Dental Services


Botox and Dermal Fillers

botoxIf the teeth are the stage, the lips are the curtains. Paying attention to how both the stage and the curtains look completes the overall aesthetic look. Dr. Dahlkemper at Water’s Edge Family and Cosmetic Dentistry has been helping patients achieve the smiles they have always dreamed of for a number of years.

We have extended our services to other areas of the face as well, allowing your youthful appearance to go beyond your smile, and help restore the confidence and appeal that aging may take from you. Dentists, with the extensive head and neck training have the ability to administer injections in an unusually safe and comfortable manner. Dentists are artistic and without question perfectionists. As with any specialty procedure that a general dentist opts to provide, they should have the appropriate training and work within their comfort and ability zone. Dr. Dahlkemper has completed additional training for the specialized use of Botox and Dermal Fillers. She is a member of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics. As a dentist, Dr. Dahlkemper is very well-trained in the musculature and anatomy of the face and with that comprehensive experience no other doctor can give an injection better than a qualified and experienced dentist.

BOTOX Cosmetic are administered via a few tiny injections directly into the muscles responsible for frown lines between the brows. By blocking the release of a chemical that causes these muscles to contract, BOTOX’ Cosmetic enables them to relax. The effects are very localized, and when administered by an experienced Doctor, do not affect your ability to smile, laugh, or otherwise show expression. BOTOX Cosmetic is the only product of its kind that has been approved for use in this area.

Dermal Fillers (such as Juvederm®, Restylane® or Radiesse®) are used to restore volume to the area around the mouth. Dermal Fillers give lips fullness, erase the downward frown lines at the corners of the mouth, as well as wrinkles/creases in cheek areas. In addition to restoring a more youthful appearance to your smile, dermal fillers are useful in treating high lip lines and uneven lips.

Botox for TMD?

TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is an inflammation of the temporomandibular joint which could be acute or chronic in nature. (TMJ or temporomandibular joint connects the skull to the lower jaw). The disorder results in significant pain and impairment for many patients.


Bruxism is a medical term for teeth grinding. Nocturnal bruxism occurs in 5% to 20% of adults and in 30 % of children in the age group of five and six years. Although true incidence and prevalence rates of bruxism are not known as over 80% of all bruxers may be unaware of the habit or be ashamed to admit it, hence they may dismiss any evidence of self-destructive behavior. Aggravated by stress, this condition frequently runs in families. People that clench their teeth during the day or at night mostly do so involuntarily. Those that only grind at night only know that they are doing it if they wake up with jaw soreness or if their dentist notices that they are wearing down their teeth.

Frequent symptoms of Bruxism and TMD are headaches, earaches, facial pain, chipped teeth and chewed inner surface of the cheek on the inside of the mouth. Chronic grinding or clenching will often cause hypertrophy (enlargement) of masseter muscle – the main muscle that is used for chewing. This muscle is located at the angle of the jaw. Grinding or clenching builds this muscle and makes it stronger, like lifting weights build muscles for body builders. The stronger the chewing muscle gets the more damage grinding or clenching causes to the teeth and TMJ. Headaches, earaches and facial pain also tend to get worse with time.

Traditional TMD & Bruxism Treatment

Since abnormal teeth alignment is known to make bruxism worse, one of the first principles of treatment is to optimize the bite. Another common treatment is the use of orthotics, SomnoMed, or a night guard to keep teeth from coming together at night.

Botox Injections Give Instant Relief

Dr. Dahlkemper uses Botox to treat chronic teeth grinding. Besides relief from jaw pain, tension and headaches, his patients see a dramatic change in the way that their face looks. The square, heavy appearance of their lower face softens into a more normal and esthetically pleasing one.

This change occur over two or three sessions of Botox, as the masseter muscle gets smaller. Patients have also reported a marked reduction in their general stress level as their grinding disappears or gets reduced. As they break the habit of bruxism, they regain control of their lives. Botox treatment of teeth grinding is painless and quick (5 minutes). Results from Botox treatment of bruxism start two to three days after injection and last for about 4 months.

During your no cost initial consultation, Dr. Dahlkemper will evaluate your unique needs, desired end results, and explain your options. He will also help you determine which treatment, or combination of treatments, will work best to achieve the look that you desire.

