Procedures

Whether your dental needs are a complete exam and cleaning, a full-mouth restoration, or anything in between, we promise to provide you with exceptional care as we enhance the natural beauty of your smile.

 

CLEANINGS & PREVENTION

A preventive program is a cooperative effort by the patient, dentist, and dental staff to preserve the natural dentition and supporting structures by preventing the onset, progression, and recurrence of dental diseases and conditions.

Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. It is continued in the dental office by the efforts of your dentist and dental hygienist to promote, restore, and maintain your oral health.

Prevention also includes regular dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Sealants and fluoride are also great preventive treatments that help protect the teeth.

Prevention helps avoid serious and costly dental problems and is the key to having a healthy, confident, beautiful smile.

Some of our procedures include:

Dental Exams & Cleanings

Dental Exams & Cleanings

A comprehensive dental exam will be performed by your dentist at your initial dental visit. At regular check-up exams, your dentist and hygienist will include the following:
  • Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): Essential for detection of decay and other oral problems. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the lips, tongue, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
  • Professional Dental Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings (dental prophylaxis) are usually performed by Dental Hygienists. Your cleaning appointment will include a dental exam and the following:
  • Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for some time and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Calculus forms above and below the gum line and can only be removed with dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins that inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease and can also cause decay.
  • Teeth polishing: Remove stain and plaque that is not otherwise removed during tooth brushing and scaling.

Digital X-Rays

Digital X-Rays

Digital radiography (digital x-ray) is the latest technology used to take dental x-rays. This technique uses an electronic sensor (instead of x-ray film) that captures and stores the digital image on a computer. This image can be instantly viewed and enlarged. Digital x-rays reduce radiation 80-90% compared to the already low exposure of traditional dental x-rays.

Dental x-rays are essential, diagnostic tools that provide valuable information not visible during an intraoral dental exam. Without x-rays, problem areas may go undetected.

Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage may save you time, money, unnecessary discomfort, and your teeth!

Are dental x-rays safe?

We are all exposed to natural radiation in our environment. Digital x-rays produce a significantly lower level of radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays. Not only are digital x-rays better for the health and safety of the patient, they are faster to take, which reduces your time in the dental office. Also, since the digital image is captured electronically, there is no need to develop the x-rays, thus eliminating the disposal of harmful waste and chemicals into the environment.

Even though digital x-rays produce a low level of radiation and are considered very safe, we still take necessary precautions to limit the patient’s exposure to radiation. These precautions include only taking those x-rays that are necessary, and using lead apron shields to protect the body.

How often should dental x-rays be taken?

The need for dental x-rays depends on each patient’s individual dental health needs. Your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend necessary x-rays based upon the review of your medical and dental history, a dental exam, signs and symptoms, your age, and risk of disease.

How to Properly Brush & Floss

How to Properly Brush & Floss

Brushing and flossing are of paramount importance to oral hygiene. Though bi-annual professional dental cleanings remove plaque, tartar and debris, excellent homecare methods are equally valuable. Proper brushing and flossing can enhance the health of the mouth and prevent serious diseases.
Reasons why proper brushing and flossing are essential:
  • Prevention of tooth decay
  • Prevention of periodontal disease (gum disease)
  • Prevention of halitosis (bad breath)
  • Prevention of staining
  • The Proper Way to Brush
The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day; ideally in the morning and before bed. The perfect toothbrush has soft, rounded-end bristles and no more than three months old. The head of the brush needs to be small enough to access all areas of the mouth. The American Dental Association (ADA) has given electric toothbrushes their seal of approval; stating that those with rotating or oscillating heads are more effective than other toothbrushes.
Here is a basic guide to proper brushing:
  • Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet.
  • Use small circular motions to gently brush the gumline and teeth.
  • Do not scrub or apply too much pressure to the teeth, as this can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
  • Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces. Place special emphasis on the surfaces of the back teeth.
  • Use back and forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.
  • Brush the tongue to remove food and debris.
  • The Proper Way to Floss
Flossing is a great way to remove plaque from the interdental regions (between the teeth). Flossing is an especially important tool for preventing periodontal disease. The interdental regions are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleansed with dental floss on a daily basis. The flavor and type of floss are unimportant; choose floss that will be easy and pleasant to use.
Here is a basic guide to proper flossing:
  1. Cut a piece of floss to around 18 inches long.
  2. Wrap one end of the floss around the middle finger of the left hand and the other end around the middle finger of the right hand until the hands are 2-3 inches apart.
  3. Work the floss gently between the teeth toward the gum line.
  4. Curve the floss in a U-shape around each individual tooth and carefully slide it beneath the gum line.
  5. Carefully move the floss up and down several times to remove interdental plaque and debris.
If you have any questions about the correct way to brush or floss, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.

