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INITIAL EXAM AND CLEANING
The first thing we must do to address your total dental health is make sure you have clean teeth. One of our first appointments will be for a cleaning. You will have a comprehensive exam including any necessary x-rays and an oral cancer screening. This appointment will also include checking how healthy your gums are, educating you on how to improve your dental hygiene, and getting the plaque and tartar removed. If it has been a while since you've last had your teeth cleaned, you may need a second appointment to make sure all tartar has been removed, and your gums are responding well to their new, cleaner state.
If you have not had regular dental maintenance for a long time, you may have developed periodontal disease. Depending on severity, we may be able to treat you in our office, but we may refer you to a periodontist to assure it can be brought under control. Since gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, it is very important that periodontal disease be dealt with promptly. Besides the obvious appearance issue, clean teeth have a surprising number of benefits. Good dental health has even been linked to a healthier heart.
NIGHTGUARDS AND ATHLETIC BITEGUARDS
Custom designed mouthguards and nightguards are made of flexible plastic and 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 get hit. In addition, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining. Nightguards are also recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite.
If you have decided a guard is right for you, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard for you. In most cases you can choose from a variety of colors and styles for your guard. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years.
Providing the absolute best service to our patients is of the highest importance to our office. To aid in achieving this goal, we use a new high-tech device called the DIAGNOdent. This small tool is a portable laser that allows us to detect cavities on the chewing surface of the back teeth that would have otherwise gone undetected by previous methods. Diagnosing cavities in the back of the mouth using traditional methods is difficult; studies even show that 50% of cavities are left undetected in these areas. However, the new DIAGNOdent enables us to locate and treat these cavities, putting a stop to further decay. The laser is easy to use, harmless, and will alert us with an audible signal if it detects a cavity. It will even calculate the approximate size of the cavity so we can better plan treatment. By using this device, you can rest assured that cavities will be accurately detected and treated in their infancy.
The Invisalign treatment consists of a series of clear, snap-on, custom fit, removable mouth trays that apply a controlled amount of force to your teeth, forcing them to shift. The system provides the same beautiful results as traditional braces, but since the trays are made of clear plastic, they are virtually invisible. In addition, because Invisalign trays are removable, they can be taken out while eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.
The Invisalign System works begins by first creating a series of trays that will each moving 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 your dentist every six weeks to ensure treatment is progressing as planned. Once your treatment is complete, you will likely 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. However, Invisalign is generally more expensive than traditional braces. Insurance policies generally cover Invisalign to the same extent that they cover traditional braces.
ORAL HYGIENE CARE
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.
Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:
In some situations dental implants are the best treatment option. We most often use these where there are one or even several missing teeth adjacent to undamaged teeth that we want to maintain. We can also use implants to anchor a denture or partial denture.
Laser dentistry is the latest advancement in dental technology, treating a wide range of dental and cosmetic problems from cavities to gum disease to teeth whitening. The lasers we use in laser dentistry at our practice are an alternative to the common hand-held scalpel, drills, or other tools. These lasers direct an invisible energy beam onto problem areas and allow us to efficiently treat decayed teeth, enamel, and gums. The benefit of laser dentistry is that they minimize the pain most often associated with dental procedures, meaning more comfort to our patients. Clinical studies show that approximately 96% of all patients require no anesthesia when lasers are being used during dental treatments. Dental lasers have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are safe for both adults and children.Soft Tissue Laser
X-rays are a focused beam of x-ray particles passed through bone which produce an image on special film, showing the structure through which it passed. This provides the familiar black and white images doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems and disease. Without an x-ray of the whole tooth and supporting bone and gum tissues, there would be no way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using up to 90% less radiation than conventional film x-rays. Using this technology, we are able to take an x-ray of your mouth by using a small sensor which records the image of your teeth and sends it to a computer. The result is a highly detailed image of your mouth that can easily be enhanced to better diagnosis dental concerns and determine the very best treatment for each case.