To schedule your free initial evaluation for Botox TMD treatment please call our office at 843-884-6166 or contact us via e-mail at


Who are candidates for BOTOX® Jaw Treatment?

BOTOX® appears to be a safe alternative to traditional treatment for most people who experience jaw tension or have a TMJ disorder. To establish if you are a good candidate for Botox treatment Dr. Dahlkekmper has to evaluate your complain, review your medical and social history and perform physical examination. To schedule your free initial evaluation please call us at (843) 884-6166.

What are the Benefits of BOTOX® Treatment for Jaw Tension?

Reduction of teeth grinding and subsequently destruction of tooth enema which is caused by excessive grinding.
Reduction of TMJ pain and associated with it headaches and earaches.
Reduction of a muscle spasm in masseter (chewing) muscle
Reduction of enlarged masseter muscle (creating more aesthetically pleasing look).

Laser Therapies

The latest generation of dental lasers have revolutionized dentistry with treatments that are faster, more effective and more satisfying to patients and practitioners than ever before.

Smoothlase™ is a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure that uses fractionalized laser and the body’s own natural healing process to lift, tone, and tighten loose skin around the mouth, chin and lips.

Smoothlase uses the safe, time-tested energy of laser to stimulate the deep structural support layers of the skin—including those typically addressed in a surgical facelift—without disturbing the surface of the skin, all done from inside the mouth. The effect of focused laser energy on the growth of new collagen over time.

Fotona’s NightLase®
NightLase® therapy is a non-invasive, patient-friendly laser treatment for increasing the quality of a patient’s sleep. NightLase reduces the effects of sleep apnea and decreases the amplitude of snoring by means of a gentle, laser-induced tightening effect caused by the contraction of collagen in the oral mucosa tissue.

Facial Hair Removal and Reduction
Laser systems provide safe and effective hair reduction – using an innovative system that effectively targets hair follicles with a combination of selective and homogenous photothermolysis.

Age & Sun Spots
Pigmented lesions are remarkably common and the overwhelming majority are benign. It is widely recognized in the medical community that Q-Switched lasers are the ideal tools for effectively removing benign pigmented lesions. Multi-wavelength, Q-Switched laser systems with frequency-doubled KTP are uniquely able to produce very short pulses of intense light that are selectively absorbed by treatment-specific pigments in a lesion.

Laser treatments are now a routine procedure for the removal of many types of vascular lesions, including hemangiomas, vascular malformations such as port-wine stains and spider veins. Laser therapies offer the perfect, safe, effective and minimally-invasive solution for treating vascular lesions.
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Porcelain Veneers

veneersPorcelain veneers offer the ultimate in esthetics. A veneer is a thin facing or covering that bonds to the natural tooth structure.

A much more conservative alternative to crowns (caps) that can give you the smile you have always dreamed of and deserve.

Porcelain veneers are top line in cosmetic dentistry. If your teeth are chipped, broken, or discolored, porcelain veneers are a great way to change the color and shape of your teeth. Veneers can be a great alternative to braces for slight orthodontic problems and provide a beautiful smile in a short amount of time. The results are simply gorgeous!

Teeth Whitening

whiteningMany factors make teeth lose their luster. Genetics is one factor; some people just have whiter teeth.

Other factors include cigarettes, dark foods and beverages (including coffee, soda, tea, and red wine), age, medications (such as tetracycline), and tooth trauma.

How does tooth whitening work?

The active ingredient in most tooth whiteners is some form of peroxide. Oxygen molecules from the peroxide penetrate the tooth and break down discolored molecules. Because, the oxygen molecules spread throughout the entire tooth, it is not necessary for the whitening gel to touch every part of the tooth for the entire tooth to be whitened.

Will whitening cause sensitivity?

Some people experience sensitivity while whitening, but many do not. Sensitivity does not mean damage has been caused to your teeth. It is temporary and typically disappears within a few days of treatment.

Opalescence Boost also contains unique ingredients designed to decrease sensitivity and make your whitening experience as comfortable as possible. Your dental team can provide you with additional desensitizing treatments if you experience lingering discomfort.

Will bleaching weaken my teeth?

No! Bleaching will not weaken your teeth. In fact, Opalescence Boost contains a patented concentration of potassium nitrate and fluoride designed to strengthen enamel and prevent cavities. Bleaching will not weaken existing fillings or cements either.

How long do whitening results last?

