We offer comprehensive family dental services. Typical preventative visits include a cleaning and polishing, full oral exam, x-rays once per year, fluoride and periodontal probing. There will also be plenty of time to talk with our team about any dental needs and/or concerns.
Dental Cleanings and Prevention
We recommend that every patient have a professional dental cleaning at least every 6 months. During your cleaning, the dental hygienist will remove all tartar and plaque debris, leaving your teeth clean and smooth. We will take measurements of your gums to be sure that you are not developing any pocketing or beginnings of gum disease. Periodically, we will take digital dental x-rays to check for decay between your teeth and around old crowns and other restorations. Our x-rays can also show if your jaws are free of cysts, abcesses and other concerns. The dentist will perform a thorough examination to assess the health of your mouth as a whole. This exam will include an oral cancer screening. By coming in regularly, you are taking the first step in preserving your natural dentition.
Fluoride and Sealants
We recommend that all children receive our professional fluoride varnish treatment at every dental cleaning. We also recommend placing sealants on primary and permanent molars in children. The most likely location for a cavity to develop in your child’s mouth is on the chewing surface of the back teeth. These rough surfaces tend to trap bacteria in places where the toothbrush cannot effectively access. For these reasons, sealants have been proven to aid in the prevention of cavities in the pits and fissures of these hard-to-reach teeth.
Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)
Some patients are in need of a deeper, more involved cleaning. This could be due to several reasons, including: length of time since their last cleaning, periodontal disease, localized pocketing with tartar build up below the gums, extreme hypersensitivity because of exposed root surfaces. During a scaling and root planing visit, part of your mouth will be numbed by the dentist. This allows the hygienist to use an ultrasonic Cavitron to debride tartar from all the sensitive areas of your mouth without any pain or discomfort. If tartar is not removed from these areas, teeth can become loose, painful, infected or in need of extraction. Typically, a deep cleaning is done in 2 appointments, with half the mouth being treated at each visit. Once all recommended scaling and root planing procedures have been completed, you will be placed back on a regular maintenance schedule.
When a carious lesion (cavity) has penetrated into the dentin layer of a tooth, an irreversible hole is formed. A filling is done by removing the tooth decay and covering it with a biocompatible material to restore comfort, esthetics and function. We mostly use composite resin for our fillings. This material is “tooth colored” and blends seamlessly with your natural tooth. It hardens immediately, requiring little down time, and is BPA free. Amalgam is another filling material that can be used. It is used in areas where composite would not stick, such as very wet places in the back of the mouth.
Crowns and Bridges
Dentistry is an art as well as a science, and dental crowns are a perfect example of this. A dental crown or “cap” is a covering that fits over a damaged, decayed or unattractive tooth. It can even replace a tooth entirely as part of dental bridgework. A crown completely covers a tooth above the gum line. This is in contrast to a dental veneer, which only covers a tooth’s front surface and needs natural tooth structure to support it. Therefore, if a tooth is missing a significant amount of structure above the gum line, a crown would be the restoration of choice.
Crowns are placed for many reasons: to support a tooth after a root canal, when a tooth is significantly fractured and a filling will not work, when a tooth needs an esthetic overhaul. Crowns usually take 2 visits. The first visit will include the tooth preparation. Any decay/old filling will be removed, and the tooth will have a “build-up” to provide a good foundation. The tooth is then reduced occlusally and circumferentially to allow a space for the permanent crown to rest. The dentist will then take impressions of the preparation and send to the lab. Finally, they will make a temporary crown for you to wear until the lab returns your permanent crown. The temporary will look nice and will match your tooth color. The second appointment is usually very easy. We will remove your temporary and will try on the permanent crown. After meticulous efforts to verify a perfect fit, we will permanently cement it for you. You will need to be cautious chewing on the crown for a few hours after cementation to allow it to set up, but then you can resume normal eating.
Whenever a tooth is lost, the patient can consider replacing it with a dental implant. An oral surgeon will evaluate the area to determine if you are a good candidate. A dental implant is a titanium screw that is placed into your jawbone. Once healed, it fully fuses into your body and serves as an artificial tooth root. This surgical placement is done by the oral surgeon. Once healed, the surgeon will send you to our office to place an abutment and crown on top of the implant. The result is a prosthetic tooth that looks and functions exactly like a natural tooth. Implants are the longest-lasting solution for the replacement of missing teeth that we have in modern dentistry.
Occlusal Brux/Night Guards
Night guards are especially helpful for people who suffer from bruxism, the grinding of teeth while sleeping. Though some people brux during the day while concentrating on a task or under stress, most instances of grinding occur during sleep. Teeth grinding can lead to worn or broken teeth (especially the front), fillings, and crowns. It can also cause nerve damage to teeth, receding gums, and contribute to TMJ issues. Wearing a night guard while sleeping helps reduce the frequency and intensity of teeth grinding and clenching. Our office can make a custom guard designed exactly to fit your mouth. Custom guards are more comfortable and much more durable over time than over-the-counter options. In addition to saving teeth, many of our patients report a variety of benefits from wearing a custom guard, including: reduced popping/clicking from the jaw, reduced inner ear pain, reduction in headaches, reduced facial/jaw pain.
There are many options out there for teeth whitening, but our office recommends customized take-home whitening trays. We take impressions of your teeth and fabricate trays that fit very precisely. You are then provided with a kit containing the appropriate whitening gel and instructed how to place small beads of gel in the trays. We offer several different strengths of the whitening gel, tailored to patients’ individual needs. After about two weeks of wearing them for the specified time each day, your teeth will be brilliantly white.