In order to maintain good oral health, the American Dental Association recommends regular dental cleanings and exams in conjunction with daily brushing and flossing at home. Dental cleanings can help prevent or help stop the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease. We recommend two dental cleanings per year for most patients, but may recommend 3-4 cleanings per year for a patient who suffers from periodontal disease. Benefits of dental cleanings include stain removal, plaque removal and fresher breath. Our dental hygienists provide a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for your cleaning appointments.
Periodontal Care Using Laser Therapy
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure to clean not only the crowns of the teeth that are above the gum line, but also the root surface below the gum line. This is a more intensive treatment than the normal cleaning (prophy). This is typically the first line of defense for a person who has significant calculus (tartar) build up above and below the gumline, periodontal disease or deep pockets. This type of treatment will be completed in one or more appointments, and the patient can be given local anesthetic to numb the gums and teeth to ensure comfort if they would like.
In addition to scaling and root planing for treatment of periodontal disease, laser therapy can also be used. A laser uses a small amount of light energy through a tiny fiber, which is gently placed between the gums and tooth. The light energy helps in reducing the bacteria that causes the disease by removing tiny amounts of already diseased tissue. After the area is thoroughly cleaned, the patient has better access to clean the area, and allows for the body to heal the area naturally. Patients typically are very pleased with laser therapy as it is virtually painless, and post-operative discomfort is minimal lasting only a very short time.
Our office offers digital radiographs, which uses much less radiation than the traditional dental x-rays. With minimal radiation, these digital images give the doctor important information in evaluating bone health, detecting cavities and areas of infection that are not easily seen just by looking in the mouth. They are also vital tools to aid in identifying other pathologies and potentially serious conditions in the head and neck area.
Sealants are protective coatings applied in the grooves and pits on the chewing surface of the back teeth. They create a smoother tooth surface that is easier to clean and therefore more resistant to the formation of tooth decay. Application is fast and easy and does not require anesthetic. Sealants are typically a very cost-effective preventive measure for tooth decay and most insurance companies will cover them.
The fluoride our office applies is a topical varnish. Its properties are so that it sticks to the tooth for multiple hours after the appointment. This varnish is both helpful for children and adults. It may be applied to the enamel, dentin or cementum of a tooth and can be used to help prevent decay, remineralize a weakened tooth surface and also to treat sensitivity in certain cases. With regular varnish use we can help keep teeth strong and minimize tooth sensitivity.
Composite (tooth colored) Fillings
A composite filling is a mercury-free tooth colored resin that can repair a tooth to its original shape and function. These fillings can be used on both front and back teeth and are extremely versatile. They can be nearly unnoticeable and provide an alternative to the unaesthetic old silver fillings while still providing the strength that is needed.
Another benefit of a composite filling versus an amalgam filling is that the dentist will not have to remove as much natural tooth structure in order to place the filling. In addition to rebuilding a tooth that had a cavity, composite fillings can also be used to change the shape of healthy teeth or close unwanted spaces between teeth.
Root canal procedures have a bad reputation of being painful. Most people, however, report that the process is no more painful than receiving a filling. When the nerve to a tooth becomes damaged it can create an infection. Without treatment, the tooth can become very painful while swelling or an abscess can form. Damage to the nerve of the tooth can come from decay, large fillings, cracks, chips in a tooth or even trauma to your face. Once that damage has been done, the nerve of the tooth must be removed in order to help prevent infection.
The process of a root canal is typically completed in one or two appointments. A small hole is created on the top or backside of a tooth to access the nerve of the tooth. Then, little files are used to clean the nerve tissue and debris from the canal inside the root of a tooth. One way to think about it- it is like cleaning the lead from the inside of a pencil. Once the canal is cleaned out, the open space inside the root is sealed. At this point it will be determined how much natural tooth structure remains, and whether or not a filling or crown will be needed to seal the top of the tooth and provide adequate support.
Cerec® Crowns (one-day porcelain computer-generated crowns, no metal)
Crowns restore a tooth’s shape, strength and function. They may be recommended to restore a tooth for different reasons. The most common reasons are very large fillings, cracked or broken teeth, excessively worn teeth, badly discolored or misshapen teeth and to protect a tooth following a root canal. Crowns are also used to restore the top of an implant, when replacing missing teeth.
There are multiple types of crowns made of different materials. Our office offers all types and will always recommend which option will be best for each tooth. Most often, we are able to fabricate Cerec® crowns. These crowns can be made in one appointment, and patients will leave the same day with their final crown. With these one-day all porcelain computer generated crowns, there is no need for multiple appointments, temporary crowns or messy impressions.
If during your dental visit our dentists find that a tooth is non-restorable and needs to be removed, there is no need for concern. Our dentists are trained to give you the best care possible, and most extractions can be done in our office. For added comfort we also offer nitrous sedation. In the case that our dentists would recommend to not complete an extraction in our office, we refer to a trusted team of oral surgeons and periodontists locally.
Bridges are a way to replace a missing tooth or teeth by using the surrounding teeth as support. This option is great for someone who would like a fixed (cemented) solution that does not get removed from the mouth like a partial denture. In this option, teeth on either side of the space will be crowned and will be connected to one or multiple teeth that will fill the space.
The process of having a bridge made typically takes two appointments. During the first appointment, the supporting teeth will be prepared for crowns. After this is completed, an impression of the area will be taken so models can be made at the lab and the bridge can be fabricated. Upon completion of the first appointment, the patient will leave with a temporary bridge to cover the prepared teeth and the space.
The second appointment will be scheduled once the lab has returned the bridge. During this appointment, we will try the bridge in to ensure proper fit and esthetics. When everything is acceptable, we cement it in and the patient leaves with their new bridge and no space!
ZOOM Bleaching (Same-day In Office Bleaching) and Take-Home Whitening Kits
Teeth whitening is a wonderful way to achieve a bright smile. Our ZOOM bleaching is great for the patient with a busy lifestyle or for someone who doesn’t want to bleach at home. ZOOM bleaching is an in-office whitening treatment that will give you your desired whitening in one visit. With our ZOOM package, we include bleaching trays and a tube of whitening gel for any touch-ups you may need over time. We also offer our bleaching trays and whitening gel separately to allow for at-home bleaching.
NTI & Occlusal Guards
Do you suffer from tension headaches? Do you have tightness in your jaw muscles? Or are you noticing that some of your teeth look flat or are chipping and have jagged edges? Any one of these may be signs of bruxism, which is clenching or grinding of your teeth. Some bruxers may have symptoms, while others may not know that they grind at all. Bruxism can be detrimental to the teeth, therefore if bruxism is suspected, we may recommend you to consider a NTI or full arch occlusal guard. NTIs are clear appliances that attach to the lower front teeth and prevent the back teeth from touching. Unlike the large and bulky sport guards, NTIs are very small and more discreet. Many of our patients wear their NTI at night, which is the time that most bruxism tends to occur.