Bleaching results typically last several years. If your teeth start to discolor again over time, you can simply repeat a whitening treatment.

Who can whiten?

Almost anyone can successfully whiten their teeth. Opalescence Boost is effective at treating discoloration caused by age, food and drink, cigarettes, or even medication or tooth trauma. We also see patients of all ages whiten – from teenagers to 80- or 90-years-old.

Opalescence Boost

Opalescence Boost is a professional whitening treatment performed in the dental office. Powerful and award-winning, Opalescence Boost has proven effective at creating beautiful, long-lasting results after just one quick visit to your dentist.

How does Opalescence Boost work?

Opalescence Boost is a powerful bleaching gel that can quickly whiten your smile. Before applying it to your teeth, your dental team will place a protective barrier on your gums. Then she will place a thin layer of Opalescence Boost on the surface of your teeth for twenty minutes. The bleach will then be removed an reapplied for a final twenty minutes.

How long does it take to whiten my smile with Opalescence Boost?

Opalescence Boost is so powerful and effective it can usually whiten your smile in about 40 minutes. Yes, it’s that fast!

How is Opalescence Boost different from other in-office whitening treatments?

Some in-office whitening procedures rely on lights or lasers to “activate” the chemical bleaching agent. However, Opalescence Boost has always relied solely on chemical activation. Recent studies have confirmed that bleaching agent is effective without any lights or lasers.

invisalign14Dr. Dahlkemper has advanced training and participate in many hours of post graduate study pertaining to orthodontics and invisible braces.
With new techniques, some orthodontic cases can be completed in as little as 6 months. Thanks to CAD/CAM technology, Invisalign is able to transform smiles in months without wires. Some orthodontic cases will need traditional braces, but with modern technology Invisalign is able to transform smiles in months without braces. Orthodontics is changing and more patients are finding that braces are not just meant for children. The “clear” way to straighten your teeth. Invisalign gradually moves your teeth through a series of custom made, removable, nearly invisible Aligners. Thanks to CAD/CAM technology, Invisalign is able to transform smiles in months without wires.

Reasons for teeth straightening:

  • Your “bite”. Because malocclusion can cause problems with eating or even speech, teeth straightening may be used to align teeth and improve mouth function.
  • Tooth support. Orthodontics reposition the teeth above and below the gum line. A strong root foundation helps create a strong tooth.
  • Appearance. The esthetic appeal of a straight smile is one of the primary reasons many teens and adults undergo orthodontic treatment.
  • Oral hygiene. Straight, well-aligned teeth provide fewer “nooks & crannies” for cavities to develop and for plaque and tartar to build up. Brushing and flossing is effective and oral hygiene is easier to maintain.

Clear Aligners/Invisalign:

  • Invisalign is a new system of straightening teeth without the use of conventional braces. A series of clear plastic aligners are utilized to create tooth movement.
  • Moving teeth with removable aligners is not new. However, the computer program, which can generate a series of aligners with small changes, is the new part. Invisalign is recommended for orthodontic situations with mild to moderate spacing or crowding. They are virtually undetectable, easy to use and comfortable to wear.
  • While Invisalign can be used with virtually any treatment philosophy, special training is needed. Dr. Dahlkemper has attended and completed specialized instructional sessions to become a trained Invisalign provider in order to identify and treat the ideal orthodontic cases that can be handled with clear aligners.

Primary Benefits:

  • Invisalign aligners are practically clear. No one may even notice that you’re wearing them; making Invisalign a seamless fit with your lifestyle and day-to-day interactions with others.
  • Invisalign is removable. Unlike braces, you have the flexibility to eat and drink what you want during treatment by simply removing the aligners. And you can also remove the aligners to brush and floss as you normally would to maintain fresh breath and good oral hygiene.
  • Unlike braces, there are no metal brackets or wires with the Invisalign system that could cause irritation to your mouth. The treatment may require building small temporary acrylic attachments on the sides of some teeth to allow for better tooth movement. Plus, since your office visits during treatment don’t involve metal or wire adjustments, you’ll likely spend less time in Dr. Dahlkemper’s chair!
  • And, finally, Invisalign allows you to view your virtual results and treatment plan before you start treatment, so you can see how your straight teeth will look after your treatment is complete. Modifications in the results can be made even before treatment begins.
Are you ready to take the next step into getting a straighter brighter smile? Then call or contact the office of Water’s Edge Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for your complimentary Invisalign consult.


