Your initial oral examination includes a visual exam, digital x-rays, dental charting, periodontal probing, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations. We welcome each and every patient to tell us of their questions and concerns, as we believe this will help us to better understand your dental needs. We will provide you with treatment options and allow you to be an active part in determining which treatment plan is best for your dental needs and expectations.
We provide a full array of dental procedures to help maintain your healthy and happy smile. Local anesthesia and nitrous oxide are available to our patients for all of the services we provide.
COSMETIC FILLINGS and BONDING:
A composite filling is a tooth-colored, non-toxic (BPA free) plastic and glass bead mixture used to restore decayed and fractured teeth. Composites bond to the tooth to support the remaining tooth structure, which helps to prevent breakage and insulate the tooth from excessive temperature changes. Aesthetics are the main advantage of composites, since our dentists can blend shades to create a color nearly identical to that of the actual tooth.
Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth. Some cosmetic fillings, often called bonding, can be done with very little or no drilling of tooth structure at all.
VENEERS and LUMINEERS:
A veneer is a thin layer of restorative material placed over a tooth surface, either to improve the aesthetics of a tooth or to protect a damaged tooth surface. There are two main types of materials used to make veneers. Composite (resin) can be directly placed (built up in the mouth). Porcelain can be used to indirectly make a veneer in aÂ dental laboratory and is later placed in the mouth by yourÂ dentist.
Veneers can be used to cosmetically enhance your smile. Some people have worn away the edges of their teeth resulting in a prematurely aged appearance, while other may have malpositioned teeth that appear crooked. With the use of multiple veneers, your dentist can close these spaces, lengthen teeth that have been shortened by wear, fill black triangles between teeth that have formed due to gum recessions, provide a uniform color, shape, and symmetry, and make the teeth appear straight.
LUMINEERS are ultra-thin porcelain veneers that often require very little or no drilling of tooth structure at all. In fact, some patients do not require any anesthetic when the dentist is preparing their teeth and taking impressions for their LUMINEERS.
A crown is a dental restoration that completely encircles and caps a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are necessary when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth due to compromised tooth structure. Crowns help to strengthen the teeth by protecting the tooth from strong occlusal forces and such habits as clenching and grinding of the teeth. Crowns may also be used to cosmetically enhance the appearance and protect the longevity of teeth that have multiple fillings that are stained and leaking.
Crowns can be made from many materials, which are usually fabricated in a dental laboratory. These materials include, but are not limited to: porcelain, zirconia, Bruxir, and porcelain-fused-to metal.
A bridge is used to literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. These restorations are made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap, called abutment teeth. These abutment teeth hold up the false tooth, referred to as the pontic tooth or teeth, in between.
Similar to crowns, bridges can be made from many materials depending on the location and size of the bridge needed to close the space or spaces of missing teeth.
We believe that your confidence about your teeth affects how you feel about yourself personally and professionally. If you are self-conscious because you are missing teeth, currently wearing a denture that is uncomfortable or unnatural looking, having difficulty chewing or speaking, or you simply do not want to remove healthy tooth structure to have a bridge placed, then dental implants may be the best treatment option for you.
A dental implant is now considered the standard of care for replacing missing teeth. It is a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth. It is a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth while leaving the adjacent teeth alone.
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root used in dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. The components of a typical dental implant consist of a titanium implant (artificial root) placed surgically in the upper or lower jaw and a screw that attaches the abutment. Implants function as anchors for crowns, bridges and dentures (referred to as implant overdentures).
Dental implants are teeth that look natural and feel just like your own.
So, if you are missing one or more teeth and would like to be able to smile, speak and eat again with comfort and confidence, there is good news! Dental implants are teeth that can look and feel just like your own.
There are many different methods available to whiten your smile: In-office teeth whitening, at-home whitening, and OTC methods such as Crest White Strips.
As a person ages, their teeth often become darker due to changes in the mineral structure of the tooth, as the enamel becomes less porous. Teeth can also become stained by tobacco use, certain food and beverages, and bacterial pigments. Certain antibiotic medications (like Tetracycline) can also cause teeth to stain.
Any patient interested in whitening their teeth should have a dentist examine their medical and dental history (including allergies and sensitivities), examine the placement and condition of their existing dental restorations. Sometimes X-rays are necessary to fully examine the gum and bone levels and depth of any possible irregularities prior to starting the teeth whitening process.
Our office uses the Sapphire Professional Whitening System. This system uses a very powerful, non-UV emitting, Sapphire Plasma Arc Light along with a professional grade teeth whitening gel. The 35% Hydrogen Peroxide gel is first applied safely to your teeth and then activated by the light system. Each patient is also given custom trays for at-home touch-up services.
For individuals who have chipped, cracked or irregularly shaped teeth, dental contouring and reshaping can make a huge difference in the way you feel about your smile.