Sealants

Sealants

A sealant is a thin coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.

Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits.

Reasons for sealants:
  • Children and teenagers – As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-18.
  • Adults – Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions.
  • Baby teeth – Occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone.
What do sealants involve?
Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth.

The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a curing light.

Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride

Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in most water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.

Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.

Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:

  • Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
  • Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
  • Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
  • Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
  • Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
  • Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
  • Recent history of dental decay.

Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.

Bruxism

Bruxism

Bruxism refers to an oral parafunctional activity which occurs in most humans at some point in their lives. The grinding of the teeth and the clenching of the jaw are the two main characteristics of this condition, which can occur either during the day or at night.

Bruxism is one of the most common known sleep disorders and causes most of its damage during sleeping hours. The clenching and grinding which accompanies bruxism is symptomatic of a malfunctioning chewing reflex, which is turned off in non-sufferers when sleeping. For sufferers, deep sleep or even naps, cause the reflex nerve control center in the brain to turn off, and the reflex pathways to become active.

Treatment for bruxism

Mouthguards – A custom mouthguard can be designed from tooth impressions to minimize the abrasive action of tooth surfaces during normal sleep. Mouthguards should be worn on a long-term basis to help prevent tooth damage, damage to the temporomandibular joint and help to stabilize the occlusion.

Other methods of treatment include relaxation exercises and stress management education. When the bruxing is under control, there are a variety of dental procedures that can restore a pleasant aesthetic appearance to the smile.

If you have questions or concerns about bruxism, please ask your dentist.

What is Orthodontics?

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties. Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth malalignment. Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but now 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.

There are many advantages to properly aligned teeth, including better oral hygiene, clearer speech and a more pleasant smile. Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven. The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more quickly the problem can be successfully resolved.

Orthodontics is a versatile branch of dentistry that can be used alone, or in combination with maxillofacial or cosmetic dentistry.

Orthodontic Solutions

Orthodontics is a technologically advanced field which offers many sophisticated solutions to malocclusions and other cosmetic problems.

When a diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options available.

  • Fixed orthodontic braces – A metal or ceramic dental base is affixed to each tooth, and a dental wire is inserted through each base. The orthodontist is able to gradually move the teeth into proper alignment by regularly adjusting the wire. When the desired results are achieved, the fixed dental braces are completely removed.
  • Removable appliances – There are a wide range of removable appliances commonly used in orthodontics, including headgear that correct overbites, Hawley retainers that improve the position of the teeth even as the jawbone reforms, and facemasks which are used to correct an underbite.
  • Invisalign® – This is a removable type of dental aligner that is completely transparent. Invisalign® does not interfere with eating because of its removable nature, and mechanically works in the same way as the traditional metal dental braces. Not all patients are candidates for Invisalign®.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontics, please contact our office. We will be happy to refer you to a qualified orthodontist in your area.

COSMETIC DENTISTRY

In the past decade there has been a dramatic interest in cosmetic dentistry. We all realize that having a healthy, bright, beautiful smile enhances our appearance and allows us to smile with confidence. Thanks to the advances in modern cosmetic dentistry, there are many options for improving the appearance of teeth.

Cosmetic dental treatments can:

  • Change the size, shape, and alignment of teeth.
  • Fill in unattractive spaces between teeth.
  • Lighten or brighten the color of teeth.
  • Repair decayed, broken, cracked, or chipped teeth.
  • Replace missing teeth.
  • Replace old, unattractive dental restorations.

Composite Fillings

Composite Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years if properly maintained.

Reasons for composite fillings:
  • Chipped teeth.
  • Closing space between two teeth.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.
How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.