Anxiety-Free Dentistry

patient2Nearly 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.


crownsDr. 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.

Dental Bridges

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.
Dentistry for Kids

kidWhen 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.

Dentures and Partial Dentures

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.


diagnodentlargeDiagnodent is a non-invasive, painless tool used for detecting tooth decay that is not yet visible and would otherwise be undiagnosed by conventional methods alone.

Leaders in the field of dental research agree that, when used by themselves, the traditional methods of detecting tooth decay are inadequate and outdated for modern dentistry. With the flouridation of water and improved oral hygiene standards, the very nature of tooth decay has changed. Due to these factors, most of our patients have harder and more resistant tooth enamel, which can conceal even aggressive decay if it is under the tooth surface.

How Does Diagnodent Work?

Diagnodent works by scanning your teeth to measure fluorescence within your tooth structure. Healthy teeth will have little or no fluorescence. Teeth that have decay present will have higher levels of fluorescence, which are proportionate to how extensive the decay is. Diagnodent translates these fluorescence readings into a digital numeric output. Also, these changes in fluorescence and numeric value are emitted as an audio signal which signals the presence of decay as it goes up in tone.

Does it hurt?

No! DIAGNOdent is completely painless. It’s energy level similar to that of a laser pointer, the laser beam is harmless to surrounding tissues.

What are the shortcomings of the traditional dental techniques like probing and x-ray imaging?

Believe it or not, as much as 50% of tooth decay may go undetected by traditional dental methods of probing and other diagnostic techniques.

How long has this technology been around?

While the device has been in use in Europe for several years, the FDA has recently approved the use of the cavity-detecting laser for use by dentists in the U.S.

Where does most tooth decay start today?

Today most tooth decay starts in the hard-to-see valleys and canyon-like anatomy of the tooth surface.

Why are these pit and valley cavities more important to detect today than in the past?

In the past tooth decay predominated in between teeth. With the widespread use of fluoride, the very nature of tooth decay has changed. The outer surfaces of teeth are strengthened and more resistant. Today the pit and valley cavities are more prevalent than cavities in between teeth.

Why can’t traditional methods like x-rays see these pit and valley cavities?

Pit and valley cavities are traditionally the most difficult to detect using x-rays due to the direction the images are taken from. Images are taken from the side of the tooth, which essentially hides the cavity from the dentists view.

If DIAGNOdent is good at finding pit and fissure cavities do I still need x-rays?

Yes, x-ray imaging is an indispensable diagnostic tool for dentistry. X-rays and DIAGNOdent complement each other. X-rays are good at finding cavities in between teeth and on the roots. DIAGNOdent is good at find cavities on the tooth’s biting surface.

If you can’t see it with your naked eye then why should one be concerned?

A: An almost undetectable area of decay can aggressively penetrate inward towards the soft surfaces of the tooth and literally destroy the tooth from the inside out. This can happen before a cavity is even visible to the naked eye.

Why can’t traditional methods like the dental probe find these pit and valley cavities?

This type of decay can make diagnosis with traditional methods difficult because the outer tooth surface often appears to be intact and the probe may be too large to detect the cavity.

How does DIAGNOdent work?

DIAGNOdent is first calibrated to your unique tooth structure by scanning a cleaned tooth surface with a harmless laser beam. After calibration a team member will gently scan your teeth. A small countertop unit emits an audio signal and registers a digital read-out, which identifies cavities developing below the surface – the higher the amount of fluorescence detected by the machine, the greater the degree of decay within the tooth.

What is the benefit to me?

Because the decay is detected earlier, the number of dental procedures – and hence, the cost – can often be reduced. It’s a great way to keep little problems from becoming big problems.

How long does the DIAGNOdent process take?

A few minutes are all it takes to scan your entire mouth.

How much does it cost?

Dr. Dahlkemper uses the DIAGNOdent laser as a routine part of exams and there is no additional fee associated with the scan.

What is the DIAGNOdent actually measuring?

The DIAGNOdent measures laser fluorescence within the tooth structure. As the incident laser light is propagated into the site, two-way handpiece optics allows the unit to simultaneously quantify the reflected laser light energy. At the specific wavelength that the DIAGNOdent laser operates, clean healthy tooth structure exhibits little or no fluorescence, resulting in very low scale readings on the display. However, carious tooth structure will exhibit fluorescence, proportionate to the degree of caries, resulting in elevated scale readings on the display.