Tooth contouring, also referred to as enamoplasty, is a safe and conservative way to improve your smile. Using current x-rays to evaluate the size and location of the pulp (nerve) of each tooth, your dentist will determine if there is enough tooth structure to avoid sensitivity issues. Contouring teeth may also help to correct small problems with your bite. Teeth may become weaker if large amounts of enamel are removed, so tooth reshaping should be limited to minor changes or combined with veneers or bonding for the best results in achieving a beautiful smile.
Dental sealants are a fluoride releasing and BPA-free plastic resin material applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars). Thorough brushing and flossing can help to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, but the toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these areas also referred to as pits and fissures by sealing out plaque and food.
Sealants are easy for your dentist to apply. The sealant is applied to the enamel of the pits and fissures where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. It acts as a barrier to plaque and acids. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and may last several years. During regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary.
Children and teenagers are obvious candidates for sealants as the likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life. Adults can also be at risk for pit and fissure decay and may also benefit from sealants.
PEDIATRIC DENTAL CARE:
A common misconception is that baby teeth are not as important as adult teeth because they will someday fall out. This is not true. Those baby teeth that begin coming through the gums around 6 months help set the stage for future smile by keeping space in the jaw for adult teeth.
Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits early in life can lead to a lifelong healthy smile. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded and can even lead to impaction of teeth requiring dental surgery to correct the problem.
The ADA recommends that parents take children to a dentist no later than their first birthday and then at intervals recommended by their dentist. Starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come. We welcome any parent to bring their child with them for their routine cleaning appointment to demonstrate that going to the dentist can be an enjoyable experience and help minimize any fears.
ROOT CANAL THERAPY:
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or has become infected. A root canal treatment generally involves the removal and replacement of a tooths pulp. The pulp is soft tissue containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and is found in a canal that runs through the center of the hard tissue inside of the tooth called dentina (see diagram below).
If pulp becomes damaged through injury or disease and cannot repair itself, bacteria and their products can leak into the pulp and cause the pulp to die. If a root canal procedure is not performed, and abscess can form at the tip of the root and cause considerable pain. Even without pain, the bone anchoring the tooth in the jaw can be damaged. Without the appropriate treatment, the tooth may have to be extracted.
During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Depending on the location of the tooth, the color of the tooth and the amount of natural tooth structure remaining, the tooth may require a crown restoration following completion of the root canal. Your dentist will discuss which option is best for you.
Sometimes a tooth has too much damage from decay, periodontal disease (bone loss) or trauma that it cannot be repaired. In these cases, the tooth needs to be extracted. Often a baby tooth can interfere with the eruption of the permanent tooth requiring extraction of the baby tooth to prevent impaction of the adult tooth.
Extractions are often categorized as simple or surgical.
Simple extractions are performed on teeth that are visible in the mouth and generally with the use of local anaesthetic. We also provide nitrous oxide for our patients upon request.
Surgical extractions involved the removal of teeth that cannot be easily accessed, either because they have broken under the gum line or because they have not erupted fully. Sometimes it is necessary to refer a patient to a specialist to have a tooth surgically extracted.
Following extraction of a tooth, a blood clot forms in the socket, usually within an hour. Bleeding is common in this first hour, but its likelihood decreases quickly as time passes, and bleeding has usually stopped after 24 hours. We recommend that our patients avoid using straws, no spitting or swishing of mouth rinse, and avoid hard, crunchy foods like peanuts, popcorn, and chips for 48 hours after an extraction. We also urge our patients to avoid smoking cigarettes for 48-72 hours post-extraction due to an increased risk of infection and/or dry-socket. Dry-socket is a very painful condition in which the blood clot does not form properly over the extraction site, resulting in a very painful open wound in the mouth.
The extraction site generally takes about 1 week to heal. Thereafter, the socket will gradually fill in with soft gum tissue over a period of about one to two months. Final closure of the socket with bony remodeling can take six months or more.
Complete dentures replace all of the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and helps to prevent other teeth from changing position. Patients needing complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles. It can greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.
We provide cast-metal framework partials and metal-free partial dentures. Each denture is custom fit and designed. The denture process takes about 4-5 appointments: the initial diagnosis is made; an impression and a wax bite are made to determine the vertical dimensions and proper jaw position; a try-inis placed to assure proper color, shape and fit of the teeth; and the patients final denture is delivered following any minor adjustments needed.
Our dentists often recommend implant dentistry to compliment some dentures to aid in retention and function of the dentures. This type of denture is often referred to as an overdenture. Implant overdentures have changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals, especially those who had traditional lower dentures. While an upper denture tends to have some stability due to the bone at the roof of the mouth, the lower denture is often referred to as a floater. Without the use of denture adhesive, the lower denture is unstable in most situations due to the powerful tongue muscle. Although the lower denture is the most common to secure with implants, the upper denture can also have implants placed to help retain it.