It can be normal to experience temperature sensitivity when composite fillings are first placed.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

Porcelain Crowns (Caps)

Porcelain Crowns (Caps)

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.

Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain crowns are the most popular, because they resemble your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, lasting result.

Reasons for crowns:
  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.
  • Tooth has a root canal.

What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking an accurate impression that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.

At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

Porcelain Fixed Bridges

Porcelain Fixed Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.

There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The “traditional bridge” is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists to two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

Reasons for a fixed bridge:
  • Fill space of missing teeth.
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
  • Restore chewing and speaking ability.
  • Restore your smile.
  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What does getting a fixed bridge involve?

Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made and will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.

At the second visit, you permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit.

You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain Veneers

Veneers are made with porcelain and they cover the front surfaces of the teeth. Veneers can completely reshape your teeth and smile, and can be an alternative to crowns in some situations.

Reasons for porcelain veneers:
  • Cosmetically, to create a uniform, white, beautiful smile.
  • Misshapen teeth.
  • Severely discolored or stained teeth.
  • Teeth that are too small or large.
  • Unwanted or uneven spaces.
  • Worn or chipped teeth.
What does getting porcelain veneers involve?

Getting veneers usually requires two visits to complete the process. The teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the surface to allow for the thickness of the veneer. A mold or impression of the teeth is taken and a shade (color) will then be chosen by you and your dentist.

On the second visit the teeth will be cleaned thoroughly to achieve a durable bond. Bonding cement is then placed between the tooth and veneer.

You will receive care instructions for veneers. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new veneers.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.

Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home teeth whitening system. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after bleaching so they will match the newly bleached teeth.

Teeth whitening is not permanent. A touch-up may be needed periodically and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.

What does teeth whitening involve?

Home teeth whitening usually requires two visits. At the first appointment, impressions (molds) will be made of your teeth to fabricate custom trays.

At your second appointment, you will try on the trays for proper fit. The trays are worn with whitening solution every day for a couple of weeks depending on the degree of staining and desired level of whitening. It is normal to experience tooth sensitivity during the time you are whitening your teeth, but it will subside shortly after you have stopped bleaching.

You will receive care instructions for your teeth and trays, and be encouraged to visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a beautiful, healthy, white smile.

Same day, in office bleaching is also available for immediate results.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE

The word periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva. If plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Not only is periodontal disease the number one reason for tooth loss, research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease:
  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum tissue around a tooth.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

The term periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition which affects the supporting structures of the teeth.

Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. If left untreated, it can lead to shifting teeth, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.

Types of Periodontal Disease
When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can lead to more severe gum disease. Deepening pockets between the gums and teeth are generally indicative that soft tissue and bone is being destroyed by periodontal disease.
Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease:
  • Chronic periodontitis – Inflammation within supporting tissues cause deep pockets and gum recession. This is the most common form of periodontal disease and is characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression.
  • Aggressive periodontitis – This form of periodontitis is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment and chronic bone destruction.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis – This form of periodontal disease most often occurs in individuals suffering from systemic conditions such as HIV, immunosuppression and malnutrition. Necrosis (tissue death) occurs in the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and gingival tissues.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease

There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the dentist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.

Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:
  • Scaling and root planing – In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially caused the infection, must be removed. A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into daily cleaning routines.
  • Tissue regeneration – When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures. A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.
  • Pocket elimination surgery – Pocket elimination surgery is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums. Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.

Ask your dentist if you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease or periodontal treatment.

RESTORATIONS

It’s great news that the incidence of tooth decay has significantly diminished over the years due to the use of fluorides and an increase in patient awareness.  However, teeth are still susceptible to decay, infection, and breakage and sometimes need to be restored back to health.  Through improved techniques and modern technology, we are now able to offer more options for restoring a tooth back to its normal shape, appearance and function.

Should your teeth ever require a restorative treatment, you can rest assured knowing we will always discuss with you the available options, and recommend what we believe to be the most comfortable and least invasive treatment.