Can DIAGNOdent read caries under an existing amalgam?

If there is caries at the margin, it will give an accurate reading; however if the caries is under the floor of the amalgam the reading will not be accurate.

Can DIAGNOdent be used on both primary and permanent teeth?

Studies have shown the unit is equally accurate in both primary and permanent teeth.

As the device is a laser, is protective eye wear required?

No. The device is harmless when used as directed.

Digital X-rays

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 Dental Rehabilitation

whiten1Full-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.

Hygiene/Gum Care

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.


implantsWhen 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.

Inlays and Onlays

onlays1Got 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.

Oral Cancer Screening

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.

Root Canals

rootcanalOnce upon a time, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called a root canal therapy you may save that tooth.

Inside each tooth is the pulp which provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth, it runs like a thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies. If you don’t remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it. After the dentist removes the pulp, the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Then your dentist places either a post and a composite filling or a post and crown over the tooth to help make it stronger.

Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your tooth and your smile!

Tooth-Colored Fillings

fillingWhen 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.


Sleep Apnea & Snoring

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a breathing disorder, which occurs during sleep, due to the narrowing or total closure of the airway.

OSA is when the airway becomes completely blocked and breathing stops. The brain then detects the lack of oxygen and prompts a momentary arousal to draw breath. Although OSA sufferers may experience hundreds of apnea episodes per night, they are unlikely to remember any of them. In fact, if the sufferer lives alone or sleeps separately they may not be aware of their condition, even after many years.

Snoring can be a symptom of OSA and is a noise created by the partial blocking of the airway. When you fall asleep your muscles relax, including those that control the tongue and throat. The soft tissue at the back of your throat can sag, narrowing the airway. Incoming air then makes the tissue at the rear roof of the mouth (the soft palate), the flap of skin hanging from the palate (uvula) and the throat vibrate – a sound we know as snoring.

Snoring is often no greater problem than the noise itself. However, loud snoring may be a sign of a more serious problem – OSA.

SomnoMed Sleep Apnea Management Program

This specialized service is right for:

NightLase™: Laser Snoring Treatment

What causes snoring?
Snoring occurs when air is not able to move freely through your nose and mouth during sleep. This is due to a narrowing of your airway, which causes the tissues to vibrate and make an audible sound. In extreme cases the airway can become blocked which is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Many factors can contribute to snoring such as age, nasal and sinus problems, being overweight, alcohol, smoking, medications, and sleep posture.

What is the impact of snoring?
Snoring has a number of consequences that can impact the life of a snorer and his/her sleep partner. Sleep deprivation as a result of snoring has a negative impact on health and quality of life. Snorers can experience tiredness, morning headaches, irritability, dry mouth, and relationship difficulties. Studies have also shown a link between snoring and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke*.

What are the treatment options?
Most treatments for snoring attempt to keep the breathing passage open. Specially made dental appliances can be effective, but rely on daily compliance. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) systems are often used to help control sleep apnea and the snoring associated with it, however these devices can be very uncomfortable. There are surgical options available for correcting snoring which usually involve removal of tissue from the uvula and pharynx but these surgeries are invasive and can result in a lengthy and unconformable recovery period following the surgery.

What is NightLase™?

NightLase is a leading-edge laser procedure for the treatment of snoring. It is a NON-invasive, NO appliances, simple and an effective way of reducing or eliminating snoring.

How NightLase™ Works

Laser energy is used to heat the tissues of the airway causing a tightening effect which helps to keep your airway open. NightLase™ is performed with approximately three short treatments spaced over two months. Each treatment lasts 15 minutes and requires no anesthesia. The procedure is comfortable and you can resume your daily routine immediately afterwards. Results are often seen after the first session.


Neuromuscular Dentistry and TMJ/TMD

What is Neuromuscular Dentistry?