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. This is done to repair damage done to the tooth by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for cosmetic purposes. First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding and hold it. A gel is applied to micro etch the tooth surface, and a primer/bond agent is applied so the material adheres to the surface. Then the material itself is placed on the tooth and hardened with intense light. The composite resin material is shaped and polished to get a lustrous finish as a last step.
DENTURES AND PARTIAL DENTURES
We look at dentures as a course of last resort. We prefer to preserve your natural teeth if at all possible because it will make you happier and healthier in the end. Not even the best fitting set of dentures will ever be as comfortable as your own teeth. However, if you've lost many teeth, a denture or partial denture may be your only option for tooth replacement. Obviously, compared to living with missing teeth, dentures can make you look and feel much better about yourself, as well as greatly increase your ability to eat.
Our office is a completely digital (paperless) dental office. This means all x-rays and charting are made and recorded with the aid of the computer. This technology allows us to maintain your dental records electronically, and cuts down the unnecessary paperwork used with traditional paper charting. Traditional paper charting is difficult to keep standardized from doctor to hygienist to assistant. Even handwriting differences and coding make the charts look different. The computer eliminates this problem by using consistent charting methods that are accurate and precise, making it easy to read your dental chart and see up-to-date information. Digital charting standardizes the charting process so it is clear, easy to understand, and enables us to provide on the most accurate and precise care to our patients. When needed, this method also allows us to quickly and securely share information with your other health care providers.
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 traditional dental technology. 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.
Sealants are used to fill in 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. These will develop cavities over time, and you don't want that. So the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
If your teeth aren't as bright as they once were, there is hope! Tooth whitening or bleaching has been around for quite some time now. There are products available from drug stores that may do an adequate job of tooth whitening, depending on your needs. Our office uses more powerful bleaching systems that must be done either in the office or under the direction of a dental professional to get the best results possible. It is important that we discuss any plans you have to whiten your teeth, even if you plan to use an over the counter product at home. Crowns and other repairs will react differently than your natural tooth material, so it is important to take that into consideration. We will be happy to counsel you, even if we don't do the whitening.
AUTOMATED APPOINTMENT REMINDER
We use an automated appointment reminder system that will call your home two days prior to your scheduled appointment time to remind you of your appointment. Please listen to the message carefully and press "1" to confirm the appointment and "2" if you wish to cancel. If you do not respond to the message, our office staff will contact you to confirm your scheduled visit. If are not home, a message will be left on your voicemail. Failure to notify our office of a cancellation may result in a charge. See our missed appointment policy for more information.
If the defect in your tooth is minor, you may elect to have a tooth-colored filling. We call this type of a repair a composite. Unlike conventional silver fillings, composites are bonded to the teeth with an adhesive that actually helps support the surrounding tooth structure. This type of filling is our favorite because it is so conservative and gives you beautiful teeth. Much less of the tooth structure needs to be removed to place a composite, while other fillings may need to have extra structure removed to maintain their strength.
Another restoration option is a silver filling or amalgam. Amalgams have been used for more than a hundred years and performed very well. The fillings themselves are very strong, but they do not support the surrounding tooth structure as well as composites. Recently a lot of publicity has surrounded the mercury content of these fillings. No clinical studies have shown negative effects of using amalgam as tooth fillings, although some people may have mercury sensitivity.
Veneers are a dental procedure in which a covering is placed over the outside (visible area) of the tooth. Veneers are usually only done to the part of the teeth that are visible when talking or smiling. The procedure can be direct or indirect.
The direct technique usually involves placing composite resin on the outside of the tooth using bonding. This method is usually referred to as bonding.
The indirect technique usually involves two appointments because the veneers will be fabricated at a dental laboratory. At the first appointment the teeth are prepared, impressions taken, and the teeth are given a temporary covering. In two to 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 usually made using porcelain or pressed ceramic, and are very esthetic.
The advantage of veneers versus crowns is that much less tooth material is removed, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable. Veneers are recommended for teeth that have large fillings or little tooth structure.