Composite Fillings

Composite Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

Reasons for composite fillings:
  • Chipped teeth.
  • Closing space between two teeth.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.
How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function. It is normal to experience temperature sensitivity when composite fillings are first placed.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam Fillings

A silver amalgam filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a silver filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Amalgam fillings, along with composite (tooth colored) fillings, are the most widely used today. An amalgam filling is more commonly used in the back teeth since the color is not as aesthetic as a composite filling.

Reasons for amalgam fillings:
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Worn teeth.

What does getting an amalgam filling involve?

Amalgam fillings are placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleansed and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. The silver filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.

It is normal to experience temperature sensitivity when amalgam fillings are first placed.

You will be given post-care instructions at the completion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

Crowns (Caps)

Crowns (Caps)

A crown (or cap) is a restoration that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens a tooth.

Reasons for crowns:

  • Broken or fractured teeth.
  • Cosmetic enhancement.
  • Decayed teeth.
  • Fractured fillings.
  • Large fillings.
  • Tooth has a root canal.
What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking an accurate impression that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.

At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

Mini Dental Implants

Mini Dental Implants

Mini Dental Implants (MDIs) have changed the face of implant placement. Unlike full implant placement where multiple dental visits are required, MDIs eliminate the need for extensive surgery. The development of long term MDIs now allows the dentist to place anchors in the jaw during one less invasive treatment. The most common use for MDIs is the stabilization of dentures and overdentures. MDIs firmly anchor the dental prosthesis, which means there is no longer any need to suffer with ill-fitting, loose dentures.

MDIs are designed to eliminate bone grafting and expedite treatment. Full implants can require bone grafting and a recovery period. The smaller size of MDIs means that a shorter recovery period is necessary, and the denture can be fitted the same day.

What is the configuration of mini dental implants?

An MDI is a small dental implant (similar to a screw) that is designed to act in place of a natural tooth root. MDIs are generally constructed from titanium and are either sprayed with calcium phosphate, or contain it along the length of the screw portion. The design and structure of MDIs promotes quick healing and long lasting results. The head portion of the implant looks very much like a ball. This ball fits firmly into the retaining mechanism and together these structures hold the dentures at a designated level. The dentures sit comfortably on the gum tissue and are able to withstand significant amounts of pressure and natural force.

What are the advantages of MDI placement?

MDIs are a true innovation for people who are reluctant to have invasive dental surgery and for denture wearers. One significant advantage MDIs have over full implants is that they offer a viable treatment choice for patients who have experienced extensive bone loss. Depending on the quality and density of jawbone available at the implant site, four or more of these mini implants may be implanted at one time. Unlike full implants, MDIs don’t require invasive surgery, which makes MDIs a gentler option. MDIs also minimize cost. The most common use for MDIs is to stabilize a lower denture, however they can be placed anywhere in the mouth.

Here are some of the other advantages associated with MDIs:
  • Clearer speech.
  • Easier chewing and biting.
  • Easier cleaning.
  • Firmer denture fit.
  • High success rate. Less discomfort.
  • No cutting or sutures.
  • No need for adhesives or messy bonding agents.
  • Permanent results.
  • Quick treatment time.
  • Reduced costs.
How are mini dental implants placed?

Here is a brief overview of the MDI placement procedure:

  • A local anesthetic is administered.
  • A small hole is drilled in the jawbone before each MDI is placed.
  • Each implant is screwed into place and tightened.
  • Finally, a ratchet wrench is used to fully stabilize the MDIs.
  • The denture is measured against the mini implants and marks are made to indicate where the MDIs will fit.
  • Holes are drilled in the denture to accomodate the MDIs.

Once the denture has been fully modified, it can be affixed to the MDIs. The rubber O-ring on each MDI snaps into the designated spot on the denture, and the denture then rests snugly on the gum tissue. MDIs hold the denture comfortably in a tight-fitting way for a lifetime.

In almost all cases, no stitching is required and no real discomfort is felt after the procedure. After the denture placement procedure is complete, light eating can be resumed. The denture can be removed and cleaned at will. MDIs enhance the natural beauty of the smile and restore full functionality to the teeth.

If you have any questions or concerns about mini dental implants, please ask your dentist.

Dental Implants

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and also provide a fixed solution to having removable partial or complete dentures. Implants provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances.