Dental implants allow the denture to snap into place, restoring some biting forces and greatly improving the comfort of chewing. They can give a denture wearer back a feeling of security, especially in social situations, such as eating out at a restaurant or talking with friends.
TEETH CLEANING and ROOT SCALING AND PLANING:
Teeth cleaning (also known as prophylaxis) is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Even with careful brushing and flossing at home, tartar (mineralized plaque) may develop, especially in difficult to reach areas of your mouth.
A prophylaxis is a thorough cleaning that may include scaling to remove plaque and tartar deposits beneath the gum line. If tartar is found on the root surfaces of the teeth, then root scaling and planing may be necessary. Often called a deep cleaning, root scaling and planning is a non-surgical procedure used to remove plaque and tartar under the gum line on the root surfaces to promote good gingival health. It is the first step in treatment of gum disease and advanced periodontal disease. Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss. Diagnosing and treating the disease early can help to prevent tooth loss.
Antibiotics or irrigation with an anti-microbial rinse may be recommended to help control the growth of bacteria that create toxins and cause periodontitis.
We recommend that all of our patients practice good oral hygiene by always brushing your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth once a day with floss, replacing your toothbrush every three months and by eating a balanced diet, limiting between-meal snacking. Don't forget to schedule your regular dental check-ups to keep you and your smile healthy.
Some people grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. This is referred to as bruxism and is often further aggravated during times of stress. Some prescription medications can cause bruxism as a side effect.
The temperomandibular joint (TMJ) meniscus or disk often gets distorted in its relationship to the jaw joint. This can cause clicking or popping of the jaw. In addition to pain associated with the disc, the muscles surrounding this joint can also become very tender Some patients may even suffer from a locked jaw, where the mouth will not open, causing discomfort when eating. In addition to jaw and muscular pain in the head and neck regions, headaches and ringing in the ears are also common symptoms of TMJ syndrome.
Any or all of these symptoms can be greatly helped by wearing a custom-fit mouth guard while sleeping. An occlusal guard is a mouthpiece that helps to protect the teeth and jaw from the effects of bruxism by preventing clenching and grinding of the teeth. An occlusal guard is most often worn at night, which is why it's more commonly referred to as a night guard. However, many people also unconsciously clench their teeth during the daytime and require an occlusal guard that they can wear during their daily routine. There are many different designs available. Your dentist will help evaluate which design is best to treat your symptoms of clenching and/or grinding of your teeth.
A mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. While contact sports such as boxing and soccer are considered higher-risk sports for the mouth, you can also experience a dental injury in non-contact activities such as roller-skating, gymnastics and even bike riding. A mouth guard cushions the blow that would otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face and even jaw fractures.
The patient can choose from a wide variety of colors and designs. Many athletes choose to match their mouth guard to their team colors while others choose the clear, transparent guard. Sports guards are generally fabricated to fit the upper jaw, however some athletes require both upper and lower jaw coverage. Your dentist will help you decide which design will best protect you and your teeth.
A snore guard is a small intraoral device used only during sleep. It helps to prevent the jaw and tongue from dropping back into the throat and restricting the air passage. Keeping the airway open greatly reduces snoring in most individuals.
Our dentists will help you find the best design to help with your snoring.
EMERGENCY DENTAL TREATMENT:
Should a dental emergency occur, call our office immediately and we will do our best to see you as soon as possible. If the emergency occurs during non-office hours, one of our dentists will be available to help you with any questions, concerns and recommendations of treating the emergency.
Here are a few precautions to help avoid dental emergencies:
- when participating in sports or recreational activities that may pose a risk of damage to your teeth, lips, cheek and tongue, wear a mouth guard.
- avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candies
- avoid holding objects such as pens and pencils between your teeth
- cut tape with scissors rather than your teeth
Here are a few helpful guidelines to follow if a dental emergency should occur to you or a loved one:
- Cracked or broken tooth: gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water, avoid eating on the side of the broken tooth, do not try to wiggle or evaluate the tooth with your fingers and use cold compresses to help maintain any swelling and call your dentist immediately
- Knocked out tooth: Do NOT scrub the tooth or remove any attached tissue fragments. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it is dirty. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to a dentist as quickly as possible. Time does matter in these cases!
- Possible broken jaw: Gently place cold compresses to aid with maintaining any swelling. Get to your dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.
- Toothache: Gently use floss to ensure there is no food or other debris caught between your teeth. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums of the aching tooth because this may burn the gum tissue. We recommend taking an anti-inflammatory (like Ibuprofen) and calling your dentist to set up an appointment.
- Objects caught between your teeth: Gently try to remove the object with dental floss. Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. If you are unable to dislodge the object, contact your dentist.