Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. To avoid cavities developing over time, our dental hygienist or dentist will paint on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible for you to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy. For best effects, sealants are placed in newly erupted permanent molars. Therefore children who are six to eight years old should have their six-year molars sealed. Children who are twelve to 14 years old should have their twelve-year molars sealed. Sealants usually last three to five years and then may need to "re-coated" periodically to provide maximum effectiveness through the teenage years. Once a child reaches 18 years of age, the teeth have naturally hardened, thus the efficacy of sealants diminishes and are less needed. Back to top
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the damaged surface(s) of the tooth. This is performed to repair damage caused by decay, fracture from trauma, to alter the alignment of the tooth, to close gaps between the teeth, or for other cosmetic purposes.
First the surface of the tooth is roughened and cleaned in order to accept the bonding. A gel is applied so the resin will adhere to the surface of the tooth. The composite material is then placed on the tooth and the bonding agent hardens with intense light. The last step is shaping and polishing to give a lustrous finish. Back to top
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay back to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires a filling, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material. A filling helps prevent further decay by closing off any cracks or spaces where bacteria can enter.
There are a variety of filling materials available including silver amalgam, composite-resin and porcelain. We will work with you to determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair, where in the filling is needed, and cost. Each filling material is briefly explained below:
· Amalgam (silver) fillings are tolerant to wear. However, due to their dark color they are more noticeable than porcelain or composite restorations and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.
· Composite (plastic) resins are custom made to the exact color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years and may not be ideal for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time. They can also become stained from coffee, tea or tobacco.
· Porcelain fillings are called inlays or onlays and are custom created in a lab and then bonded to the tooth. They can be matched to the color of the tooth, resist staining, and are about the same cost as gold fillings. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth, making the filling nearly undetectable.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown (or "cap") may be recommended. See crowns and bridges. Back totop
NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENT
The gums, root ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for teeth. All of these structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. With proper gum treatments, it may be possible to return gum tissue to a healthy state. If you're having a problem, come in and see us so we may treat it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with special medications. It is important to have gum problems checked promptly, as gum disease left alone may eventually need treatment through surgery or extraction. Back totop
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown (also referred to as a cap) is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
- Replace a large filling when there is little tooth structure remaining
- Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
- Restore a fractured tooth
- Attach a bridge
- Cover a dental implant
- Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
- Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
A bridge is one method used to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science since it replaces a missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be high-noble gold alloys, porcelain bonded to high-nobel metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and aesthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Since teeth use their neighbors for support, if one is missing they begin to "fall” and shift into the open spaces. This may worsen the bite because of the changes in pressure and can eventually result in problems with the jaw such as TMJ.
Bridges and crowns are made by first taking an impression of your mouth. The impression is sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth color. A temporary crown or bridge will be placed into your mouth until your permanent crown or bridge is ready and cemented into place.
Bridges and crowns are very durable and may last a lifetime with extra care and good oral hygiene. Back to top
Good oral hygiene should always be practiced since the loss of a single tooth can have major impact upon your oral health and appearance. Although we will use every measure to prevent tooth loss, there are still some necessary occasions when a tooth may need to be extracted. A tooth may need to be extracted for the following reasons:
- Severe decay
- Advanced periodontal disease
- Infection or abcess
- Orthodontic correction
- Malpositioned teeth
- Fractured teeth or roots
- Impacted teeth
After careful examination, we may advise to have a tooth extracted. Before a tooth is removed, we will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialized oral surgeon. Back to top
WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTIONS
Wisdom teeth are the last molars or “third molars” that develop on each side of the jaws. Wisdom teeth usually emerge in the back of the mouth between the ages of 16-20.
Wisdom teeth are a valuable asset to the mouth when they are healthy and properly positioned. Often, however, problems develop that require their removal. When the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth, they can become impacted (unable to come in or misaligned). Wisdom teeth may also grow in sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
After careful examination, we may advise to have wisdom teeth extracted. Before a tooth is removed, we will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialized oral surgeon. Back to top
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when an untreated cavity reaches all the way to this pulp. Treatment may also be needed when deep restorations or trauma to a tooth cause nerve damage. Once the pulp becomes infected, and can begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is known as an abscess). If the pulp is infected, not only is it painful but it will require treatment as it cannot heal on its own. Symptoms that indicate the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. However, sometimes no symptoms are apparent and you may be unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. Alternate treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal is filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy. Back to top
A dental implant is the ideal tooth restoration for people who are missing one or more teeth as a result of injury, periodontal disease, or any other reason. A dental implant is a metal post (usually titanium) that an implant surgeon surgically positions into the jaw. Once in place and bone surrounding the implant has had time to heal (typically 4 months), a replacement tooth is attached to the post. Dental implants provide superior benefits. Implants are stronger than natural teeth and generally last 10-20 years. They are also a more favorable approach than bridgework since they do not depend on neighboring teeth for support and preserve natural tooth structure.
To be eligible for dental implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. You must also be committed to excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits as these are critical to the long-term success of dental implants. Back to top
A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and surrounding tissues. There are two types of dentures available; partial and complete dentures. Partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain, while complete dentures are used to completely replace all teeth. Dentures are made to resemble your natural teeth so there should be no noticeable change to your appearance. In fact, dentures may even improve your smile!
Complete dentures are used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned to take the place of natural teeth. Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth. Dental implants can also be used to secure dentures to the ridge. The result is a very natural, comfortable and confident fit of the denture.
A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached go a gum-colored plastic base which is held in place by other natural teeth in the mouth.