Dental implants are artificial roots and teeth that are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone by a dental professional. The teeth attached to implants are very natural looking and often enhance or restore a patient’s smile.

Dental implants are very strong, stable, and durable and will last many years in most cases.

Reasons for dental implants:
  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
  • Restore a patient’s confident smile.
  • Restore chewing, speech, and digestion.
  • Restore or enhance facial tissues.
  • Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure and comfortable.
What does getting dental implants involve?

The process of getting implants requires a number of visits over several months.

X-rays and impressions (molds) are taken of the jaw and teeth to determine bone, gum tissue, and spacing available for an implant. While the area is numb, the implant will be surgically placed into the bone and allowed to heal and integrate itself onto the bone for a period of time.

After several weeks of healing the artificial teeth are made and fitted to the post portion of the anchor. Because several fittings may be required, this step may take one to two months to complete. After a healing period, the artificial teeth are securely attached to the implant, providing excellent stability and comfort to the patient.

You will receive care instructions when your treatment is completed. Good oral hygiene, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new implant.

Dentures & Partial Dentures

Dentures & Partial Dentures

A denture is a removable dental appliance for missing teeth and surrounding tissue. They are made to closely resemble your natural teeth and may even enhance your smile.

There are two types of dentures – complete and partial dentures. Complete dentures are used when all of the teeth are missing, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.

A Complete denture may be either “conventional” or “immediate.” A conventional type is made after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed. During this time, the patient will go without teeth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and immediately placed after the teeth are removed, thus preventing the patient from having to be without teeth during the healing process. Once the tissues shrink and heal, adjustments or relines may be required.

Reasons for dentures:
  • Complete Denture – Loss of all teeth in an arch.
  • Partial Denture – Loss of several teeth in an arch.
  • Enhancing smile and facial tissues.
  • Improving chewing, speech, and digestion.
What does getting dentures involve?

The process of getting dentures requires several appointments, usually over several weeks. Highly accurate impressions (molds) and measurements are taken and used to create your custom denture. Several “try-in” appointments may be necessary to ensure proper shape, color, and fit. At the final appointment, your dentist will precisely adjust and place the completed denture, ensuring a natural and comfortable fit.

It is normal to experience increased saliva flow, some soreness, and possible speech and chewing difficulty while adjusting to a new denture.

You will be given care instructions for your new dentures. Proper cleaning of your new dental appliance, good oral hygiene, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new dentures.

Fixed Bridges

Fixed Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.

There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The most widely used type of bridge is porcelain fused to metal.

Reasons for a fixed bridge:
  • Fill space of missing teeth.
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position.
  • Restore chewing and speaking ability.
  • Restore your smile.
  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance.
What does getting a fixed bridge involve?

Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the anchoring teeth are prepared. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.

At the second visit, you permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit.

You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of the procedure. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.

PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY

Pediatric dentistry primarily focuses on children from birth through adolescence. We provide dental care to children of all ages in our office, however will refer a child to a specialist in complex situations.

If you have questions or concerns about pediatric dentistry, please contact our office.

Care for Your Child’s Teeth

Care for Your Child’s Teeth

How can I help at home?

Though most parents primarily think of brushing and flossing when they hear the words “oral care,” good preventative care includes many more factors, such as:

Diet – Parents should provide children with a nourishing, well-balanced diet. Very sugary diets should be modified and continuous snacking should be discouraged. Oral bacteria ingest leftover sugar particles in the child’s mouth after each helping of food – emitting harmful acids that erode tooth enamel. Space out snacks where possible, and provide the child with non-sugary alternatives.

General oral hygiene – Sometimes, parents cleanse pacifiers and teething toys by sucking them. Parents may also share eating utensils with the child. Harmful oral bacteria are transmitted from parent-to-child in these ways, increasing the risk of early cavities and tooth decay. Instead, rinse toys and pacifiers with warm water and avoid spoon-sharing wherever possible.

Sippy cup use – Sippy cups are an excellent transitional aid for the baby bottle-to-adult drinking glass period. However, sippy cups filled with milk, breast milk, soda, juice, and sweetened water cause small amounts of sugary fluid to continually surround young teeth – meaning continuous acid attacks on tooth enamel. Sippy cup use should be terminated between the ages of twelve and fourteen months – or whenever the child has the motor capabilities to hold a drinking glass.

