Our practice provides a wide range of dental services and typically provides most of these services without having to refer you to other specialists. This flexibility saves you time and keeps your total dental care within one practice. Our emphasis is on total preventive care for our patients. Total care begins with regular hygiene visits, regular checkups and continued home oral health routines. Our practice also provides the highest-quality services for restoring mouths that have been damaged by dental disease and injury and common problems that require cosmetic dentistry. Our primary goal for our patients is to achieve and maintain optimum oral health through advances in techniques, technologies and by maintaining their scheduled dental exams.
Twice a year you should schedule a routine dental cleaning. During this visit, one of our dental hygienists will remove plaque from your teeth (especially from places where your brush can’t, such as underneath the gum line and in-between teeth), clean your teeth with a paste and may apply fluoride to help protect your teeth for after you leave the office. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth structure and prevent future decay and we especially recommend fluoride treatments for our younger patients.
The concept of a “filling” is the replacement and restoration of tooth structure damaged due to decay or fracture. We use the best restoration method, either silver or “tooth colored” fillings, to strengthen your teeth and/or restore your smile and teeth to a more natural look and feel.
A root canal is a procedure that extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces it with strengthening filler. A cavity is the result of superficial decay of the enamel of the tooth. Left long enough, this decay can burrow into the deeper reaches of the tooth, causing extensive damage to tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, dentists can perform a root canal (or endodontics), preserving the tooth and retaining its original integrity; thereby, saving a tooth that in the past would have to have been removed.
- The patient undergoes anesthesia.
- A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
- The tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp.
- The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals.
- With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals.
- The tooth is filled again with cutting edge biocompatible filling material.
- A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening.
- Patients MUST return for a permanent filling and “cap” (Crown) to regain the tooth’s strength or integrity.
Some teeth, if neglected, may become very decayed and beyond repair. In addition to decay, some areas of the mouth may develop extensive infections within the gums, eroding the supporting tissues. With both of these situations, the teeth may not recover and need to be removed or extracted from the mouth.
Additionally, third molars or”wisdom teeth” usually appear in the late teens or early twenties, third and often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction. When any tooth lacks the space to come through or simply develops in the wrong place of your jaw and becomes impacted and problems can arise to adjacent teeth. In certain cases, the wisdom tooth that cannot come through becomes inflamed under the gums and in the jawbone, causing a sac to develop around the root of the tooth and fills with liquid. This can cause a cyst or an abscess if it becomes infected.
If either of these situations goes untreated, serious damage to the underlying bone and surrounding teeth and tissues can result. To potentially stave off this result, an extraction of one, several or all of the wisdom teeth may be advised. If that is the case, we have the equipment and training needed to perform such extractions, with an absolute minimum of discomfort. Or we may refer you to a specialist if you request or your situation is extensive. Ask our staff for more information regarding tooth extractions if you feel you may need one.
A crown is a permanent covering that fits over an original tooth that is either decayed, damaged or cracked. Crowns are made of a variety of different materials such as Zirconium ceramic, porcelain ceramic, gold, acrylic resin or a mix of these materials. Porcelain generally has the most natural appearance, although it is often less durable. The treatment plan for a patient receiving a crown involves:
- Numbing the tooth to remove the decay in or around it.
- Re-sculpturing the tooth to provide an ideal fit for the crown.
- Making an impression of your teeth in order to create a custom-made crown (usually takes one to two weeks).
- Making a temporary crown out of acrylic resin and fitting it onto the tooth during the interim period when the permanent custom-made crown is being created.
- Applying the permanent crown (when received from the lab) by removing the temporary crown and fitting the permanent one onto the tooth.
- After ensuring that the crown has the proper look and fit, the dentist cements it into place.
This process generally consists of a minimum of 2 visits over a three to four week period. Once the procedure is completed, proper dental hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, is required to maintain healthy, bacteria-free teeth, gums and crowns. This helps in the prevention of gum disease. Given proper care, your crowns can last a lifetime.
A bridge is a dental device that fills a space that a tooth previously occupied. A bridge may be necessary to prevent:
- Shifting of the teeth that can lead to bite problems (occlusion) and/or jaw problems and resultant periodontal disease.
- Bridges safeguard the integrity of existing teeth and help maintain a healthy, vibrant smile.
- A “bridge” or Fixed Partial Denture, consists of 2 or more crowns (see above) one in front of the space where the tooth or teeth are missing and one behind. “Dummy teeth” are molded in between these 2 crowns to fill the space of the missing teeth. These crowns and “dummy teeth” are usually cut from a single block of Zirconium Ceramic or cast in gold and covered with porcelain for strength and natural tooth appearance (The gold is usually not visible and the final appearance is very natural.).