We use digital imaging software in our office, which allows us to take a digital picture of you and use our imaging system to predict how a particular treatment or cosmetic procedure would change the appearance of your teeth. This software is beneficial for patients who are considering cosmetic procedures but are not sure if they're ready for dramatic changes. Digital imaging also allows us to document your dental case and procedures very well. We take digital images of your face, teeth and smile to provide us with a permanent dental record and to provide a visual documentation of treatment.
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. This benefits our patients because the turn around time on claims is faster and fewer claims are returned or denied. We are happy to submit your dental claims to your insurance company on your behalf.
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
If the defects in your teeth are large, crowns or partial crowns may be necessary. Crowns can create much stronger teeth than with larger fillings, which may cause the tooth to fracture due to the amount of natural tooth structure that must be removed. Many types of tooth colored crowns are available, varying in color and strength.
Bridges may be used to replace missing teeth when adjacent healthy teeth may be used for support. Alternatively, we can anchor them in place with dental implants placed in the gums. We will discuss the best course of action with you before proceeding with treatment.
PERIODONTAL (GUM) TREATMENT
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for one's teeth. All 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. Any of these may be a sign of a problem. With proper gum treatments, however, 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 local antibiotic agents. If the gum disease gets too severe it may need to be treated through surgery or extraction. This is why it is important to have it treated at the first sign of a problem.
Though we hate to see them leave, sometimes it is necessary for teeth to be extracted. We may refer a patient to an oral surgeon for extractions if the case is complicated. Otherwise, we will do our own extractions, particularly where an immediate aesthetic concern needs to be addressed.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Often a tooth's root structure may be solid, but infection has damaged the nerve beyond repair. In such a case, it would be necessary to have root canal treatment. Our root canal treatments are usually done by an endodontist to achieve the best and most comfortable results. Most of our patients are pleasantly surprised to discover that a root canal procedure using modern treatments is nothing like the horror stories that they have heard.
Halitosis is the sophisticated word for "bad breath". Depending on the cause, bad breath may strike on occasion or may be a more persistent condition. The most common cause of bad breath is bacteria. Because the mouth is moist and warm, it creates perfect conditions for the millions of bacteria that live in the mouth. In fact, approximately 80% of bad breath is caused by something in the mouth.
Bad breath caused by bacteria in the mouth can easily be treated. Brushing your teeth, tongue and gums after meals as well as flossing and rinsing with mouthwash will usually take care of the problem. Regular visits to the dentist should be made for dental examinations and for professional teeth and gum cleaning.
Some types of bad breath, such as "morning mouth," are considered fairly normal and are not usually health concerns. However, persistent bad breath may be a sign of more serious problems with the gums and teeth.
Bad breath may be caused by the following:
Call our office promptly if you have bad breath with painful, swollen gums that bleed easily or loose teeth. We will perform a physical examination of your mouth to determine the cause. If we discover that systemic problems are the cause, we may refer you to your family physician. In severe cases of gum disease, we may recommend a doctor specialized to treat gum disease called a periodontist.
Air abrasion is a drill-less and more gentle approach to remove decay from the teeth. An air abrasion unit is a small instrument that blasts a fine stream of air and particles onto the teeth to spray away decay. The small particles are made of silica, aluminum oxide or baking soda and aid in cleaning the tooth surface. Air abrasion allows for decay to quickly be removed while conserving healthy tooth structure. The particles and decay are then suctioned out of the mouth.
Air abrasion is gentle because it generates no heat, sound, pressure or vibration. In addition, it reduces the need for anesthesia, making it an ideal choice for children and those who experience dental anxiety.
The pain that some people suffer in their jaw may actually come from their TMJ or jaw joint, while in others it stems from the muscles of the jaw. The source of the trouble may be stress, or may be as serious as a joint defect. There are many ways to approach these problems, and we will help you or refer you to a qualified specialist, if necessary.
Orthodontics is the art of using appliances to straighten and align teeth. Most commonly it involves the use of braces to move teeth into their proper positing. In this method, brackets are bonded to the teeth and arch wires are threaded through the brackets. The arch wires act as a track, and guide each tooth to its proper position. There are several types of orthodontic braces available to consumers, including the more traditional metal braces, ceramic "tooth colored" braces, as well as clear plastic braces.