Brushing – Children’s teeth should be brushed a minimum of two times per day using a soft bristled brush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Parents should help with the brushing process until the child reaches the age of seven and is capable of reaching all areas of the mouth. Parents should always opt for ADA approved toothpaste (non-fluoridated before the age of two, and fluoridated thereafter). For babies, parents should rub the gum area with a clean cloth after each feeding.

Flossing – Cavities and tooth decay form more easily between teeth. Therefore, the child is at risk for between-teeth cavities wherever two teeth grow adjacent to each other. You must assist your child with flossing.

Fluoride – Fluoride helps prevent mineral loss and simultaneously promotes the remineralization of tooth enamel.

If you have questions or concerns about how to care for your child’s teeth, please ask your dentist.

Dental Emergencies

Dental Emergencies

Although dental injuries and dental emergencies are often distressing for both children and parents, they are also extremely common. Approximately one third of children have experienced some type of dental trauma, and more have experienced a dental emergency.

There are two peak risk periods for dental trauma – the first being toddlerhood (18-40 months) when environmental exploration begins, and the second being the preadolescent/adolescent period, when sporting injuries become commonplace.

Detailed below are some of the most common childhood dental emergencies, in addition to helpful advice on how to deal with them.

Toothache

Toothache is common in children of all ages and rarely occurs without cause. Impacted food can cause discomfort in young children, and can be dislodged using a toothbrush, a clean finger, or dental floss. If pain persists, contact the dentist. Some common causes of toothache include: tooth fractures, tooth decay, tooth trauma, and wisdom teeth eruption (adolescence).

How you can help:
  • Cleanse the area using warm water.
  • Check for impacted food and remove it as necessary.
  • Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling.
  • Contact the dentist to seek advice.

Dental avulsion (knocked-out tooth)

If a tooth has been knocked-out of the child’s mouth completely, it is important to contact the dentist immediately. In general, dentists do not attempt to reimplant avulsed primary (baby) teeth, because the reimplantation procedure itself can cause damage to the tooth bud, and thereby damage the emerging permanent tooth.

The dentist may attempt to reimplant avulsed permanent teeth, unless the trauma has caused irreparable damage. The reimplantation procedure is almost always more successful if it is performed within one hour of the avulsion, so time is of the essence!

How you can help:
  • Recover the tooth. Do not touch the tooth roots! Handle the crown only.
  • Rinse off dirt and debris with water without scrubbing or scraping the tooth.
  • For older children, insert the tooth into its original socket using gentle pressure, or encourage the child to place the tooth in the cheek pouch. For younger children, submerge the tooth in a glass of milk or saliva (do not attempt to reinsert the tooth in case the child swallows it).
  • Do not allow the tooth to dry during transportation. Moisture is critically important for reimplantation success.
  • Visit the dentist (when possible) or take the child to the Emergency Room immediately –time is critical in saving the tooth.

Dental intrusion (tooth pushed into jawbone)

Sometimes, dental trauma forces a tooth (or several teeth) upwards into the jawbone. The prognosis is better for teeth that have been pushed up to a lesser extent (less than 3mm), but every situation is unique.

If dental intrusion of either the primary or permanent teeth is suspected, it is important to contact the dentist immediately.

How you can help:
  • Rinse the child’s mouth with cold water.
  • Place ice packs around affected areas to reduce swelling.
  • Offer Tylenol for pain relief.
  • Contact the pediatric dentist where possible, or proceed to the Emergency Room.

Tooth luxation/extrusion/lateral displacement (tooth displacement)

How you can help:
  • Place a cold, moist compress on the affected area.
  • Offer pain relief (for example, Children’s Tylenol).
  • Contact the dentist immediately.

Crown fracture

The crown is the largest, most visible part of the tooth. In most cases, the crown is the part of the tooth that sustains trauma. There are several classifications of crown fracture, ranging from minor enamel cracks (not an emergency) to pulp exposure (requiring immediate treatment).