New dentures may feel awkward or loose for the first few weeks until the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you are comfortable eating and speaking. Although this may require some practice, you will adjust and enjoy the benefits a full mouth of teeth can provide. Back to top
NIGHTGUARDS AND MOUTHGUARDS
Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of semi-ridged plastic and are custome molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth may be hit. These sports mouthguards also protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining and help prevent concussions. Nightguards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.
If a guard is right for you, we will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years. Back to top
Cosmetic dentistry includes procedures correct imperfections or enhance the appearance of the mouth. Tooth color, alignment, spacing as well as regularity of the teeth are the characteristics that give the overall appearance. Any of these can be enhanced to provide a stunning new smile.
Tooth whitening is a popular procedure to make teeth whiter and brighter, and therefore more attractive. Whitening can be used to whiten stained and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance yellowed teeth due to aging. Either way, teeth whitening is a safe and painless procedure ideal for most patients. Our office offers Sapphire Professional Whitening.
Sapphire Professional Whitening is an ideal option for anyone wanting imme- diate and long lasting results. The "kick-start" process takes place in our office in about an hour, making it the perfect choice for busy individuals. In this initial process, a protective gel is applied to your gums to protect the soft tissue. A special light-activated gel is then applied to your teeth and a special light is used to enhance the action of the agent - making your teeth whiter and brighter. As a final step, we take impressions of your teeth to create custom fitted trays for at-home gel use and for annual touch-ups. The result is dramatically whiter teeth that will last for years. Back to top
Orthodontics is the art of using appliances to straighten and align teeth. Most commonly it involves the use of metal brackets and wires to move teeth into their proper position. In this method, brackets are bonded to the teeth and arch wires are threaded through the brackets. The arch wires act as a track, guiding each tooth to its proper position.
Orthodontic Retainers are appliances made from clear plastic to custom fit your mouth. They act as a guide to comfortably hold your teeth into place after braces are removed. The retainer holds your teeth in place so your surrounding gums and bone can adjust around them – allowing you to maintain your realigned smile. Back to top
Invisalign treatment consists of a series of clear, snap-on, custom fit, removable mouth trays (aligners) that apply a slow controlled amount of force to your teeth, guiding them into place. The system provides the same beautiful results as traditional braces, but since the aligner trays are made of clear plastic, they are virtually invisible. In addition, because aligner trays are removable, they can be taken out while eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.
The Invisalign System works by first taking careful records and digital photographs, then a series of aligner trays are manufactured, each that will each move your teeth gradually until the end result is achieved. At the end of each two-week period, you will switch trays. Throughout the process, you will visit us every six to eight weeks to ensure treatment is progressing as planned. Once your treatment is complete, you will wear a clear retainer to ensure your new smile stays in place.
As with all orthodontic appliances, the cost of Invisalign varies according to the complexity of the case. Insurance policies generally cover Invisalign to the same extent that they cover traditional braces. To learn more, visit the Invisalign website by clicking here. Back to top
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a thin porcelain covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only applied to the part of the tooth that is visible when talking or smiling.
The technique involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are minimally pre-shaped, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In three weeks the veneers are back from the laboratory, the temporaries are removed and the veneers are bonded to the teeth. The laboratory fabricated veneers are made using very thin porcelain or pressed ceramic and are very aesthetic.
The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally more comfortable. Crowns are recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure. Back to top
|AUTOMATED EMAIL APPOINTMENT REMINDERS
We use an automated email appointment reminder system that will remind you of your scheduled appointment by emailing you a friendly e-card. Back to top
ELECTRONIC CLAIM PROCESSING
Our office utilizes electronic claims processing. This means that rather than sending your dental claim through the mail, it is sent electronically to your insurance company with the click of the button. By filing your claim electronically, information is submitted more efficiently and with fewer errors. Turn around time on claims is faster and fewer claims are returned or denied. Back to top
We use small cameras about the size of a pen, called intraoral cameras, to help clearly see the condition of your teeth and gums. With this advanced technology we can zoom in on small diseased areas, cracks, chips and worn metal fillings with extreme precision. The full-color images taken with the intraoral camera are sent to a computer screen so we can clearly see and diagnose dental problems much earlier than with the naked eye. Because images are displayed on our screens, patients will also be able to see areas being worked on and are able to gain a better understanding of dental procedures being performed. Back to top
Our clinical staff performs dental procedures using surgical telescopes. These powerful glasses have magnifiers on them, allowing the us to see and finish fine details that would otherwise go unnoticed to the naked eye. Our office uses loupes from Designs For Vision. Back to top
In our continuing efforts to provide the most advanced technology and highest quality care available to you, we are proud to announce the inclusion of the ViziLite®Plus exam as an integral part of our annual comprehensive oral cancer screening program.
· One person dies every hour from oral cancer in the United States
· 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer annually
· Early detection is essential to decrease the morbidity and mortality rate of oral cancer
· Unfortunately, 70% of oral cancer lesions are detected late
Until recently, dental professionals lacked the screening test technology to detect abnormalities that lead to oral cancer. Now, there is ViziLite®Plus.
Similar to a PAP Smear test for women or the PSA test for men, the ViziLite®Plus test is an oral cancer screening test that helps professionals identify suspicious lesions in their early stages and accelerate the steps to diagnosis and treatment.
ViziLite®Plus is a simple, painless, non-invasive 3 minute test that uses chemiluminescent technology to improve the examiners ability to visualize and evaluate lesions.
We recommend all adult patients 18 years and older receive an annual oral cancer screening exam that includes ViziLite®Plus. Back to top