To put it simply, neuromuscular dentistry places the jaw into its optimal position, relieving the symptoms associated with TMJ. While traditional dentistry evaluates primarily the teeth, bones, and gums, neuromuscular dentistry works with the hard tissues and the soft tissues, muscles and nerves. Dr D understands that your hard and soft tissues have a complex relationship and works to make that relationship a harmonious one. Neuromuscular dentists understand the necessity for including the power source (muscles) and the controls (nerves) that create the movement, pressures, and function of the mouth. When the jaw is misaligned, both the hard and soft tissues are affected and many physiological problems can result, such as headaches, jaw pain, neck and shoulder pain, tinnitus or ringing in the ears, and clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint. In a number of cases, these symptoms are the result of TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome), also referred to as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) or MPD (myofacial pain dysfunction). TMJ is a chronic degenerative disease that often takes years to develop. TMJ affects millions of people. People who suffer from TMJ have an imbalance in the jaw-to-skull relationship, which is caused by a bad bite (malocclusion).

Neuromuscular Dentistry serves to correct the bite and realign the jaw. First Dr. Dahlkemper determines the optimal position of the jaw by measuring the relaxed position of the head and neck muscles, and then repositions the jaw to achieve those exact measurements. Treatment options include adjusting the bite, orthotics, orthodontics, or restoring the teeth to their correct positions.


If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, Dr. Dahlkemper may be able to help you.

  • Headaches / Migraines
  • Facial Pain
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain
  • Tinnitus (Ringing In The Ears)
  • Unexplained Loose Teeth
  • Sensitive and Sore Teeth
  • Jaw Pain
  • Limited Jaw Movement or Locking Jaw
  • Numbness or Tingling in the Fingers, Hands and Arms
  • Worn or Cracked Teeth
  • Clicking or Popping Jaw Joints
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Insomnia

TMJ / TMD Diagnosis

Neuromuscular dentists use state-of-the-art technology to determine if your symptoms are caused by malocclusion and if so, what your optimal jaw position is. The dentist uses computerized jaw tracking instruments to record jaw movement, resting position, and path of closure. Electromyography is used to measure your jaw’s muscle function in both its stressed and relaxed positions, and will also measure the jaw-to-skull relationship to see if there is a structural imbalance. Sonography is used to record jaw joint sounds to detect any abnormalities. Additionally, x-rays of the jaw may be taken to help evaluate the condition and positioning of the joint.

TMJ / TMD Treatment

Once your neuromuscular dentist has diagnosed you with TMD, he or she can determine the best course of treatment for your specific needs. Typically treatment will follow three steps:

1. Relieve muscle spasm and pain.

The immediate concern for Neuromuscular dentists is to provide relief of your symptoms. The best way to do this is by using a technology called ULF-TENS. ULF-TENS stands for Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation, but don’t let this term intimidate you. Basically, ULF-TENS is a way to relax muscles with a gentle massage of the muscles. The rhythmic pulsing relaxes the muscles by increasing blood flow and pumping out waste products. ULF-TENS also helps with pain relief by stimulating the body’s production of endorphins, the body’s natural anesthetic.

2. Stabilize the bite.

Often for this step a temporary device, known as an orthotic is worn over the teeth. The orthotic allows your neuromuscular dentists to make easy adjustments to the plastic without adjusting the teeth until the bite is stabilized. Once symptoms are relieved and the bite has been stabilized, your dentist will move on to the next step and permanently adjust your bite to the correct jaw position.

3. Long-term management.

There are a variety of ways to correct your bite in a more permanent way. Four of the most common of these approaches are outlined below:

  •  Coronoplasty/Equilibration

Coronoplasty is smoothing and reshaping the enamel of the teeth to correct your bite. It is a simple procedure that does not require anesthesia and can be used when the bite is only slightly misaligned.

  •  Removable Overlay Partials

These are permanent orthotics that usually fit over the back teeth and are designed to maintain an aligned bite.

  •  Reconstruction

This approach involves making the teeth higher by using crowns. This permanently realigns the bite and provides structural support for the jaw.

  • Orthodontics (Braces)

When the teeth are healthy they may be moved to the optimal position using braces.


Patients of neuromuscular dentistry experience a range of benefits from decreased or eliminated pain and discomfort to better overall health and longer-lasting dental restorations.

Finance Options

Dental treatment is an excellent investment in an individual’s medical and psychological well-being. Financial considerations should not be an obstacle to obtaining this important health service. Being sensitive to the fact that different people have different needs in fulfilling their financial obligations, we are providing the following payment options.

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1203 Two Island Ct #101
Mt Pleasant, SC 29466

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