The dentist can readily assess the severity of the fracture using dental X-rays, but any change in tooth color (for example, pinkish or yellowish tinges inside the tooth) is an emergency warning sign.

How you can help:
  • Rinse the child’s mouth with warm water.
  • Place a cold, moist compress on the affected area.
  • Offer pain relief (for example, Children’s Tylenol).
  • Visit the dentist or Emergency Room depending on availability and the severity of the injury.

Root fracture

A root fracture is caused by direct trauma, and isn’t noticeable to the naked eye. If a root fracture is suspected, dental x-rays need to be taken. Depending on the exact positioning of the fracture and the child’s level of discomfort, the tooth can be monitored, treated, or extracted as a worse case scenario.

How you can help:
  • Place a cold, moist compress on the affected area.
  • Offer pain relief (for example, Children’s Tylenol).
  • Contact the dentist.

Injured cheek, lip or tongue

If the child’s cheek, lip or tongue is bleeding due to an accidental cut or bite, apply firm direct pressure to the area using a clean cloth or gauze. To reduce swelling, apply ice to the affected areas. If the bleeding becomes uncontrollable, proceed to the Emergency Room or call a medical professional immediately.

Fractured jaw

If a broken or fractured jaw is suspected, proceed immediately to the Emergency Room. In the meantime, encourage the child not to move the jaw. In the case of a very young child, gently tie a scarf lengthways around the head and jaw to prevent movement.

Mouth Guards

Mouth Guards

Mouth guards, also known as sports guards or athletic mouth protectors, are crucial pieces of equipment for any child participating in a contact sport. Mouth guards protect the entire oral region from traumatic injury, preserving both the esthetic appearance and the health of the smile. In addition, mouth guards are sometimes used to prevent tooth damage in children who grind (brux) their teeth at night.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) in particular, advocates for the use of dental mouth guards during any sporting or recreational activity.

Mouth guards reduce the prevalence of the following injuries:

  • Cheek lesions
  • Concussions
  • Gum and soft tissue injuries
  • Lip lesions
  • Tongue lesions
  • Tooth fractures

Consider providing your child a custom fit mouthguard from your dentist.

Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking

Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking

For most infants, the sucking of thumbs and pacifiers is a happy, everyday part of life. Since sucking is a natural, instinctual baby habit, infants derive a sense of comfort, relaxation, and security from using a thumb or pacifier as a sucking aid.

How can thumb sucking and pacifier use damage children’s teeth?

Pacifier and thumb sucking damage can be significant. Both can be difficult to assess with the naked eye, and both tend to occur over a prolonged period of time. Below is an overview of some of the risks associated with prolonged thumb sucking and pacifier use:

Jaw misalignment – Pacifiers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, most of which are completely unnatural for the mouth to hold. Over time, pacifiers and thumbs can guide the developing jaws out of correct alignment.

Roof narrowing – The structures in the mouth are extremely pliable during childhood. Prolonged, repeated exposure to thumb and pacifier sucking actually cause the roof of the mouth to narrow (as if molding around the sucking device). This can cause later problems with developing teeth.

Slanting teeth – Growing teeth can be caused to slant or protrude by thumb and pacifier sucking, leading to poor esthetic results. In addition, thumb sucking and pacifier use in later childhood increases the need for extensive orthodontic treatments.

Mouth sores – Passive sucking is much less harmful than aggressive sucking. Aggressive sucking (popping sounds when the child sucks) may cause sores or ulcers to develop.

If you do intend to purchase a pacifier:
  • Buy a one-piece pacifier to reduce the risk of choking.
  • Buy an “orthodontically correct” model.
  • Do not dip it in honey or any other sugary liquid.
  • Rinse with water (as opposed to cleansing with your mouth) to prevent bacterial transmissions.
How can I encourage my child to stop thumb or pacifier sucking?

In most cases, children naturally relinquish the pacifier or thumb over time. As children grow, they develop new ways to self-soothe, relax, and entertain themselves. When thumb sucking or pacifier use persists, a gentle intervention may be required.

