooth to help increase its strength. This piece is usually crafted out of porcelain or gold, but can also be made of a composite material. Dr. Dahlkemper will make the determination as to which restoration will work best in your specific situation.

An inlay is used when there is no damage to any of the cusps (edges) of your tooth. The inlay is essentially placed snugly within these cusps. An onlay is used when there is slightly more extensive damage to the tooth structure. This type of restoration is placed over at least one of the cusps on the tooth.

Inlays and onlays are the best way to preserve as much tooth as possible without having to prepare the entire tooth as needed for a crown. The inlay and onlay are bonded to the tooth and looks natural.

If you are worried about your silver fillings, contact the office and Dr. Dahlkemper will be more than happy to provide a complimentary consult to discuss proper care and treatment.

An estimated 28,000 new cases of oral cancer and 7,200 deaths from these cancers occurred in the United States in 2004.

The age-adjusted incidence was more than twice as high among men than among women, as was the mortality rate. More than 40% of persons diagnosed with oral cancer die within five years of diagnosis.

More than 90% of oral cancers can be attributed to tobacco use, alcohol use, and both tobacco and alcohol use. Sun exposure can also be a risk factor for oral cancer. Low consumption of fruit and some types of human papilloma virus infections have also been implicated.

How Is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?

An examination for oral cancer may be done during a physical examination by your dentist or physician. An oral cancer exam is painless and quick. Your health care provider will inspect your face, neck, lips and mouth to look for any signs of cancer. With both hands, he or she will feel the area under your jaw and the side of your neck, checking for lumps that may suggest cancer. Next, your provider will have you stick out your tongue so that it can be checked for swelling or abnormal color or texture. In addition, he or she will look at the roof and floor of your mouth, as well as the back of your throat. He or she will then look at and feel the insides of your lips and cheeks to check for possible signs of cancer, such as red and/or white patches.

Using gauze, he or she will then gently pull your tongue to one side, then the other, to check the base of your tongue. The underside of your tongue will also be checked. Finally, your provider will put one finger on the floor of your mouth and, with the other hand under your chin, gently press down to check for lumps or sensitivity.

How Is South Carolina Doing?

Oral cancer is the 9th most common cancer in South Carolina, with 2,897 oral cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2001 (or about 480 new cases per year). South Carolina ranks 2nd in the nation for deaths from oral cancer. The majority (70%) of oral cancers occurred in males, with black males having the highest incidence. There are three counties in South Carolina (Charleston, Georgetown, and Richland) with oral cancer rates higher than the state average.

Quickfacts: Oral Cancer in the U.S.:

  • Persons aged 45 and older account for 90% of oral cancer cases
  • More than 90% of oral cancers can be attributed to tobacco or alcohol use
  • Men are twice as likely as women to contract and die from oral cancer

Doesn’t my dentist already do a cancer screening?

Yes, your dentist does check your neck and oral tissues for lumps, red or white patches or recurring sore areas. But typically, these techniques catch cancer at very advanced stages and mortality drops dramatically. Early detection is key to a successful treatment. With Velscope, Dr. Dahlkemper can detect early stages of cancer more easily and should be checked yearly.

Dr. D uses the VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System, which centers on a wireless, handheld scope that uses natural tissue fluorescence visualization to help discover oral mucosal abnormalities that might otherwise have been overlooked. Detecting oral abnormalities early leads to more treatment options, potentially less invasive or radical treatments and better patient outcomes.

When you have a cavity, you want a protective filling that doesn’t change the outer appearance of your tooth. You also want a filling that will stand the test of time.

Traditional metal fillings have been in use in dentistry for more that 100 years mostly because they are cheap and easy to place, but they have more issues than just an unnatural color. Metal fillings expand and contract during temperature changes in the mouth, which in turn can cause the tooth to crack. Metal fillings can also leak the copper, mercury and silver from which they are made, and pose questionable health hazards when ingested.

The better alternative in regard to health safety, appearance and long-term function are tooth-colored composite resin fillings. These fillings are actually made from a high-tech resin paste, which contains tiny glass beads. Once in place, they function and wear virtually the same as tooth enamel. The composite fillings are a great alternative to metal fillings because they are the same color as your tooth and create a very natural appearance. They also provide superior strength, stability and longevity for the tooth when compared to metal fillings.