Routine Dental Check Ups
In an effort to maintain optimal dental health we recommend coming to see the dentist every 6 months. This will allow the doctor to detect any dental concerns early enough and provide minimally invasive procedures to correct the problem. At the check up appointment you will receive an oral evaluation, X-rays if needed, and a cleaning. Being up to date on your recall visits is a key step in maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing painful problems that could arise.
Fluoride protects teeth from decay and cavities in two ways. When bacteria in the mouth combine with sugars, acid is produced that can erode tooth enamel and damage teeth. Fluoride can protect teeth from demineralization that is caused by the acid. If teeth have been damaged by acid, fluoride accumulates in the demineralized areas and begins strengthening the enamel – a process called remineralization. Fluoride is very useful for preventing cavities and strengthening teeth.
Dental Sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. Most tooth decay on children and teens occur on these surfaces. Sealants protect the chewing surfaces from tooth decay by keeping germs and food particles out of these grooves. Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure. The process is short and easy. After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The Dentist or Dental Hygienist also may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar. The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called “gingivitis”. In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a Dentist or Dental Hygienist. This form of gum disease does not not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces called “pockets” that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
DEEP CLEANING (Scaling and Root Planing):
The dentist, periodontist, or dental hygienist removes the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease.
After completing Scaling and Root Planing, patients will need to come in for periodontal maintenance appointments. These maintenance cleanings will need to be performed every 3-4 months depending on your specific need.
- Smoking. Need another reason to quit smoking? Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease. Additionally, smoking can lower the chances for successful treatment.
- Hormonal changes in girls/women. These changes can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease.
- Other illnesses. Diseases like cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also negatively affect the health of gums.
- Medications. There are hundreds of prescription and over the counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. And some medications can cause abnormal overgrowth of the gum tissue; this can make it difficult to keep gums clean.
TOOTH COLORED FILLINGS:
Dental fillings are used to fill in teeth that have been affected by tooth decay and cavities. When patients develop cavities, the dentist removes portions of the natural teeth that are infected. Dental materials are used to fill in this empty space and maintain the structural integrity of the tooth. The development of tooth-colored fillings has provided dentist and patients with a safer and more attractive alternative to silver amalgam fillings. As the availability of white fillings has increased and the possible dangers associated with amalgam fillings have been publicized, more and more patients are having their cavities filled with beautifully white, tooth-colored fillings.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT OR ENDODONTIC TREATMENT:
To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.
The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp, because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.
- Why would I need an endodontic procedure? Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
- What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment? Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.
What is a dental crown? A dental crown is a dental restoration that covers the tooth. The covering is cemented to the tooth and will fully cover everything that is at and above the gum line. A filling will restore a portion of the tooth and a crown will cover the entire tooth.
What are dental crowns made of? Dental crowns can be made from either porcelain or a metal alloy such as silver or gold.
Getting a dental crown involves two appointments. In the first appointment, your tooth is prepared, an impression is taken so that this tooth and all the surrounding and opposing teeth can be replicated in a dental laboratory, and a temporary restoration is placed. Meanwhile, the impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the final restoration is fabricated to precise standards. When this work is completed, you have your second appointment. The crown is tried in your mouth, and if it fits properly and is made to our exacting standards and meets your approval, it is cemented in your mouth.
DENTAL BRIDGES/ FIXED PARTIAL DENTURES:
Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth. A bridge is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap – these two anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth – and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?
- Restore your smile
- Restore your ability to properly chew and speak
- Maintain the shape of your face
- Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
- Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
There are three main types of dental bridges:
- Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
- Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth.
- Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and the tissues connected to those teeth. It is made of acrylic plastic and sometimes porcelain and metal materials. A denture closely resembles natural gum tissue and teeth. Complete dentures replace all of the teeth, while partial dentures fill in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevent other teeth from shifting position. Complete dentures are “immediate” or “conventional.” An immediate denture is a complete denture or partial denture that is inserted on the same day, immediately following the removal of the natural teeth. The immediate denture acts as a Band-Aid to protect the tissues and reduce bleeding after tooth extraction. The conventional denture is ready for placement in the mouth about 8 to 12 weeks after the teeth have been removed and the gum tissue has healed. However, some dentists may recommend more time before placing a conventional denture.
How do you care for a denture?
- Denture adhesives may be recommended, especially for the first-time denture wearer. Adhesives may improve the retention and stability of dentures for those with minimal bone support or small ridges. Stability of the denture will help the wearer’s confidence.
- Remove and brush the denture daily with a denture cleanser and a brush (one specifically designed for cleaning dentures or a soft toothbrush).
- Avoid using boiling water to sterilize the denture, because hot water can cause the denture to lose its shape.
- If you wear a partial denture, remove it before brushing your natural teeth.
- When you’re not wearing the denture, soak it in denture cleanser or water.
- To avoid misplacing your denture, store it in the same place after removal.
Removable partial dentures:
A removable partial denture (RPD) is for a partially edentulous dental patient who desires to have replacement teeth for functional or aesthetic reasons, and who cannot have a bridge (a fixed partial denture) for any number of reasons, such as a lack of required teeth to serve as support for a bridge (i.e. distal abutments) or due to financial limitations. The reason why this type of prosthesis is referred to as a removable partial denture is because patients can remove and reinsert them when required without professional help. Conversely, a “fixed” prosthesis can and should be removed only by a dental professional.
A dental implant is a “root” device, usually made of titanium, used in dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth. Virtually all dental implants placed today are root-form endosseous implants, i.e., they appear similar to an actual tooth root (and thus possess a “root-form”) and are placed within the bone (endo- being the Greek prefix for “in” and osseous referring to “bone”). The bone of the jaw accepts and osseointegrates with the titanium post. Osseointegration refers to the fusion of the implant surface with the surrounding bone. Dental implants will fuse with bone, however they lack the periodontal ligament, so they will feel slightly different than natural teeth during chewing. Dental implants are a possible alternative to dentures. Not all patients are good candidates for implants, so be sure to talk to your dentist about which treatment option is best for you.
In dentistry, 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 material used to fabricate a veneer, composite and dental porcelain. A composite veneer may be directly placed (built-up in the mouth), or indirectly fabricated by a dental technician in a dental laboratory, and later bonded to the tooth, In contrast, a porcelain veneer may only be indirectly fabricated.
Dental bleaching, also known as tooth whitening, is a common procedure in general dentistry but most especially in the field of cosmetic dentistry. A child’s deciduous teeth are generally whiter than the adult teeth that follow. As a person ages the adult 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 bacterial pigments, food-goods and tobacco. Certain antibiotic medications (like tetracycline) can also cause teeth stains or a reduction in the brilliance of the enamel.