Here are some helpful suggestions to help encourage the child to cease thumb sucking or pacifier use:
  • Ask the dentist to speak with the child about stopping. Often, the message is heard more clearly when delivered by a health professional.
  • Buy an ADA recommended specialized dental appliance to make it difficult for the child to engage in sucking behaviors.
  • Implement a reward system, so the child can earn tokens or points towards a desirable reward for not thumb sucking or using a pacifier.
  • Wrap thumbs in soft cloths or mittens at nighttime.

If the above suggestions do not seem to be working, your dentist can provide more guidance. Remember: the breaking of a habit takes time, patience, and plenty of encouragement!

ENDODONTICS

Endodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with the complex structures found inside the teeth. The Greek word “Endodontics” literally means “inside the tooth,” and relates to the tooth pulp, tissues, nerves and arterioles.

Signs and symptoms of endodontic problems:
  • Toothache.
  • Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods.
  • Tenderness when chewing and biting.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Unexplained pain in the nearby lymph nodes.
  • Reasons for endodontic treatment

Endodontic treatment (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth.

Here are some of the main causes of inner tooth damage:

Bacterial infections – Oral bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria invade the tooth pulp through tiny fissures in the teeth caused by tooth decay or injury. The resulting inflammation and bacterial infection jeopardize the affected tooth and may cause an abscess to form.

Fractures and chips – When a large part of the surface or crown of the tooth has become completely detached, root canal therapy may be required. The removal of the crown portion leaves the pulp exposed, which can be painful.

Injuries – Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the mouth area. Some injuries cause a tooth to become luxated, or dislodged from its socket. Root canal therapy is often needed after an injury.

What does an endodontic procedure invlove?

Root canal therapy usually takes between one and three visits to complete. Complete X-rays of the teeth will be taken and examined before the treatment begins.

Initially, a local anesthetic will be administered, and a dental dam (protective sheet) will be placed to ensure that the surgical area remains free of saliva during the treatment. An opening will be created in the surface of the tooth, and the pulp will be completely removed using small handheld instruments.

The space will now be shaped, cleaned and filled with gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a biocompatible material. Usually, a temporary filling will be placed to restore functionality to the tooth prior to the permanent restoration procedure. During the final visit, a permanent restoration or crown will be placed.

If you have questions or concerns about endodontic procedures, please ask your dentist.

Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with a biocompatible material.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated or removed due to new infections.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.
What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure requires two appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).

While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed. A temporary filling is placed.

At the next appointment, usually a week or two later, the canals will be filled and sealed with biocompatible dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, many teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.

SURGICAL INSTRUCTIONS

While most dental surgery is performed on an out-patient basis, it remains an involved procedure that requires specific preparation and aftercare. In an effort to provide safe, comfortable care, we encourage you to review our post-operative instructions, which are intended to facilitate a smooth and safe recovery.

If you have any questions or concerns about your surgery, please contact our practice today.

After Tooth Extractions

There are a number of reasons that your dentist might recommend a tooth extraction. Some dental patients suffer from tooth decay; others need to remove teeth hindering orthodontic treatment, whereas various patients simply need wisdom teeth removal. While a tooth extraction can be a serious dental procedure, aftercare is just as critical as the procedure itself. As the dental patient, it is important to understand that pain and the risk of infection can be lessened with proper care.

Care immediately following surgery:
  • Keep pressure on the gauze pad that your doctor placed over the surgical area by gently biting down. Dampen the gauze sponge with water if it begins to dry out. Try to maintain constant pressure in intervals of 20 minutes, repeating with new gauze as often as needed until bleeding lessens.
  • Keep your head elevated and try to lower your activity level as much as possible.
  • Keep your mouth clean by brushing areas around the surgical site, but be sure to avoid sutures. Touching the wounded area in any fashion should be prevented.
  • Use ice packs to control swelling by placing them on facial areas near extraction.
  • Take all prescribed medications accordingly.
  • Try to eat softer foods.
  • Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, but do not drink through a straw for the next 3 days.
  • If you are a regular tobacco user, refrain from smoking for at least 3 days.

After your tooth has been extracted, healing will take some time. Within 3 to 14 days, your sutures should fall out or dissolve. For sutures that are non-resorbable, your dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment to remove the sutures for you. Your tooth’s empty socket will gradually fill in over time.

Please contact our office with any questions or concerns.

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