CEREC is an acronym for Charismatic Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. This high-tech equipment allows us to restore damaged teeth with beautiful custom ceramic crowns in a single visit, completely eliminating the need or multiple appointments over a several week period. The process can create a ceramic dental crown, inlays, onlays or veneers using a variety of technologies including 3D photography and computer-aided design and manufacturing known as CAD/CAM (see below). Using an intra-oral camera, a photograph is taken of the tooth and the picture is loaded onto the computer. Using Computer Aided Design technology, the dentist is able to design the restoration and transform the image into a three-dimensional model. This valuable program then allows the dentist to easily calculate the appropriate restoration shape and size to create near perfect restoration. When the model is ready, a milling machine then creates the restoration using a high-speed diamond bur and calculated precision. The restoration is then bonded to the tooth using a resin material. The result is a beautiful and custom designed and produced restoration, made entirely to fit your mouth. CEREC crowns are metal-free and have been used for over 20 years.
Dental sedation is a technique that can be used when a patient suffers from dental anxiety or dental phobia. We are happy to offer a number of solutions for our patients to make their dental visit as comfortable as possible. Sedation dentistry techniques enable patients - who might otherwise avoid the dentist - to receive dental treatment necessary for a healthy smile.
Depending on the extent of the anxiety or phobia, varying degrees of dental sedation can be utilized as described below.Nitrous Oxide Sedation
This medication can be given to a patient the night before a dentistry procedure or 30 minutes to an hour prior to the dental appointment, depending on the severity of the anxiety. Oral sedatives do not provide pain relief, so an injection of local anesthetic will also be administered.
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 grow sideways, emerge only part way through the gum or remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
A wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. The dentist will numb the area in your mouth with a local anesthesia or use IV sedation so you are asleep during the procedure.
After the tooth (or teeth) is removed, you may be asked to bite down softly on a piece of gauze for 30 to 45 minutes after you leave the office, to limit any bleeding that may occur. Some pain and swelling may occur but it will normally go away after a few days; however, you should call your dentist if you have prolonged or severe pain, swelling, bleeding or fever.
Our office uses computerized shade matching to make restorations that perfectly match the color of your natural teeth. Old methods of shade matching can be inaccurate and inconsistent. Our shade matching system is a small hand-held device that captures tooth hue, value and chroma to create precise color matches. With this technology, you can be confident that your restorations will beautifully match your natural teeth.
Aqua abrasion is a new cutting and polishing systems that works in the same fashion as air abrasion. In addition to removing decay and preparing restorations, it can be used to effectively clean and polish the teeth through a fine stream of water that is sprayed onto the tooth surface. The aquabrasion system can replace the drill in many dental procedures and it quickly removes decay while conserving healthy tooth structure. Its gentle nature can eliminate the need for local anesthesia in many procedures.
CAD/CAM CHAIRSIDE RESTORATION SYSTEM
Our office utilizes CAD/CAM technology. CAD/CAM stands for "computer-aided design" and "computer-aided manufacturing". This technology allows the dentist to use an intra-oral scanner inside your mouth to take a digital scan of a tooth that has been prepared to receive a crown. Using special software, the data from the scan is used to generate a design (CAD) for a custom crown. This program will also generate a custom blue print and guide lines to manufacture the new crown (CAM). This software, paired with a state-of-the-art milling machine, enables our office to create precise and custom crowns, inlays and onlays in one single dental visit.
LUMINEERS® BY CERINATE® are porcelain veneers that offer the painless way to a permanently whiter and perfectly aligned smile. These contact lens-thin "smile shapers" can be applied to teeth without any grinding or shaving, transforming teeth into a naturally beautiful smile that looks perfect for every individual. LUMINEERS can even be placed over existing crown or bridgework without having to replace them.
Our team has taken numerous advanced training courses on this procedure. To see if you are a candidate, call our office for a complimentary consultation.
Please check back later to learn more about Implant Restoration